In the middle-grade novel Indigo and Ida by Heather Murphy Capps (Carolrhoda Books, April 2023), teenager Indigo Fitzgerald discovers a biography (with loose personal letters) about the nineteenth-century investigative writer Ida B. Wells. As she reads of Ida’s reporting on frequent lynchings in the South during the post-Reconstruction era, Indigo is inspired to focus her

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Kid Trailblazers by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld (Quirk Books, 2022) includes brief biographies of “changemakers and leaders,” focusing on events and habits formed in each of their childhoods. I loved that some of those highlighted were from around the world. The biographies were full of pertinent information without being overwhelming. Colorful pictures accompany

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Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo (translated by Ann Leonori) is a young adult novel based on the true story of a boy who, as a child slave in Pakistan, changed the outlook for the hopeless children who work at the rug-making factory he has been transferred to. As told from the fictionalized perspective of a young girl

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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011 National Book Award for Young People and Newbery Honor Award) is a novel in poetry about a young girl’s relocation to American from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is about the challenge of starting over and the pain of discrimination in a strange new country and

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Play Ball, Jackie! by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Joe Morse (Millbrook Press, 2011) tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s open day of baseball as told from the perspective of a young Italian-American boy and his father. I’m not a fan of baseball, but there was something touching about this story even for someone unfamiliar with baseball

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White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by Shadra Strickland (Candlewick, August 2011) is based on a true story from the childhood of one of the authors in the Jim Crow South. One afternoon, two boys, one white and one African-American, got off a bus and ran for the drinking fountain. As they

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My Caldecott challenge: Although these Caldecott winner and honor books are not, for the most part, books I’ve read aloud to my son, I still found them interesting. A few I had strong negative opinions of; they show that even books that earned the Caldecott award do become dated! I’m rather conflicted about this Caldecott

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