The #ownvoices hashtag was created by author Corinne Duyvis to spotlight books about characters with marginalized identities created by authors who share the same marginalized identity (or identities). The character and creator may share a common disability, sexuality, gender identity, race, immigration status, or other identity. We hope these selections serve to educate and encourage a dialogue on topics of representation, as well as provide a starting point for readers seeking stories written from an “own voices” perspective.

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

This is a coming of age story about a Indian-American teen who discovers her father is a famous Bollywood movie star. She heads to Mumbai to get to know her father. In this new city she will have to navigate more than just family ties as she figures out who she is as a young adult.  Author Varsha Bajaj shares her Indian heritage with the story’s main character in this funny and heartwarming book.

Available formats: Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

Brothers Genie and Ernie are sent from Brooklyn to Virginia to stay with their grandparents for summer vacation. This summer will be full of surprises, as Genie reflects on what it means to be brave and to be a man. Author Jason Reynolds is African American just like the main characters in this book.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook, Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (CloudLibrary)

The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Lucy is excited for sixth grade. This year will be her best yet, as she is set to get her own room and try out for captain of the basketball team. Lucy is challenged to find the silver linings when she looses the room to her great aunt, gets bullied at school, and has to compete with a rival in school. Chinese American author Wendy Wan-Long Shang shares her heritage with this heartwarming story’s main character.

Available formats: Book

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Partially based on the author’s own experiences, this story is about Cece. Cece is starting at a new school, where she is the only deaf student. Her Phonic ear helps her hear her teacher, but her classmates are having difficulty accepting her.  Cece is looking for a true friend. Will transforming into El Deafo help her in this quest?

Available formats: Book

George by Alex Gino

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever.” Auditioning for the role of Charlotte in the school play gives George the courage to show her community her authentic self.  Author Alex Gino is transgender just like the main character in this heartwarming book.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Sal Vidon and Gabi Real didn’t start off as friends, but when Gabi learns Sal’s secret they decide to team up. Unfotunatly, their manipulation of time and space has caused one big problem. Cuban American author Carlos Hernandez shares his heritage with the main characters in this book, which is full of love and laughter.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

Edie has questions about her family. She knows her mom was adopted by a white family, but what are her ties to her Native American heritage? Edie stumbles on her families secrets and is able to discover more about her own heritage. This book is based on events in the author’s own life. Christine Day is a member of the Upper Skagit tribe.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Hoopla)

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amina has started middle school. This new school year brings many changes and questions, her friend Soojin, begins hanging out with a new group, and is changing her name to something more “American.” Amina starts questioning if she should change, too.  Author Hena Khan is a Pakistani-American Muslim and shares this identity with the main character in this coming of age story.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

Stef Soto just wants to be “normal.” She wants her dad and aunt to have normal jobs, so her classmates stop seeing her as the “Taco Queen.”  When her family’s livelihood is threatened, Stef becomes her family’s champion. Author Jennifer Torres shares her Mexican American heritage with her character, and like her character, she grew up cooking Mexican dishes.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla)

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo

“In 1980s Kenya, HIV/AIDS ravages Auma’s village and leaves her and her three siblings orphans.” Auma earns a scholarship to pursue her next level of education, but is torn between her future and her responsibilities to her family. It is an amazing story that looks at family, sacrifice, and an epidemic that continues to affect communities around the world. This story is based on the author’s own experiences in her Luo village in Kenya.

Available formats: Book

PICKLE : The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kimberly Baker

“Sixth-grader Ben Diaz wants to expand his circle of friends, and he thinks starting the year with a prank is a good way to do it.  After succeeding with his initial prank, Ben decides to form a school club, the League of Pickle Makers, to use as a guise for their pranks.”  The pranksters will eventually get caught, but this humorous story explores what true friendship looks like.  Author Kim Baker is bicultural Latinex and shares her Latinex identity with the story’s main character.

Available formats: Book

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

“Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in.” One fateful night Tristan finds himself on a new adventure fighting alongside African American heroes.  Author Kwame Mbalia is African American, just like the story’s main character.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Stella is facing some new challenges in school this year: her best friend is in another class, there is a new boy she wants to befriend, and a huge presentation due for class. Stella is charming and courageous, and readers who enjoy a spunky heroine will enjoy this book. Author Angela Dominguez is Mexican American like the main character in this story.

Available formats: Book

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

Jimmy and his grandfather head out on a summer road trip. Jimmy is blue eyed with light brown hair,  subjected to teasing by his peers. He doesn’t feel he fits in on or off the reservation. On this road trip, they trace the important places of their ancestors, and Jimmy learns about Crazy Horse,  sacrifice, and gains a greater connection to his ancestors.  Joseph  Marshall is a registered member of the Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux) and shares this heritage with the main characters of this story.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

“In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome.” While historical fiction, this story is about family, hope, and growing up.  African American author Rita Williams-Garcia has infused this book with her memories, research, and imagination to create a wonderful story for middle grade.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)


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