This list is a great way to start your Westmont Reads experience. WPL librarians have selected titles for all ages by authors from a wide range of communities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Pick one out today and start your Westmont Reads journey into One Community, Many Voices.

Board Books

May We Have Enough to Share by Richard Van Camp

This beautiful song of hope and gratitude is illustrated with photographs of loving indigenous families, written by an indigenous author from the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

This book celebrates family, giving affirmation of parental love and appreciation for a new life. Illustrations depict a loving family with brown skin and black hair.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Holi Colors by Rina Singh

The vibrant festival of Holi is depicted in this book of colors with photographs of joyful children and parents covered in a rainbow of colored powders. The author was born in India.

Available formats: Book Ebook (Hoopla)

Diwali Lights by Rina Singh

This book introduces the Hindu festival of lights, with colorful photographs and lyrical text.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara

Counting up from one to ten, children are encouraged to count on each other and become agents for social change. A multicultural group of urban children and adults work, play, and collaborate. The author is a social activist born and raised in Indonesia.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Dream Big, Little One and Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison

These books, written by a black author, highlight true stories of black people in history, from different countries, different times, and varying occupations. Dream Big, Little One tells of inspiring black women and Follow Your Dreams, Little One depicts inspiring black men.

Available formats: Book

Picture Books

B Is for Baby by Atinuke

One morning after breakfast, Baby’s big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba’s bungalow in the next village. He’ll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge.  Big brother doesn’t realize that he has a very cute stowaway on his errand. Readers will enjoy beautiful, bright illustrations, and rhythmic text in this humorous picture book. Author Atinuke shares her West African heritage with the characters in this picture book. Atinuke was born in Nigeria, a West African country.

Available formats: Book

Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny M. Thomas

Nimoshom drives the kids in the community to school every morning. On the way, he always has something to say to them. This bilingual picture book introduces basic Cree words. The watercolor and pencil illustrations in soft earth tones highlight the story being told about community and intergenerational relationships. Author Penny M. Thomas identifies with her Cree-Ojibway background, and shares this with the characters in the story.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

This Beach is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill

A young boy gets overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and sensations at the beach, but his dad has a trick to help his son face these unexpected obstacles. This heartwarming picture book features digital illustrations that complement the text. Author Samantha Cotterill  draws on her own experience with Asperger’s to create an authentic and relatable protagonist.

Available formats: Book

The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish by Lil Miss Hot Mess

“This playful picture book offers a quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all of the ways to “work it”. The story plays off “The Wheels on the Bus” as it follows a drag queen who performs her routine in front of an awestruck audience.” Bright digital illustrations and rhyming text boldly encourage readers to celebrate all that they are. The author participates in the art of Drag and in Drag Queen Story Hour. Lil Miss Hot Mess is a member of the organization’s global leadership team.

Available formats: Book

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales tells her own immigration story in this memoir told in verse. Author Yuyi Morales is Mexican American.

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

If Dominican Were a Color by Sili Recio

This picture book is a celebration of the colors that make up the country’s cities, towns, natural wonders, people and more. The illustrator’s vibrant color palette along with the soft rhyming words capture heart and magic of a country.  Author Sili Recio is Afro-Dominican and draws on her heritage to create this beautiful picture book.

Available formats: Book

Muslim Girls Rise by Saira Mir

This informational picture book introduces readers to nineteen amazing Muslim women who rose up and made their voices heard. Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened the doors to the world’s oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields.  Author Saira Mir is a Muslim physician from Washington, DC.

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

Princess Hair by Sharee Miller

Celebrate the beauty and diversity of black hair; all the different hair shapes, textures, and styles-from dreadlocks to blowouts to braids.  Bright digital illustrations and rhythmic text show that every kind of hair is princess hair. Author Sharee Miller is African-American like the characters in this picture book.

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

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

It’s Chinese New Year, and Goldy Luck’s mother wants her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results.  Author Natasha Yim shares her Chinese American heritage in this wonderful picture book retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

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

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

African American author Kwame Alexander’s poem highlights and celebrates the triumphs and enduring strength of African Americans through tribulations in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. A poem that recognizes the many facets of black life in the United States. This poignant poem is made even more powerful by the realistic paintings of illustrator Kadir Nelson.

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

Hot Pot Night by Vincent Chen

A Taiwanese American child brings his diverse neighbors together to make a tasty communal meal. Together, they cook up a steaming family dinner that celebrates community, cooperation, and culture and finally answers the question, “What is for dinner?” Author Vincent Chen shares his Taiwanese American  heritage with the main character in this story.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Separate is Never Equal: : Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

When her family moved to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez was excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers were turned away and told they had to attend the Mexican school instead. Sylvia could not understand why—she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English. Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the school board, the Mendez family decided to take matters into its own hands and organize a lawsuit. In the end, the Mendez family’s efforts helped bring an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in schools across America. Mexican American author Duncan Tonatiuh’s picture book biography features his signature illustrations, which celebrate his heritage and the heritage of Sylvia Mendez.

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

Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Defeated Army by Art Coulson

In the autumn of 1912, the football team from Carlisle Indian Industrial School took the field at the U.S. Military Academy, home to the bigger, stronger, and better-equipped West Points Cadets.  Jim Thorpe and the other Carlisle players were known for unusual formations and innovative plays, the Carlisle squad was out to prove that they had the skill, strategy, and determination to be the best football team in all the land.  Author Art Coulson is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Available formats: Book

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi

Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom. Lailah solves her problem with help from the school librarian and her teacher and in doing so learns that she can make new friends who respect her beliefs. This heartwarming story is accompanied by illustrator Lea Lyon’s bold color palette and geometric designs.  Muslim author Reem Faruqi based this story off of events in her own life. She moved from Abu Dhabi to the United States when she was thirteen.

Available formats: Book

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky

“Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time.”  Author Jessica Kensky draws on her own experience as a double amputee to create an authentic story about overcoming trauma, and finding a much needed helper in her service dog.

Available formats: Book

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales

Afro-Mexican Muslim poet Mark Gonzales shares a lyrical reflection on encouraging a child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity. This picture book is a celebration of faith and culture  as a parent shares with a child the value of their heritage and why it should be a source of pride, even when others disagree.  This heart felt ode is accompanied by beautiful and vibrant illustrations.

Available formats: Book

Red Cloud: a Lakota Story of War and Surrender by S. D. Nelson

This picture book biography is told from the point of view of Red Cloud, warrior and chief of the Lakota.  It tells the story of how the Lakota were forced from their lands onto reservations.  Author S.D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

A Gift From Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz

The first time Abuela held Niña, her heart overflowed with tenderness. As Niña grows up, she and Abuela have a lot of fun doing simple things. Abuela decides that she wants to buy Niña a special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week. Then something terrible happens, and Abuela’s dream of a surprise for Niña seems impossible. Luckily, the time they spend together and the love they have for each other are the best gifts of all. Author Cecilia Ruiz shares her Mexican heritage with her characters in this uplifting picture book that celebrates intergenerational relationships.

Available formats: Book

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Lucha Libre champion Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills. Yuyi Morales’ unique style of illustrations heightens the humor in this rambunctious tale.  The author shares her Mexican American heritage with her characters in this picture book.

Available formats: Book

Firebird by Misty Copeland

American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that some day, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too.  Misty Copeland is the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theater.

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

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