Diverse middle grade recommendations? We have those too! Just follow the arrows to what you love for a perfect read! 

Here’s another fantastic flowchart designed by WNDB team member Tracey López. 


1. Kick by Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman

2. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Realistic Fiction?

1.The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante

2.Rain is not my Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith

3. Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez


Action or Horror?

1.Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

2. The Monster in the Mudball by S. P. Gates

3. How I became a Ghost by Tim Tingle

4. Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda


1.My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

2. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

3. The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson

Adventure & Vicarious Travels?

1. Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

2. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia

3. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park


1. Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

2. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

3. The Menagerie by Tui and Kari Sutherland

4. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor


Graphic Novels?

1.El Deafo by Cece Bell

2.Little White Duck by Andres Vera Martinez

3.Drama by Raina Telgemeier

4. The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

5. Hereville: How Mirka got her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Dystopian & Sci-Fi?

1. Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities by Mike Jung

2. Galaxy Games by Greg Fishbone

3. Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith

4. The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout

5. Ambassador by William Alexander


Then check out these picks selected by the WNDB Team!

1. The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Shang

2. Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

3. Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

4. The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by Uma Krishnaswami

mellowhygh  asked:

Hi! I work at a used bookstore and your "black lives matter" shelf inspired me to try to put together one at my store. Can you recommend some authors I should keep an eye out for while putting together this selection?

Here’s a BuzzFeed list we made that has a lot of great options: http://powells.us/1A6TmuO. And here’s a list of what we have on our display!

·         Beloved, Toni Morrison (9780452261365)

·         Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (9780399252518)

·         The Color Purple, Alice Walker (9780156028356)

·         Citizen, Claudia Rankine (9781555976903) 

·         Monster, Walter Dean Myers (9780064407311)

·         The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander (9781595586438)

·         Open City, Teju Cole (9780812980097)

·         The Residue Years, Mitchell Jackson (9781620400296)

·         Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred D. Taylor (9780140384512)

·         White Girls, Hilton Als (9781940450254)

·         Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Charles M. Blow (9780544228047)

·         Burning Down The House, Nell Bernstein (9781595589569)

·         Black Boy, Richard Wright (9780060929787)

·         Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin (9780807064313)

·         One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia (9780060760908)

·         Kindred, Octavia Butler (9780807083697)

·         I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (9780345514400)

·         A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry (9780679755333)

·         Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones (9781566893749)

·         Cane, Jean Toomer (9780871401519)

·         Motion of Light in Water, Samuel Delaney (9780816645244)

·         The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson (9780679763888)

·         The Color of Water, James McBride (9781594481925)

·         Known World, Edward P. Jones (9780060557553)

·         Breath, Eyes, Memory, Edwidge Danticat (9780375705045)

·         Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (9780060931414)

·         12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northrup (1110000139449-EBM)

·         Push, Sapphire (9780679766759)

·         John Henry Days, Colson Whitehead (9780385498203)

·         The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Heidi W. Durrow (9781616200152)

·         Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, Z.Z. Packer (9781573223782)

·         Hip Hop Family Tree, Ed Piskor (9781606996904)

·         I, Too, Am America, Langston Hughes (9781442420083)

·         Your Face in Mine, Jess Row (9781594488344)

·         Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (9780679732761)

·         The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore (9780385528207)

·         Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (9780307455925)

·         Race Matters, Cornel West (9780679749868)

·         Slavery by Another Name, Douglas A. Blackmon (9780385722704)

·         A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines  (9780375702709)

BOOK OF THE DAY: Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

The wrong angle

Trina: “Hey,” I say, though I don’t really know them. The boyed-up basketball girl barely moves. The others, her girls, step aside. It’s okay if they don’t speak. I know how it is. They can’t all be Trina.

Dominique: Some stupid little flit cuts right in between us and is like, “Hey.” Like she don’t see I’m here and all the space around me is mines. I slam my fist into my other hand because she’s good as jumped.

Leticia: Why would I get involved in Trina’s life when I don’t know for sure if I saw what I thought I saw? Who is to say I wasn’t seeing it from the wrong angle?

Acclaimed author Rita Williams-Garcia intertwines the lives of three very different teens in this fast-paced, gritty narrative about choices and the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant ones can have. Weaving in and out of the girls’ perspectives, readers will find themselves not with one intimate portrayal but three.

Wanting My Own Family Story

By Rita Williams-Garcia

I grew up during the golden age of television, when nearly every face on the screen was white.  Before I worshiped Star Trek, I loved watching family shows:  The Donna Reed Show.  Father Knows Best.  Leave it to Beaver.  I watched all of those family shows where the father went off to work but returned every evening, while the mother took care of the home and children.  Those families were nothing like my own.  As a soldier in the Army, my father was frequently away from the family for long months, and sometimes as long as a year.  Shortly after I was born, Dad shipped out to Korea.  He was then stationed in Germany when I was a toddler, and deployed to Vietnam when I was in the fourth grade.  My mother worked, went to school for her nursing degree, and cared for my sister, brother, and me.  From my place in the family as the youngest, I longed for the constant attention of both of my parents.

Books gave me an even deeper connection to the storied lives of my favorite families.  Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Beezus seemed to peer into the room I shared with my older sister, Rosalind.  My sister actually drew a line down the center of the floor and ordered me to stay on my side of the room–the messy side.  I had papers everywhere, between schoolwork, crayon and watercolor pictures, and, of course, my stories.  These stories were precious.  I colored the protagonist with mixtures of brown, peach, and orange to create my skin color.  My protagonist did cool things like save the day by knowing the right answers.  She was a champion bike rider and found buried treasure in her backyard.  I loved Cleary’s Ramona, Beezus, Henry, and Ribsy.  In fact, Beverly Cleary and I have birthdays that are only one day apart.  But most of all, I wanted stories that resembled my own family beyond the characters’ skin coloring. I wanted the familiarity of my own family, but with togetherness and book-worthy adventures.  Nearly half a century later, I’d find those stories in Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 and in Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers and Hush.

In the sixth grade, our young, white school librarian, who taught us African folk songs, gave two books by Reba Paeff Mirsky to me.  The first was Thirty-one Brothers and Sisters and the other was Nomusa and the New Magic.  How did she know they were the perfect books for me?  In one of the books, the protagonist was a Zulu chief’s daughter who went on a hunt with her father.  I don’t think I gave anyone else a chance to check those books out!  Then came the familiar call to pack up and move from Seaside, California, to Fort Benning, Georgia.  I knew I had to return those books.  The young librarian gave me a copy of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy.  I read about Harriet, lonely Harriet, neglected by her parents, but saved by her journal and her caretaker, Ole Golly.  I found myself stepping inside Harriet’s soul.  As I hear from young readers of all ages and diverse backgrounds, male and female, about the characters in One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven, I see their longing to see themselves reflected in familiar stories, and to know that a reader can enter a different family through the safe and inviting portals of a book.

The signs as my favorite books

Aries: Divergent by Veronica Roth

“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different.” This book is filled with extraordinary acts of bravery, just like an Arien. An Arien will do anything to help who they love, and despite the fact that they can get angry easily, they are also one of the most caring signs.

Taurus: The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

“I realize something. That wasn’t a finish line for me…This is my new starting line.” A Taurus refuses to ever give up, no matter what the situation is. The whole book is about never giving up and getting to the finish line, no matter what challenges try to prevent you.

Gemini: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

“You act like there are two kinds of girls,’ she said. ‘The smart ones and the ones that boys like.” This book sugar-coats nothing, and the harsh reality is revealed. A Gemini will never lie to you about the reality of how they feel.

Cancer: A Corner of the Universe by Ann Martin

“For now, I just want things all safe and familiar. My life may not be perfect, but it is what I have known.” Cancer’s like the known, and usually fear the unknown. Cancer’s are homebodies and aren’t always open to new things.

Leo: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

“There was something strange and extraordinary about her – something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting.”  A Leo is like the quote says of Mary Poppins, “extraoridinary” and “frightening” at the same time, but “exciting” nonetheless.

Virgo: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

“Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness. There’s love and emotion trying to express itself, but at the time, it just ends up being awkward.”  Sometimes when a Virgo tries to express himself/herself, it gets swallowed up by the fact that a Virgo may not be able to express themselves as easily as others. (No, this is not 50 shades of grey, byE)

Libra: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

“We all have our la-la-la song. The thing we do when the world isn’t singing a nice tune to us. We sing our own nice tune to drown out ugly.” A Libra likes to imagine to world as a good place, and when the world isn’t such a good place, they make it a good place all by themselves. They can’t always put a big mark on the world, but can definitely help themselves and others around them.

Scorpio: The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

“The one who asks questions does not lose his way.” The Scorpio, who is always inquisitive and always asks questions. When they don’t understand, they make themselves understand. If they don’t know something, they figure it out by asking questions. 

Sagittarius: After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

“But nobody ever tells you in advance when you should concentrate on the good times-that’s why you’re supposed to do it every day.” Even with a challenge, a Sagittarian continues to persevere through until the end with their optimism guiding them the whole way.

Capricorn:  13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

“Everything…affects everything” To a Capricorn, everything really does affect everything. Everything fits together, and they can make sense of it. This book is very logically put together and all of the events lead to other events. 

Aquarius: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” Like an Aquarian’s real view on life, where they romanticize nothing. They are realists and know that not everything is given to them. Just like a Capricorn.

Pisces: The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” A Pisces’ view of their life.

-Sophia librattarius

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia 

After spending the summer in Oakland, California, with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence. The sisters aren’t the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That’s much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around.

Besides her sisters, Delphine’s got plenty of other things to worry about—like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance. The one person she confides in is her mother, Cecile. Through letters, Delphine pours her heart out and receives some constant advice: to be eleven while she can.

[book link]

My Take on John Green & YA World & the NYTimes bestseller list

I got a great question in my Reddit Iama and it’s worth sharing here, as Tumblr has been the forum for much of the conversation about John Green, the NYTimes bestseller list, and the state of YA World right now.

Question: Hi Laurie! Loved TIKOM (and everything else) and I’m super stoked to meet you at LeakyCon this year!

Anyways, I was wondering if you had anything to add to the ongoing discussion on the “John Greenification” of current YA Lit (and don’t get me wrong, I love me some John Green, I’m a huge Nerdfighter and have been reading his books for years). There has been a lot of discussion lately on how the (admittedly flawed) bestseller lists are so male dominated. I’m curious to hear what you think about all this?

Thanks for everything! Speak gave me so much courage in my formative years, your work is much appreciated <3

My response: 

I am so excited about LeakyCon! (A bit nervous, too - please introduce yourself if you see me there so I’ll feel like I know someone!)

John is friend of mine. In addition to being his friend, I’m a huge fan of his work; the books, Nerdfighters, Crash Courses, all of it. I love the guy. He is making the world a better place.

Because of his visibility, he is also catching the flak for what I see as a larger cultural issue. America is still very male-dominated; white, middle/upper class, straight, male-dominated.

Some of us have been writing YA for many years and have done quite well in terms of our books being published enjoyed by readers. But the media (it’s always The Damn Media, isn’t it?) noticed John’s body of work and his vibrant and large Internet community and his celebrity, then started talking about this new-fangled “YA thing.” Then The Damn Media started looking for other dudes writing YA.

Welcome to the patriarchy, my friends.

John is a kick-ass feminist and a superb ally to everyone fighting against oppression and marginalization. He is also a human being who deserves time with his family and time to be quiet and to write, in addition to whatever else he wants to do. He is not responsible for the sudden dudification of the NYT Bestseller list, nor is it his responsibility to somehow magically fix it. The social problems and pressures that have created this mess are much older and deeper than any one person can repair.

HOWEVER - we are having the conversation. Occasionally we’re getting angry and yelling. We have MILES to go before we sleep, but we’re moving in the right direction. I’d like to see everyone who is pissed off about the uneven coverage of YA books (and authors) to call The Damn Media on the carpet and tell them what they are doing wrong. Gather the contact information of the reporters, editors, editorial boards, and corporate owners of media outlets that are writing skewed or under-informed pieces about YA literature and share them publicly. Share what you write to them. Contact Hollywood peeps and tell them about other great books that could be movies.

(Shameless self-promotion - I wrote a couple books that would be great movies, IMHO!)

Then seek out and talk and blog and vlog and shout about the books and authors that The Damn Media is not talking about yet. Let me get you started with some suggestions: Kekla Magoon! Coe Booth! Alex Sánchez! Jason Reynolds! Mitali Perkins! Nikki Grimes! Malinda Lo! Cynthia Leitich Smith! Jaime Adoff! Octavia Butler! Eric Gansworth! Jacqueline Woodson! Sumbul Ali-Karamali! Rita Williams Garcia! Meg Medina!

Want more? Follow Diversity in YA’s tumblr

We are still in the early days of the growth of YA fandom. It is a beautiful thing to watch, kindred spirits coming together over a common passion. We all want great books that represent every kind of story from all kinds of authors. We have the opportunity and responsibility to find and promote those books and authors. We have to be the change we want to see.

There is more food for thought on this subject here in an earlier post from Catagator.

Thanks for the chance to talk about this, and most of all, thank you so much for appreciating my work!

Catagator’s response

Are We Really Ready For Unstoppable Characters Of Color?

Contributed to CBC Diversity by Award-winning author Sharon G. Flake

I love this business.  I’ve been in it for over sixteen years.  I have written nine novels for young readers, most of which feature strong, straight-ahead African American girl protagonists.

When my first novel, The Skin I’m In was published in 1997, it was hailed for the distinct voice and spot-on insight of its main character, Maleeka Madison, who is being bullied in the novel and confronted with issues of colorism. In Begging for Change, my main character Raspberry Hill is a girl who knows what she wants and needs and goes for it by using her wits as well as her entrepreneurial skills. In Pinned, my most recent novel, Autumn is a teenager who exhibits her strength as the team’s star wrestler, despite her struggles in school. Autumn is strong, bold, courageous and open-minded. I receive letters from kids who want to be just like Maleeka, Raspberry, and Autumn – kids who are outspoken, resilient, creative, and aspire to become strong women once they’re grown.

But it seems that smart, outspoken, straight-ahead African American girls in books are still frowned upon by gatekeepers and those who serve up books to kids. In my latest novel, Unstoppable Octobia May, which will publish this fall, ten-year-old Octobia is sent to live in her aunt Shuma’s boarding house where she is given the gift of freedom. Freedom to dream, imagine, explore, question and walk the planet whole and complete.

Keep reading

WNDB Signings & Panels at BEA & BookCon

If you’ll be at Book Expo and/or the BookCon in New York City this week do stop by the following panels/signings to meet these amazing authors on the WNDB team and celebrated by the WNDB team!


*unless otherwise noted BEA signings are in autographing area

Wednesday, May 27th

Tim Federle – 2:30pm

R.J. Palacio - 4pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Thursday, May 28th

Anne Ursu – 9:30am

Kwame Alexander – 10am

Kristina Yee – 11am

Sunil Yapa – 11am

Suzan Lori-Parks - 1pm (Theatre Communications Group booth)

Brian Selznick – 1:30pm

Dawn Metcalf - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

Adi Alsaid - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts - 2pm (Abrams booth)

Soman Chainani - 2pm (HarperCollins booth)

Ta-Nehisi Coates - 2:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Miranda Paul – 3pm

Libba Bray - 3pm (Hachette Book Group booth)

Vu Tran - 3:30pm (Liveright booth)

Friday, May 29th

Marie Lu - 9:30am (Penguin Random House booth)

Lamar Giles – 9:30am

Salina Yoon – 9:30am

Ilene Gregorio – 10:30am

Tim Federle - 11am (Running Press booth) 

Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung - 11am

Don Tate – 11:30am

Shannon Hale – 11:30am

Nicola Yoon - 12:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Adi Alsaid - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

We Need Diverse Books Panel – 1pm, Rm. 1E10

Meg Medina - 1:30pm (Candlewick booth)

Celeste Ng - 1:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Marieke Nijkamp - 2pm (Sourcebooks booth)

Rita Williams-Garcia – 2pm

Christopher Myers – 2pm

Don Tate - 2:15pm (Peachtree booth)

Alex Gino - 2:30pm 

David Levithan - 3pm (Penguin Random House booth)

We Need Diverse Books signing – 7pm at La Casa Azul Bookstore


*BookCon signings are in-booth or autographing area as noted

Saturday, May 30th

Nicola Yoon – 10am (Penguin Random House)

Shannon Hale – 10:30am (Candlewick Press booth) 

We Need Diverse Books Panel: Science Fiction/Fantasy with Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, Joe Monti, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel Jose Older – 11am in Room 1A21.

Daniel Jose Older & Nnedi Okorafor – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Ken Liu – 12:30pm (Autographing area) 

Kameron Hurley - 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Lamar Giles - 12:45pm (Mystery Writers of America booth)

Jenny Han – 1pm (Autographing area)

Meg Medina – 1pm (Candlewick Press booth)

Cindy Pon – 2pm (Month9Books booth)

Renee Ahdieh & Marie Lu – 2pm (Autographing area) 

Sabaa Tahir & Aisha Saeed – 2pm (Autographing area)

N.K. Jemisin - 4pm (Hachette Book Group booth)

Jason Reynolds & Ellen Hopkins – 5pm (Autographing area)

Sunday, May 31st

Melissa de la Cruz - 11am (Autographing area)

We Need Diverse Books Panel: Luminaries of Children’s Literature with Libba Bray, Soman Chainani, David Levithan, Meg Medina, and Jacqueline Woodson – 11:15am in Room 1A10.

Jacqueline Woodson & Libba Bray – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Meg Medina & Ilene Gregorio – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Jenny Lee & Soman Chainani - 1:15pm (Autographing area)

R.J. Palacio – 1:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Brian Selznick - 4pm (Autographing area)

David Levithan - 4pm (Autographing area)

Sooner or later as parents and gatekeepers we have to realize that we are the ones raising this generation up. And we have to give them the necessary tools so they can go into every kind of situation with some kind of clue. Ignorance is not the answer. Ignorance is never the answer. I think one of the really good things about young people is this: if you want to know something, you’re going find out about it. You are the information generation. You are fearless.

Rita Williams-Garcia


Ask! Authors! Anything! Ep. 3

AO Scott Would Like Another Harvey Wallbanger, Please

In “Death of Adulthood in American Culture" , critic AO Scott not only links the end of Mad Men with the death of patriarchy – WHEW, THANK GOD THAT’S OVER – but also with the death of grown ups: ”This slow unwinding has been the work of generations. For the most part, it has been understood — rightly in my view, and this is not really an argument I want to have right now — as a narrative of progress. A society that was exclusive and repressive is now freer and more open. But there may be other less unequivocally happy consequences. It seems that, in doing away with patriarchal authority, we have also, perhaps unwittingly, killed off all the grown-ups.“  

He goes on to say some deeply, unintentionally hilarious stuff such ”We Americans have never been all that comfortable with patriarchy in the strict sense of the word,“ which will be news to the women living (and dying) under its strictures for years/decades/centuries.  But what gets me isn’t this misreading of current cultural attitudes. It isn’t even the all-too-familiar whining over YA lit and superhero movies, the cherry-picking of popular books and films to support his idea that Hollywood promotes ”an essentially juvenile vision of the world" or the acknowledgment of one’s own crankiness and snobbery while indulging in said crankiness and snobbery.  What gets me is his idea that the ascendence of feminism in pop culture (in the form of Beyonce and others) and the centering of women’s friendships/lives in a few TV shows, books and movies is a sign of arrested development rather than progress: "Why should boys be the only ones with the right to revolt? Not that the new girls are exactly Thelma and Louise. Just as the men passed through the stage of sincere rebellion to arrive at a stage of infantile refusal, so, too, have the women progressed by means of regression.“  Is this man seriously telling me that Beyonce — entrepreneur, entertainer, mother, a woman who integrated novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ideas about feminism and sexuality into her music — isn’t a grown up?  That YA writers Maureen Johnson, Libba Bray, Rita Williams-Garcia, Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, Nnedi Okorafor, Malindo Lo, Brandy Colbert, Kekla Magoon, Cindy Pon, Ellen Oh and countless others aren’t adults fighting the good fight with their writing (and their work outside of it?)  That a fascination with the girls of "Girls” precludes a fascination with the girls of “Wadjda” or “Winter’s Bone,” or the women of “Homeland” or “The Good Wife”? 

The implication that our art, our characters, our stories, represent nothing but a certain adolescent pleasure in bucking the system, that only white men can be truly serious in their subversion, is as laughable as it is enraging.  Scott writes: “The founding brothers in Philadelphia cut loose a king; Huck Finn exposed the dehumanizing lies of American slavery; Lenny Bruce battled censorship. When Marlon Brando’s Wild One was asked what he was rebelling against, his thrilling, nihilistic response was ‘Whaddaya got?’ The modern equivalent would be ’…’”  


Dot, dot, dot. As in “Who cares?” or “Who knows?”

But I’d say the modern equivalent is, oh, rampant sexism, maybe? The continuing scourge of racism? A thousand other isms?  

Only a man who claims that patriarchy is dead could imagine that our work here is done. 

Ask! Authors! Anything! Ep. 3: Rita Williams-Garcia

Monday, May 19th at 2PM EST

We’ll discuss why #weneeddiversebooks and so much more. (Note: This Q&A was scheduled waaaaaay ahead of the hashtag.)