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Identity: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about identity?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to identity. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about identity.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about identity, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Amazing Grace to popular sellers like The Lightning Thief to some of our favorite hidden gems like We’re All Wonders.

We hope this list of kids books about identity can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Identity

Petra book
#1
Petra
Written & illustrated by Marianna Coppo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself. Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

We're All Wonders book
#2
We're All Wonders
Written & illustrated by R. J. Palacio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection

“A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

Alma and How She Got Her Name book
#3
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What’s in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from — and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

Amazing Grace book
#4
Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Caroline Binch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.

The Best Kind of Bear book
#5
The Best Kind of Bear
Written by Greg Gormley & illustrated by David Barrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When Nelly asks Bear what kind of bear he is, he isn’t entirely sure how to answer. So off he goes to find out. But none of the different bears he meets on his travels are like him. Grizzly bears don’t have stitching; polar bears don’t have tags attached to their bottoms; spectacled bears are not as soft and bouncy as Bear is; and sun bears never wear bow ties. Disheartened, he returns to Nelly . . . only to discover what kind of bear he is — her own special bear!

Not Quite Narwhal book
#6
Not Quite Narwhal
Written & illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Born deep in the ocean, Kelp is not like the other narwhals and one day, when he spies a creature on land that looks like him, he learns why.

Mixed Me! book
#7
Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.” Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Lost and Found book
#8
Lost and Found
Written by Andrew Clements & illustrated by Mark Elliott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

Clover Fields Fiasco book
#9
Clover Fields Fiasco
Written by Cari Meister & illustrated by Stephen Park Gilpin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Princess is a show pony who is absolutely convinced that she is a cat and needs to hunt for her dinner, Blizzard (otherwise known as Snowy) is a Shetland pony who needs material for the book he is writing, and Sebastian is a draft horse who knows how to break out of the barn; so together the Tres Caballos Incognito set out for the clover fields looking for adventure—where Princess chases a squirrel and gets stuck in a tree.

Are You a Cow? book
#10
Are You a Cow?
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Are you a COW? Are you a DOG? Are you a DUCK? Are you a FROG?

A clever chicken narrates a playful inquiry in this charming and hilarious story perfect for Boynton fans new and old. As readers answer the chicken’s questions, they’ll gain animal recognition skills as well as an important understanding: No matter who we are, it’s great to just be ourselves.

From the author and illustrator of such bestselling classics as Moo, Baa, La La La! and A to Z, this cheerful, witty board book is sure to delight children and parents alike with Sandra Boynton’s trademark sense of humor.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Identity and...

Books About Identity and Self-esteem And Self-reliance

Petra
Written & illustrated by Marianna Coppo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself. Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What’s in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from — and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Caroline Binch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Shape is Sam - Circles were smooth and round. Good at rolling, spinning, and pushing. They all turned together to make things go. Squares were sturdy and even. Good at stacking, steadying, and measuring. They all fit together to make things stay. In a world where everybody is a shape and every shape has a specific job, Sam is a square who longs for softer corners, rounder edges, and the ability to roll like a circle. But everyone knows that squares don’t roll, they stack. At least that’s what everyone thinks until the day Sam takes a tumble and discovers something wonderful. He doesn’t have to be what others want or expect him to be. With playful imagery, this story considers identity and nonconformity through the eyes of Sam, a square struggling to find his true place in the world.

  2. I Like Myself! - High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here’s a little girl who knows what really matters.

  3. This Is Me - From the #1 New York Times bestselling creative team of Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell comes a timely picture book about immigration. Raising important identity issues like “Where did we come from?” and “Who are we?” This Is Me is as delightful as it is important, sure to stimulate dinner table conversation. In This Is Me a teacher tells her class about her great-grandmother’s dislocating journey from home to a new country with nothing but a small suitcase to bring along. And she asks: What would you pack? What are the things you love best? What says “This is me!” With its lively, rhyming language and endearing illustrations, it’s a book to read again and again, imagining the lives of the different characters, finding new details in the art, thinking about what it would be like to move someplace completely different. It’s an interactive book, too: Tucked into the back cover is a sturdy pop-up suitcase. And as a younger reader fills the suitcase, he or she learns a lot about what really matters: Now YOU take this case/ and imagine it’s true,/ that you’re leaving and needing/ to choose what says YOU.

  4. If I Were You - Be careful what you wish for. A refreshing twist on the Freaky Friday set-up, If I Were You by Leslie Margolis is a fun, touching middle-grade story about friendship, family, and overcoming jealousy. Katie is jealous of her best friend, Melody. Turns out that Melody is jealous of Katie, too. It’s the end of what was supposed to be the best summer of their lives, before they start middle school, and the girls aren’t on speaking turns. They’ve had a big fight over-what else?-a boy. When the two girls wish for the exact same thing at the same moment-to redo the summer as each other-their wishes are granted. But, as the girls will learn, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Books About Identity and Feelings And Emotions

We're All Wonders
Written & illustrated by R. J. Palacio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection

“A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.” Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Eraser
Written by Anna Kang & illustrated by Christopher Weyant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself.

Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Place for Pluto - Shocked to be stripped of his planet status, Pluto goes on a quest to find his place in the universe. Includes educational materials.

  2. I Love My Hair! - A modern classic, this whimsical story has been celebrating the beauty of African-American hair for 20 years!
    In this imaginative, evocative story, a girl named Keyana discovers the beauty and magic of her special hair, encouraging black children to be proud of their heritage and enhancing self-confidence.
    I Love My Hair! has been a staple in African-American picture books for 20 years, and now has a fresh, updated cover that shines on the shelves!

  3. Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems - Hear thunder crash, feel your toes touch sand, and watch leaves drift softly away on a quiet stream. The simple poems in Breathe and Be help children learn mindfulness as they connect to the beauty of the natural world. Mindfulness teaches us how to stay calm, soothe our emotions, and appreciate the world around us. Whether we’re watching tiny colored fish darting in the water or exploring the leaves, branches, and roots of a towering tree, the thoughtful words and the lovely art of Breathe and Be remind us how much joy we can find by simply living with awareness and inner peace.

  4. Thunder Boy Jr. - From New York Times bestselling author Sherman Alexie and Caldecott Honor winning Yuyi Morales comes a striking and beautifully illustrated picture book celebrating the special relationship between father and son. Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name…one that’s all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn’t want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name…Lightning! Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky.

Books About Identity and Self-discovery

The Best Kind of Bear
Written by Greg Gormley & illustrated by David Barrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When Nelly asks Bear what kind of bear he is, he isn’t entirely sure how to answer. So off he goes to find out. But none of the different bears he meets on his travels are like him. Grizzly bears don’t have stitching; polar bears don’t have tags attached to their bottoms; spectacled bears are not as soft and bouncy as Bear is; and sun bears never wear bow ties. Disheartened, he returns to Nelly . . . only to discover what kind of bear he is — her own special bear!

Not Quite Narwhal
Written & illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Born deep in the ocean, Kelp is not like the other narwhals and one day, when he spies a creature on land that looks like him, he learns why.

Where Oliver Fits
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs.

Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn’t always the best fit.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Maybe: A Story About the Endless Potential in All of Us - “You are the only you there ever has been or ever will be. You are unique in all the universe. Just the odds of you being here at this exact place and this exact time are so great and so rare that it will never happen again. Written by New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada, this is a story for everything you will do and everything you can be. It’s a story about all the possibilities ahead of you. It’s for who you are right now and it’s for all the magical, unbounded potential you hold inside. With its beautiful visual storytelling and timeless message, Maybe is an inspiring story for kids of all ages. “

  2. Keeper of the Lost Cities - At age 12, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always made her different from others actually identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, she discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.

  3. Princess Angelica, Camp Catastrophe - Angelica isn’t a liar. She just loves making up stories. When she goes to sleepaway camp and is mistaken for a princess, she could easily clear up the misunderstanding… but pretending to be royalty is way more fun! When her best friend from home surprises her at camp, Angelica is forced to fess up. Luckily, she also has a talent for repairing things, and when disaster strikes on the girls’ kayaking trip, Jelly has to repair more than just her newfound friendships.

  4. Blended - Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

Books About Identity and Imagination And Play

Are You a Cow?
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Are you a COW? Are you a DOG? Are you a DUCK? Are you a FROG?

A clever chicken narrates a playful inquiry in this charming and hilarious story perfect for Boynton fans new and old. As readers answer the chicken’s questions, they’ll gain animal recognition skills as well as an important understanding: No matter who we are, it’s great to just be ourselves.

From the author and illustrator of such bestselling classics as Moo, Baa, La La La! and A to Z, this cheerful, witty board book is sure to delight children and parents alike with Sandra Boynton’s trademark sense of humor.

They All Saw a Cat
Written & illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

They All Saw A Cat — New York Times bestseller and 2017 Caldecott Medal and Honor Book The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see? If you and your child liked The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Finding Winnie, and Radiant Child — you’ll love They All Saw A Cat “An ingenious idea, gorgeously realized.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review “Both simple and ingenious in concept, Wenzel’s book feels like a game changer.” —The Huffington Post

Isabella: Girl in Charge
Written by Jennifer Fosberry & illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Plucky, purple-haired Isabella, star of the New York Times bestselling picture book series, is back for another adventure! Just how high can a little girl dream? A big event has Isabella ready to leave home at the crack of dawn. But that’s a motion her parents are not likely to pass. After a two-to-one vote, it’s decided that some things need to happen before Isabellacan leave the house-like eating breakfast and brushing her teeth! If her house is going to work like a democracy, Isabella knows what she has to do; call an assembly and campaign her way out the door! Taking inspiration from the women who trail blazed their way onto the political map of America, Isabella celebrates the women who were first to hold their offices. And if Isabella can get her parents out the door, she might just witness the first woman voted into the highest position of all…

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bear Who Wasn't There - A magical, lyrical picture book debut from acclaimed composer and playwright Oren Lavie, illustrated by beloved German illustrator Wolf Erlbruch. One day, a few minutes after Once Upon a Time, a bear awakes to find he has lost something very important: himself! He sets out into the Fabulous Forest to find himself, using only a few clues scrawled on a piece of paper: the bear he’s looking for is a nice bear; he is a happy bear; and he’s very handsome too! These sound like pretty good qualities to Bear, and so begins his memorable journey. With the help of Fabulous Forest critters like the Convenience Cow, the Lazy Lizard, and the Penultimate Penguin, Bear finds that he himself is just what he’s been looking for all along: a nice, happy bear—and handsome too! As whimsical as Winnie-the-Pooh and as wryly comic as Klassen’s bear who wants his hat back, The Bear Who Wasn’t There joins a select crew of unusual bears who have captured the imagination of children for generations. Wolf Erlbruch is one of Germany’s most renowned illustrators; his work is respected and loved around the world. Among his many awards, Erlbruch received both the Gutenberg and the German Children’s Literature Award, as well as a Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award. His previous book, Duck, Death and the Tulip, sold more than 100,000 copies and was published in nineteen countries. Oren Lavie is a composer, musician, and playwright. His debut album, The Opposite Side of the Sea, was released worldwide to critical acclaim. The music video for “Her Morning Elegance” was nominated for a Grammy and became a YouTube hit with over twenty-five million views. Lavie’s song “A Dance ‘Round the Memory Tree” was featured in Disney’s film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. He currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

  2. My Name Is Not Alexander - Just How Big Can a Little kid Dream? Who is your hero? Alexander takes a rip-roaring historical adventure! Through his imaginative journey, Alexander discovers how great men become heroes: the roughest rider can be surprisingly gentle, a strong leader is also the most peaceful, and sometimes, being brave about what makes you different will not only help you break records, but inspire others. Join Alexander as he learns how these remarkable men changed the world and encouraged him to find the hero within himself!

  3. In My Room - In her room, one little girl can be anything she wants to be and go anywhere she wishes to go, all with the power of her imagination (and paper, markers, and crayons, of course!). She can go on safari or sail the seven seas. She can be a doctor, teacher, or high-powered businesswoman. The sky’s the limit! And when the day is over, she can become a little girl again, safe in her room. Like the classic Where the Wild Things Are, this latest addition to the Growing Hearts series celebrates imagination as a means to try on different identities and work through difficult emotions, all while having fun.

Books About Identity and Action And Adventure

Clover Fields Fiasco
Written by Cari Meister & illustrated by Stephen Park Gilpin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Princess is a show pony who is absolutely convinced that she is a cat and needs to hunt for her dinner, Blizzard (otherwise known as Snowy) is a Shetland pony who needs material for the book he is writing, and Sebastian is a draft horse who knows how to break out of the barn; so together the Tres Caballos Incognito set out for the clover fields looking for adventure—where Princess chases a squirrel and gets stuck in a tree.

Nightfall
Written by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A New York Times bestselling series A USA TODAY bestselling series A California Young Reader Medal–winning series

Sophie and her friends face battles unlike anything they’ve seen before in this thrilling sixth book of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is struggling. Grieving. Scrambling. But she knows one thing: she will not be defeated.

The Neverseen have had their victories—but the battle is far from over. It’s time to change tactics. Make sacrifices. Reexamine everything. Maybe even time for Sophie to trust her enemies.

All paths lead to Nightfall—an ominous door to an even more ominous place—and Sophie and her friends strike a dangerous bargain to get there. But nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The problems they’re facing stretch deep into their history. And with time running out, and mistakes catching up with them, Sophie and her allies must join forces in ways they never have before.

In this spectacular sixth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must uncover the truth about the Lost Cities’ insidious past, before it repeats itself and changes reality.

Everblaze
Written & illustrated by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sophie uncovers shocking secrets—and faces treacherous new enemies—in this electrifying third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is ready to fight back. Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes. In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Come All You Little Persons - From above earth, from above sky, from below earth, from under water, come all you little persons come exactly as you are. Come little bird person, come little bee person, come little tree person - little persons from all over the world join together to celebrate the dance of life and love in this stunning poem from John Agard. Stunningly illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, this is a book that both little persons and big persons will treasure and pore over for a lifetime, and is a true poem of our time.

  2. The Lightning Thief - Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

  3. Wormwood Mire - This spine-tingling sequel to Withering-by-Sea sees Stella sent away to the moldering old family estate, where she discovers two odd cousins—and a mystery. Eleven-year-old Stella Montgomery has always wondered about her family. What happened to her mother? And could she have a long-lost sister somewhere? Stella’s awful Aunts refuse to tell her anything, and now they have sent her away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess. But dark secrets slither and skulk within overgrown grounds of the house, and Stella must be brave if she’s to find out who—or what—she really is…

  4. The Alarming Career of Sir Richard Blackstone - Twelve-year-old Henry Hewitt has been living by his wits on the streets of London, dodging his parents, who are determined to sell him as an apprentice. Searching for a way out of the city, Henry lands a position in Hampshire as an assistant to Sir Richard Blackstone, an aristocratic scientist who performs unorthodox experiments in his country manor. The manor house is comfortable, and the cook is delighted to feed Henry as much as he can eat. Sir Richard is also kind, and Henry knows he has finally found a place where he belongs. But everything changes when one of Sir Richard’s experiments accidentally transforms a normal-sized tarantula into a colossal beast that escapes and roams the neighborhood. After a man goes missing and Sir Richard is accused of witchcraft, it is left to young Henry to find an antidote for the oversized arachnid. Things are not as they seem, and in saving Sir Richard from the gallows, Henry also unravels a mystery about his own identity.

Books About Identity and Family

When I Grow Up
Written & illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What is your family like? All of the children in Miss Ester’s class know what they want to be like when they grow up: their families! And each family is special and unique. Readers will be surprised and delighted to find that Johnny the duckling’s mom and dad have curly tails, stubby noses, and hooves.

Johnny and his classmates make it easy for parents to show their little ones that there are many types of families, and they’re all made of love. Paula Vásquez’s fun illustrations and sweet writing style make this unique family story a must-have.

Where Are You From?
Written by Yamile Saied Méndez & illustrated by Jaime Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo. When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one. Where am I from? You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep…. With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong.

For Black Girls Like Me
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark. Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena- the only other adopted black girl she knows- for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one true friend. Through it all, Makeda can’t help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me? Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Length of a String - Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way. Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother–Imani’s great-grandma Anna–passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.

  2. Over the Moon - This sweet-natured bedtime book proves that a family is wherever you find love. When two wolves see a baby floating down a river, what do they do? Why, they take the baby home. Over the moon with joy, they nourish and teach her. And when that baby grows into a child, she and the wolves know that she will be ready to make her way in the world. Because when a child is loved, she has everything she needs. • A classic fairy-tale premise told with warmth and an inclusive sensibility for all types of families to enjoy • A touching read-aloud books for families, caregivers, and classroom storytime • James Proimos has written and/or illustrated over 20 critically lauded children’s books. This gently humorous story shows that families come in many forms, and that love is about both holding on and letting go. Fans of Finn’s Feather, Wild, and Wolfie the Bunnie will find Over the Moon a delightful tale for all ages.

  3. Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me - Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake and Me Everyone in Eleanor’s family thinks they have the perfect nickname for her. Nana thinks “Eleanor” is boring and insists on calling her “Elle,” her perfect “mademoiselle.” Papa wants to call her “Punch,” his favorite “crunch.” Dad insists on naming her “Eleanora, the movie star with so much mora.” Even Mom gets into the act, shortening her name until it’s just one letter—E! Finally, Eleanor realizes that the only person who can come up with the perfect nickname is the one who is going to use it—herself! This endearing story, told in clever and humorous rhyme, offer a unique insight into how one spunky kid relies on her sense of self to solve her problem. A clever story about identity and the power of names, as told by Eleanor, out spunkiest heroine.

  4. Lone Wolf -

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Books About Identity and Being Yourself

Replay
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Leo’s papa stood in the doorway, gazing down at him. “Leo, you make gold from pebbles,” and the way he said it, Leo could tell that this was a good thing. He may have been given a bit part in the school play … but Leo dreams he is the biggest star on Broadway. Sure, his big, noisy family makes him feel like a sardine squashed in a tin … but in his fantasy he gets all the attention he wants. Yes, his papa seems sad and distracted … but Leo imagines him as a boy, tap-dancing and singing with delight. That’s why they call Leo “fog boy.” He’s always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. He fantasizes about who he is in order to discover who he will become. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, Leo is eager to discover what part will be his.

My Name is Not Isabella
Written by Jennifer Fosberry & illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Isabella imagines she is a variety of prominent women throughout history, including Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, and Marie Curie.

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club
Written by Alex Bell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A precocious young girl is determined to prove herself as an explorer in the first novel in the whimsical Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series. Stella Starflake Pearl knows, without a doubt, that she was born to be an adventurer. It’s too bad girls are forbidden from becoming explorers. But Stella’s father has never been one to play by the rules. Leaving behind her pet polar bear, Gruff, and beloved unicorn, Magic, Stella and Felix set off on an expedition to the snowy Icelands. There, Stella plans to prove herself as a junior explorer, worthy of membership in the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. So when Stella and three other junior explorers are separated from the rest of their expedition, she has the perfect opportunity. Can they explore the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale? The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club is a fun and daring adventure filled with magic, outlaws, and fantastic faraway lands.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Of Course They Do! - Using sparse text and large, bright photographs, the book debunks commonly-held gender-myths. Misconceptions are stated matter-of-factly (Boys don’t cook.), but when the page is turned, each myth is proven false with playful language (Are you sure?) and a contradictory photo (a male professional chef). This jacketless book is perfect for young readers as well as read-alouds and will generate discussions about gender-based assumptions around play and work.

  2. Jack (Not Jackie) - In this heartwarming picture book, a big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn’t like dresses or fairies-she likes ties and bugs! Will she and her family be able to accept that Jackie identifies more as “Jack”? Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can’t wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn’t want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn’t like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack. Readers will love this sweet story about change and acceptance.

  3. Husky - Twelve-year-old Davis lives in an old brownstone with his mother and grandmother in Brooklyn. He loves people-watching in Prospect Park, visiting his mom in the bakery she owns, and listening to the biggest operas he can find as he walks everywhere. But Davis is having a difficult summer. As questions of sexuality begin to enter his mind, he worries people don’t see him as anything other than “husky.” To make matters worse, his best girlfriends are starting to hang out with mean girls and popular boys. Davis is equally concerned about the distance forming between him and his single mother as she begins dating again, and about his changing relationship with his amusingly loud Irish grandmother, Nanny. Ultimately, Davis learns to see himself outside of his one defining adjective. He’s a kid with unique interests, admirable qualities, and people who will love him no matter what changes life brings about.

Books About Identity and Friendship

Lost and Found
Written by Andrew Clements & illustrated by Mark Elliott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

Nooks & Crannies
Written by Jessica Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Eleven-year-old Tabitha Crum, whose parents were just about to abandon her, is invited to the country estate of a wealthy countess along with five other children and told that one of them will become her heir.

A Page in the Wind
Written by Jose Sanabria
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A whimsical and moving story about discovering your purpose by José Sanabria. The last little newspaper on a newsstand wonders what its life will be like until a gust of wind sends its individual pages flying. Each page travels to a different place and experiences a vastly different life—from being used to clean a mirror and line the cage of a pet to being formed into a boat by a child and sheltering a homeless person from the cold—until, at last, the final page finds it’s true calling. Sanabria’s expressive art and thoughtful story reflect many ways our lives can be touched.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Honeybees and Frenemies - Twelve-year-old Flor faces a bittersweet summer with a pageant, a frenemy, and a hive full of honey. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Flor is stuck at home and working at her family’s mattress store, while her best friend goes off to band camp (probably to make new friends). It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant. This means Flor has to spend the summer practicing her talent (recorder) and volunteering (helping a recluse bee-keeper) with Candice, her former friend who’s still bitter about losing the pageant crown to Flor when they were in second grade. And she can’t say no. Then there’s the possibility that Flor and her family are leaving to move in with her mom’s family in New Jersey. And with how much her mom and dad have been fighting lately, is it possible that her dad may not join them? Flor can’t let that happen. She has a lot of work to do.

  2. Krista Kim-Bap - Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

  3. Under the Bottle Bridge - In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart. In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her? Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward the long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

  4. The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil - Bea Garcia is looking for a new best friend, and she almost has one—the smartest girl in school, Judith Einstein. So when Einstein asks Bea to be her partner in the upcoming school geography contest, Bea is thrilled…at first. Schoolwork comes so easily to Einstein that Bea thinks the secret might be Einstein’s special pencil. But when Bea takes Einstein’s pencil home, it’s not quite what she expected.

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