★ FIVE ON Welcoming: Good reads to bridge cultures (Juvenile and YA titles)


To mark Roanoke Welcoming Week (Sept. 14-23), Roanoke Public Libraries Director Sheila Umberger and Stephanie Holladay, executive director of Blue Ridge Literacy, are sharing reading lists with us for the FIVE ON series.

A national effort, Welcoming Week here in Roanoke brings together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to promote the benefits of welcoming everyone in our community. (If you missed it, be sure to check out Friday’s post with more information on the effort and on the strong and growing partnership between Roanoke Public Libraries and Blue Ridge Literacy. )

This FIVE ON edition focuses on the theme of welcoming, and it’s populated with Juvenile and Young Adult titles. These could be great books for reading along with a young person and starting conversations in your home or community.  (Note there are actually seven titles. But remember, we have two recommenders, and lot of good books to choose from!)

FIVE ON Welcoming – Juvenile/YA

97803758512301.   Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
(Fiction, Ages 8-12/Teens)
This Pura Belpré Award-winning book explores the experiences of a Mexican girl living in the United States and the Vermont native whose family employs hers.


97803162478252.   The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
(Fiction, Ages 8-12)
This beautifully illustrated novel depicts a Sudanese girl who tries to hold onto her dreams while her family is forced to move to a refugee camp.


3.   Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
(Picture, Ages 0-7)
9780152060305Fox’s picture book uses calming imagery and repetitive language to remind children and their families that all people are the same at our cores. This title is also available in Spanish at the Williamson Road Library.


97800619627904.  Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai
(Fiction, Ages 8-12)
First published in 2013, Inside Out and Back Again won the National Book Award and Newbery Honors for its compassionate portrayal of a girl’s migration from Vietnam to the United States. This novel in verse was inspired by the author’s personal experiences.


97814197276105.   Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland (Nonfiction, Teens)
Subtitled The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea, Lee’s book carries readers through his arduous childhood in North Korea and his eventual escape from it.


6.   All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
(Picture, Ages 0-7)
9780525579649Published in July 2018, Penfold and Kaufman’s book celebrates the diversity found in a public school. It tells children that school is a safe space and that “we’re part of a community./ Our strength is our diversity./ A shelter from adversity./ All are welcome here.”


7.  The Journey by Francesca Sanna
(Picture, Ages 6-10)
I9781909263994nspired by the author’s own work with refugees, The Journey takes readers on a family’s odyssey from peace into their country’s political conflict and on the long journey to find a new home.

Tomorrow: FIVE ON Welcoming Part II – Adult titles) ★

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