by Kathryn Blumhardt and Marlys Pennertz
“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
— Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate
As Malala opined, books can change the world. More specifically, books can take readers to places that they have never been and give writers a platform to describe the world through their eyes. This important form of communication serves to build connection and understanding that crosses religious, cultural, and geographical barriers.
Check out some of the books below to travel to a new place or learn about the world from a different perspective! All of the books listed are available from Great River Regional Library.
Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Pen-pals, one from America and one from India, find out how much they have in common.
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Differences between people are celebrated in this children’s book.
All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
The story of a school where everyone is accepted.
Lovely by Jess Hong
Everyone is lovely no matter what their physical characteristics.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
When new classmates suggest names to replace Unhei’s difficult to pronounce Korean name, the importance of knowing who you are becomes clear.
Adult and Young Adult Books
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
This book, adapted from a children’s book, is told from the perspective of a neighborhood tree and emphasizes the importance of accepting those who are different.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr lives in two worlds—her poor neighborhood and the prep school that she attends. A tragedy could upset the balance she has created between these two worlds.
Stamped – Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds
A book written for middle and high school students that explores the roots and impact of racism, as well as the possibilities of an antiracist future.
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
A trio of young people do what they can to overcome their desperate living conditions in Guatamala.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Her mother’s suicide leads Leigh to Taiwan, where she meets her maternal grandparents and learns about her mother’s past.
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
This book chronicles two journeys, eight hundred years apart, across an identical path in the Middle East and North Africa.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
The story of an Indian-American family dealing with their changing relationships and cultural identities.
Cultural Connections is a regular guest column from JoeTown Cultural Bridges. If you have any questions about this column, contact Juliana Howard at 715-791-8976 or Jamal Elmi at 320-310-2351. Or, email email@example.com