5 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

7 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

I’m thrilled to be judging first round Easy Readers and Early Chapter books for the Cybils! I’m joined by Katie Fitzgerald of Story Time Secrets, Jennifer Wharton of Library Thing and Jean Little Library, Juliana Lee of Juliana Lee: Crafting Stories, Susan Murray of From Tots to Teens.Cybils 2015

The Easy Reader genre was my biggest challenge to find diversity, multicultural and inclusive books for kids when I searched for ten great ones. I literally sat in my public library and read an entire wall of them to create Top 10 Best Multicultural Easy Readers. This year there were 3o Easy Readers nominated for the Cybils and these 5 have diversity themes and characters.

Do you have any favorite diversity Easy Readers? Please share!

7 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler

Mo Jackson loves football and he just so happens to be African-American. He’s the smallest one on his football team but that’s because he’s also the youngest. Coach Steve keeps him mostly on the bench with him but he’s training Mo to be their secret weapon. Mo practices catching a buttered football. When a big play is needed, no one expects Mo to catch the ball, but he does! [Level 2 Easy Reader, ages 5 and up]

Ting and Ling: Twice as Silly by Grace Lin

I love this series and it just seems to get better and better. The short stories are original and funny. To me, this is a pitch perfect as the Little Bear series to entice newly independent readers into the joy of reading. Ting and Ling are back with adventures that are both silly, sweet, and creative. They treat each other like best friends and while they look very similar, they are actually quite different. In this Easy Reader, they explore the world around them wondering how high they can swing and if they can get cupcakes to grow. Each story is a standalone gem, but the stories also tie up into a satisfying whole. [Level 3 Easy Reader, ages 5 and up]

National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jaznyka
I am really impressed with the National Geographic Kids Easy Readers series in general, but this one on Rosa Parks in particular. It dispels commonly held beliefs about Rosa Park and is full of interesting details that most kids would not know like Rosa Parks was part Native American. It should be in every classroom library, especially in 4th grade where kids learn about the Civil Rights Movement. The format of the book also prepares kids for standardized testing because there are captions under the photos with unique information. [Level 2 Easy Reader, ages 6 and up]

Katie Fry Private Eye: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox, illustrated by Brantley Newton
A reader asked me for a mystery with a character of color and I had to wrack my brain and I could only come up with one chapter book. There aren’t enough diversity Easy Readers and I like how this one is a mystery with a strong girl character of color. The cat’s voice adds a note of humor to the otherwise straightforward dialogue. I like how this Easy Reader had a wide appeal; it would appeal not just to girls of color but to girls and boys of any stripe. [Level 2 Easy Reader, ages 5 and up]

Sophia Martinez: Picture Perfect by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kim Smith
This is the kind of diversity book that I want to see more of! I like the Spanish words sprinkled throughout the book with a glossary in the back for those who need a translation. Sophia’s desire to stand out alongside her two sisters is pitch perfect for this age group. Her family is portrayed as any other middle class American family who just so happens to be Hispanic American though there is a strong sense of family which ties back subtly to Latino culture. This is a great way to introduce Spanish to fans of Dora the Explorer and Go! Diego Go! Written in three chapters, this is also a very Easy Chapter Book. [Easy Reader, ages 5 and up]

Colors On Our Papers/Rangi On Papers yetu by Mary Birdsell and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier

See what colors kindergarteners in Tanzania are learning and learn the colors and some animals in Swahili using this bilingual easy reader. [bilingual Swahili easy reader, ages 6 and up]

Fronts for Our Backs/ Pande Kwa Mingongo yetu by by Mary Birdsell and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier

Guess the back that matches the front of an animal in this bilingual Swahali easy reader. The photographs were taken at Serengeti National Park and the book also includes an intereting factoid about each animal. [bilingual Swahili easy reader, ages 6 and up]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

5 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Mrs. V

    Gianna, in GIANNA THE GREAT, is the daughter of a multiracial background and struggles to find out about her family. When asking the question, “Where do I belong?” what she finds out amazes her and makes her feel very special indeed.

  2. That Rosa Parks book is great! I need to look for the others.
    maryanne recently posted…Teaching Kids About The Human BodyMy Profile

    • Hi MaryAnne,
      The Rosa Parks books make the Cybils short list! We all really liked it but there was controversy about the photo … where did she actually sit? On what side of the bus? What kind of seat? I think she probably sat in a seat behind rows of seats but that didn’t photograph very well because she’d be cut off except for her head, so she was photographed sitting in a long seat, against the side of the bus so you could see her entire body. But … I’m not totally sure.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…96 Million Impressions for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016!My Profile

  3. I loved the diversity in the group of books you selected for early readers this year. As a second round judge it was a pleasure to see so many ethnicities represented!

    • Hi Freya,

      It was weird how the diversity picks for Easy Readers just happened to make the short list. The only one I championed to get on was David Adler’s Don’t Throw It To Mo. Most of the judges on my round were not sporty so they didn’t really understand or like the plot in terms of seeing the humor in it. I loved the winners you picked!!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Win Nintendo Yo-kai Watch Game #YOKAIWATCHMy Profile

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