Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Young Adult

For round three, we’re focusing on inclusive books for young adults to help you keep reading more representationally, and of course, to spread some holiday gift ideas!

  1. America: the Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera
    • “Critically acclaimed young-adult novelist Gabby Rivera and all-star artist Joe Quinones unite to shine a solo spotlight on America’s high-octane and hard-hitting adventures! She was a Young Avenger. She leads the Ultimates. And now she officially claims her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the entire Marvel Universe! But what’s a super-powered teenager to do when she’s looking for a little personal fulfillment? She goes to college! America just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first and shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits before work can begin. Then she can get on with her first assignment: a field trip to the front lines of World War II – with Captain America as her wingman!”–Publisher’s description.
  2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • “Nimona, a young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, set out to prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his friends are not the heroes everyone thinks they are, but Lord Blackheart soon realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past, and her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.”
  3. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
    • Parable of the Sower is a dystopian novel by Octavia Butler. As the US society crumbles, Lauren, a hyperempath who experiences the pain and pleasures the people around her are feeling, prepares herself for the inevitable collapse of civilization. Lauren is forced to hide who she is from everyone around her who may use her hyperempathy to hurt her. As she fights to survive, she works to learn who she can trust, what scarce resources still exist that will help her survive, and what she really believes about God and the nature of life.
  4. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    • “Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.”
  5. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
    • “This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It’s a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family’s Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter’s complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned ‘fun home, ‘ as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.” –From publisher description
  6. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
    • “A dramatic retelling of the Stonewall riots of 1969, introducing teen readers to the decades-long struggle for gay rights”– Provided by publisher
  7. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
    • “Teenaged Quinn, an aspiring screenwriter, copes with his sister’s death while his best friend forces him back out into the world to face his reality”– Provided by publisher.
  8. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
    • “Caught between the pressure to succeed in America, her duty to their family, and her own personal desires, Kimberly Chang, an immigrant girl from Hong Kong, learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.”
  9. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
    • “There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don’t cry ; Don’t snitch ; Get revenge. Will takes his dead brother Shawn’s gun, and gets in the elevator on the 7th floor. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to Shawn gets on. Someone already dead. Dead by teenage gun violence. And each has something to share with Will.”
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    • “After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.”
  11. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
    • “Noah’s path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at the time such a union was punishable by five years in prison. As he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist, his mother is determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. With an incisive wit and unflinching honesty, Noah weaves together a moving yet funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time.”
  12. To All the Boys I Have Loved Before by Jenny Han
    • Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent”– Provided by publisher.
  13. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
    • “My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black — black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”
  14. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    • “Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.”
  15. My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diane Guerrero
    • “The star of Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, Diane Guerrero presents her personal story in this middle grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children”– Provided by publisher.
  16. I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez
    • “Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.”
  17. Drag Teen: a Tale of Angst and Wigs by Jeffery Self
    • “JT is a gay high school senior determined to get out of Clearwater, Florida, and be the first person in his family to go to college, even though he cannot figure out how to pay for it–until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition where the first prize is a college scholarship.”
  18. The Afterlife by Gary Soto
    • “A senior at East Fresno High School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder in the restroom of a club where he had gone to dance.”
  19. Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden
    • “When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they set out on Sherman’s long march through Georgia during the Civil War. Mariah wants to believe that the brutalities of slavery are behind them forever and that freedom lies ahead. When she meets Caleb, an enigmatic young black man also on the march, Mariah soon finds herself dreaming not only of a new life, but of true love as well. But even hope comes at a cost, and as the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah’s dreams are as vulnerable as ever.”
  20. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
    • “After enduring his father’s suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.”

Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Middle Grade

Back for a second round of inclusive books. Here are a few middle grade books to get started reading more representationally. As the holidays get closer, these may also make excellent gifts for people in your life!

  1. Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill
    • When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what happily ever after really means and how they can find it with each other.
  2. The House You Pass On the Way by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Staggerlee used to be Evangeline but she took on a fiercer name. She’s always been different–set apart by the tragic deaths of her grandparents in an anti-civil rights bombing, by her parents’ interracial marriage, and by her family’s retreat from the world. This summer she has a new reason to feel set apart–her confused longing for her friend, Hazel. When cousin Trout comes to stay, she gives Staggerlee a first glimpse of her possible future selves and the world beyond childhood.
  3. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano
    • Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl’s resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions
  4. George by Alex Gino
    • When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all
  5. Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass by Lilah Sturges
    • When the Janes start to become separated during an orienteering outing thanks to a mysterious compass, Molly becomes more and more insecure about the effect of her relationship with Mal on the other girls. Meanwhile, a lonely woman explorer is trying to steal the compass, with the help of some weirdly polite automaton butlers.
  6. A Step from Heaven by An Na
    • A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.
  7. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.
  8. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
    • Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.
  9. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
    • When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.
  10. Being Jazz: my life as a (transgender) teen by Jazz Jennings
    • Teen activist and trailblazer Jazz Jennings–named one of “The 25 most influential teens” of the year by Time–shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.
  11. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    • When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
  12.  Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
    • A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school. After her local mosque is vandalized, she is devastated. Her friend Soojin is talking about changing her name. Does Amina need to become more “American” and hide who she really is?
  13. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
    • Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she finds a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.
  14. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
    • Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.
  15. March by John Lewis
    • March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
  16. Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
    • As a student at Brooklyn Visions Academy, Miles Morales knows he’s lucky. Not all kids get this opportunity, especially not kids from his neighborhood. With his quirky best friend Ganke, this school year is gonna be a blast. Right? Wrong. Miles has a secret. He’s actually Spider-Man. Well not THE Spider-Man but A Spider-Man. Pretty much the only Spider-Man in town now that Peter Parker is gone.
  17. El Deafo by Cece Bell
    • The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”
  18. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
    • Catrina and her family move to Bahía de la Luna, a small town on the Northern California coast, hoping that the cool, salty air will help her little sister, Maya, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Cat is not happy about leaving her friends, and becomes even more upset about the move when a neighbor informs the sisters that the town is inhabited by ghosts, and that Dia de los Muertos– a time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones– is coming up and is celebrated by the entire town.
  19. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
    • In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
  20. Legend by Marie Lu
    • In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-old Day–a famous criminal, and prodigy June–the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Children

Wanting to add a little more inclusivity into your reading habits? Here are a few books to get started. This list is focused on children’s books, but check back for more lists in the future!

  1. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
    • Red’s factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.
  2. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
  3. Islandborn by Junot Diaz
    • Lola was just a baby when her family left the Island, so when she has to draw it for a school assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors about their memories of her homeland … and in the process, comes up with a new way of understanding her own heritage
    • Or check out the Spanish version.
  4. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
    • From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way.
  5. My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
    • Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He’s good at so many things — swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriet. But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. Charlie is like any other boy — and he has autism.
  6. Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman
    • A baby enjoys a number of fun activities with her two mothers.
  7.  And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    • At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
  8. Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe
    • Big Bob likes trucks and throwing balls and being loud. Little Bob likes dolls and jingling bracelets and being quiet. No matter what they do, they do not do it the same way. Can they possibly be friends despite these differences?
  9. Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton
    • Errol’s best friend and teddy, Thomas, is sad because he wishes he were a girl, not a boy teddy, but what only matters to both of them is that they are friends.
  10. That’s What Friends Do by Kathryn Cave
    • Two fantastical creatures celebrate their friendship.
  11. I’m a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail
    • A rough and tumble little girl loves being herself, although she is often mistaken for a boy.
  12. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
    • A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.
  13. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
    • Jerome enjoys collecting and using words that he hears, reads, or sees, and then decides to share his collection with others.
  14. Alfie by Thyra Heder
    • Told from the perspective of both the girl, Nia, and her pet turtle, Alfie, and describes what happens when he disappears on the eve of her seventh birthday to find her a special present.
  15. Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
    • Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina’s fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.
  16. Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong
    • Children discover a world of colors all around them. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, but all are universal in appeal.
  17. The Water Princess by Susan Verde
    • With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.
  18. Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
    • When all her older siblings are away, Cora’s mother finally lets her help make pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Includes a recipe for pancit.
  19. Lovely by Jess Hong
    • Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!
  20. F is for Fiesta by Susan Middleton Elya
    • A rhyming book that outlines the preparations for and celebration of a young boy’s birthday, with Spanish words for each letter of the alphabet translated in a glossary.

connecting diversity work and library work

Culturally competent library services and related factors among health sciences librarians: an exploratory study



Objective: This study investigated the current state of health sciences libraries’ provision of culturally competent services to support health professions education and patient care and examined factors associated with cultural competency in relation to library services and professional development.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Data were collected with a survey questionnaire that was distributed via SurveyMonkey to several health sciences librarian email discussion lists.

Results: Out of 176 respondents, 163 reported serving clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Various services were provided to develop or support initiatives in cultural competency in health professions education and patient care. A considerable number of respondents were unsure or reported no library services to support initiatives in cultural competency, although a majority of respondents perceived the importance of providing culturally competent library services (156, 89.1%) and cultural competency for health sciences librarians (162, 93.1%). Those who self-identified as nonwhites perceived culturally competent services to be more important than whites (p=0.04). Those who spoke another language in addition to English had higher self-rated cultural competency (p=0.01) than those who only spoke English.

Conclusions: These findings contribute to our knowledge of the types of library services provided to support cultural competency initiatives and of health sciences librarians’ perceived importance in providing culturally competent library services and cultural competency for health sciences librarians. The results suggest implications for health sciences libraries in fostering professional development in cultural competency and in providing culturally competent services to increase library use by people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.


Cultural Competency; Health Sciences Librarians; Health Professions Education; Libraries; Library Services; Patient Care; Professional Development

Hijabi Librarians: How and Why We Started this Site and Why We Chose Our Name

“The Muslim librarians on this blog aim to take a look at Muslims in literature in today’s world. We seek to give voice to Muslim Literature through the lens of OUR expertise as professionals and to give OUR opinions as Muslim Americans. As Muslim Librarians we’ve noticed that while there is a growing number of books with Muslim protagonists being published, there are a lack of review sites dedicated to librarians and teachers penned by Muslim professionals in the literature community. We aim to recognize, celebrate and honor the books and authors that get it right.”

Selected readings

Berry, J. D. (2004). White Privilege in Library Land. [Article]. Library Journal, 129(11), 50-50.

Bonnet, J. L., & McAlexander, B. (2012). Structural Diversity in Academic Libraries: A Study of Librarian Approachability. [Article]. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(5), 277-286. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2012.06.002

Ettarh, F. (2014). Making a new table: intersectional librarianship. Retrieved from In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Montague, R.-A. (2013). Advancing cultural competency in library and information science. Paper presented at IFLA WLIC: Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities, Singapore, 2013.