MCCBD 2019 Feature: Own Voices Novels for Poetry Lovers

The Children’s Book Council is excited to partner again with the team of Multicultural Children’s Book Day to celebrate diverse books all month long! Throughout January, 10 authors will be featured on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog where they have created lists of diverse books ranging from picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels under a variety of topics. Check our space for previews of these lists and links to the see the full lists and access the book giveaways on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day site.

Please welcome Renée Watson to #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2019! The Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog is giving away one copy of Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan’s newest young adult book, Watch Us Rise. Please click the link below for the full list to access the Rafflecopter giveaway.


Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission—they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post poems and essays online, including Jasmine’s response to the racial microaggressions she experiences, and they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard. [young adult, ages 14 and up]


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

All eyes are on Xiomara Batista: the protective glare of her loving, strict mother, the gaze from boys on the block. But Xiomara wants to be seen for who she really is. She has something to say and poetry is the outlet she uses to let out everything she’s holding in. Written with vibrant, potent language, this debut novel-in-verse is about a girl who is determined to be seen past narrow expectations, a girl who refuses to keep silent. [young adult, ages 14 and up]


Swing by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

A story about having the courage to speak up and speak out about the things that really matter—including professing true feelings about a crush and raising your voice against injustice. Swing is a lyrical novel in verse that puts into question everything the main characters Noah and Walt (aka Swing) know about love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate. [young adult, ages 14 and up]

Click here for the full list and book giveaway.

Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle, illustrations by Rafael López (Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan, March 2017). All rights reserved. @macmillanchildrensbooks

Most Diverse? Verse! 5 Easy Steps for Promoting Diversity with Poetry

Contributed by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell 

Where do we find the most diversity in any genre in children’s literature? Poetry—but it might not always be easy to see, as much of the diversity is embedded in anthologies that aren’t necessarily categorized as diverse. In the 700+ poems that we have published so far in The Poetry Friday Anthology series, nearly a third reflect diverse experiences of culture, language, religion, and more, including poems that address underrepresented topics such as Diwali (by Uma Krishnaswami), Ramadan (by Ibtisam Barakat), Day of the Dead (by René Saldaña, Jr.), Dashain (by Margarita Engle), and Gay Pride Day (by Lesléa Newman).

You might never look to the National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2016), for diverse poems, yet it contains poems by 20 diverse poets. Poems to Learn by Heart, compiled by Caroline Kennedy (Disney, 2013), contains poems by at least 17 diverse poets. And more than a quarter of the poets are diverse in The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul B. Janeczko (Candlewick, 2015).  

No other genre, however, goes out of print more quickly than poetry. Our challenge: How can we make sure that diverse poetry books find their audience? Here are things we’ve been trying:


Rich in Color | Poetry Link Round Up

Spotlighting diverse and inclusive poetry for young people! 


When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrations by Julie Morstad (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, February 2016). All rights reserved. @macmillankids

International Stories in Verse for National Poetry Month - The Hub

Celebrate National Poetry Month with this collection of international novels in verse!


I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Simon & Schuster Book for Young Readers, May 2012). All rights reserved. @simonandschusterbooks

“I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called Now.”

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, August 2014). @penguinrandomhouse


Find the perfect book for any day at CBC Diversity’s Goodreads!

“Always shoot for the sun and you will shine.”

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (@hmhkids​, March 2014)


Our Goodreads page shines the light on hundreds of diverse stories for young readers!

The CBC Diversity initiative was founded in 2012, as part of the Children’s Book Council’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in literature for young people.