These featured books are from our Books Matter collection that teach about bias, promote respect for diversity and encourage social action. To help educators and parent/family members expand upon children’s learning from the book, each Book of the Month has an Educator Discussion Guide and a Parent/Family Discussion Guide, which provides discussion questions, activities, talking points and additional resources.
October 2018: Hello, Universe
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, bullying behavior is put in its place, and friendship blooms.
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Erin Entrada Kelly/Isabel Roxas
AGE GROUP: 8–12
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all—and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.
When a tornado rips through town, Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm—and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.