Celebrate Read Across America Day with these inspirational books that teach us about diversity, togetherness, and what it means to be compassionate.

Blended by Sharon M. Draper

This is an eye-opening narrative that expresses what it is like to be part of a blended family. Isabella is a bi-racial eleven-year-old with divorced parents, on a journey to discover who she is. This book is a dive deep into a world of family and self-identity. “Blended” shows us that families come in all shapes and sizes and reinforces the importance of being confident in your skin.

Drawn Together by Minh Le

A boy visits his grandfather; however, they are faced with an interesting challenge—they do not speak the same language. As the two struggle to interact with each other, they come up with a creative idea—they begin to draw together. Their artistic expression brings them closer and delivers the powerful message that communication and meaningful interactions can come in many forms.

Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

From going to school to their love for outdoor adventures, pen pals Elliot and Kailash have a lot in common. While they are very similar, they also notice the ways in which they are different, since Elliot lives in America and Kailash is from India. “Same, Same but Different” is an impactful reminder that we can come together despite our differences, and highlights what it means to be a true friend.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

This New York Times best-seller addresses how it feels to be different and how to act with bravery. “The Day You Begin” does an excellent job of explaining that we all feel different at times, but it is what you do in those moments that matters the most. Hold your head high and continue to be who you are. When we act with bravery and share who we are with others, they just might do the same in return.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

“Wonder” is a profound story of empathy and compassion. From birth, August has always looked different. As he tries to blend in at school, the kids in his class constantly remind him that his face doesn’t look like theirs. This deeply moving story is about perspective, being accepting, not judging a book by its cover, and not being afraid to stand out.

Reading For Everyone, Everywhere

Books allow us to connect to ourselves and to others in a powerful way despite our differences. In celebration of Read Across America Day, we encourage you to read a book that reflects your life, and a book that shows you someone else’s perspective. Reading is for everyone, everywhere.

Written by Tatiana Santos

Youth Program Manager

Tatiana has always been drawn to the power of creativity. She gravitates toward the arts because of its ability to connect people to themselves and one another. Tatiana’s artistic interests, natural curiosity, and thirst for knowledge led her to travel the world, major in Communication Studies, and begin a career working with youth. Her background also includes digital media and community outreach.