Books I'm excited to recommend:
- My People written by Langston Hughes & illustrated by photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. [African-American]
- Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle & illustrated by Rafael López [Chinese-African-Cuban girl, based on a historical true story]
- The Name Jar written by Yangsook Choi [Korean immigrant]
- Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story written by Paula Yoo & illustrated by Lin Wang [Chinese-American biography]
- Bee-bim Bop! written by Linda Sue Park & illustrated by Ho Baek Lee [Korean]
- Chachaji's Cup written by Uma Krishnaswami & illustrated by Soumya Sitaraman [India/Indian-American]
- The Dead Family Díaz written by by P.J. Bracegirdle & illustrated by Poly Bernatene [except I can't tell if the author is of Mexican heritage or not]
- 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World written by Charles R. Smith Jr. & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
- Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters written by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Stephen Alcorn [more of an older kid book -- mostly text]
- René Has Two Last Names / René tiene dos apellidos written by René Colato Laínez & illustrated by Fabiola Graullera Ramírez [Salvadoran-American]
Initially, I was particularly interested in books about the African-American experience, because my (white) nibling was going to be growing up in St. Louis, southwest of Ferguson.
Then about 4 months post-birth, my brother got a new job and they started planning a move to Florida, and the Hispanic/Latinx/Caribbean(-American) experience felt to me most relevant (with Cuba particularly in mind given Fidel Castro's death while we were visiting for Thanksgiving) -- and yes, I know that Afro-Caribbean is very real.
But then I was going through the picturebooks remaining on my To Read list on GoodReads and yeah, I'm still interested in All the books.
I went to the Fathom Events broadcast of George Takei's Broadway musical Allegiance earlier this month, and I want more books about people of Asian ancestry, including historical books. (Including history that's not American history -- I recently read Haruki Murakami's novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and was aware of how little I know about the historical context of the Asian portion of WWII.)
And in looking at my GR to-read list, I was aware that many of the African-American books on there are biographies -- which is great, but I also want to have plenty of books about regular people today, that makes people-not-like-me part of the reader-child's natural world (thinking of my own nibling; obviously it's also important for kids to see themselves reflected), not just distant figures in history (this is especially true for Native Americans, who we tend to forget still exist).
I have said before that I'm grateful to be picturebook shopping at a time when there are so many well-written well-illustrated picturebooks by and about people who aren't the unmarked default of white, straight, cisgender, Christian, economically comfortable, etc. And that's certainly true, but I'm also conscious of how few books (available in English in the US) there are about kids from India, how few books there are about kids with disabilities (especially ones that aren't aimed at teaching Valuable Life Lessons to non-disabled kids), etc., etc. I'd guess there are the most picturebooks about default-setting kids; followed by African-American; followed by Latinx; followed by East Asian-American; then I'm not sure the breakdown of Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Indian, disabled, Deaf, other identity categories I'm not thinking of...