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My Socioeconomic Diversity Wish List

Contributed by Nikki Garcia, assistant editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Six months ago, I wrote a post for
the CBC Diversity blog discussing
socioeconomic diversity
and my personal struggles with financial security as
a child. I wish there were more children’s books when I was growing up that
didn’t make me feel different. So for this post, I want to name some books that
are showing young readers a different
economic view—a view through a different but important lens. Because you just
never know who is struggling to make ends meet.

Here is my book wish list for my
younger self:

Picture Books

Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
takes on
one of the most common ways young children notice something is different: they
start to notice all the new and cool things other children have, because their family
buys what they “need” versus what they “want.”

Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

also approaches the same topic in a similar way. CJ takes the bus with his
Grandma every day, but one day he starts noticing how he’s different from everyone
else. Why don’t they have a car? And why do they get off the bus in a dirty
part of town?

Middle Grade

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate is about a
family that has fallen on hard times. With little money for rent and food, they
are forced to live in their minivan.

In Minna’s
Patchwork Coat by Lauren A. Mills
Minna’s family cannot afford a winter coat, so she is forced to use an old feed
sack, until her neighbors come together and create a coat out of scraps of old

Young Adult

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
shows a young girl living with her mom and dog in the back of a school bus
since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out. Always optimistic, her ability to
hope for a better future is constantly tested.

Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos
the story of three girls living among the wealthy, but with one big difference:
they are the daughters of maids and nannies, and because of this, they live by
different rules.

These are just a few books that show
socioeconomic diversity across all age groups. Children are never too young or too
old to learn about different families.

Do you know any books that discuss socioeconomic
diversity, and touched your heart? Please let us know in the comments—I’m
always looking to add to my book wish list.

Nikki Garcia is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers where she works on books for all ages. During her time at
LBYR, she has had the honor of working with authors such as Peter Brown, Wendy
Mass, Matthew Quick, and Monica Brown. Born and raised right here in New York
City, Nikki graduated from St. John’s University, and thankfully didn’t have to
travel very far to make her dreams come true.

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