Four Books about Home and Belonging

Ellen WernerBooks, Diversity Initiatives

Throughout the year, WITS students and mentors build relationships together through books and the power of sharing stories. At the end of each program year, to celebrate the time students and mentors spend together, WITS gives a set of books to each student in our programs. In addition to selecting titles that reflect the diversity of our communities, WITS is committed to promoting books by BIPOC authors and illustrators. This year, we’re highlighting four books that we’re giving to our students with themes of home, belonging, and community. We hope you share these with a young person in your life!

Kindergarteners will love Mi Casa is My Home, written by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara Gonzalez Hoang. Lucia shows readers around her home, describing familiar scenes and introducing her family members en ingles y espanol along the way.

Friends are Friends Forever is based on author Dane Liu’s own immigration story. Dane’s experience holding onto her friend and traditions from home while sharing her culture with new friends is brought to life beautifully by Lynn Scurfield’s illustrations. A great choice for older elementary readers!

Jasmine Warga rightfully received a Newbery Honor for Other Words for Home. Fans of Brown Girl Dreaming will love this novel in verse. Twelve-year-old Jude and her mother move from Syria to Cincinnati, and suddenly Jude is navigating a new country while trying to find herself. Ages 8+

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes tells the story of Addy and five other Black city kids as they embark on a wilderness adventure in California. While Addy is initially guarded, she slowly becomes close with the people she meets on this adventure. Addy lost her parents in a fire many years before and now has to face her greatest fear. Ages 10+

WITS staff, mentors, teachers, and other community members are always working to make sure WITS is a safe, welcoming community for all our students. Providing diverse books for students at school and at home, just like these four books about home and belonging, is just a small part of that work. For more on why representation in children’s books and media is important, check out Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors.