Culture and Ethnicity

Books About Culture and Ethnicity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Y Fiction Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor To a Nation. Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson, Y Fiction Anderson, Y Books on CD Anderson
Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

Bifocal by Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters, Y Fiction Ellis
A student arrested on suspicions of terrorism. A high school torn apart by racism. Two boys from two different sets of circumstances forced to choose sides. These are the issues at the heart of Bifocal, a groundbreaking new novel for young-adults. The story is told from two different points of view. Haroon is a serious student devoted to his family. His grandparents emigrated from Afghanistan. Jay is a football star devoted to his team. He is white. One day their high school is put on lockdown, and the police arrest a Muslim student on suspicion of terrorist affiliations. He might be guilty. Or is he singled out because of his race? The entire student body fragments along racial lines and both Haroon and Jay find that their differences initially put them at odds. The Muslim students become targets and a smoke-bomb is set off near their lockers while Jay and his teammates believe they've been set-up to look like racists.

Black and White by Paul Volponi, Y Fiction Volponi
Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white, experience the justice system differently after committing a crime together and getting caught.

A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt, Y Fiction Reinhardt
Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom's life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.

Dancing With Elvis by Lynda Stephenson, Y Fiction Stephenson
In Clover, Texas, in the late 1950s, high-schooler Frankilee deals with a devious and manipulative, not to mention prettier and more talented, foster sister, a boyfriend she does not want, and a community divided over school integration.

Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah, Y Fiction Abdel-Fattah
Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing her identity or sense of style.

The Fold by An Na, Y Fiction Na
Korean American high school student Joyce Kim feels like a nonentity compared to her beautiful older sister, and when her aunt offers to pay for plastic surgery on her eyes, she jumps at the chance, thinking it will change her life for the better.

If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko, Y Fiction Choldenko, Y Books on CD Choldenko
Kirsten and Walk, seventh-graders at an elite private school, alternate telling how race, wealth, weight, and other issues shape their relationships as they and other misfits stand up to a mean but influential classmate, even as they are uncovering a long-kept secret about themselves.

Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, Y Fiction Blackman
In a world where the pale-skinned Naughts are discriminated against by the politically and socially powerful dark-skinned Crosses, teenagers Callum--a Naught--and Sephy--a Cross--test whether their love is strong enough to survive their society's racism.

Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper, Y Fiction Draper
Romiette, an African-American girl, and Julio, a Hispanic boy, discover that they attend the same high school after falling in love on the Internet, but are harrassed by a gang whose members object to their interracial dating.

Santa Claus in Baghdad by Elsa Marston, Y Fiction Marston
A collection of eight stories, most previously published in other anthologies, about what it is like to grow up in the Middle East today. Includes notes which place the stories in context.

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger, Y Fiction Meminger
In the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Samar, who is of Punjabi heritage but has been raised with no knowledge of her past by her single mother, wants to learn about her family's history an-d to get in touch with the grandparents her mother shuns.

Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim, Y Fiction Karim
Nina Khan is not just the only Asian or Muslim student in her small-town high school in upstate New York, she is also faces the legacy of her "Supernerd" older sister, body hair, and the pain of having a crush when her parents forbid her to date.

Stormwitch by Susan Vaught, Y Fiction Vaught
In Pass Christian, Mississippi in 1969, sixteen-year-old Ruba, trained by her Haitian grandmother in both voodoo and Amazonian warrior tactics, uses her skills to fight against racism and the African witch Zashar, now coming ashore in the form of Hurricane Camille.

Taking Sides by Gary Soto, Y Fiction Soto
Fourteen-year-old Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white suburban neighborhood.

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah, Y Fiction Abdel-Fattah
Lebanese-Australian Jamilah, known in school as Jamie, hides her heritage from her classmates and tries to pass by dyeing her hair blonde and wearing blue-tinted contact lenses, until her conflicted feelings become too much for her to bear.

When the Black Girl Sings by Bill Wright, Y Fiction Wright
Adopted by white parents and sent to an exclusive Connecticut girls' school where she is the only black student, fourteen-year-old Lahni Schuler feels like an outcast, particularly when her parents separate, but after attending a local church where she hears gospel music for the first time, she finds her voice. Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She's also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life takes an unexpected turn. It so happens that one of Lahni's teachers, Mr. Faringhelli, has nominated her for a talent competition, and she is expected to perform a song in front of the whole school. Lahni decides to join the church choir to help her become a better singer. But what starts out as a way to practice singing becomes a place of belonging and a means for Lahni to discover her own identity. In this moving book, acclaimed author Bil Wright tells the story of one girl's search to find a home where she truly belongs.

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