10 DiVERSE Books to Read Over Spring Break

April is National Poetry Month!

To celebrate, iArts, ALISS, iEquality, and iYouth will be co-sponsoring the annual iHeART Poetry event. It is on Monday, April 11th, from 7-9PM. Our theme is “We Need DiVERSE Books!”

Here’s an article in the Daily about last year’s iHeART Poetry Night.

In preparation for the event, we would like all of you to read some books written in verse. If you find a poem you loved, perform it during the open mic!

We know you will be reading over Spring Break anyway, why not explore a little? Even if you are not able to come to the event, read these books anyway. I promise there will be at least one that will touch your heart.

(Each of these books include a description from Novelist because I haven’t read all of these. However, they are all on my list for Spring Break! Novelist is an awesome tool for reader’s advisory in public libraries but also just for yourself. If your local library has this resource, check it out!)

Ready for the diVERSE books on my Spring Break list?

Here are 5 Chapter Books written in verse:

1) The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


Don’t be fooled by the basketball cover. “Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.” This novel is emotionally intense and moving.

3) Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen


I put this one on my holds list after learning it was about an orphan with a deformed hand. This one isn’t the most popular on this list but I’m hoping it’s a gem. “In China, a foundling girl with a deformed hand raised in secret by an American woman must navigate China’s strict adoption system when she is torn away from the only family she has ever known.”

3) The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney


This one is also on my holds list because it is supposed to delve into really tough subject matter. I will probably cry reading this one over Sprink Break. “After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder”

4) Inside Out and Back Again by Thanha Lai


“Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.” I’ve been so excited to read this one. It’s supposed to have a funny element thrown in through the narrative of Ha. She comes to America by boat, deals with bullies at school, and ends up finding an incredible mentor.

5) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


“In vivid poems that reflect the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, an award-winning author shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South.” I started reading this during my lunch break yesterday. I think I found the poem I want to read from in the 2nd or 3rd chapter. You can probably guess which one!


Here are 5 YA books written in verse:

1) Audacity by Melanie Crowder


“”A historical fiction novel in verse detailing the life of Clara Lemlich and her struggle for women’s labor rights in the early 20th century in New York.” Told by a strong female character who is loosely based on the life of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the leader of New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. Clara and her family are Jewish Russians who flee the anti-Semitism of turn-of-the-century Russia to find a better life in America. She is unable to gain the education she desires, because she is forced to work in a sweatshop, and she can’t rise above her given status as an immigrant worker because foreign women are taught only rudimentary English.

Inside I am anything

but fresh off the boat.

I have been ready for this


all my life

2) Crank by Ellen Hopkins


“Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs  and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.” It isn’t just Crystal Meth that has her hooked. She’s going down a downward spiral with boys too. If you are looking for a suspenseful read, this is it!


3) 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

jacket (1).jpg

“In a dystopian future where gender selection has led to girls outnumbering boys 5 to 1 in India. Marriage is arranged based on a series of tests. It’s Sudasa’s turn to pick a husband through this ‘fair’ method, but she’s not sure she wants to be a part of it”. How much does your culture influence how you live your life? Should it? These are questions I still have to ponder today.

4) Love, dishonor, marry, die, cherish, perish by David Rakoff


“The NPR radio essayist and award-winning author of Fraud presents an edgy LGBTQ+ novel in verse that traverses the experiences of characters linked by acts of generosity or cruelty throughout major historical events of the 20th century.” This novel is like a time machine. Each chapter explores a different person’s life in a different time period.

5) Sold by Patricia McCormick

jacket (2).jpg

“When she is tricked by her stepfather and sold into prostitution, thirteen-year-old Lakshmi becomes submerged in a nightmare where her only comfort is the friendship she forms with the other girls, which helps her survive and eventually escape.” The verse in this book is a bit longer than the other 9 books in this list. However, it’s so powerful that it will engage the audience throughout an open mic section.

Have you read some of these? Are there others that you would recommend we read over Spring Break too? Tell us!

I’ll see you all at the iHeART Poetry event on April 11th. Posters will be available soon!





Adoption, Multiculturalism, and Good Books to Read

Today’s Diversity Brown Bag Luncheon on campus is focused on mixed-race diversity and data collection in higher education. Cynthia Del Rosario, our Diversity Programs Advisor, sent around an article that I wanted to share on this blog, relating to trans-racial adoption. Check it out and let us know your thoughts and reactions!

Also, take a look at these great books for kids relating to multiculturalism and adoption. Keep them in mind as you think about developing your collections at a public or school library.