From Kellee’s (Huge) Library Pile Part Five: We Need Diverse Books (Nonfiction) | Little Melba and her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, & Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh



Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

From My (Huge) Library Pile

Because of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, I find myself often with huge piles of picture books from the library that were highly recommended by fellow bloggers. I celebrate many of the nonfiction pictures books on Wednesdays, but I want to share some of the fiction picture books I have enjoyed. So, I decided to start series here on UR where I can pass on the love for these books sporadically as I read them. Here is a list of some great pictures books that I’ve read recently from my huge library pile (part 5!).

When I was watching the ALA Book Award announcements, I realized that there were many that I had not read, so I immediately ordered them from my library. While reading, I was so happy to see so many diverse picture books (fiction and nonfiction) winning awards. This week I wanted to highlight the picture books I read that were full of diversity. Today I will share the nonfiction titles, and on Friday I will share the fiction titles. 


Little Melba on her Big Trombone
Author: Katheryn Russell-Brown
Illustrator: Frank Morrison
Published September 1st, 2014 by Lee & Low Books
2015 Coretta Scott King for Illustrator Honor

I know I have said this before, but I love the trend of writing picture books about strong woman who should be well known because of their brilliance. Melba Liston is an inspiration. What I loved most about this book is that I think it captured Melba’s spirit as well as the rhythm of the music. The lively oil paintings mixed with Melba’s amazing story make you feel like you know her by the end of the book. I was excited to read the back matter to learn more, and immediately went to You Tube to hear some of her music. I am so glad I was introduced to her.


Viva Frida
Author: Yuyi Morales
Photographer: Tim O’Meara
Published September 2nd, 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
2015 Caldecott Honor, Pura Belpré (Illutrator) Honor

Frida Kahlo is such a mysterious woman. Usually through an artist’s work, you feel like you get to know them, but through Frida’s work, I always felt like she became even more of a mystery to me. This book just adds to that mystery. Told in small phrases in Spanish and English, the books explores creativity and imagination more than it explores Frida’s life. But oh, what an exploration into imagination and creativity it is. We go on a journey with Frida to create a piece of art which is what she lives for, and it makes you, the reader, want to go create so you can live. The beautiful photographs bring Frida, Diego, and many of Frida’s animal friends to life. They are superb!


Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Author: Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Published January 14th, 2014 by Chronicle Books
2015 Sibert Honor, Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrator Honor

This is quite the book! When I ordered it, I hadn’t realized that it was illustrated chapter book biography, but after learning about Josephine, I can see why she couldn’t be confined to less pages. Her life is an explosion of adventure from running away at 13 to standing up for her civil rights to spying for France during WWII to adopting her “rainbow tribe.” Like Melba, Josephine was a new name for me, but I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of her before. She is the epitome of strength and was a large part of the civil rights movement. I am so glad that I read this picture book that truly captures her spirit through the rhythmic prose and colorful, lively illustrations.


Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
Author and Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh
Published May 6th, 2014 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
2015 Sibert Honor, Pura Belpré (Illutrator) Honor

Everyone has heard of Brown v. Board of Education, but Sylvia’s case is the predecessor of desegregation in the United States. After Sylvia and her siblings are denied entry into the school they are zoned for, even though they are American, and are sent to the “Mexican school,” Syvlia’s father goes on a mission which leads him all the way to the California Court of Appeals to ensure that his children get the best education possible. I loved that through all of the trials of the Mendez family, they never lost their dignity and grace. They are truly an inspiration This is a book that every teacher and child should read because the Mendez family should be a household name, and it looks at equal accessibility to education which is still relevant today.

What picture books should I add to my pile next?


Want to see Part One? You can view it HERE.
Want to see Part Two? You can view it HERE.
Want to see Part Three? You can view it HERE.
Want to see Part Four? You can view it HERE.

4 thoughts on “From Kellee’s (Huge) Library Pile Part Five: We Need Diverse Books (Nonfiction) | Little Melba and her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, & Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh”

    • That is a author visit I would love to sit in on!

      You are going to love Little Melba! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts 🙂


Leave a Comment