Spring Book Guide

First, many of us are thinking about the state of the world. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a violation of all of our safety, peace, and boundaries. War does not have victors; violence produces more violence. I am holding space for remembering there are separated families caused by this conflict in both Ukraine and Russia, food insecurity, economic instability caused by sanctions, and fear. We also need to remember there are other places around the world struggling and need attention – Tonga is rebuilding after a recent volcano eruption, Haiti, Palestine, Afghanistan, and within the US and your own communities. Pay attention to Ukraine and do something to support Ukrainians and others too.

Picture of mugs sayings Read Rise Resist. Photo credit Erin Okuno

The days are getting a little longer every day, hooray, and it also means it is time to share new to me books with all of you. All of the books are by POC authors or about disabilities.

Why books

Yesterday, I was talking to an African American colleague, and we traded parenting stories. The punchline to one of our exchanges was “yeah, read a book and call home…” That sums up reading for me at the moment — read a book and related it back to home (broad meaning of home). In relating it back to home and sharing the ideas with others we can reflect and grow our thinking.

Young Adult and Graphic Novels

Run by Rep. John Lewis. If you read the March trilogy, this is an extended part of that graphic novel set. Reading this posthumously published graphic memoir helped me to understand the Civil Rights movement between August 1965 and June 1966 more clearly.

Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim. My kid came home raving about this book. Her school librarian read her class the first part in school and she excitedly asked me to get the book from the public library. It is fab – pop Korean culture, meets fantasy, and adventure. We’re looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd. This graphic novel is helpful for explaining allergies to kids, including the feelings of wanting something they can’t have due to the allergy. I’m including this title since it promotes disability awareness.

I Can Make this Promise by Christine Day. This is one of the Seattle Public Library Global Reading Challenge books. My kid and I have been reading through the list and I’m glad this one was included. It is a middle-grade book (ages 8-12) told from the perspective of a tween who is figuring out who she is as a Native American. The author is Native American – Upper Skagit.  

Baby Books

Sumo Opposites by Sanae Ishida. During mid-winter break I stopped by a book store and saw this book on the shelf. It is a fun board book for babies to learn the concept of opposites.

One, Two, Three Dim Sum: A Mandarin-English Counting Book by Rich Lo. This is a bilingual book, Mandarin Chinese and English. Finding bilingual books takes a bit more work, so keep this title handy if you are looking for a nice Chinese-English baby gift.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan is a favorite picture book. I was excited to see this in board book format. The illustrations and narrative make this book a great reading experience to share.

Proud to be Latino: Food/Comida by Ashley Marie Marieles is a bilingual Spanish-English board book. The illustrations are colorful, bright, and flavorsome.

Picture Books

One of my favorite categories of books – picture books.

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a new release by Jacqueline Woodson and it is a gem. It references COVID life indirectly and encourages children to see beyond what they see in front of them: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.”

From the Tops of the Trees by Kao Kalia Yang. I enjoyed the author’s previous books and was excited to see a new title. As I read through the story I wasn’t feeling the book until the end, and it was worth reading to the end. Make sure to read the author’s endnotes.

My Rainbow by Deshanna Neal. There are many children’s picture books talking about hair diversity, this one adds to the diversity and richness. In this book, a family looks for ways to help Trinity, a transgender daughter, and sister, have hair like her doll.

You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers. This is a great book to share with a class or any kid who needs to feel like they belong, foster empathy, and encourage conversations about how we can create belonging.

Reading Books – aka Adult Books (anyone can read these not just ‘adults’)

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General. Surgeon General of the US, Viviek H. Murthy has opened up an important conversation about mental health. There are a lot of interesting anecdotes in here to learn from, even if you don’t read the whole book it is worth a heavy skim.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman. This is a timely book of poetry that for me built off of the poet laureates inaugural day poem.

What Happened to You by Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry. I read this book during the summer and still think about what I learned through the book. Oprah’s skilled narration and Dr. Bruce Perry’s extensive brain development knowledge come together to explain a lot about trauma and development. The book format is great, as is the audio version which they both narrate. (Dr. Bruce Perry is white.)

Eid Al-Fitr Mad Libs: World’s Greatest Word Game by Saadia Faruqi. This is not a reading book, but an activity book. Who doesn’t love a good MadLib, here is one by POC author about Eid Al-Fitr. Eid 2022 is coming up 2-3 May, order your MadLib now to make sure you have it in time for Eid.


The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma’s Kitchen by Joanne Lee Molinaro. I just got this book from the library and now want to go to H Mart to buy all of the ingredients to make Korean rice and the other delicious looking dishes.

New Native Kitchen by Chef Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli. I just picked this up from the library and thumbing through it I am learning a lot about Native culture and appreciation for the foods I have it my own pantry. Such as that bottle of agave in your kitchen, it took a plant seven years to mature and once tapped for the nectar will die. I will not take agave for granted anymore – I appreciate this cookbook for reminding me that food is sacred.

On the nightstand list

Here are a few books I’m excited for, but haven’t read yet.

Inclusion on Purpose by Ruchika Tulshyan. Inclusion of women of color in workplaces (and other spaces) doesn’t just happen because organizations proclaim it. Author Ruchika Tulshyanshares why it takes intention and purpose. Make sure to check out her speaking tour too, she’s brilliant to listen to.

This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life by Earlonne Woods (Author). I enjoy the podcast by the same name.

What are you reading? Share your books with me at fakequity@gmail.com or Twitter @Fakequity.

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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice based relations.