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Category Archives: Diversity

Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

First published 1983

Plot Description: Alanna of Trebond yearns to be a knight, but she is a girl.  Her twin brother, Thom, wants to be a mage, but he is the only son and must take his rightful place among the knights and protect the kingdom.  So what are the pair to do?  Trade places of course.  Deceiving their father, who is always too busy with his books in his study to care much for them anyways, they trade places and Alanna is off, with a forged letter of introduction as Alan of Trebond, to become a page and begin her knights training.  The path to knighthood is hard, but she is as smart, strong and clever as any of the boys and is ready to prove herself and one day will reveal herself and show that a female cane be just as great a knight as any male in the land.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades 5-8

Evaluation: This is a more grown up version of The Princess Knight, except Alanna isn’t a princess.  However, we still have a strong female character who, against the norm, wishes to go into a profession that is only for males and must prove herself.  This is an empowering tale for both male and female as the watch Alanna struggle against the odds and puberty to become who she truly wants to be.

Content Area: ELA


10,000 Dresses

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert

First published January 1, 2008

Plot Description: At night Bailey dreams about thousands of beautiful dresses and each morning, unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about her beautiful dreams. She gets told that she’s a boy and that boys should not be dreaming about dresses, that such things are just not right.  Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. Inspired by Bailey’s dream dresses, the two of them begin making dresses together and Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be!

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades K-4

Evaluation: This is probably one of the few transgender book out and it needs to be in every library.  Many LGBT begin to realize their true selves at an early age and to have a book like this that is available to them may make the whole experience a little less scary.  Also, to expose this book to more students would also expose them earlier on to the LGBT community making the whole idea of LGBT a little less scary and more normal, hopefully creating more acceptance in the future.

The Princess Knight

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke

First published 2001

Plot Description: Violetta is the only princess amongst three brothers.  Her father wishes for her to be the model princess, prime and proper, but she wants to be as strong and brave as her brothers. Forbidden to follow her heart, she slips out of the castle at night into the woods and secretly teaches herself to become the cleverest, most nimble knight in the land. Soon she will be ready to fight for her own rights.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades K-2

Evaluation: This is a book for those little girls who would rather go slay the dragon herself than wait for the prince to do it for her.  This is the book to help show that boys are not the only ones who like to become knights, but as girls are not the only ones who like to dance and wear dresses.

Content Area: ELA

Oliver Button is a Sissy

Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola

First published January 1, 1979

Plot Description: Oliver Button would rather read, dance, and draw pictures than play football like the other boys. His classmates’ taunts don’t stop him from doing what he likes best, and his practice and persistence pay off in the end when Oliver Button star in the school talent show.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades K-2

Evaluation: This needs to be in every collection, not just for those little boys who consider themselves different than the others, who would rather dance than play football, but also for those kids who think that boys who would rather dance than play football are weird.

Content Area: History/Social Science, Visual and Performing Arts

Number the Stars

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

First published 1989

Plot Description: A powerful story set in Nazi occupied Denmark in 1943. Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is called upon for a selfless act of bravery to help save her best-friend, Ellen, a Jew. The Nazis have occupied Copenhagen and there are food shortages, curfews and the constant threat of being stopped by soldiers and for Annemarie the dangers become even greater when her best-friend’s life become endangered simple because she is a Jew. When the Nazi’s come to take Ellen and her family away to be “relocated”, Ellen is taken in by Annemarie’s parents and suddenly Annemarie’s family are under threat too. Annemarie has to call upon all her resources for courage and bravery as she helps her friend make a daring escape.

Evaluation: Not only does this give a brief introduction to the Holocaust, but it also introduces students to what can happen when the differences between us are feared instead of celebrated.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades 3-5

Content Area: History/Social Science, ELA

TEKS Subject Standard: SS 3.1A, SS 3.2A, SS 3.3A

Curriculum Lesson Plans: