Suburban Mosaic

Suburban Mosaic Book of the Year Current Selections

The Suburban Mosaic Book of the Year Program seeks to confront issues of racial and social justice and promote cross-cultural understanding through literature.

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur

By Halima Bashir

Adult Title

A Medical doctor chronicles her life in Darfur, Sudan. Bashir's memoir tells of her early life as a black African Muslim from the Zaghawa tribe, her trials and tribulations in her Arab Muslim schools, and her and her family's subsequent involvement in the Darfur crisis.

Discussion questions


By Patricia McCormick

High School Title

Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi, though poor, enjoys her life until the Himalayan monsoons wash away her family's crops and she is sold to a brothel in India by her stepfather. She remembers her mother's wisdom, "Simply to endure is to triumph," until the day comes that she can reclaim her life.

Discussion questions

The Running Dream

By Wendelin Van Draanen

Middle School Title

When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessican an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.

Discussion questions

Inside Out & Back Again

By Thanhha Lai

Grades 3 - 5 Title

This novel in verse tells the story of ten-year-old Ha's journey from war-torn Vietnam to her new home in the United States. In America, Ha discovers the foreign world of Alabama. This is the story of her year of change: her dreams, grief, strength and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Discussion questions

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

By Jen Cullerton Johnson

Grades 1 - 2 Title

Wangari Maathai is the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Unlike most girls in Kenya, Wangari attended school where her love of plants and animals grew and her mind sprouted like a seed.

Discussion questions


By Patrick McDonnell

Preschool - K Title

As Jane climbs trees, observes and reads about animals, and experiences the joys of nature in England, she dreams of Africa and of "a life living with, and helping, all animals." The story culminates in a striking photo of primatologist Jane Goodall in her twenties, living her dream in Africa, her hand extended to a chimpanzee.

Discussion questions