Suburban Mosaic

Suburban Mosaic Book of the Year Past 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.

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 |

2017 : Fostering cultural understanding through literature

The Water Princess

By Susan Verde

Preschool - Kindergarten Title

A young girl's dream to have clean water in Africa. Based on a true story.

Discussion questions

We Came to America

By Faith Ringgold

Grades 1 - 2 Title

An immigration story that celebrates the diversity of America.

Discussion questions

Save Me a Seat

By Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Weeks

Grades 3 - 5 Title

Joe and Ravi are from different countries. They soon learn that they have much in common, including the school bully.

Discussion questions

Ghost – Running For His Life or From It

By Jason Reynolds

Middle School Title

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his inner city track team but there are things he is running from. National Book Award Finalist.

Discussion questions

March Book Three

By Andrew Aydin & John Lewis

High School Title

National Book Award Winner, Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell recount marches from the Civil Rights Movement and the tumult that marchers met.

Discussion questions

Lucky Boy

By Shanthi Sekaran

Adult Title

A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to Soli, an 18 year old illegal immigrant from Mexico, and to Kayva, and Indian - American woman.

Discussion questions

2016 : 2016 Suburban Mosaic

A Taste of Colored Water

By Matt Faulkner

Grades 1 - 2 Title

Two children hear that there is "colored water" in the city. They want to taste it and see if it looks like a rainbow. They learn firsthand about segregation in the '60s.

Discussion questions

El Deafo

By Cece Bell

Grades 3 - 5 Title

It's hard enough to start at new school and make friends, but Cece feels extra alone because of her giant hearing aid.

Discussion questions

Fish in a Tree

By Lynda Mullally Hunt

Middle School Title

For years Ally has covered up her dyslexia at school. But that changes when a new teacher makes an extra effort to reach the bright girl beneath the disruptive behavior.

Discussion questions

How It Went Down

By Kekla Magoon

High School Title

Told from multiple viewpoints, an urban community contends with issues of race, class, gang violence, and stereotypes following a fatal shooting.

Discussion questions

The Rosie Project

By Graeme Samson

Adult Title

A socially awkward genetics professor seeks true love with a 16-page questionnaire. Respondent Rosie Jarman doesn’t meet his requirements—at least at first!

Discussion questions

Mixed Me

By Taye Diggs

Preschool Title

Mike is the perfect mix of both his parents.

Discussion questions

2015 :

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

By A.S. King

High School Title

The Printz Honor author tells the story of a girl coping with devastating loss. Glory O’Brien has no idea the future needs her, and that the present needs her more.

Discussion questions

Gracefully Grayson

By Ami Polonsky

Middle School Title

6th grader Grayson was born male but feels “he” was meant to be a girl. When Grayson wins the lead female role in the play and makes friends who accept her, she begins to embrace who she really is.

Discussion questions

Rain Reign

By Ann M. Martin

Grades 4 - 5 Title

Rose Howard loves words that sound the same (like her name Rose and rows), rules, prime numbers and her dog. When a storm hits her rural town and the dog is loose, Rose's story unfolds into a powerful tale.

Discussion questions

Because Amelia Smiled

By David Ezra Stein

Grades K - 3 Title

This beautifully told and illustrated story shows the effects of a smile on everyone and everything.

Discussion questions

The Book of Unknown Americans

By Cristina Henríquez

Adult Title

The Riveras emigrate from Mexico to Delaware so that their beautiful but brain-damaged daughter, Maribel, can attend a special school. They are met with numerous obstacles, including a smitten teenager, loss of employment, and worse. Along with the Riveras, the book features other immigrants who give up everything to pursue their American dream.

Discussion questions

2014 :

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina

By Monica Brown

Preschool Title

Marisol McDonald mixes and matches food (peanut butter and jelly burritos), patterns (green dots/purple stripes), and games (soccer playing pirates) just as she embodies her Peruvian-Scottish- American heritage). Bilingual book with exuberant illustrations.

Discussion questions

The Year of the Book

By Andrea Cheng

Grades 2 - 4 Title

Fourth grader Anna Wang frets about fitting in with friends and instead escapes into books. When a friend reaches out to her for help, Anna sets aside fictional friends and becomes a member of her community.

Discussion questions

The Garden of My Imaan

By Farhana Zia

Grades 4 - 6 Title

Fifth grader Aliya, the only Muslim in her school, does not want to stand out. The arrival of a second Muslim student who wears hijab in school makes Aliya second-guess her religious confusion and work through universal preteen struggles.

Discussion questions

Kids of Kabul

By Deborah Ellis

Middle School Title

Author Deborah Ellis interviewed 27 Afghan children ages 10-17, recording their stories about life in violent and war-torn Afghanistan and the hardships they face. This work provides a glimpse into the poverty and aftermath of war.

Discussion questions

Permanent Record

By Leslie Stella

High School Title

When Badi Hessamizadeh continues to suffer intense racial bullying, he blows up the toilet where he was swirlied every day. Now considered a terrorist, his dad changes his son's name to Bud Hess and enrolls him in a different school.

Discussion questions

Peaches for Monsieur le Curé – [also published as Peaches for Father Francis]

By Joanne Harris

Adult Title

Vianne Rochet, known for near-magical skills with chocolate, returns to the rural French village of Lansquenet and discovers a large Muslim population has grown. Tensions between cultures reach a boiling point when the resident priest is accused of a hate crime, and it will take an outsider to show the two communities how alike they really are.

Discussion questions

2013 : Fostering 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

Sold

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

Me…Jane

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

2012 : Fostering cultural understanding through literature

2011 : Making a difference

2010 : Making a difference

2009 : Realities facing our communities

2008 : Living Between Cultures

2007 : Immigration

2006 :

2005 :

2004 :