2019: New Voices, New Discoveries

in Winter 2019 by

The Park School Library aims to provide the very best resources for our community. To do so requires a passion for making new discoveries, which all of the Park librarians possess. This year, we were especially delighted to discover a plethora of new voices in the children’s book world. The sustaining influence of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #OwnVoices, and #ReadWoke has provided a vital spark to publishers, who are showing an increased willingness to promote diverse talent from underrepresented perspectives and cultures. Our library has demonstrated our own support by adding these voices to our collection, highlighting these stories in our lessons, and even bringing these talented book creators to Park to meet our students. 2019 was a memorable year indeed for our ever-expanding understanding of what is possible in children’s literature. 

(All of the following titles are available to check out in the Park Library, and we encourage families to look for them in local libraries and bookstores, as well.)

Salaam Reads

Founded in 2016 and now hitting its full publishing stride, Salaam Reads “aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works.” We love so many of the books published by this imprint, and 2019 was another banner year for discovering new voices and celebrating new titles by established favorites, like Hena Khan, who visited Park this fall!

Bilal Cooks Daal, Aisha Saeed, illus. by Anoosha Syed
(Picture Book, PreK-Grade 2)

The Battle, Karuna Riazi
(Fantasy, Grade 3-7)

More to the Story, Hena Khan
(Realistic Fiction, Grade 3-7)



Make Me A World 

In Walter Dean Myers’ 2014 canonical New York Times opinion piece, he asks, “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” In 2019, his son, Christopher Myers, provided one answer by starting a new diversity-focused children’s book imprint, Make Me A World, that imagines “a universe in which no young person is invisible, in which no kid’s story is erased.” Determined to make “books where the children of today can see themselves and each other,” Myers is committed to reimagining what is possible to publish for children, and his very first books are already receiving critical acclaim.


Pet, Akwaeke Emezi
(Speculative Fiction, Grade 6-8)

Gravity, Sarah Deming
(Realistic Fiction, Grade 7-8)





Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover Series (The Crossover, Booked, and Rebound), are wildly popular at Park, a fact especially notable because they are all written in a less-typical verse format. This year, Alexander leveraged his poet’s passion for powerful words to create Versify, a new imprint creating “books that will engage, entertain, and empower young people to imagine and create a better world.” With a stated mission “to publish writers whose voices haven’t been heard before,” Alexander’s publishing venture is off to a promising beginning that has us equally excited about his future discoveries.

Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market, Raul Gonzales, III
(Picture Book, PreK-Grade 2)

Anya and the Dragon, Sofiya Pasternack
(Fantasy, Grade 4-7)

Undefeated, Kwame Alexander, illus. by Kadir Nelson
(Poetry, All Ages)

Rick Riordan Presents 

“I’ve gotten many questions from my fans about whether I might write about various world mythologies, but in most cases I knew I wasn’t the best person to write those books.” Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians is hands down one of the best loved series in our library, so when Riordan recognized that he was not the right person to tell the stories of other cultures, lucky for us he instead created a new imprint “to publish great middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.” 2019 was a winning year for Rick Riordan Presents, introducing us to dynamic new voices and even more diverse world-building adventures.

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee
(Fantasy, Grade 3-7) 

The Fire Keeper, J.C. Cervantes
(Fantasy, Grade 3-7) 

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, Kwame Mbalia
(Fantasy, Grade 3-7)

Park's outstanding library, which contains 30,000 volumes and countless digital materials, is truly the heart of the School. Four librarians provide a welcoming resource center and gathering place for the whole Park community.