Last week on our kidlit vlog Coffee Break with EBYR, Ahna and Katherine discussed the #WeNeedDiverseBooks awareness campaign and highlighted a few of the many diverse books for children Eerdmans has published over the years.

If you missed their latest episode, take a moment to check it out below:

Read on to learn more about five of the great books in this month’s featured collection of diverse books for children and young adults, and catch a sneak peek at an exciting new title we’ll be publishing next spring.

Thank You, God
Thank You, God

Thank You, God
By J. Bradley Wigger
Illustrated by Jago

This bright, lyrical book offers readers of all ages and backgrounds the perfect chance to reflect on all the things that they have to be grateful for. Thank You, God is a celebration of family and friends, of homes and food to share, and of the wonder of creation from the first light of day to the calm, peaceful night.

With its elegant yet accessible text and vibrant illustrations, this inspiring book is sure to have a powerful impact on readers as it encourages them to view the world around them with fresh eyes.

“Jago’s images, ‘rendered in digital paints and photographic textures,’ are striking and occasionally startling: Layers of color combine with multiple swirling lines, waves and textures to create very clear images of adults, children, animals and the natural world. . . . The human figures may represent one family or all families, as they gather around a table or at the seashore, with differing skin tones and hair textures and a variety of ages, from babies in arms to elders using canes.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Herd Boy
The Herd Boy

The Herd Boy
By Niki Daly

“Pweew! Pweew!” Malusi’s shrill whistling drives the sheep out of grandfather’s kraal. By the time they reach the grazing slopes, the earth is hot beneath his bare feet.

He keeps the sheep and goats from straying towards the deep donga, which is easy to fall into but hard to climb out of. You have to be awake, and you have to be brave, to be a herd boy.

Malusi is a herd boy. It is a big job for a small boy, yet he does it well, no matter the danger. But he also dreams of being more than a herd boy someday: Malusi wants to be president.

This simple but poignant story from South African author/illustrator (and 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee) Niki Daly explores the idea that many great leaders have come from humble beginnings. Perhaps what gives someone the strength and integrity to lead well isn’t so different from what it takes to be a good herd boy.

Read more about the book here on EerdWord.

Come Sunday
Come Sunday

Come Sunday
Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Michael Bryant

Come Sunday, Mommy wakes me up with whispers.
LaTasha, honey, she says to me,
Time to shed dawn’s cozy quilt.
Come on, Sweet Pea. Open up those eyes. . .

Softly, quietly begins the day of the week that, for LaTasha, is always full of glorious sounds: the pipe organ, tambourine, and drum; the footfalls of ushers marching down the aisle of the sanctuary; the sweet harmonies of the choir; and the rich vibrato of the preacher’s voice. LaTasha sings along with the congregation, confident that Heaven hears each joyful note.

Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, Nikki Grimes’ poems and the lush tapestry of colors in Michael Bryant’s illustrations celebrate a day of worship viewed through the eyes of an exuberant little girl.

Four Feet, Two Sandals
Four Feet, Two Sandals

Four Feet, Two Sandals
Written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed
Illustrated by Catherine Stock

When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one.

As the girls go about their routines — washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America — the sandals remind them that friendship is what is most important.

Four Feet, Two Sandals was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. With warm colors and sensitive brush strokes, this book portrays the strength, courage, and hope of refugees around the world, whose daily existence is marked by uncertainty and fear.

The Lord's Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer
By Tim Ladwig

Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed by your name. . .

The beloved words of The Lord’s Prayer serve as the text for this remarkable book, in which Tim Ladwig illustrates how the words of this ancient prayer can have real meaning in our lives today.

In Tim’s paintings, a young girl and her father spend a day together helping an elderly neighbor. The love and guidance the child experiences in her relationship with her dad reflect the heart and will of our Heavenly Father in concrete ways children of all ages will understand.

(And One More, Just Because . . . )

Editor’s note: the following title won’t be released until next spring, but we’re so excited about it that we can’t resist the opportunity to tell you about it here anyway.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
Written by Chris Barton
Illustrated by Don Tate

Coming in April 2015, but available for preorder now. 

John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era. He was appointed to serve as justice of the peace and was eventually elected into the United States Congress.

This biography, with its informative backmatter and splendid illustrations, gives readers an in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the first African-American congressmen.