“Jabari Jumps,” written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. Jabari conquers his fears of jumping off the diving board. My 3-year-old daughter often references the book, saying, “I’ll be brave like Jabari.” — Kellee M., Brooklyn, N.Y.
“The Ugly Vegetables,” by Grace Lin. This story features an Asian American family planting a garden. It connects culture, food and families. I love that it’s about vegetables because it’s usually the kids’ least favorite food. So, it lends itself to many different conversations. — Linda Quan, San Diego
“Be Good to Eddie Lee,” written by Virginia Fleming, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. The main character in this book, Eddie Lee, has Down syndrome. His neighbor, Christy, learns to appreciate Eddie Lee’s differences as they visit a magical pond together. I love this book because it allows readers to truly step inside the characters’ shoes. — Anne Chalcraft, Shoreline, Wash.
On-their-own-ers (7 to 10)
“The Sign of the Seahorse,” written and illustrated by Graeme Base. About the danger of pollution. Also beautifully illustrated. The book rhymes so it is fun to read aloud in a group. — Jennifer Strabley
“The Hundred Dresses,” written and illustrated by Eleanor Estes. It has stuck with me all my life. Published in 1944, it is a timeless tale of the power of teasing and bullying, and the feeling of shame when the protagonist doesn’t stand up for an outsider. While the details of children’s lives today are different, the problems and emotions are the same. — Sylvia Rortvedt, Arlington, Va.
“Guts,” and other graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. My daughter is a dyslexic fifth grader. She plowed through each of these books in a day or two. They were engaging, relevant and accessible. — Kim Swords, Foster City, Calif.
And the big kids (11+)
“Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky,” by Kwame Mbalia. This book has everything: adventure, folklore, Black history, a hilarious sidekick, difficult choices, and a how-to on dealing with guilt and grief. The story burns itself into your memory. — B. Sharise Moore, Baltimore