Five Books to Buy for Kids

With diverse characters, these children's titles explore identity and social issues.

Next America often writes about how reading to children sets them on a path to success in education.

We picked out some titles that are worth sharing with young children.

"Last Stop on Market Street"

By Matt de la Pena; Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Ages 3-5

(Penguin, $16.99)

The close relationship between grandparent and grandchild is reflected in this title set in a gritty urban setting. The main character, CJ, learns to find beauty in unexpected places.

"Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation"

By Edwidge Danticat; Illustrated by Leslie Staub

Ages 5-8

(Dial Books, $17.99)

The difficult topic of immigration policy is addressed through the story of Saya and her father, who are fighting to get her mother released from a detention center. In the book, Saya, who misses her mother, writes to the media for help.

"Double Happiness"

By Nancy Tupper Ling; Illustrated by Alina Chau

(Chronicle Books, $16.99)

Ages 5-8

Gracie and Jake are moving across the country. This book, written in verse, helps children to understand change and the mixed emotions that come from leaving family and other things that are familiar.

"One Family"

By George Shannon; Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 17.99)

Ages 3-6

This interactive book explains how a single family can come in all shapes and colors—and can also cross gender and ethnic lines.

"Mixed Me"

By Taye Diggs; Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

(Feiwel & Friends, $17.99)

Ages 4-8

"Mixed-up Mike" and his big hair are the stars of this reflection on multicultural heritage. Written by stage and film actor Taye Diggs for his son, the book depicts Mike's parents answering their son's questions about his biracial identity, saying, "We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right."