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Books about Kindness and Unity

This summer, libraries around the county are celebrating stories of unity and kindness during Maricopa County Reads, your library’s Summer Reading program. Jump start your reading list with these reading recommendations celebrating togetherness, recommended by librarians across Maricopa County Library District! Don’t forget to sign up for Summer Reading, All Together Now, at maricopacountyreads.org for a summer full of reading and fun!


Say Hello! By Rachel Isadora

Follow little Carmelita and her dog, Manny, as they take a walk through their neighborhood and learn all the different ways there are to say “Hello!”

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Isadora’s fun and vibrant cut-paper illustrations bring the diversity of our communities to life. This picture book is a great introduction to greetings in other languages and even includes a pronunciation guide in the back.”

–Davina from the Southeast Regional Library

Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day By Carmen Agra Deedy & Pete Oswald

Rita and Ralph are best friends and neighbors who meet up each day to dance and play games, except one rotten day when one friend ends up hurt and both are left unhappy. Rita and Ralph need to learn to meet in the middle and heal their friendship.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “An excellent representation of the process of forgiveness and building healthy friendships. The author includes finger play to go with the story, which makes it especially fun to read aloud!”

–Lexis from the Southeast Regional Library


Places to Be By Mac Barnett

Explore all the places we are meant to be! Each page of this book celebrates our many emotions and various daily adventures.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This heartfelt story will help young readers understand the experience of life.”

–Brittany from the Southeast Regional Library

The Cot in the Living Room By Hilda Eunice Burgos

A family in the city has a cot ready for other kids in the building whose caregivers work at night. A young girl feels jealous that these kids get attention from her parents and can do things in her apartment she never gets to do. She begins to appreciate how scary it can be for other kids to sleep in this cot as she tries it out herself.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This book displays how amazing neighbors can create community and how children themselves can make others feel more included.”

–Katelyn from the El Mirage Library

1st- 3rd GRADE

We Belong By Laura Purdue Salas, Illustrated by Carlos Vélez Aguilera

“You and I, we’re alike, but we’re different too. That’s not good. That’s not bad. It’s just what is true.” Told in verse, We Belong explores and celebrates what makes us different and also what binds us together on our shared planet.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This is such an uplifting picture book, affirming that we all belong, just as we are. Aguilera’s rich illustrations, with a huge cast of characters, will make you want to spend lots of time soaking in each page.”

–Davina from the Southeast Regional Library

Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme By Monica Brown & Angela Dominguez

Lola Levine is a second grader who loves soccer and hates the color pink, so when a new girl joins her class who loves pink and all things girly, the two immediately are at odds. Lola’s mom comes up with a scheme that requires the two to walk in each other’s shoes, literally, and learn that they have more in common than they thought.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This book has a great message about learning to get along despite having different interests. I would recommend this series for readers who loved Junie B. Jones or Dork Diaries.”

–Lexis from the Southeast Regional Library

4th- 6th GRADE

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team By Christina Soontornvat

Using a mix of her own research and news briefs, the author crafts an exciting recounting of the rescue of the Wild Boards soccer team in Thailand in 2018. The book is meticulously made with colorful pictures and scientific diagrams.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “You end up becoming an almost expert in caves and cave diving. But, clearly, the heart of the book is in the community and the soccer team that banded together to save them and each other.”

–Katelyn from the El Mirage Library

Amina’s Voice By Hena Khan

Amina Khokar, a gifted, but shy singer, has just started middle school and is adjusting to fitting into her new school. When a traumatic event occurs at her family’s mosque, she learns about true friendship and that, despite a few people who may be hateful, the majority of people in her community are friendly, supportive, and want to help.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Amina is such a relatable character with her anxieties and self-doubts. She finds that her community is made up of good people, and that there are many people who are pulling for others and lifting each other up.”

–Jennifer from the Perry Library


They Both Die at the End By Adam Silvera

How would you spend your last day if you knew it was your last? This book uncovers the adventures of two people who are facing this exact question.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “It is an unforgettable journey about unity and love with this heart-rending novel.”

– Brittany from the Southeast Regional Library

Darius the Great is Not Okay By Adib Khorram

Darius Kellner is a typical American teenager, but he struggles with depression, and feels like he never fits in, both at home and at school. When his family travels to his mother’s native country, Iran to visit his grandparents, he finds that there is a place that he belongs, within his family, in the world, and as a friend.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “In this heartwarming book, Darius is a voice for teens that experience depression and anxiety, as he learns to cope with the challenges that he faces. The descriptions of Iran and its people are vivid and detailed allowing the reader a glimpse at the rich history of this country and the diversity of the people who live there.”

– Jennifer from the Perry Library



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