Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Bibliography recommended at the ANYSEED conference held at Mount Saint Mary College, 2014

Engaging Challenging Youth with Children’s and Young Adult Literature
APRIL 1, 2014

“Mirror” and “Window” Books for Children and Youth with Emotional Disturbance

prepared by Jane M. Gangi, PhD


This hand-out includes books I and others have used with children with emotional disturbance, as well as those that might be helpful. To explore possible “mirror” and “window” books we will use Sibberson and Szymusiak’s (2003) Check It Out! Circle, which is:

…another way to support book choice.  We use this activity when we want to highlight a certain author or genre.  If we notice that very few students have read a biography, for example, we will organize a…Circle to introduce them to some biographies that we hope they will choose to read independently.

Before we begin a …Circle, we collect the same number of books in the genre we are highlighting….as there are students in the class.  Then we have the children sit in a large circle on the floor.  We walk around the circle, give each child a book, and ask them to silently preview the book.  After just a minute, we ring a bell and have the children pass the book to the child on their right.  We continue doing this until every child has had a chance to briefly look at each book.  We limit the amount of time because it gives students just enough time to find something interesting, but not enough time for them to read the books.  As a result, they are often eager to get their hands on the books that particularly interested them.

Following the activity, we usually ask two questions: “Which books did you see that you want to go back to during independent reading time?” and “How did you go about previewing the book in such a short time?” (p. 95)


Adedjouma, Davida, (Ed.), & Christie, R. Gregory. (Illus.). (1996). The palm of my heart: Poetry by African American children. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description: A collection of poems written by African American children celebrating what it means to be Black.






Brown, Monica, & John Parra (Illus.). (2005). My name is Gabriela: The life of Gabriela Mistral/Me llamo Gabriela: La vida de Gabriela Mistral. Flagstaff, AZ: Luna Rising.

WorldCAT description: Gabriela Mistral loved words, sounds and stories. Born in Chile, she would grow to become the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. As a poet and a teacher, she inspired children across many countries to let their voices be heard.





Campbell, Bebe Moore, and E. B. Lewis. (2003). Sometimes my mommy gets angry. New York, NY: Putnam’s.

WorldCAT description: A little girl learns coping skills with the help of her grandmother, neighbors and school friends, when her mother’s mental illness disrupts her daily routine.






Cotin, Menena, & Rosana Faria (Illus.). (2006/2009). The black book of colors. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books.

WorldCAT description: This title invites readers to imagine living without sight through remarkable illustrations done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers.


Croza, Laurel, & Matt James (Illus.). (2010). I know here. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books.

WorldCAT description:  A tale about a young girl whose family moves from the forests of northeastern Saskatchewan to a strange new place called ‘Toronto’.






Crutcher, Chris.  (2003).  King of the mild frontier: An ill-advised autobiography.  New York, NY: Greenwillow.

WorldCAT description:  Chris Crutcher, author of young adult novels such as “Ironman” and “Whale Talk,” as well as short stories, tells of growing up in Cascade, Idaho, and becoming a writer.




Dorris, Michael. (1992). Morning girl. New York, NY: Hyperion.

WorldCAT description:  Morning Girl, who loves the day, and her younger brother Star Boy, who loves the night, take turns describing their life on an island in pre-Columbian America; in Morning Girl’s last narrative, she witnesses the arrival of the first Europeans to her world.






Duncan, Lois, & Shonto Begay (Illus.). (1996). The magic of spider woman. New York, NY: Scholastic.

WorldCAT description:  Retells the Navajo tale of how a stubborn girl learns from the Spider Woman how to keep life in balance by respecting its boundaries.






Elliott, Zetta, & Shadra Strickland (Illus.). (2008). Bird. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  Bird, an artistic young African American boy, expresses himself through drawing as he struggles to understand his older brother’s drug addiction and death, while a family friend, Uncle Son, provides guidance and understanding.






Ellis, Deborah. (2000). The breadwinner. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books.

WorldCAT description:  Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women’s freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father’s arrest.







Ellis, Deborah. (2004). Three wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books.

WorldCAT description:  Deborah Ellis presents stories of the children of Israel and Palestine based on interviews done in the winter of 2002 while in Israel and Palestine. –from publisher description.







Erdrich, Louise. (1999). The birchbark house. New York, NY: Hyperion. Great Lakes, 1847.

WorldCAT description:  Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847







Gunning, Monica, & Elaine Pedlar (Illus.). (2004). A shelter in our car. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.

WorldCAT description:  Since she left Jamaica for America after her father died, Zettie lives in a car with her mother while they both go to school and plan for a real home.






Hale, Christy. (2009). The east-west house: Noguchi’s childhood in Japan. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description: “A biography of Isamu Noguchi, Japanese American artist, sculptor, and landscape architect, focusing on his boyhood in Japan, his mixed heritage, and his participation in designing and building a home that fused Eastern and Western influences.






Halilbegovich, Nadja. (2006). My childhood under fire: A Sarajevo diary. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press.

WorldCAT description:  Nadja Halilbegovich could be any twelve-year-old: she enjoys school, singing, and being with friends in Sarajevo. One spring morning in 1992 school is cancelled; the next day sniper fire and explosions drive Nadja, her family and neighbors to the basement. The siege of Sarajevo has begun.






Hayes, Joe, & Antonio Castro L. (Illus.). (2006). The gum chewing rattler. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos.

WorldCAT description:  A tall tale of a boy whose chewing gum habit saves him from a rattlesnake’s bite.







Herrera, Nicholas, as told to Elisa Amada, & John T. Denne (Photographer). (2011). High riders, saints and death cars: A life saved by art. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood Books.

WorldCAT description:  The folk artist describes his life and how he left his wild life behind after surviving a near-fatal car accident to follow in his family’s footsteps to create paintings and sculptures of saints and scenes from the Bible with a modern-day interpretation.






Hesse, Karen. (1997). Out of the dust. New York, NY: Scholastic.

WorldCAT description:  In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.







Hoffman, Mary, & Karin Littlewood (Illus.). (2002). The colour of home. London, England: Frances Lincoln.

WorldCAT description:  Hassan, newly-arrived in England and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.






Hubbard, Crystal, & Randy DuBurke (Illus.). (2005). Catching the moon: The story of a young girl’s baseball dream. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  “A picture book biography highlighting a pivotal event in the childhood of African American baseball player Marcenia “Toni Stone” Lyle Alberga, the woman who broke baseball’s gender barrier by becoming the first female roster member of a professional Negro League team”–Provided by publisher.





Jiménez, Francisco. (2001). Breaking through. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

WorldCAT description:  Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education.






Khan, Rukhsana, & Ronald Himler (Illus.). (1998). The roses in my carpets. York: Holiday.

WorldCAT description:  When a young boy and his mother and sister come to a refugee camp to escape the war in Afghanistan, he finds some comfort in the beauty of the carpets he is learning to weave.






Leaf, Munro, & Robert Lawson (Illus.). (1936). The story of Ferdinand. New York, NY: Viking.

WorldCAT description: Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.






Lofthouse, Liz, & Robert Ingpen (Illus.). (2007). Ziba came on a boat. La Jolla, CA: Kane/Miller.

WorldCAT description:  Based on real events is the moving story of a little girl whose family has lost almost everything. This beautiful picture book takes us on her brave journey to make a new life far from home.





Marx, Trish, & Ellen B. Sensi (Photographs). (2007). Steel drumming at the Apollo: The road to super top dog. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  “Photo-essay about a high school steel drum band from upstate New York, that participated in a series of talent competitions for a chance to win Super Top Dog on Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Includes a CD of the band performing”–Provided by publisher.





Mora, Pat, & Raul Colón (Illus.). (1997). Tomás and the library lady. New York, NY: Knopf.

WorldCAT description:  While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomás finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library.






Myers, Walter Dean, & Christopher Myers (Illus.). (1999). Monster. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.







Naidoo, Beverly. (1988). Journey to Jo’burg: A South African story. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Separated from their mother by the harsh social and economic conditions prevalent among blacks in South Africa, thirteen-year-old Naledi and her younger brother make a journey of over 300 kilometers to find her in Johannesburg.







Neri, G., & Jesse Joshua Watson (Illus.). (2007). Chess rumble. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  Branded a troublemaker due to his anger over everything from being bullied to his sister’s death a year before, Marcus begins to control himself and cope with his problems at home and at his inner-city school when an unlikely mentor teaches him to play chess.






Polacco, Patricia. (1998). Thank you, Mr. Falker. New York, NY: Philomel.

WorldCAT description:  At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.






Robinson, Anthony, & June Allan (Illus.). (2009). Hamzat’s journey: A refugee diary. London, England: Frances Lincoln.

WorldCAT description:  Hamzat, a boy from Chechnya, stepped on a landmine  2001 when Chechens were at war with Russia. It caused so much damage that his leg had to be amputated and his family had to seek asylum in Britain to escape persecution and war.






Rodríguez, Luis J., & Daniel Galvez. (1999).  It doesn’t have to be this way:  A barrio tory/No tiene que ser así:  Una historia del barrio.  San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.

A boy who becomes involved with a gang learns to make different choices when a cousin he loves is hurt. 4-8






Ryan, Pam Muñoz. (2000). Esperanza rising. New York, NY: Scholastic.

WorldCAT description:  Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.






Schroeder, Alan, & JaeMe Bereal (Illus.). (2009). In her hands: The story of sculptor Augusta Savage. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  A biography of African American sculptor Augusta Savage, who overcame many obstacles as a young woman to become a premier female sculptor of the Harlem Renaissance. Includes an afterword about Savage’s adult life and works, plus photographs”–Provided by publisher.






Shin, Sun Yung, & Kim Cogan (Illus.). (2004). Cooper’s lesson. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.

WorldCAT description:  When Cooper, a biracial Korean-American boy, feels uncomfortable trying to speak Korean in Mr. Lee’s grocery, his bad behavior eventually leads to a change in his attitude.






Smith, David J., & Shelagh Armstrong (Illus.) (2011). If the world were a village: A book about the world’s people (2nd ed.). Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press.

WorldCAT description:  Comparing the world population to a village of 100 persons, the author reveals such facts as the languages of the village, how much each earns, if the person is literate, has a television and has enough to eat.






Steptoe, Javaka. (1997). In daddy’s arms I am tall: African Americans celebrating fathers. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  A collection of poems celebrating African-American fathers.






Sullivan, Charles, Ed. (1991). Children of promise: African-American literature and art for young people. New York, NY: Abrams.

WorldCAT description:  Poems, prose, photographs, and paintings explore the African-American experience as seen through art and literature by blacks or about black subjects. From slavery and colonial times through the Civil Rights Movement and up to the present, the African-American experiences is vividly evoked through nearly 100 poems, songs, and text excerpts in this beautiful introduction to a fascinating culture designed for young




Swamp, Chief Jake (Tekaronianeken), & Erwin Printup, Jr. (Illus.). (1995). Giving thanks: A Native American good morning message. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  A Native American thanksgiving address, offered to Mother Earth in gratitude for her bounty and for the variety of her creatures, including human beings, is presented by a contemporary Mohawk chief who has delivered the address around the world.






Tryszynska-Frederick, Luba, Michelle R. McCann, & Ann Marshall (Illus.). (2003). Luba: The angel of Bergen-Belsen. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle.

WorldCAT description:  A biography of the Jewish heroine, Luba Tryszynska, who saved the lives of more than fifty Jewish children in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the winter of 1944/45.





Vander Zee, Ruth, & Roberto Innocenti (Illus.). (2003). Erika’s story. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions.

WorldCAT description:  A woman recalls how she was thrown from a train headed for a Nazi death camp in 1944, raised by someone who risked her own life to save the baby’s, and finally found some peace through her own family.





Williams, Mary, & R. Gregory Christie (Illus.). (2005). Brothers in hope: The story of the lost boys of Sudan. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.




Woodson, Jacqueline. (2000). Miracle’s boys. New York, NY: Putnam’s.

WorldCAT description:  Twelve-year-old Lafayette’s close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.







Yoo, Paula, & Dom Lee (Illus.). (2005). Sixteen years in sixteen seconds: The Sammy Lee story. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books.

WorldCAT description:  “A biography of Korean American diving champion Sammy Lee, focusing on how his childhood determination and his father’s dreams set the stage for a medical career as well as his athletic achievements which earned him Olympic gold medals in 1948 and 1952”–Provided by publisher.






Zwerger, Lisbeth, & Elizabeth D. Crawford (Trans.). (1988). Hansel and Gretel. Saxonville, MA: Picture Book Studio.

WorldCAT description:  When they are left in the woods by their parents, two children find their way home despite an encounter with a wicked witch.



African American Literature: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/

A Celebration of Identity: Black Men and Boys in Children’s and Young Adult Literature—a 283 book: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/


Bibliography for A Celebration of Identity: 283 books about Black men and boys: http://www.ctreading.org/journal/resources


The Brown Book Shelf: http://thebrownbookshelf.com/

American Indian Literature (links): http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/

Asian American Children’s Literature (links): http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/

Diversifying Appendix B of the Common Core: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature

Hispanic Children’s Literature (links): http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/


Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Books Awards: http://www.janeaddamspeace.org/jacba/


National and International Awards: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/

Teaching Writer’s Craft with Multicultural and Diverse Literature: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/


War and Disaster: Annotated Bibliography of Children’s Literature Resources on War, Terrorism, and Disaster Since 1945: http://cell.msmc.edu/literature/




Sibberson, F & Szymusiak, K.  (2003).  Still learning to read: Teaching students in grades 3-6.  Portland, ME: Stenhouse.