May 2017 #YearofYA – American Melting Pot Pairings


Ever been to one of those fancy dinners where each course comes with a specially paired glass of wine? Or maybe a funky beer-and-chocolate deal (I know Tavia was supposed to go to one of these… I crashed those plans!)? Well, this month’s #YearofYA plan is something special – take our theme of “American Melting Pot,” find a YA book about immigration or culturally mixed families/neighborhoods or refugees, and PAIR it with a juvenile book companion! For example, Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s about a girl (soon to be deported to Jamaica) and a boy (from a Korean-centric family) and how 1 day together can change the course of their lives. **Course… get it?!** While I loved this book, it’s definitely not appropriate for my elementary students, or my middle grade readers, or teachers who want a good picture book about families lives disrupted by deportation. Instead, I would recommend Gaby Lost and Found or Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.  See! Melting Pot + YA + Juvenile.


Be flexible! Be creative! We all have different tastes *pun* so make your pairing according to what would interest you and/or readers you personally know! #YearofYA doesn’t really like working according to a strict recipe (HAH!) — invite others to partake in the feast if you know anyone who might be interested!  


Also, realized belatedly how apropo “Melting Pot” is for this theme. Cue the rim shot.


Alright, here’s some of our suggestions, but we encourage you to find and make your own pairings too!


Easy way out:

Read American Street For #2jennsbookclub (meeting:  5/11) and find a juvenile title to go with it.



28 Books About Growing Up in America’s Cultural Melting Pot

11 YA Novels About the Immigrant Experience

10 YA Books That Reflect the US Immigration Experience

Finding Home: Immigrants and Refugees in Middle Grade Novels


Some more of our favorite YA/MG/Elementary “Melting Pot” titles to mix and match:

  • Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate (MG)
  • Emma’s Poem (EM)
  • Inside Out and Back Again (EM)
  • American Born Chinese (YA)
  • Dream Things True (YA)
  • Shooting Kabul (MG)
  • The Namesake (Adult)
  • Esperanza Rising (EM)
  • Brooklyn (Adult)