6 Beautiful Books That Explore Diversity and Togetherness

A booklist that takes a closer look at the human spark that ties people together.

Dec 7, 2015
Special Collections: CONNECTING HEARTS
The Help by Kathryn Stockett book cover

Artists around the world have celebrated the motif of different people coming together over a common ground in moviesphotographs, songs – as well as books. From Pakistan and Israel, to the Wild West and the Deep South, these books are about lovers, friends, and companions who come together, against all odds. Joined by the forces of freedom, love, adventure and more, these six books tell the stories of unlikely duos who overcome their differences to create a connection.

1. THE HELP

BY: Kathryn Stockett
THE CONNECTION: Abileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter is a recent college graduate who belongs to a white socialite family. The two women join together to defy racial segregation and chronicle the lives of blacks maids in the south.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: The pursuit of equality.

2. THE LEMON TREE

BY: Sandy Tolan
THE CONNECTION: The year is 1967. Bashir Al-Khayri is a 25-year-old Palestinian who journeys to Israel to visit the home his family fled 19 years earlier. On his journey, he meets Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a 19-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. The two form a rare friendship that is tested by the ongoing conflict.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: A shared past.

3. UNDER A PAINTED SKY

BY: Stacey Lee
THE CONNECTION: It’s Missouri, 1849. Samantha’s dream is to become a professional musician – a difficult path for a Chinese girl. But when her dreams are dashed by a serious accident, Samantha decides to flee town. On her way west, she meets Annamae, a runaway slave. The two girls form a powerful bond as they journey on the Oregon Trail to America’s last frontier.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: Adventure.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee book cover

4. GIRLS LIKE US

BY: Gail Giles

THE CONNECTION: Though both graduates of their high school special education program, Quincy and Biddy couldn’t be any more different. Quincy is a go-getter, whereas Biddy is hesitant and timid. But when the two girls are assigned as roommates, they learn they have more in common than they thought and that, to make it in the ‘real world,’ they have to stick together.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: Adulthood.

5. WRITTEN IN THE STARS

BY: Aisha Saeed
THE CONNECTION: Naila’s parents are Pakistani immigrants who are adamant that Naila marry the man they chose for her. But Naila breaks the rule when she falls in love with Saif – and her parents are furious. When her parents take Naila to Pakistan to marry, Naila’s only hope is Saif.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: Love.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed book cover

6. THE INVENTION OF WINGS

BY: Sue Monk Kidd
THE CONNECTION: Handful is a slave for the Grimke household in 19th century Charleston, South Carolina who is determined to gain her freedom. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, also yearns for something more, but is restricted by the limits society imposes on women. As they both strive for a life of their own, the two learn they share a similar goal.
WHAT BRINGS THEM TOGETHER: The pursuit of freedom.

Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.
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