Using Diverse Books with ELLs: A Guide for Educators

If you teach English language learners (ELLs) and immigrant students, you may be wondering how to choose books that reflect your students' experiences, cultures, and languages. You may also wonder how to choose books at an appropriate reading and language level for your students.

You are in the right place! This guide offers numerous practical resources and tips for finding books for your students, as well as ideas on how to expand access to diverse books for all students.

Image: Middle school student Nabila Nasir in Dearborn, MI reads A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.

What's in This Guide

This guide includes the following sections:

Getting started

Diverse books recommendations

Books in the classroom and beyond

Voices from the field

Video interviews

Authors, Contributors, and Featured Voices


This guide was developed by Dr. Tracey Flores (University of Texas at Austin) and Dr. Sandra Osorio (Illinois State University) in collaboration with Colorín Colorado.

The guide also features the contributions and scholarship of the following experts:

  • Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Ohio State University
  • Dr. Ayanna Cooper, ELL Expert
  • Dr. Cathy Gutierrez-Gomez, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Nancy Cloud, Rhode Island College
  • Dr. Yvonne Freeman, University of Texas at Brownsville
  • Dr. David Freeman, University of Texas at Brownsville


Numerous books by different authors are featured throughout the guide and on the recommended booklists. In addition, the perspectives and work of the following authors are included:

  • Hena Khan
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Grace Lin
  • Tracey Baptiste
  • Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Juana Martinez-Neal
  • Joseph Bruchac
  • Pat Mora
  • Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Ellen Oh
  • Rukhsana Khan


This project was created with the support of our founding partner, the American Federation of Teachers.

Additional support was also provided by the National Education Association.