On the first Sunday in August, National Friendship Day encourages people across the country and world to connect with friends. Make a new friend or reconnect with an old one.
As an introvert, I've always been slow to make friends, but once I do, you're stuck with me for life. I'm also grateful for all of the online friends I've made through Tuma's Books.
Friendships form through shared identities, experiences, or values. Friends can really make life sweet and more bearable as you have people who understand you on different level than your family or significant other.
Here are some diverse books about friendship that highlight all of the diverse colors and flavors of true friendship. We have recs for adults, young adults, and middle schoolers in today's list. Check 'em out and let me know which titles you're read and enjoyed vs. titles you'd like to read next.
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Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith (Graphic Novel/Black)
A captivating graphic novel love letter to the beauty and endurance of Black women, their friendships, and their hair.
Wash Day Diaries tells the story of four best friends--Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie--through five connected short story comics that follow these young women through the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx.
The book takes its title from the wash day experience shared by Black women everywhere of setting aside all plans and responsibilities for a full day of washing, conditioning, and nourishing their hair. Each short story uses hair routines as a window into these four characters' everyday lives and how they care for each other.
The Next New Syrian Girl by Ream Shukairy (YA/Syrian)
About the unlikely friendship between two very different Syrian girls, the pressures and expectations of the perfect Syrian daughter, and the repercussions of the Syrian Revolution both at home and abroad.
Khadija Shami is a Syrian American high school senior raised on boxing and football. Saddled with a monstrous ego and a fierce mother to test it, she dreams of escaping her sheltered life to travel the world with her best friend.
Leene Tahir is a Syrian refugee, doing her best to adjust to the wildly unfamiliar society of a suburban Detroit high school while battling panic attacks and family pressures.
When their worlds collide the result is catastrophic. To Khadija, Leene embodies the tame, dutiful Syrian ideal she's long rebelled against. And to Leene, Khadija is the strong-willed, closed-off American who makes her doubt her place in the world.
But as Khadija digs up Leene's past, a startling and life-changing discovery forces the two of them closer together. As the girls secretly race to unravel the truth, a friendship slowly and hesitantly begins blooming. Doubts are cast aside as they realize they have more in common than they each expected. What they find takes them on a journey all the way to Jordan, challenging what each knows about the other and herself.
Grounded by Huda Al-Marashi, Aisha Saeed, S. K. Ali, and Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (MG/Muslim)
Told in alternating points of view, Grounded tells the story of one unexpected night that will change four kids forever.
When a thunderstorm grounds all flights following a huge Muslim convention, four unlikely kids are thrown together. Feek is stuck babysitting his younger sister, but he'd rather be writing a poem that's good enough for his dad, a famous poet and rapper. Hanna is intent on finding a lost cat in the airport--and also on avoiding a conversation with her dad about him possibly remarrying. Sami is struggling with his anxiety and worried that he'll miss the karate tournament that he's trained so hard for. And Nora has to deal with the pressure of being the daughter of a prominent congresswoman, when all she really wants to do is make fun NokNok videos. These kids don't seem to have much in common--yet.
A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong (YA Graphic Novel/ Hawaiian)
A gripping YA graphic novel about five principle players in a struggling girls' basketball team that is an ode to the dynamic nature of friendship.
One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren's messages to her friend go unanswered.
Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at their high school.
With Ren's new friends and Luna all on the basketball team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust.
The Girls in Queens by Christine Kandic Torres (Fiction/Latine)
About the furious loyalty of two Latinx (Puerto Rican & Colombian/Irish) women coming of age in Queens, New York that explores the unbreakable bonds of friendship, complications of sexual-abuse allegations within communities of color, and the danger of forgetting that sometimes monsters hide in plain sight.
Growing up in the '90s along Clement Moore Avenue in Queens, Brisma and Kelly are two young Latinas with an inseparable bond, sharing everything and anything with each other. The girls are opposites: Brisma is sweet, sensitive, and observant, whereas Kelly is free-spirited, flirtatious, and bold. But together, they binge on Sour Patch Kids, listen to Boyz II Men cassette tapes, and dance to Selena and Mariah Carey where no one can see them.
In high school, their friendship starts to form cracks when Brisma finds herself in a relationship with Brian, a charismatic baseball star. Brisma is thrilled to finally have something--someone--to herself. But Kelly wasn't built to be a third wheel.
Years later, the Mets begin a historic run for the playoffs, and Brisma and Kelly--now on the cusp of adulthood--reconnect with Brian after years of silence. But then Brian is charged with sexual assault. Brisma and Kelly find themselves on opposite sides of the accusation, viewing their past and past traumas from completely different vantage points, and the two lifelong friends will have to decide if their shared history is enough to sustain their future.
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I loved Wash Day Diaries and Grounded. Wash Day Diaries felt like home as a fellow Bronxite. Reading about these women's friendships made me think of my best friends and I finished the book with a hige smile on my face. Highly recommended.
Grounded is a great middle grade book with diverse Muslim rep. All 4 kids are Muslim, but in different ways. Young, Muslim students can see themselves in any of the characters. Also, other kids can see that Muslim kids aren't much different from them with similar struggles fitting in and communicating with their parents.
The other three titles are on my TBR.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Any faves or titles you hadn't heard about before? ⬇️