Books to Celebrate Newcomers to Charlotte


Charlotte, also known as The Queen City, is the beautiful and vibrant town we all have the privilege to call home. As the 17th-largest city in the United States, we welcome more than 42 new residents every day, according to U.S. Census data. Some come from across the state, others from across the country and some from across the world. To support our growing community, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is launching a new initiative – Welcome CLT. It focuses on supporting those new neighbors with information about schools, neighborhoods, local government and more. The Library will celebrate National Welcoming Week on Sept. 14 through Sept. 23 by launching a new website to provide information to newcomers.  


As a reader of Charlotte Parent Kid’s Blog, chances are you already live in the Charlotte metro area. In support of National Welcoming Week and our libraries guiding principle to be a welcoming place to all, we chose the following four book titles to prepare your family for the sometimes difficult task of welcoming someone who may look, sound or act differently than we do.

Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Best suited for ages 5 to 8.

Marie from Guatemala, Jin from Korea and Fatimah from Somalia are the new kids in school. New kids who arrive from another country can seem different. Children might wonder: Will I be able to talk with them? Do we have anything in common? What if I make a mistake? This book was a follow up to I’m New Here which tells this same story from the perspective of Marie, Jin and Fatimah. 

I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About A Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

Best suited for ages 5 to 8.

This wordless picture book illustrates the power of a simple act of kindness. The beautiful illustrations tell the story of Vanessa, a new student at school who a boy doesn’t treat well. Another classmate notices this and takes action by walking with Vanessa every day, soon to be followed by others in the class. The powerful illustrations show its audience how the actions of a single person can inspire an entire community.

Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard

Best suited for ages 5 to8.

Lila just moved to a new town and school. But at school, her classmates break her heart day after day as they make hurtful comments about the color of her hair, skin and eyes. In the end, she takes ownership of this new title and impresses everyone with a beautiful and majestic crow dress created for the class Halloween festival. Lila’s emotional journey tells the story of how beauty is often found in diversity.

Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson

Best suited for ages 7 to11.

Maya is the new girl in class and she’s from a low-income family. Chloe and the other classmates make fun of Maya because her clothes look old and dirty. When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizesshe and her friends have been unkind. Then one day, Maya is gone, and Chloe realizes her chance to show kindness to the new girl is gone forever. This story explores the difficult concept of what happens if you’re cruel to someone and never get the chance to make it right.

Upcoming programs to celebrate Welcome CLT:

The Hickory Grove branch will host a school lottery information session for new or old residents looking for more information on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools lottery application process, and the University City Regional branch will host a resource fair featuring specially selected vendors to support people moving to the University City neighborhood. 

Lonna Vines is the children’s librarian at the Hickory Grove branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She moved to Charlotte two years ago and is dedicated to making our local library a welcoming place for all.