On May 1, responding to criticism of the lack of diversity among featured authors at BookCon, a grassroots coalition of authors and other book people launched a social media campaign, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, that quickly went viral. The folks at BookCon then invited members of the group to continue the conversation about the need for books that reflect the diversity of those reading them. “The World Agrees: #WeNeedDiverseBooks” panel discussion will kick off at 10 a.m. in Room 1E02 with five #WNDB team members discussing their ongoing campaign, followed by a dialogue among three guest authors renowned for embracing diversity in their own writing: Jacqueline Woodson, Grace Lin, and Matt de la Peña. Ahead of today’s panel, we asked each to recommend—and comment on—a book that is not one of their own that should be added to To Be Read lists, because the world agrees: we do need diverse books.

Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke, illus. by Lauren Tobia (Walker Books)

I think when some people think of diverse books, they think of characters that are exotic and unrelatable. But these books for the younger reader, featuring a young girl who lives in Africa, show how universal childhood experiences and emotions are, no matter where you live. Anna Hibiscus is sweet, wonderful, and charming—just how we wish childhood to be for everyone.—Grace Lin, author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (First Second Books)

A brilliant graphic novel that explores three separate narratives that come together in a satisfying way. This book explores race and culture both overtly and subversively, but it’s extremely entertaining, too. I recommend this to both kids and adults all the time.—Matt de la Peña, author of The Living

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick)

This book chronicles the arbitrary cause and corrosive effect of bullying on teen Piddy Sanchez. Told from Piddy’s perspective, this tale of her mounting terror over the title character’s taunts and eventual physical attacks is real and raw. One of the most powerful reads of your year, guaranteed.—Lamar Giles, author of Fake ID

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (S&S/Atheneum)

When I Was the Greatest is at once thought-provoking and original. I’ve never met characters like these before and fell in love with them immediately. Reynolds is someone to watch. I loved this book: I was blown away by it.—Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming

8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine)

8th Grade Superzero is deeply earnest and unafraid to overtly address complex social issues, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny and filled with lovable, relatable characters. Not everyone can pull off such a high-wire act, but Rhuday-Perkovich does it with aplomb.—Mike Jung, author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities

Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair (St. Martin’s/Dunne)

Zobair lets us into the lives of a group of Muslim American professional women dealing with job stresses, romance, and the pressures of balancing oneself as a fully realized individual while knowing the world often sees you as a representative for your entire religion and/or ethnicity. Most importantly, this novel has the #1 criterion for any good book: it is a well-written and complex story.—Aisha Saeed, author of Written in the Stars

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (Abrams/Amulet)

Every time Nolan Santiago blinks, he is transported into the mind of Amara, a mute servant girl in another world. It’s an amazing, clever YA fantasy that seamlessly incorporates characters of color, disabled characters, and queer characters—all of them informed by their diversity, but none of them defined by it—proving once more that fantasy is a perfect vehicle to explore all narratives.—Marieke Nijkamp, founder, DiversifYA

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray)

Whip smart, funny, and heartrendingly vulnerable, Cameron Post is an irresistible protagonist and one of the most finely rendered LGBT characters you’ll ever read. The Montana setting is stunning, the 1980s detail pitch-perfect. What I found most striking about the book, though, is its nuanced portrayal of a conversion therapy school, and how Danforth captures the breathless anxiety of young love.—I.W. Gregorio (moderator), author of None of the Above

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown)

My three daughters unanimously agreed that I should recommend Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Each of my girls could see themselves reflected back in Minli’s fierce determination, love for her family, and loyalty to her friends, but most of all, in their shared Asian heritage. It wasn’t just a story to them, it was a story about a girl who looked just like them. And it became their story.—Ellen Oh, Prophecy series