Indian No More book with a view of train tracks and downtown skyline

People + Places: A Book List for Kids

Launched in 2020, the Conservancy’s “People + Places” book lists celebrate stories about people, events, and diverse communities in L.A. and beyond! Curated for students of all ages, our book lists include diverse stories about exploring communities in Los Angeles. Each book recommendation is accompanied by a reading guide to help facilitate discussion and foster critical thinking in students.

2023 Book List Edition

We are grateful to the Young Adult Librarians from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Teen’Scape department who helped curate this year’s teen list and to members of the Southland Council of Teachers of English and L.A. Conservancy Volunteers who designed reading guides to accompany the books.

Elementary School (Ages 6+)

Written by Sophie Blackall
Reading Guide 
Journey through time at a Farmhouse and learn about the story of the family that once lived there. Based on a true story. 

Curve & Flow: The Elegant Vision of L.A. Architect Paul R. Williams 
Written by Andrea J. Loney
Reading Guide 
Learn how legendary architect Paul R. Williams overcame obstacles and designed buildings all over Los Angeles. 

Look Where We Live!: A First Book of Community Building
Written by Scot Ritchie
Reading Guide 
Follow five friends as they discover people and places that make their community great! 

Middle School (Ages 11+)

Take Back the Block
Written by Chrystal D. Giles
Reading Guide
Understand how 6th grader Wes works with his community to fight against neighborhood gentrification. 

Indian No More
Written by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell
Reading Guide
Explore what it means to be American when an Umpqua family is forced to leave their reservation and relocate to Los Angeles. 

When Winter Robeson Came
Written by Brenda Woods
Reading Guide
A lyrical story about community and family during the 1965 Watts Rebellion.  

High School (Ages 14+)

A Place at the Nayarit
Written by Natalia Molina
Reading Guide
First-hand accounts from family and community members highlight how a beloved restaurant became an important space for community and belonging. 

Overground Railroad (The Young Adult Adaptation): The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America 
Written by Candacy Taylor
Reading Guide
A social history representing how segregation influenced Black travel and migration in America. 

Interior Chinatown
Written by Charles Yu
Reading Guide
Written as a screenplay, the places and people are characters in this story about cultural identity, representation, and family. 

Major funding for the Los Angeles Conservancy’s educational programs is provided by the LaFetra Foundation and the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.