Q. My local service club would like to give children at the elementary school in town a book this holiday season. Most of the children are African American or Hispanic, and they are in grades from kindergarten to sixth grade. What can you suggest?
A. First and foremost, I'd suggest talking with the school librarian or your local public librarian to see what's popular in your town, or what books are on the local summer reading lists. In addition, you might want to review the lists linked from the ALA Library Fact Sheet 23: Recommended Reading. This fact sheet contains links to the most recent book lists in the news--especially award winners, followed by additional resources grouped by audience: books for children, young adults/teens, and adults. There are also links to lists for choosing reference books such as atlases and dictionaries, and for finding "read-alikes" for topics such as Harry Potter and Gossip Girl.
In addition, your local library might have some "reader's advisory" tools which have listings of many titles arranged by topic, grade level, etc. However, these may not be as recently published and thus, possibly not available in the quantities you need.