I Am Malala

I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”  Malala Yousafzai was raised to stand up for what she believes. She took this to heart as her conviction was severely challenged when the Taliban took control of her formally peaceful town. Despite their tactics of fear and violence, Malala continued to stand … Read more

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming is the memoir-in-verse of acclaimed novelist, Jacqueline Woodson. A book rich in personal memories and unforgettable phrasing, it will be enjoyed by a wide range of students and their families. Growing up in Ohio, South Carolina, and then Brooklyn, Woodson uses a series of elegantly wrought poems to paint a richly layered … Read more

Niagara Falls, Or Does It?

Hank Zipzer - Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver

The Hank Zipzer series is the creation of Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonz, from Happy Days). He began the series to give voice to his own struggles in school when he was a child with dyslexia. So he created Hank Zipzer – “the world’s greatest underachiever.” Yes, Hank struggles with the technical aspects of school … Read more

Save Me a Seat

Sarah Weeks - Save me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan

On the surface, Save Me a Seat is book about bullying. But there is so much more. It’s a book about different perspectives, told by two boys from different cultures. It’s a book about friendship. It’s a book about classroom dynamics. It’s a book about Indian food! Ravi’s family has just immigrated from India. He … Read more

EllRay Jakes Is a Rock Star!

Ellray Jakes is a rockstar - Sally Warner

Meet EllRay Jakes, the young protagonist of Sally Warner’s fun, quick-reading series. Meet his parents, sister, and classmates – and take a peek behind the curtain of life in third grade. In the entertaining second book of the series, we find EllRay in the middle of a common school crisis – popularity. Everyone is bragging … Read more

Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up

Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix Up - Melissa Thomson

In Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up, we meet Keena as she starts a new school year with all the excitement and apprehension it brings. She tells us all about it through the entries in her brand new journal, so we experience all of her thoughts and emotions first hand. Like the heroines in many … Read more

Holes

Holes - Louis Sachar

Newbery Medal-winning Holes is a rich, complex book that has already engaged a generation of readers. It is sure to provide a wealth of spirited discussion and fun activities when you read it school-wide. At its heart, Holes is the story of Stanley Yelnats, a boy wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to spend … Read more

Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising - Pam Munoz Ryan

What better way to learn history than through the eyes of a beloved character as she experiences it firsthand? Esperanza Ortega guides us through her beautiful coming-of-age story in the 1930s. With the effects of the Mexican Revolution and the Great Depression lingering in her hometown of Aguascaleintes, Mexico, the wellborn Esperanza goes from anticipating … Read more

Ghost

Ghose - Jason Reynolds

Castle (“Ghost”) Cranshaw remembers the night he learned how to run… “The sound was big, and sharp enough to make me feel like my brain was gonna pop in my head, enough to make my heart hiccup. But the craziest thing was, I felt like the shot – loudest sound I ever heard – made … Read more

Project Mulberry

Project Mulberry - Linda Sue Park

Like most seventh-grade girls, Julia Song just wants to be seen as normal. That’s hard to do when her family is the only Korean one in town, and her best friend, Patrick, has an enthusiasm for Korean culture that sometimes makes Julia think he needs to “get his DNA tested.” It’s bad enough that he … Read more

A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water - Linda Sue Park

“A step at a time. One problem at a time—just figure out this one problem.” Linda Sue Park tells a story of perseverance, a story of hope, a story taken from recent history. A Long Walk to Water is Salva Dut’s story, but it’s also a story of so many others who are born into dire … Read more

The Toothpaste Millionaire

The Toothpaste Millionaire

“Rufus’s idea wasn’t to become a millionaire. Just to make toothpaste…” Rufus Mayflower is a can-do kid. He is a sunny problem-solver who charms and inspires the students and friends and even adults around him. When Rufus balks at paying too much for toothpaste, he decides to make his own. When he discovers how easy … Read more

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suarez Changes Gears - Meg Medina

Introducing… Merci Suárez! She is fun, spunky, ambitious, mature (and sometimes immature) – making for one highly representative middle-schooler. Merci’s story is one of change, of accepting the hard truths in life and the bumps along the road. Hers is also the story of a loving family that helps during this tricky time. Join Merci … Read more

Drita, My Homegirl *

Drita My Homegirl - Jenny Lombard

“It’s better to have one true friend than a million others.”  Drita and her family are refugees from war-torn Kosovo. Once they have settled in America, all Drita wants to do is fit in. She’s got heart and determination in spades, but Drita speaks very little English and making friends is easier said than done.  … Read more

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin

“Our house is bare and our rice hardly fills our bowls, but we have plenty of stories.” Minli lives in the Valley of the Fruitless Mountain where she and her parents work tirelessly to put food on their table. Each night, Minli finds herself nourished by her father’s tales – especially the story of the … Read more

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a nonfiction title that informs, amazes, and inspires all readers, young and not so young. To call it another inspiring must-read doesn’t do it justice. Yes, it has all of the components of a heartfelt hometown hero story. An unlikely hero? Check. An against-all-odds situation? Check. Tragedy and … Read more

Refugee

Refugee - Alan Gratz

Three characters; separated by continents, divided by decades, and bound by harrowing circumstances that reach beyond time and place. The journeys of the three protagonists in Alan Gratz’s Refugee are distinct in history, yet they share a common trajectory of escaping cruelty to find freedom. Josef from Germany in the 1930s, Isabel from Cuba in … Read more

Ban This Book *

Ban this Book - Alan Gratz

We all know that student who loves books — really, really loves books. Amy Anne Ollinger is just that student. Her favorite place in the whole world is her school library, and her favorite book is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. You can imagine her shock when this book-loving girl finds … Read more

Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire

Cleo Edison Oliver - Playground Millionaire - Sundee T. Frazier

“You can do anything you want with your name. It’s yours.” Cleo Edison Oliver is confident, independent, and enterprising. She is ready to take on the world– and she is open for business. She’s also just a kid, a young African-American girl navigating elementary school. Amid her various enterprising business schemes this novel is also … Read more

Dog Days

Dog Days By Karen English

Dog Days brings together a new kid story, a dog story, a bullying story, and a dose of financial literacy – all in 122 illustrated pages. Gavin is a third grader adjusting to a new town and new school while trying to make new friends. His attempt to impress a potential new friend leads to … Read more

Dragons in a Bag

Dragon's in a Bag - Zetta Elliot

Dragons in a Bag is a much-needed contribution to the world of fantasy kidlit. It practically stands alone in a subgenre lacking characters of color. In fact, author Zetta Elliott intentionally wrote this book to add some representation to this space and show children that “magic can happen to anyone, anywhere—not just white kids in … Read more

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - Christopher Paul Curits

Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 is Christopher Paul Curtis’ Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning novel of a family’s life in Flint, Michigan and their summer journey to Birmingham, Alabama.  They take the trip in an effort to get the oldest child, Byron, to straighten up, hoping that a summer with Grandma … Read more

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy is the Newbery Award-winning follow-up to Christopher Paul Curtis’s acclaimed The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. It tells the story of Bud (not Buddy), a ten-year-old African-American boy in search of his father in Depression-era Michigan. Bud’s mother has died, landing him in the Home, an orphanage in Flint. When he … Read more

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech

“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” This familiar saying is the premise for Sharon Creech’s 1995 Newbery Medal winning Walk Two Moons. When we talk about books building empathy, this book is just what we are talking about. Creech masterfully weaves together three separate stories, each one compelling enough … Read more