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Favorite Reads of 2023 - Adults
Once upon a time, if you wanted to know if a movie was worth seeing, you didn’t check out Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB.
You asked whether Siskel & Ebert had given it “two thumbs up.”
On a cold Saturday afternoon in 1975, two men (who had known each other for eight years before they’d ever exchanged a word) met for lunch in a Chicago pub. Gene Siskel was the film critic for the Chicago Tribune. Roger Ebert had recently won the Pulitzer Prize—the first ever awarded to a film critic—for his work at the Chicago Sun-Times. To say they despised each other was an understatement.
When they reluctantly agreed to collaborate on a new movie review show with PBS, there was at least as much sparring off-camera as on. No decision—from which films to cover to who would read the lead review to how to pronounce foreign titles—was made without conflict, but their often-antagonistic partnership (which later transformed into genuine friendship) made for great television. In the years that followed, their signature “Two thumbs up!” would become the most trusted critical brand in Hollywood.
In Opposable Thumbs, award-winning editor and film critic Matt Singer eavesdrops on their iconic balcony set, detailing their rise from making a few hundred dollars a week on local Chicago PBS to securing multimillion-dollar contracts for a syndicated series (a move that convinced a young local host named Oprah Winfrey to do the same). Their partnership was cut short when Gene Siskel passed away in February of 1999 after a battle with brain cancer that he’d kept secret from everyone outside his immediate family—including Roger Ebert, who never got to say goodbye to his longtime partner. But their influence on in the way we talk about (and think about) movies continues to this day.
Poverty, by America
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a “provocative and compelling” (NPR) argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it.
“Urgent and accessible . . . Its moral force is a gut punch.”—The New Yorker
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Oprah Daily, Time, Chicago Public Library
Winner of the Inc. Non-Obvious Book Award • Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages?
In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.
Elegantly written and fiercely argued, this compassionate book gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. It also helps us imagine solutions. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia--where the truth isn't what it seems.
Founded by a mysterious genius, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera's lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.
Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process--and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he's been dreaming--which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The support staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group--known as Arrivalists--who may be fomenting revolution.
Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized--and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.
The Last Action Heroes
The behind-the-scenes story of the action heroes who ruled 1980s and ’90s Hollywood and the beloved films that made them stars, including Die Hard, First Blood, The Terminator, and more.
“This book takes you so close to the action that you can smell the sweat, cigar smoke, and bad cologne that brought these movies to life.”—Paul Scheer
A NEWSWEEK BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
The Last Action Heroes opens in May 1990 in Cannes, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone waltzing together, cheered on by a crowd of famous faces. After years of bitter combat—Stallone once threw a bowl of flowers at Schwarzenegger’s head, and the body count in Schwarzenegger’s Commando was increased so the film would “have a bigger dick than Rambo”—the world’s biggest action stars have at last made peace.
In this wildly entertaining account of the golden age of the action movie, Nick de Semlyen charts Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s carnage-packed journey from enmity to friendship against the backdrop of Reagan’s America and the Cold War. He also reveals fascinating untold stories of the colorful characters who ascended in their wake: high-kickers Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan, glowering tough guys Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal, and quipping troublemakers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis. But as time rolled on, the era of the invincible action hero who used muscle, martial arts, or the perfect weapon to save the day began to fade. When Jurassic Park trounced Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero in 1993, the glory days of these macho men—and the vision of masculinity they celebrated—were officially over.
Drawing on candid interviews with the action stars themselves, plus their collaborators, friends, and foes, The Last Action Heroes is a no-holds-barred account of a period in Hollywood history when there were no limits to the heights of fame these men achieved, or to the mayhem they wrought, on-screen and off.
All the Sinners Bleed
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • USA Today Bestseller • Washington Post’s The Twelve Best Thrillers of the Year • TIME’s 100 Must Read Books of the Year • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee • USA Today’s Best Reviewed Books of the Year • BookPage's Best Mystery of the Year • Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year • New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • Cover of the New York Times Book Review • Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List • The Financial Times’s Best Crime Books of the Year • ALA Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Longlist • SIBA’s 2024 Southern Book Prize Finalist • Starred Publishers Weekly • Starred Library Journal • Starred BookPage • Starred Booklist
“Fresh and exhilarating. . . Cosby keeps his eye on the story and the pedal to the metal.” —Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review
A Black sheriff. A serial killer. A small town ready to combust.
The new novel from New York Times bestselling and Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author S. A. Cosby, "one of the most muscular, distinctive, grab-you-by-both-ears voices in American crime fiction.” —Washington Post.
“An atmospheric pressure cooker.” —People
Titus Crown is the first Black sheriff in the history of Charon County, Virginia. In recent decades, quiet Charon has had only two murders. But after years of working as an FBI agent, Titus knows better than anyone that while his hometown might seem like a land of moonshine, cornbread, and honeysuckle, secrets always fester under the surface.
Then a year to the day after Titus’s election, a school teacher is killed by a former student and the student is fatally shot by Titus’s deputies. As Titus investigates the shootings, he unearths terrible crimes and a serial killer who has been hiding in plain sight, haunting the dirt lanes and woodland clearings of Charon.
With the killer’s possible connections to a local church and the town’s harrowing history weighing on him, Titus projects confidence about closing the case while concealing a painful secret from his own past. At the same time, he also has to contend with a far-right group that wants to hold a parade in celebration of the town’s Confederate history.
Charon is Titus’s home and his heart. But where faith and violence meet, there will be a reckoning.
Powerful and unforgettable, All the Sinners Bleed confirms S. A. Cosby as “one of the most muscular, distinctive, grab-you-by-both-ears voices in American crime fiction” (The Washington Post).
Named The Year's Best Graphic Novel by Publishers Weekly
Named one of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Best Books of 2023
Named a Best Book of 2023 by NPR
Named one of Kirkus' Best 2023 Books
Named one of the Washington Post's 10 best graphic novels of 2023
One of TIME Magazine's Must-Read Books of the Year
Shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2024
New York Public Library's Best New Comics of 2023 Top Ten Pick
Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2023 Top Ten Pick
Darrin Bell was six years old when his mother told him he couldn’t have a realistic water gun. She said she feared for his safety, that police tend to think of little Black boys as older and less innocent than they really are.
Through evocative illustrations and sharp humor, Bell examines how The Talk shaped intimate and public moments from childhood to adulthood. While coming of age in Los Angeles—and finding a voice through cartooning—Bell becomes painfully aware of being regarded as dangerous by white teachers, neighbors, and police officers and thus of his mortality. Drawing attention to the brutal murders of African Americans and showcasing revealing insights and cartoons along the way, he brings us up to the moment of reckoning when people took to the streets protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. And now Bell must decide whether he and his own six-year-old son are ready to have The Talk.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of Harlem Shuffle continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its seedy glory.
“Dazzling” –Walter Mosley, The New York Times Book Review.
It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It’s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him — until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated – and deadly.
1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists, and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters, and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook – to their regret.
1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole country is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. ("Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!"), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney’s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent, and the utterly corrupted.
CROOK MANIFESTO is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. Colson Whitehead’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem is sure to stand as one of the all-time great evocations of a place and a time.
Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education
From the New York Times bestselling author who inspired the hit Netflix series about a struggling mother barely making ends meet as a housecleaner--a gripping memoir about college, motherhood, poverty, and life after Maid.
When Stephanie Land set out to write her memoir Maid, she never could have imagined what was to come. Handpicked by President Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2019, it was called "an eye-opening journey into the lives of the working poor" (People). Later it was adapted into the hit Netflix series Maid, which was viewed by 67 million households and was Netflix's fourth most-watched show in 2021, garnering three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Stephanie's escape out of poverty and abuse in search of a better life inspired millions.
Maid was a story about a housecleaner, but it was also a story about a woman with a dream. In Class, Land takes us with her as she finishes college and pursues her writing career. Facing barriers at every turn including a byzantine loan system, not having enough money for food, navigating the judgments of professors and fellow students who didn't understand the demands of attending college while under the poverty line--Land finds a way to survive once again, finally graduating in her mid-thirties.
Class paints an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of motherhood as it converges and often conflicts with personal desire and professional ambition. Who has the right to create art? Who has the right to go to college? And what kind of work is valued in our culture? In clear, candid, and moving prose, Class grapples with these questions, offering a searing indictment of America's educational system and an inspiring testimony of a mother's triumph against all odds.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR • From the best-selling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a searing multi-generational novel—set in the 1980s in racially and politically turbulent Philadelphia and in the tiny town of Bonaparte, Alabama—about a mother fighting for her sanity and survival
"[A] powerful book.” —Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gilead • "Emotionally propulsive" – Oprah Daily • "Showcases Ayana Mathis's grace on the page, as writer, as storyteller. A book to be read and re-read." – Jesmyn Ward, author of Let Us Descend
From the moment Ava Carson and her ten-year-old son, Toussaint, arrive at the Glenn Avenue family shelter in Philadelphia 1985, Ava is already plotting a way out. She is repulsed by the shelter's squalid conditions: their cockroach-infested room, the barely edible food, and the shifty night security guard. She is determined to rescue her son from the perils and indignities of that place, and to save herself from the complicated past that led them there.
Ava has been estranged from her own mother, Dutchess, since she left her Alabama home as a young woman barely out of her teens. Despite their estrangement and the thousand miles between them, mother and daughter are deeply entwined, but Ava can't forgive her sharp-tounged, larger than life mother whose intractability and bouts of debilitating despair brought young Ava to the outer reaches of neglect and hunger.
Ava wants to love her son differently, better. But when Toussaint’s father, Cass, reappears, she is swept off course by his charisma, and the intoxicating power of his radical vision to destroy systems of racial injustice and bring about a bold new way of communal living.
Meanwhile, in Alabama, Dutchess struggles to keep Bonaparte, once a beacon of Black freedom and self-determination, in the hands of its last five Black residents—families whose lives have been rooted in this stretch of land for generations—and away from rapidly encroaching white developers. She fights against the erasure of Bonaparte's venerable history and the loss of the land itself, which she has so arduously preserved as Ava's inheritance.
As Ava becomes more enmeshed with Cass, Toussaint senses the danger simmering all around him—his well-intentioned but erratic mother; the intense, volatile figure of his father who drives his fledgling Philadelphia community toward ever increasing violence and instability. He begins to dream of Dutchess and Bonaparte, his home and birthright, if only he can find his way there.
Brilliant, explosive, vitally important new work from one of America’s most fiercely talented storytellers.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A young woman pretends to be someone she isn’t in this “spellbinding” (Vogue), “smoldering” (The Washington Post) novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls.
“Under Cline’s command, every sentence as sharp as a scalpel, a woman toeing the line between welcome and unwelcome guest becomes a fully destabilizing force.”—The New York Times
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, Chicago Public Library
“Alex drained her wineglass, then her water glass. The ocean looked calm, a black darker than the sky. A ripple of anxiety made her palms go damp. It seemed suddenly very tenuous to believe that anything would stay hidden, that she could successfully pass from one world to another.”
Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome.
A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city.
With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.
Taut, propulsive, and impossible to look away from, Emma Cline’s The Guest is a spellbinding literary achievement.
I Have Some Questions for You
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A twisty, immersive whodunit perfect for fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.” —People
"Spellbinding." —The New York Times Book Review
"[An] irresistible literary page-turner." —The Boston Globe
Named a Best Book of 2023 by USA Today, NPR, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, PopSugar, and CrimeReads
The riveting new novel — "part true-crime page-turner, part campus coming-of-age" (San Francisco Chronicle) — from the author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transﬁxing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A GLAMOUR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A hilarious new essay collection from Samantha Irby "engages readers with her characteristic combination of laugh-out-loud moments, heartfelt passages and plenty of awkward experiences.... Quietly Hostile will delight established fans and newcomers alike (Parade).
“Brilliant and one of the funniest people I’ve ever read.” —Roxane Gay • "The king of sparkling misanthropy and tender, loving dread." —Jia Tolentino
"Absolutely hilarious.... If you are feeling down, or you feel like you haven't read anything you've loved in a long time, all you need is Samantha Irby.... She will make you laugh on every page." —Emma Straub, bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow, on The Today Show
Samantha Irby’s career has taken her to new heights. She dodges calls from Hollywood and flop sweats on the red carpet at premieres (well, one premiere). But nothing is ever as it seems online, where she can crop out all the ugly parts.
Irby got a lot of weird emails about Carrie Bradshaw, and not only is there diarrhea to avoid, but now—anaphylactic shock. She is turned away from restaurants for being inappropriately dressed and looks for the best ways to cope, i.e., reveling in the offerings of QVC and adopting a deranged pandemic dog. Quietly Hostile makes light as Irby takes us on another outrageously funny tour of all the gory details that make up the true portrait of a life behind the screenshotted depression memes. Relatable, poignant, and uproarious, once again, Irby is the tonic we all need to get by.
A BEST BOOK from Vogue, Esquire, PopSugar, Glamour, The Skimm, and more
From science fiction visionary Annalee Newitz comes The Terraformers, a sweeping, uplifting, and illuminating exploration of the future.
Destry's life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her.
But the bright, clean future they're building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano.
As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she's devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E's future for generations to come.
A science fiction epic for our times and a love letter to our future, The Terraformers will take you on a journey spanning thousands of years and exploring the triumphs, strife, and hope that find us wherever we make our home.
"Brilliantly thoughtful, prescient, and gripping.”—Martha Wells, author of The Murderbot Diaries
Also by Annalee Newitz
The Future of Another Timeline
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
A best-selling journalist’s illuminating tour through the hidden legacies and modern realities of British empire that exposes how much of the present-day United Kingdom is actually rooted in its colonial past. Empireland boldly and lucidly makes the case that in order to understand America, we must first understand British imperialism.
"Empireland is brilliantly written, deeply researched and massively important. It’ll stay in your head for years.” —John Oliver, Emmy Award-winning host of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"
With a new introduction by the author and a foreword by Booker Prize-winner Marlon James
A best-selling journalist’s illuminating tour through the hidden legacies and modern realities of British empire that exposes how much of the present-day United Kingdom is actually rooted in its colonial past. Empireland boldly and lucidly makes the case that in order to understand America, we must first understand British imperialism. Empire—whether British or otherwise—informs nearly everything we do. From common thought to our daily routines; from the foundations of social safety nets to the realities of racism; and from the distrust of public intellectuals to the exceptionalism that permeates immigration debates, the Brexit campaign and the global reckonings with controversial memorials, Empireland shows how the pernicious legacy of Western imperialism undergirds our everyday lives, yet remains shockingly obscured from view.
In accessible, witty prose, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Sathnam Sanghera traces this legacy back to its source, exposing how—in both profound and innocuous ways—imperial domination has shaped the United Kingdom we know today. Sanghera connects the historical dots across continents and seas to show how the shadows of a colonial past still linger over modern-day Britain and how the world, in turn, was shaped by Britain’s looming hand. The implications, of course, extend to Britain’s most notorious former colony turned imperial power: the United States of America, which prides itself for its maverick soul and yet seems to have inherited all the ambition, brutality and exceptional thinking of its parent.
With a foreword by Booker Prize–winner Marlon James, Empireland is a revelatory and lucid work of political history that offers a sobering appraisal of the past so we may move toward a more just future.
Favorite Reads of 2023 - Kids
The Many Masks of Andy Zhou
“Another beautiful book by Jack Cheng.” —Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Award-winning author of Hello, Universe
Creative and brave sixth grader Andy Zhou faces big changes at school and at home in this new novel by the award-winning author of See You in the Cosmos, for fans of When You Trap a Tiger and The Stars Beneath Our Feet
Andy Zhou is used to being what people need him to be: the good kid for his parents and, now, his grandparents in from Shanghai, or the helpful sidekick for his best friend Cindy’s plans and schemes. So when Cindy decides they should try out for Movement on the first day of sixth grade, how can Andy say no? But between feeling out of place with the dancers after school, being hassled by his new science partner Jameel in class, and sensing tension between his dad and grandfather at home, Andy feels all kinds of weird. Then over anime, Hi-Chews, and art, things start to shift between Andy and Jameel, opening up new doors—and new problems. Because no matter how much Andy cares about his friends and family, it’s hard not to feel pulled between all the ways he’s meant to be, all the different faces he wears, and harder still to figure out if any of these masks is the real him.
“A joy and a journey.” —Tae Keller, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger
“Sincere . . . Perceptive . . . Captures the joys and complex anxieties of middle school.” —Kirkus
"Beautiful . . . Recommended for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Nicole Melleby." —SLJ
"Realistic . . . Compelling." —Booklist
"Beautifully and naturally depicts Chinese American family life and the first year of middle school” —Common Sense Media
“There’s an aching poignancy [that] will resonate with kids.” —BCCB
"Beautifully written, [with] complexity and nuance." —Book Riot
“Andy’s quiet courage and budding artistry have readers cheering him on.” —Paula Yoo, National Book Award longlisted-author of From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry
The Kindest Red
The sequel to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Proudest Blue shows the power of friendship and kindness, from Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad.
It's picture day and Faizah can't wait to wear her special red dress with matching hair ribbons, passed down from her mother and sister. Faizah's teacher starts the day by asking her students to envision the kind of world they want, inspiring Faizah and her friends to spend the day helping one another in ways large and small.
But when it's time for sibling pictures, Faizah realizes that she and her older sister, Asiya, don't match like her classmates do with their siblings. With help from her classmates inspired by Asiya's hijab, Faizah finds that acts of kindness can come back to you in unexpected ways.
From Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and fellow bestselling, award-winning creators S.K. Ali and Hatem Aly comes a heartfelt exploration of friendship, faith, and the joy of spreading kindness wherever you go.
Lo and Behold
Can a virtual reality headset help change the way twelve-year-old Addie looks at things?
Introducing an unforgettable graphic novel about connection, friendship, and the wonder all around us from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Mass and debut illustrator Gabi Mendez.
When you’re named after a 250-year-old tortoise, you grow up believing life is full of possibilities and wonder. But ever since Addie’s family got turned upside down, those things have been harder for her to see.
The last thing Addie wants to do is make a new friend, but when her dad’s summer job takes them across the country, she meets Mateo and finds herself caught up in an exciting project. With the help of a virtual reality headset, she’s suddenly scaling castle walls, dodging angry kittens, and seeing the world in whole new ways. Plus, she has an idea that could be bigger than anything she’s imagined before, but can she right some wrongs first . . . or is it too late?
The King Penguin
King Penguin is off to find subjects who will listen to him—as long as they don’t eat him first, in this cheeky tale by beloved author-illustrator Vanessa Roeder
Percival the King Penguin doesn’t think he’s asking for too much when he makes all the rules—he is a king after all. But he’s tired of the other penguins protesting, so he’s off to find subjects who are more obedient and supportive.
But it won't be the seals.
Or the whales.
And definitely not the rude sardines.
As Percival gets chased away by every new group of potential subjects, he’ll have to learn how to put his best flipper forward and live in a community, not a kingdom.
The Manifestor Prophecy
Internationally bestselling superstar author Angie Thomas makes her middle grade debut with the launch of an inventive, hilarious, and suspenseful new contemporary fantasy trilogy inspired by African American history and folklore.
It's not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool--like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much--like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor.
All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she's never heard of...to save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.
Sparrow Being Sparrow
An endearingly energetic fourth grader takes on the big job of finding new homes for her neighbor’s seven cats in this “uplifting” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) illustrated middle grade novel for fans of Patricia MacLachlan and Sharon Creech.
Sparrow Robinson loves to dance and leap around. She loves cats. She has a million questions about the world, and she’s not afraid to ask them. But she’s just moved to a new town and a new school, and her busy parents have no time for her to get “carried away.” Suddenly, she feels totally out of place.
Sparrow’s favorite thing in all this newness is her neighbor, Mrs. LaRose, who has seven cats and always has cookies and lemonade to share. But after Mrs. LaRose breaks her hip, she decides to move into assisted living—where the cats aren’t allowed! Sparrow has to help.
Determined to find new homes for the cats, Sparrow forgets about her own troubles—but her quest just might be the key to Sparrow finding a home for herself in this town, too.
Boys Don't Fry
Jin wishes his family would ask him to help prepare the Lunar New Year feast. But boys, or Babas, never get asked—only Nyonyas, the girls.
It’s the eve of Lunar New Year, and Jin can’t wait for the big family reunion dinner. He loves the aromas and the bubbly chatter coming from the kitchen. His grandmother, Mamah, is cooking up a storm!
As his aunties dice, slice, and chop, there’s nothing Jin wants more than to learn about the history of his family’s cooking and to lend them a helping hand. After all, no one else can tell the difference between ginger and galangal as well as he can! But his aunties shoo him away, claiming he’ll just get bored or be in the way. Luckily, Mamah steps in and asks Jin to help her prepare their special meal. Soon, Jin is squeezing, slicing, and stirring, too!
This loving picture book about a young Malaysian boy who defies gender expectations will make hearts warm and stomachs hungry. With beautifully vibrant illustrations of a traditional nyonya kitchen, Boys Don’t Fry is a heartfelt celebration of family, culture, and traditions—both old and new.
Elf Dog and Owl Head
From the singular imagination of National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson comes a magical adventure about a boy and his dog—or a dog and her boy—and a forest of wonders hidden in plain sight.
Clay has had his fill of home life. A global plague has brought the world to a screeching halt, and with little to look forward to but a summer of video-calling friends, vying with annoying sisters for the family computer, and tuning out his parents’ financial worries, he’s only too happy to retreat to the woods. From the moment the elegant little dog with the ornate collar appears like an apparition among the trees, Clay sees something uncanny in her. With this mysterious Elphinore as guide, he’ll glimpse ancient secrets folded all but invisibly into the forest. Each day the dog leads Clay down paths he never knew existed, deeper into the unknown. But they aren’t alone in their surreal adventures. There are traps and terrors in the woods, too, and if Clay isn’t careful, he might stray off the path and lose his way forever. Graced with evocative black-and-white illustrations by Junyi Wu, Elf Dog and Owl Head is heartfelt and exhilarating, wry and poignant, seamlessly merging the fantastic and the familiar in a tale both timely and timeless.
Mirror to Mirror
Rajani LaRocca, recipient of a Newbery Honor and Walter Award for Red, White, and Whole, is back with an evocative novel in verse about identical twin sisters who do everything together--until external pressures threaten to break them apart.
Maya is the pragmatic twin, but her secret anxiety threatens to overwhelm her.
Chaya is the outgoing twin. When she sees her beloved sister suffering, she wants to tell their parents--which makes Maya feel completely betrayed. With Maya shutting her out, Chaya makes a dramatic change to give her twin the space she seems to need. But that's the last thing Maya wants, and the girls just drift further apart.
The once-close sisters can't seem to find their rhythm, so they make a bet: they'll switch places at their summer camp, and whoever can keep the ruse going longer will get to decide where they both attend high school--the source of frequent arguments. But stepping into each other's shoes comes with its own difficulties, and the girls don't know how they're going to make it.
This emotional, lyrical story will speak to fans of Ali Benjamin, Padma Venkatraman, and Jasmine Warga.
Four Eyes: a Graphic Novel (Four Eyes #1)
A humorous and heartwarming middle-grade graphic memoir about fitting in, facing bullies, and finding the right pair of glasses.
Sixth grade isn't as great as Rex thought it would be. He's the only kid who hasn't had a growth spurt, and the bullies won't let him forget it. His closest friend is unreliable, at best. And there's a cute girl in his class, who may or may not like hiim back. With so much going on, everything is a blur -- including Rex's vision! So when he discovers that he needs glasses, and his family can only afford the ugliestpair in the store, any hope Rex had of fitting in goes completely out of focus.
In this true coming-of-age story, Rex has his sights set on surviving sixth grade, but now he's got to find a way to do it with glasses, no friends, and a family that just doesn't get it!
Now a New York Times bestseller, an Indie bestseller, and an Amazon Best Children's Book of 2023! From beloved authors Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko and with illustrations from Wallace West, Dogtown is at once an uplifting story and a page-turning adventure, sure to find a forever home in readers’ hearts.
Dogtown is a shelter for stray dogs, misbehaving dogs, and discarded robot dogs, whose owners have outgrown them.
Chance, a real dog, has been in Dogtown since her owners unwittingly left her with irresponsible dog-sitters who skipped town.
Metal Head is a robot dog who dreams of being back in a real home.
And Mouse is a mouse who has the run of Dogtown, pilfering kibble, and performing clever feats to protect the dogs he loves.
When Chance and Metal Head embark on an adventure to find their forever homes, there is danger, cheese sandwiches, a charging station, and some unexpected kindnesses along the way.
From Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan comes a relatable, funny, and heart-wrenchingly honest graphic novel about Muslim American siblings who must learn how to stop fighting and support each other in a world that is often unkind.
It's hard enough being a kid without being teased for a funny sounding name or wearing a hijab.
It's even harder when you're constantly fighting your sibling—and Zara and Zeeshan really can't stand each other. During a family trip to Florida, when the bickering, shoving, and insults reach new heights of chaos, their parents sentence them to the worst possible fate— each other’s company! But when the twins find an ailing turtle, it presents a rare opportunity for teamwork—if the two can put their differences aside at last.
A picture book by Caldecott medal winner Matt Cordell about a timid squirrel who makes a brave journey to help a relative who is ill.
Evergreen the squirrel is afraid of many things: thunder, hawks, and the dark paths of Buckthorn Forest. But when her mother tasks Evergreen with delivering soup to her sick Granny Oak, the little squirrel must face her fears and make the journey.
Along the way, Evergreen is met by other forest dwellers – some want to help her, but some want her mother’s delicious soup! It’s up to Evergreen to stay the course, and those who help her will surprise and delight young readers.
Using an art style reminiscent of the work of William Steig and Arnold Lobel, Matthew Cordell creates a classic tale of bravery and love.
When a celebrity chef's new restaurant threatens Mila's family's food truck, she plans to expose them for the recipe thieves they are--even if that means dabbling in the Filipino folk magic she's tried to avoid. Fans of Tae Keller and Lily LaMotte will cheer for this charming story about food, family, and finding the place you belong.
Mila may have moved to Coral Beach months ago, but it still doesn't feel like home. A few awkward incidents with her new friends make her wonder if she'll ever neatly fit into the super-samey small town.
The only place she can be herself is at her dad's Filipino-Indian food truck, The Banana Leaf. But when celebrity chef twins the Fab Foodie Brothers open a restaurant nearby, it turns out the food they are serving is exactly the same as The Banana Leaf's--right down to the recipes!
Mila realizes that she needs to take the Fab Foodie Brothers down before they run her family's tiny truck out of town. But that means dabbling in the Filipino magic that she has shied away from her whole life . . . as well as alienating her new friends.
Does Mila have to choose between her family and fitting in? Or, like the best recipes, will a blend of the traditional and the unexpected mix into something truly special?
Also by Tracy Badua:
- Freddie vs. The Family Curse
The Rhythm of Time
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
From the Academy Award–winning, Grammy-winning, and New York Times bestselling author Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and the New York Times bestselling author S. A. Cosby comes this thrill-a-minute novel—the first in a rollicking time-travel adventure series that’s perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.
Seventh grader Rahim Reynolds loves testing out the gadgets invented by his brilliant friend Kasia Collins. First there were the X-ray glasses and all the trouble they caused. Now there’s the new cell phone she built for his birthday, even though his parents won’t let him have one. But Rahim is excited to use the phone to search for videos of his favorite old-school rap group. What he doesn’t know is the phone has a special battery that interfaces with a secret government satellite, which spells trouble when the phone transports him back to 1997. Almost immediately, he learns what every time traveler before him has: Actions in the past jeopardize the future. With Kasia as his only lifeline to the present, Rahim works with her to get home unscathed, all the while dodging bullies (on his end) and suspicious government agents (on hers).
Philadelphia in the late nineties is a new world for Rahim and Kasia, but it is a familiar place for Questlove, who, alongside S. A. Cosby, delivers a high-velocity tale where two best friends discover that sometimes the best beat is the one that brings you back home.
Burt the Beetle Lives Here!
Everyone’s favorite june beetle learns about the many different places insects call home. Burt the Beetle wants to find the perfect home to settle down in. But what might that look like? Burt’s impressed as he checks out the homes of his insect friends - a monarch’s chrysalis, the ants’ underground tunnels, the bees’ hive. They’re amazing, they just don’t quite suit Burt’s size, his building skills - or his sticky legs! He’s starting to get discouraged. But when a rainstorm sends him scurrying for cover under a leaf, Burt begins to understand what home feels like for him! Bugs rule! Fact and fiction wrapped in hilarity will keep kids laughing while learning about insects!
Once Upon a Book
From Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Grace Lin and bestselling author Kate Messner comes a modern folktale about the joy of reading.
Once upon a time, there was a girl. She went to a place alive with colors, where even the morning dew was warm.
Alice loves to imagine herself in the magical pages of her favorite book. So when it flaps its pages and invites her in, she is swept away to a world of wonder and adventure, riding camels in the desert, swimming under the sea with colorful fish, floating in outer space, and more! But when her imaginative journey comes to an end, she yearns for the place she loves best of all.
Paired with vibrant illustrations, this lyrical, expressive story invites the reader to savor each page and indulge in the power of imagination.
Return to the world of devoted working dogs and the humans they love in a new book from the best-selling author of Stella.
Gus is a livestock guardian dog with one job--protecting his farm from coyotes and foxes. He likes keeping the sheep, the chickens, and his humans safe, and he's very good at it.
One day, Diego and his dad come to visit the farm, and Gus immediately connects to the small boy. They both like to sit still and enjoy the quiet, and Gus can tell that Diego likes being around a gentle giant of a dog, that it helps relieve the boy's constant worry.
When Gus detects the scent of a bear in the woods, he rushes to protect his flock, injuring his leg in a fight with the dangerous beast. Wounded, Gus needs to rest and heal away from his sheep, so he doesn't risk reinjuring his leg. Diego suggests Gus come home with them to the North Carolina coast.
Suddenly, Gus is thrust into a new world of saltwater and sand and neighbors who don't appreciate the presence of a large guard dog, like the neighbor who reminds Gus of his first owner--the junkyard man with the heavy boots.
Gus realizes Diego might need a friend as much as his sheep need a protector, but if he can't learn to control his instincts, like barking and patrolling the neighborhood, Gus might lose his chance to stay in his new home. If he can't protect the farm or his boy, Gus worries he might never find his place in the world.
Just Gus is a tender story of belonging and of two friends who learn they are better together than they were alone.
Once There Was
A New York Times bestseller!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them meets Neil Gaiman in this “striking and heartfelt” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about an Iranian American girl who discovers that her father was secretly a veterinarian to magical creatures—and that she must take up his mantle, despite the many dangers.
Once was, once wasn’t.
So began the stories Marjan’s father told her as a little girl—fables like the story of the girl who sprung a unicorn from a hunter’s snare, or the nomad boy who rescued a baby shirdal. Tales of mythical beasts that filled her with curiosity and wonder.
But Marjan’s not a little girl anymore. In the wake of her father’s sudden death, she is trying to hold it all together: her schoolwork, friendships, and keeping her dad’s shoestring veterinary practice from going under. Then, one day, she receives a visitor who reveals something stunning: Marjan’s father was no ordinary veterinarian. The creatures out of the stories he told her were real—and he traveled the world to care for them. And now that he’s gone, she must take his place.
Marjan steps into a secret world hidden in plain sight, where magical creatures are bought and sold, treasured and trapped. She finds friends she never knew she needed—a charming British boy who grew up with a griffon, a runaway witch seeking magic and home—while trying to hide her double life from her old friends and classmates.
The deeper Marjan gets into treating these animals, the closer she comes to finding who killed her father—and to a shocking truth that will reawaken her sense of wonder and put humans and beasts in the gravest of danger.
This rhythmic read-aloud about sharing by an award-winning author and a Caldecott medalist features a series of hilariously selfish forest animals.
In a tall, tall tree, at the tip-tippy top, hangs a single red apple...
Along skirts Mouse. “An apple!” she squeaks, "How divine! When it tumbles to the ground, it’ll all be mine!”
And so it goes, for Hare, Fox, Deer, and Bear, who each can't wait to get their hands on the apple.
Soon the wind huffs and puffs, the branch snips and snaps, and down the apple falls. Only one shiny red apple for five furry creatures? What are they to do?!
Here is a read-aloud picture book, perfect for storytime, that will have kids repeating the refrain “Mine!”... complete with an ending that celebrates sharing and is sure to surprise!