Browse our regularly updated lists of staff picks, bestsellers, reading recommendations by grade, award winners, and more.
(Want personalized recommendations? Use our Kids Book Picks form for suggested reads from our librarians.)
Celebrating Black Creators - Picture Books
The Year We Learned to Fly
Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López's highly anticipated companion to their #1 New York Times bestseller The Day You Begin illuminates the power in each of us to face challenges with confidence.
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
“A Haitian grandmother and granddaughter share a holiday, a family recipe, and a story of freedom. . . . A stunning and necessary historical picture book.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes.
Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make Freedom Soup just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.
A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2019!
Find out what happens when a boy who wants a puppy gets a truck instead in this simple and sweet picture book from Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney.
Carter wants a puppy, but he gets a truck instead. So he pets it, puts a leash around it, and takes it to the park.
But the truck won’t sit still! What will Carter do with his rascally Puppy Truck?
The Old Truck
A young girl turns her imagination into action in this beautifully crafted and intricately designed debut picture book.
When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter.
After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it’s time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.
With an eye-catching retro design and cleverly nuanced illustrations, The Old Truck celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.
How to Find a Fox
Equipped with a camera and determination, a little girl sets out to track down an elusive red fox. But foxes are sneaky, and it proves more difficult than she thought.
Nilah Magruder's debut picture book charmingly tells the story of what it means to not give up and how sometimes what you're looking for is closer than you think.
The Big Bed
From Bunmi Laditan, the creator of the Honest Toddler blog, The Big Bed is a humorous picture book about a girl who doesn't want to sleep in her little bed, so she presents her dad with his own bed—a camping cot!—in order to move herself into her parents' big bed in his place. A twist on the classic parental struggle of not letting kids sleep in their bed.
If You Plant a Seed
Kadir Nelson, acclaimed author of Baby Bear and winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, presents a resonant, gently humorous story about the power of even the smallest acts and the rewards of compassion and generosity.
With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.
Nana Akua Goes to School
Winner of the 2021 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award!
In this moving story that celebrates cultural diversity, a shy girl brings her West African grandmother--whose face bears traditional tribal markings--to meet her classmates. This is a perfect read for back to school!
It is Grandparents Day at Zura's elementary school, and the students are excited to introduce their grandparents and share what makes them special. Aleja's grandfather is a fisherman. Bisou's grandmother is a dentist. But Zura's Nana, who is her favorite person in the world, looks a little different from other grandmas. Nana Akua was raised in Ghana, and, following an old West African tradition, has tribal markings on her face. Worried that her classmates will be scared of Nana--or worse, make fun of her--Zura is hesitant to bring her to school. Nana Akua knows what to do, though. With a quilt of traditional African symbols and a bit of face paint, Nana Akua is able to explain what makes her special, and to make all of Zura's classmates feel special, too.
In this joyful and impactful picture book, a transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.
Calvin has always been a boy, even if the world sees him as a girl. He knows who he is in his heart and in his mind but he hasn't yet told his family. Finally, he can wait no longer: "I'm not a girl," he tells his family. "I'm a boy--a boy in my heart and in my brain." Quick to support him, his loving family takes Calvin shopping for the swim trunks he's always wanted and back-to-school clothes and a new haircut that helps him look and feel like the boy he's always known himself to be. As the first day of school approaches, he's nervous and the "what-ifs" gather up inside him. But as his friends and teachers rally around him and he tells them his name, all his "what-ifs" begin to melt away.
Inspired by the authors' own transgender child and accompanied by warm and triumphant illustrations, this authentic and personal text promotes kindness and empathy, offering a poignant and inclusive back-to-school message: all should feel safe, respected, and welcomed.
A New York Times Bestseller and tie-in to Academy-Award Winning Short Film "Hair Love"
"I love that Hair Love is highlighting the relationship between a Black father and daughter. Matthew leads the ranks of new creatives who are telling unique stories of the Black experience. We need this."
- Jordan Peele, Actor & Filmmaker
It's up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from Academy-Award winning director and former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.
Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.
Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. A perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!
Mae Among the Stars
A beautiful picture book for sharing and marking special occasions such as graduation, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison. An Amazon Best Book of the Month!
A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.
She wanted to be an astronaut.
Her mom told her, "If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents' encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.
This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.
One More Dino on the Floor
It's a hip-hopping, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, finger-snapping good time when the dinosaurs go out on the dance floor! One by one (and all the way up to ten), the dinosaurs get their groove on in this delightful counting book! With bright and colorful illustrations and fun, rhythmic text, young readers will be tapping their feet to the Jurassic beat!
A New York Times bestseller!
They All Saw a Cat meets The Important Book in this sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.
In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.
Soul Food Sunday
Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table
A 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Award Illustrator Honor Book
On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny's for Soul Food.
But today, I don't go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
"You're a big boy now," Granny says. "Time for you to learn."
At Granny's, Sunday isn't Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray's grill. But just when Granny says they're finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering--and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.
Playtime for Restless Rascals
Nikki Grimes, Coretta Scott King Award winning author, and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Zunon's latest children's masterpiece is a whimsical adventure and rollicking celebration of playtime fun.
Time to get to work, little one, I tell you.
What work? you ask.
you pretend not to understand.
Your job is called Play, I say.
Mom needs to wake up her child whose job is to play. From dancing in puddles to jumping in leaves, and swinging high enough to almost reach the sun, there's so much to do in a fun-filled day.
For those seeking children's books about diversity, this loving depiction of everyday shenanigans is sure to become a story time favorite. Playtime for Restless Rascals is an African American children's book that celebrates imagination, playful moments, and the love between parents and child.
Praise for Bedtime for Sweet Creatures:
A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed. Zunon's art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
An adorable and imaginative bedtime story to add to collections for young children...children will engage with the pajama-clad tot's antics and be soothed by the book's positive tone. A fabulous interpretation of an everyday battle.--Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
Praise for Off to See the Sea
Children will delight... This ebullient account of a common childhood experience bursts with love and universal appeal.--Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
Celebrating Black Creators - Elementary School Reads
Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky —an instant New York Times and #1 Indie Bestseller!
"The Marvellers deserves the highest compliment I can give a book: I want to live in this world." —Rick Riordan, #1 New York Times bestselling–author
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.
Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy—some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures.
When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.
"A marvelous gift of a novel! With fantastical twists at every turn, Clayton has created a world that readers won't want to leave.” —Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose
Amari and the Night Brothers
New York Times bestseller!
Artemis Fowl meets Men in Black in this exhilarating debut middle grade fantasy, the first in a trilogy filled with #blackgirlmagic. Perfect for fans of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, the Percy Jackson series, and Nevermoor.
Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.
So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she's certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton--if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.
Now she must compete for a spot against kids who've known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can't seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny--especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed "illegal." With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she's an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn't stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Plus don't miss the thrilling sequel, Amari and the Great Game!
A Soft Place to Land
In this compelling and heartfelt mystery story, Janae Marks--author of the acclaimed bestselling From the Desk of Zoe Washington--follows a young girl reshaping her meaning of home. Perfect for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Rebecca Stead. Two starred reviews! A Project Lit Club Book Club Selection, S&L Lead Title, Banks Street Best Children's Books of the Year, and Kids' Indie Next List Pick!
"Joyful. A book that kids will love." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
Joy Taylor has always believed home is the house she lived in her entire life. But then her dad lost his job, and suddenly, home becomes a tiny apartment with thin walls, shared bedrooms, and a place for tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn't have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist--and one day, a film score composer--have been put on hold.
A friendly new neighbor her age lets Joy in on the complex's best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. And it's in this little hideaway that Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until--abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they're in trouble?
Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is, fast, but between trying to raise funds for her music lessons, keeping on a brave face for her little sister, and worrying about her parents' marriage, Joy isn't sure how to keep her own head above water.
"Squeezes your heart in such a special way." --Lisa Moore Ramée, author of A Good Kind of Trouble and Something to Say
"Readers will find hope in Joy's courage, ingenuity, and fierce dedication to her friends." --Kate Messner, author of Breakout and Chirp
"A timely story about connection, loss and the spaces we need to understand one and brave the other." --Paula Chase, author of Dough Boys and So Done
King of the Ice #1
From the award-winning author of the Jada Jones chapter books comes an illustrated spinoff series perfect for STEM fans!
Miles Lewis loves science and sports. But when his teacher announces a class field trip to an ice skating rink to learn about physics, he isn't so excited. He's never ice skated before, and his friend RJ won't let him forget it. RJ even challenges him to a bet: If Miles skates without falling, RJ will put a “Miles is the man” sign on his backpack. But if Miles falls, he has to put one on his that says the same about RJ. Miles can barely focus on the bet, though, because he suspects his beloved Nana has plans to move out of his family's house—and that's just too much to bear. Can he keep his cool with all the pressure from RJ while finding a way to make his grandma stay?
Chester Keene Cracks the Code
Cracking the code isn't all it's cracked up to be in this scavenger hunt adventure from a Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author.
“Delivers a truly fresh mystery — along with a heist, some heartbreak, some unforgettable characters and plenty of laser tag.” —The New York Times Book Review
Chester Keene takes great comfort in his routines. Afterschool Monday to Thursday is bowling, and Friday, the best of days, is laser tag! But Chester has one other very special thing—he gets secret spy messages from his dad, who must be on covert government assignments, which is why Chester has never met him.
Then one day, Chester’s classmate, Skye, approaches him with a clue. They’ve been tasked with a complex puzzle-solving mission. Skye proves to be a useful partner and good company, even if her free-wheeling ways are disruptive to Chester’s carefully built schedule.
As Chester and Skye get closer to their final clue, they discover the key to their spy assignment: they have to stop a heist! But cracking this code may mean finding out things are not always what they seem.
Winner, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie.
Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts.
Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works.
Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.
A Taste of Magic
In the “thrilling…masterful” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) conclusion to the Wings of Ebony duology, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicole Yoon calls “bold, inventive, big-hearted, and deeply perceptive,” Rue makes her final stand to reclaim her people’s stolen magic.
Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from East Row. And girls from East Row don’t give up. Girls from East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from East Row break themselves out.
But getting free and finding her friends is only half the battle. Rue vows that when she reunites with them, she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit; with half a foot back in Houston and a heart that is half human, half god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past.
When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve, because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed—it will be Rue herself.
Pax Samson Vol. 1
Pax Samson: The Cookout is the first volume in a new action-packed, fantasy trilogy that depicts a world struggling to find peace in the midst of threats, and a young superhero chef torn between following his passion and following in his family’s footsteps.
When it comes to the kitchen, no one knows cooking better than twelve-year-old Pax Samson. He’s a hero when it comes to testing recipes and supplying copious amounts of Dragon Noodle Soup at his family’s cookouts. It’s tough being a master chef, though, when the rest of his family are world-famous superheroes, and they expect Pax to take up the beacon to keep the world safe with his telekinetic powers.
Pax's home planet of Soltellus is home to all walks of life, including humans, gods, as well as elves, orcs, dragons, sprites and other fantasy races known as the “Enchanted” all living in a modern society similar to our own. Among them is the Samson family, led by the fearless and mighty Grandma Samson, the greatest superhero to ever live and the person responsible for always saving Soltellus when trouble strikes. She’s been doing it for hundreds of years, but she’s ready for the younger generation of Samsons, including Pax, to step up.
When the mad god Odin, long-time enemy to the Enchanted race and arch-rival to Grandma, resurfaces in another attempt to regain power, Pax will attempt to put his training into practice, but ends up just making things worse. Tempted to hang up the superhero cape and stick to the kitchen, Pax faces the toughest decision yet when a legendary savior of the Enchanted people arrives, along with a startling discovery that there might be parts of the Soltellus history that are wrong. Pax, determined to protect his family and friends, will do everything he can to stop the new threats set on disrupting the peace between humans and the Enchanted.
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
Dyamonde Daniel may be new in town, but that doesn't stop her from making a place for herself in a jiffy. With her can-do attitude and awesome brain power she takes the whole neighborhood by storm. The only thing puzzling her is the other new kid in her class. He's awfully grouchy - but Dyamonde's determined to get to the bottom of his frowning attitude and make a friend. Readers will fall in love with Dyamonde Daniel, the spirited star of a new series by Nikki Grimes. With her upbeat, take-charge attitude, Dyamonde is a character to cheer for - and the fun, accessible storytelling will hook kids from the first page.
Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion
Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion is a backyard adventure-mystery by debut children’s author K. Tempest Bradford, perfect for fans of Clean Getaway, The Last Last Day of Summer, and Sideways School.
Eleven-year-old Ruby is a Black girl who loves studying insects and would do just about anything to be an entomologist, much to the grossed-out dismay of her Gramma. Ruby knows everything there is to know about insects so when she finds the weirdest bug she’s ever seen in her front yard, she makes sure no one is looking and captures it for further study.
But then Ruby realizes that the creature isn't just a regular bug. And it has promptly burned a hole through her window and disappeared. Soon, random things around the neighborhood go missing, and no one's heard from the old lady down the street for a week. Ruby and her friends will have to recover the strange bug before the feds do.
Ruby is the science hero we’ve all been waiting for!
A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
When eleven-year-old Langston's father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago's Bronzeville district, it feels like he's giving up everything he loves.
It's 1946. Langston's mother has just died, and now they're leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything-- Grandma's Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved.
In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn't feel like a new start, or a better life. At home he's lonely, his father always busy at work; at school he's bullied for being a country boy.
But Langston's new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the Chicago Public Library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston--a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.
Lesa Cline-Ransome, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor picture book Before She Was Harriet, has crafted a lyrical debut novel about one boy's experiences during the Great Migration. Includes an author's note about the historical context and her research.
Don't miss the companion novel, Leaving Lymon, which centers on one of Langston's classmates and explores grief, resilience, and the circumstances that can drive a boy to become a bully-- and offer a chance at redemption.
A Junior Library Guild selection!
A CLA Notable Children's Book in Language Arts
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, with 5 Starred Reviews
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2018
The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs, 1)
A touching and funny story of one girl’s journey to discover where she came from and the unlimited possibilities of who she can become, from Crystal Allen, the acclaimed author of How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy and The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown.
Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultracute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school teases her for being overweight, and Troy won’t give her a second glance. Until one day, their history teacher announces a field trip to the run-down slave shack on her grandmother’s property. Heck to the power of no way!
Her grandmother insists that it’s more than just an old shack; it’s a monument to the strong women in their family—the Laura Line. But Laura knows better: her classmates will never accept her once they see the shack. So she comes up with the perfect plan to get the trip canceled . . . but when a careless mistake puts the shack—and the Laura Line—in jeopardy, Laura must decide what’s truly important to her. Can Laura figure out how to get what she wants at school while also honoring her family’s past?
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane
Azaleah can't wait for her class field trip to the National Zoo in Washington D.C., especially when her teacher announces the chance to earn extra credit. But when Azaleah gets home, she quickly realizes extra credit isn't as easy as she thought. Azaleah's younger sister Tiana can't find Greenie, her stuffed animal, and she's sure he's been stolen. With Mama at the restaurant and Daddy at work on a big case, it seems Azaleah is the only one available to track down the stolen stuffie. Can Azaleah get to the bottom of the mystery in time to finish her extra credit?
The start of a brand new series by Shaquille O'Neal and illustrated by 2014 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award winner Theodore Taylor III, Little Shaq is sure to be a hit with young readers.
When Little Shaq and his cousin Barry accidentally break their favorite video game, they need to find a way to replace it. That's when Little Shaq's science project inspires a solution: a gardening business. They can water their neighbors' gardens to raise money for a new game! Little Shaq and Barry make a great team both on and off the basketball court, but will their business be as successful as they hoped?
Showing kids that anything is possible with the support of friends and family, Little Shaq will inspire them to love reading, play fair, and have fun!
Read all the books in the Little Shaq series!
Little Shaq Takes a Chance
Little Shaq: Star of the Week
Celebrating Black Creators - Middle School Reads
Look Both Ways
Carnegie Medal winner
A National Book Award Finalist
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Time Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Today Show Best Kids’ Book of 2019
A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
“As innovative as it is emotionally arresting.” —Entertainment Weekly
From National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all the different directions kids’ walks home can take.
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—
Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
But mostly, too busy walking home.
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
Paradise on Fire
'Addy is a heroine any reader might aspire to be, a teenager who learns to trust her own voice and instincts, who realizes that fire can live within someone, too' - New York Times
WINNER OF THE GREEN EARTH BOOK AWARD
From award-winning and bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age survival tale set during a devastating wild fire.
Addy is haunted by the tragic fire that killed her parents, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother. Now, years later, Addy's grandmother has enrolled her in a summer wilderness programme. There, Addy joins five other Black city kids - each with their own troubles - to spend a summer out west.
Deep in the forest, the kids learn new (and to them) strange skills: camping, hiking, rock climbing and how to start and safely put out campfires. Most important, they learn to depend upon each other for companionship and survival. But then comes a furious forest fire ...
From award-winning and bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful survival tale exploring issues of race, class, and climate change.
Cadmus Children's Fiction Award winner for the 2022 Green Earth Book Award
Keeping It Real
“Fun and juicy.”—New York Times
“A solid story of summer growth and exploration.”—Kirkus Reviews
Marigold Johnson is looking forward to a future full of family, friends, and fashion—but what will she do when it all explodes in her face? When she discovers that her entire life is a lie?
Paula Chase, the author of So Done, Dough Boys, and Turning Point, explores betrayal, conformity, and forgiveness—and what it means to be family—in this stand-alone novel perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.
Marigold Johnson can’t wait to attend a special program at her family’s business, Flexx Unlimited, for teens who love fashion. But Mari quickly realizes that she’s out of place compared to the three other trainees—and one girl, Kara, seems to hate her on sight.
As tension builds and the stakes at the program get higher, Mari uncovers exactly why Kara’s been so spiteful. She also discovers some hard truths about herself and her family.
Paula Chase explores complex themes centering on friendships, family, and what it means to conform to fit in. Keeping It Real is also a powerful exploration of what happens when parents pick and choose what they shield their children from. Timely and memorable, Paula Chase’s character-driven story touches on creativity, art, fashion, and music. A great choice for the upper middle grade audience.
When being yourself isn't good enough, who should you be?
Told in dual perspectives, this provocative and timely novel for middle-school readers by Paula Chase, the acclaimed author of So Done and Dough Boys, will resonate with fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.
Best friends Rasheeda and Monique are both good girls. For Sheeda, that means keeping her friends close and following her deeply religious and strict aunt's every rule. For Mo, that means not making waves in the prestigious and mostly White ballet intensive she's been accepted to.
But what happens when Sheeda catches the eye of Mo's older brother, and the invisible racial barriers to Mo's success as a ballerina turn out to be not so invisible? What happens when you discover that being yourself isn't good enough? How do you fight back?
Paula Chase explores the complex and emotional issues that affect many young teens in this novel set in the same neighborhood as her acclaimed So Done and Dough Boys. Friendship, family, finding yourself, and standing your ground are the themes of this universal story that is perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.
From the groundbreaking author of Tyrell, an astonishing middle-grade novel about a girl overcoming the secrets and abuse of her past.
This should be an exciting time for Caprice. She has been offered a place at the school of her dreams, where she's just had a fantastic summer. But this great opportunity coincides with a lot of internal doubt and the disturbing news that her long-estranged grandmother has fallen ill and may be near death. As Caprice tries to figure out her future, she is pulled back toward her past, and the abuse she endured from her uncle when she was little -- an abuse she's never told anyone about.
With extreme sensitivity and honesty for middle-grade readers, Coe Booth has written a painful but ultimately healing novel about finding support from your parents and friends, articulating your truth, and choosing your own path.
Middle graders will laugh and cry with thirteen-year-old Vanessa Martin as she tries to be like Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America.
In this semi-autobiographical debut novel set in 1983, Vanessa Martin's real-life reality of living with family in public housing in Newark, New Jersey is a far cry from the glamorous Miss America stage. She struggles with a mother she barely remembers, a grandfather dealing with addiction and her own battle with self-confidence. But when a new teacher at school coordinates a beauty pageant and convinces Vanessa to enter, Vanessa's view of her own world begins to change. Vanessa discovers that her own self-worth is more than the scores of her talent performance and her interview answers, and that she doesn't need a crown to be comfortable in her own skin and see her own true beauty.
"It's such an honor to be the focal point of this wonderful book! Without a doubt, it will be inspiring to a new generation of young, talented girls well on their way to promising careers." --Vanessa Williams, Multi-Platinum Recording Artist, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Fashion Designer and star of Television, Film and the Broadway Stage
"Like Vanessa has it all and then some! Gritty, poetic, emotionally true, Tami Charles wrings out every hope, every stumble and every triumph of a girl on an uneasy road to possessing her self, her strength and her own beauty. An unforgettable debut." --Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven
♦ "This debut is a treasure: a gift to every middle school girl who ever felt unpretty, unloved, and trapped by her circumstances."— Kirkus Reviews STARRED REVIEW
♦ "Charles evades the clichés and imbues Vanessa with an inner life that's so real and personal it's hard to deny the charm, heartbreak, and triumph of her story. . . . Superb."— Booklist STARRED REVIEW
♦ "Like Vanessa is an emotionally potent, engaging young adult story with a heroine whom it is impossible not to root for. The life lessons that Nessy learns are relevant and worthwhile for everyone."— Foreword Reviews STARRED REVIEW
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Jacqueline Woodson's first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.
It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat--by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for "A Room to Talk"), they discover it's safe to talk about what's bothering them--everything from Esteban's father's deportation and Haley's father's incarceration to Amari's fears of racial profiling and Ashton's adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.
A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of the acclaimed Track series from Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Genesis Begins Again
“Reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” —The New York Times
“One of the best books I have ever read…will live in the hearts of readers for the rest of their lives.” —Colby Sharp, founder of Nerdy Book Club
“An emotional, painful, yet still hopeful adolescent journey…one that needed telling.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“I really loved this.” —Sharon M. Draper, author of the New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind
This deeply sensitive and “compelling” (BCCB) debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.
There are ninety-six reasons why thirteen-year-old Genesis dislikes herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list:
-Because her family is always being put out of their house.
-Because her dad has a gambling problem. And maybe a drinking problem too.
-Because Genesis knows this is all her fault.
-Because she wasn’t born looking like Mama.
-Because she is too black.
Genesis is determined to fix her family, and she’s willing to try anything to do so…even if it means harming herself in the process. But when Genesis starts to find a thing or two she actually likes about herself, she discovers that changing her own attitude is the first step in helping change others.
New York Times bestseller ∙ Newbery Medal Winner ∙Coretta Scott King Honor Award ∙2015 YALSA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults∙ 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers ∙Publishers Weekly Best Book ∙ School Library Journal Best Book∙ Kirkus Best Book
"A beautifully measured novel of life and line."--The New York Times Book Review
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering, " announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
"This novel in verse, alternately narrated by two boys in 1980s Greenpoint, Brooklyn, one channeled by Elliott and one by Miller-Lachmann, eloquently tackles race, culture and life on the spectrum." — The New York Times
For fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson, this middle-grade novel-in-verse follows two boys in 1980s Brooklyn as they become friends for a season.
Punk rock-loving JJ Pankowski can't seem to fit in at his new school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as one of the only white kids. Pie Velez, a math and history geek by day and graffiti artist by night is eager to follow in his idol, Jean-Michel Basquiat's, footsteps. The boys stumble into an unlikely friendship, swapping notes on their love of music and art, which sees them through a difficult semester at school and at home. But a run-in with the cops threatens to unravel it all.
From authors Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Moonwalking is a stunning exploration of class, cross-racial friendships, and two boys' search for belonging in a city as tumultuous and beautiful as their hearts.
When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program.
Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up.
Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai.
Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.
"Chase vividly conjures the triumphs, tensions, and worries percolating in the girls’ low-income neighborhood." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
For fans of Unbroken and Ruta Sepetys.
All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she's in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940s Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASP-Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it's not what you do but who you are that's most important.
Read Sherri L. Smith's posts on the Penguin Blog
From acclaimed author Varian Johnson (The Parker Inheritance) and popular sci-fi artist Daniel Isles, a.k.a. DirtyRobot, comes the story of an escape plan that will take a miracle to pull off. Luckily for Scott Free, everyone calls him MISTER MIRACLE! Okay, no one calls him that…yet.
Once Scott pulls off his foolproof plan and becomes the first person to escape the fiery pits of the planet Apokolips, he’s sure to be considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time…at least among his friends. The only problem is: his plan never involved falling in love with the head of the Female Furies, Big Barda––the one person tasked with ensuring he never escapes.
Pizza My Heart: A Wish Novel
A slice-of-life rom-com about pizza and first crushes that readers will gobble up!
Maya Reynolds has practically grown up in her family's Brooklyn pizza shop, Soul Slice, and is a true city girl. When her family moves to a small town in Pennsylvania to open another pizza place, everything changes.
Being the new girl is hard enough. At Soul Slice 2.0, Maya is assigned delivery duty. And her first delivery is a disaster. Can you make a worse impression than tripping... and falling face-first into a rude boy's pizza order?
When that same rude -- and, okay, cute -- boy shows up at her school, Maya's convinced nothing can go right. But she may be in for some surprises. Could good friends, secret crushes, and creative pizza toppings turn Maya's new home into her own slice of heaven?
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