Recommendations for Fall 2016

  Pre K / TK / K
Moo Hoo
MooHoo by Candace Ryan, Illustrated by Mike Lowery

Cow and Owl are best friends. Moo Hoo! They do everything together, like make music. Two Coo! But when a stranger arrives―Roo New! ―the two friends must decide whether their group can expand to form a New True Crew.

  Grades 1-2
Mañana, Iguanay
Mañana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul, Illustrated by Ethan Long

¡Caramba! Iguana is planning a fiesta. Tortuga the tortoise, Conejo the rabbit, and Culebra the snake all want to come. But do they want to help Iguana deliver invitations or stuff the piñata or cook the food? No, no, and no! A lazy trio loses out in this clever update of the story of the Little Red Hen with a Mexican twist. A glossary of Spanish words is included.

  Grades 3-5
Mystery of the Giant Masks of Sanxingdui
Mystery of the Giant Masks of Sanxingdui by Icy Smith, Illustrated by Gayle Garner Roski

The mysterious and ancient city of Sanxingdui is famous for its astonishing bronze-casting technology. Villagers come from faraway lands to admire the bronze masks and trade for the highly prized bronze wares. However, Sanxingdui faces danger when its people hear rumors of a foreign invasion. The chief s daughter, Min, and her newly initiated warrior brother, Wei, lead the villagers to flee their homeland. Where do they go? And what do they do with their sacred bronze masks and statues?

  Grades 6-8
George by Alex Gino


When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. 

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. 

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte - but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

  Grades 9-12
Dumplin’ Go Big or Go Home
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Recommendations for Summer 2016

  Pre K / TK / K
Tito Puente, Mambo King by Monica Brown and Rafael Lopez

In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king's life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards—and all the beats in between—this is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the "King of Mambo."

Award-winning author-illustrator duo Monica Brown and Rafael López bring the remarkable story of this talented legend to life in this Pura Belpré Honor Book. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

  Grades 1-2
The Noisy Paint Box The Noisy Paintbox: The Colors and Sounds of Kadinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers—like a proper artist.

But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound—the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony! And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?

In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds as colors—and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.

  Grades 3-5
Hank Zipzer Hank Zipzer Series  by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, Illustrated by Tim Heitz

Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, whose undiagnosed dyslexia made him a classic childhood underachiever, the Hank Zipzer series is about the high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy with learning differences

It's science project time in Ms. Adolf's class. This is good news and bad news for Hank-he loves science, but he hates the report part. So Hank turns to TV to take his mind off things. But when the program directory scrolls by too quickly for Hank to know what's on, he decides to take apart the cable box to try to slow down the crawl. Great! Now Hank has found the perfect science project! But what he wasn't counting on was his sister's pet iguana laying eighteen eggs in the disassembled cable box. How is Hank going to get out of this one?

  Grades 6-8
Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Allison Levy

The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes diastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

  Grades 9-12
This One Summer This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens - just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy - is caught up in something bad... Something life threatening.

It's a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

This One Summer is a tremendously exciting new teen graphic novel from two creators with true literary clout. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of childhood - a story of renewal and revelation.

Recommendations for Spring 2016

  Pre K / TK / K
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

  Grades 1-2
Rosita y Conchita Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger

Rosita y Conchita is the story of twin sisters who are trying to find a way to get back together once again. Readers will enjoy how the book beautifully depicts the process of building an altar, as young Conchita carefully creates her own to remember her dearly departed twin, Rosita. I found the best part of the book to be how the authors cleverly discuss each ofrenda so that the children reading the book can understand the meaning behind each one. At the same time, the book tells Rosita’s story as she wanders through the “otherworld” looking for clues that will lead her to her sister one more time.

The entire story is written in rhyming verse—in both English and Spanish! I found the book to be well thought-out and engaging. In addition, Rosita y Conchita is beautifully illustrated. The illustrators’ bold use of color immediately catches the reader’s attention and holds it throughout the book. It is a remarkable testament to the authors’ creativity.

At the end of the book, Gonzalez and Haeger have included a history of the holiday, along with a simple recipe for making your own sugar skulls, and directions on how to draw Rosita’s character.

  Grades 3-5
The Cat Who Chose to Dream The Cat Who Chose to Dream by Loriene Honda, Illustrated by Jimmy Tstomu Mirikitani

Follow Jimmy the Cat's inspirational journey as he uses his imagination to empower himself and survive trauma while in a prison camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. Before feelings of hopelessness can overcome him, he turns to his imagination and creativity to transport him to places where he no longer feels frightened and restrained-instead feeling self-empowered and free. He reminds himself that, others may have the power to shackle my body, but I always hold the power to free my mind. Featuring Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani's drawings, this book brings hope and inspiration to anyone who has experienced difficult situations beyond their control. A special foreword written by George Takei.

  Grades 6-8
Brown Girl Dreaming Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

  Grades 9-12
The Crossover The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

"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 (He Said, She Said 2013).

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.

Recommendations for Winter 2015-2016

  Pre K / TK / K
I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones, Illustrated by James C. Webster

Jay and Nia are the children of two worlds, and as they will discover, they can enjoy the best of both. From Mommy's jazz beats to Daddy's classical piano, we will dance with the twins through a book that explores what it is to be of mixed ancestry, proving that a child is more than the sum of their parents.

  Grades 1-2
What Do You Do With an Idea What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.

This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it's just getting started.

  Grades 3-5
Love Twelve Miles Long Love Twelve Miles Long by Glenda Armand, Illustrated by Colin Bootman

It’s late at night, and Frederick’s mother has traveled twelve miles to visit him. When Frederick asks Mama how she can walk so far, Mama recounts her journey mile by mile. Every step of the way is special, as it brings them closer together; and Mama passes the time by remembering, listening, praying, singing, and more. Set on a plantation in 1820s Maryland, this story based on the life of young Frederick Douglass shows the power of his mother’s love. The faith she has in her son puts him on a path to escape enslavement and to become a champion of human rights, an influential writer and speaker, and an unforgettable leader. Expressive, candlelit paintings illuminate the bond between parent and child in this heartfelt story. Love Twelve Miles Long will resonate with children of all backgrounds who cherish the tender moments they share with those they love.

  Grades 6-8
One Crazy Summer One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

In this Newbery Honor novel, New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them.

Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. When they arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with her, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

This moving, funny novel won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award Finalist.

Readers who enjoy Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham will find much to love in One Crazy Summer. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern's story continues in P.S. Be Eleven. Supports the Common Core State Standards

  Grades 9-12
In the Time of the Butterflies In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas―“The Butterflies.”

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters―Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé―speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.

Recommendations for FALL 2015 

  Pre K / TK / K
I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow

High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves--inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.

At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont's joyous rhyming text and David Catrow's wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful--and straight from the heart.

  Grades 1-2
My Name is Yoon My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

Getting to feel at home in a new country

Yoon's name means "shining wisdom," and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn't sure that she wants to be YOON. At her new school, she tries out different names--maybe CAT or BIRD. Maybe CUPCAKE!

Helen Recorvits's spare and inspiring story about a little girl finding her place in a new country is given luminous pictures filled with surprising vistas and dreamscapes by Gabi Swiatkowska.

  Grades 3-5
Brave Girl Brave Girl by Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

From acclaimed author Michelle Markel and Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet comes this true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history. This picture book biography includes a bibliography and an author's note on the garment industry. It follows the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s, tackling topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry, with hand stitching and fabric incorporated throughout the art.

When Clara arrived in America, she couldn't speak English. She didn't know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.

But that didn't stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory. Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.

From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

  Grades 6-8
Batman Science Series Batman Science Series by Tammy Enz and Agnieszka Biskup

When it comes to fighting crime, technology is Batman’s greatest weapon. From his gadget-packed Utility Belt to his high-tech Batmobile, the Dark Knight tackles Gotham’s criminal underworld. But does any of his gear have a basis in reality? Or is it merely the stuff of fiction? Batman Science uncovers the real-world connections to Batman’s tech and much of it will surprise you!

  Grades 9-12
The Beginning of Everything The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.

Varsity tennis captain, Ezra Faulkner, was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

As Kirkus Reviews said in a starred review, "Schneider takes familiar stereotypes and infuses them with plenty of depth. Here are teens who could easily trade barbs and double entendres with the characters that fill John Green's novels."

Funny, smart, and including everything from flash mobs to blanket forts to a poodle who just might be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby, The Beginning of Everything is a refreshing contemporary twist on the classic coming-of-age novel—a heart-wrenching story about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association