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Recommendations by Grade Level and Date Published

We all know that reading is the foundation of learning and needs to be highlighted year-round to make a lasting impression. A study from the National Institute for Literacy found that a person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by the end of third grade is quite unlikely to graduate from high school. Teachers and librarians are literacy experts, so it seems only natural that teachers recommend books for reading. The California Reads Committee offers teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for multiple age groups.

Each season, the California Reads Committee offers teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for multiple age groups. Click on the menu above to review recommendations for Pre K/TK/K, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8,  and Grades 9-12

Have an idea for a Book Recommendation?

California Reads 2021-22 Recommendations:

Pre-K/TK/K

The Colors of Us
By Karen Katz
We Dream of Space width=A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist’s perspective.

Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.

Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.

Karen Katz created this book for her daughter, Lena, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala six years ago.

Publish Date:  September 15th, 1999

 

I Promise
By LeBron James, Illustrator:  Nina Mata
I PromiseJust a kid from Akron, Ohio, who is dedicated to uplifting youth everywhere, LeBron James knows the key to a better future is to excel in school, do your best, and keep your family close.

I Promise is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today.

Featuring James’s upbeat, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations perfectly crafted for a diverse audience by #1 New York Times bestselling and Geisel Honor-winning artist Nina Mata, this book has the power to inspire all children and families to be their best.

Perfect for shared reading in and out of the classroom, I Promise is also a great gift for graduation, birthdays, and other occasions.

Publish Date:  August 11th, 2020

 

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
By Kat Zhang, Illustrator:  Charlene Chua
Amy Wu and the Perfect BaoA Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keeps coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

Publish Date: October 1st, 2019

 

Grades 1-2

Ben and Emma’s Big Hit
By Gavin Newsom, Illustrator:  Alexandra Thompson
Ben and Emma's Big HitFrom California Governor Gavin Newsom comes an empowering picture book about a young boy with dyslexia who discovers a new way to look at reading.

Ben loves baseball. He loves the lines of diamond-shaped field and the dome of the pitcher’s mound. What Ben doesn’t like is reading. Ben has dyslexia, which means letters and sounds get jumbled up in his brain, and then the words don’t make sense. But when Ben starts looking at reading like he looks at baseball, he realizes that if he keeps trying, he can overcome any obstacle that comes his way.

In this empowering story by California Governor Gavin Newsom, inspired by his own childhood diagnosis of dyslexia, readers will learn that kids with the determination to try (and try again) can do big things.

*This book is set in a font specifically designed to be easier for people with dyslexia to read.

Publish Date:  December 7th, 2021

 

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind
By Cynthia Grady, Illustrator:  Amiko Hirao
Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left BehindWE ARE Water PROTECTORSA touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences. Using excerpts from children’s letters held at the Japanese American National Museum, author Cynthia Grady presents a difficult subject with honesty and hope.

Publish Date:  2017

 

Gratitude is My Superpower: A Children’s Book About Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity
By Alicia Ortego
Gratitude is My Superpower: A Children's Book About Giving Thanks and Practicing PositivityHair LoveDo you want to teach your children how to be grateful for the things they already have?

Little Betsy will learn that happiness is made up of simple things in life, both small and big. With the help of the magic stone, she will begin to feel gratitude for her parents, friends, and toys. But what happens when little Betsy forgets to use the magic of her stone? She will realize that the power of gratitude is hidden in her heart.

“Gratitude is my superpower” will teach your little ones to appreciate the warmth of home, time spent playing with friends, and family relationships.

Publish Date: July 7th, 2021

 

Grades 3-5

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
By Amanda Gorman, Illustrator:    Loren Long
Change Sings: A Children's AnthemEFRÉN DIVIDEDA lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long

“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”

In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Publish Date: September 21st, 2021

 

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers
By Sarah E. Warren, Illustrator: Robert Casilla
olores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant WorkersA Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award Honor Book for Younger Children

Dolores is a teacher, a mother, and a friend. She wants to know why her students are too hungry to listen, why they don’t have shoes to wear to school. Dolores is a warrior, an organizer, and a peacemaker. When she finds out that the farmworkers in her community are poorly paid and working under dangerous conditions, she stands up for their rights.

This is the story of Dolores Huerta and the extraordinary battle she waged to ensure fair and safe workplaces for migrant workers. The powerful text, paired with Robert Casilla’s vibrant watercolor-and-pastel illustrations, brings Dolores’s amazing journey to life. A timeline, additional reading, articles, websites, and resources for teachers are included.

The author will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of the book to an organization that benefits migrant workers.

Publish Date: April 10th, 2012

 

We Dream of Space
By Erin Entrada Kelly
We Dream of Space width=


“A 10 out of 10 . . . Anyone interested in science, sibling relationships, and friendships will enjoy reading We Dream of Space.”—Time for Kids

Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly transports readers to 1986 and introduces them to the unforgettable Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas in this pitch-perfect middle-grade novel about family, friendship, science, and exploration. This acclaimed Newbery Honor Book is a great choice for readers of Kate DiCamillo, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Rebecca Stead.

Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware. In 1986, as the country waits expectantly for the launch of the space shuttle Challenger, they each struggle with their own personal anxieties. Cash, who loves basketball but has a newly broken wrist, is in danger of failing seventh grade for the second time. Fitch spends every afternoon playing Major Havoc at the arcade on Main and wrestles with an explosive temper that he doesn’t understand. And Bird, his twelve-year-old twin, dreams of being NASA’s first female shuttle commander but feels like she’s disappearing.

The Nelson Thomas children exist in their own orbits, circling a tense and unpredictable household, with little in common except an enthusiastic science teacher named Ms. Salonga. As the launch of the Challenger approaches, Ms. Salonga gives her students a project—they are separated into spacecraft crews and must create and complete a mission. When the fated, day finally arrives, it changes all of their lives and brings them together in unexpected ways.

Told in three alternating points of view, We Dream of Space is an unforgettable and thematically rich novel for middle-grade readers.

We Dream of Space is illustrated throughout by the author

Publish Date:  May 5th, 2020

 

Grades 6-8

Esperanza Rising
By Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza RisingEsperanza Rising joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

Esperanza thought she’d always live a privileged life on her family’s ranch in Mexico. She’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

Publish Date:  2000

 

The Other Boy
By M. G. Hennessey, Illustrator:   Sfe R. Monster
The Other BoyA beautifully heartfelt story about one boy’s journey toward acceptance. A book that Jill Soloway, the award-winning creator of Transparent, called “a terrific read for all ages” and Ami Polonsky, author of Gracefully Grayson, called “an emotionally complex and achingly real read.”

Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. He loves pitching for his baseball team, working on his graphic novel, and hanging out with his best friend, Josh.

But Shane is keeping something private, something that might make a difference to his friends and teammates, even Josh. And when a classmate threatens to reveal his secret, Shane’s whole world comes crashing down.

It will take a lot of courage for Shane to ignore the hate and show the world that he’s still the same boy he was before. And in the end, those who stand beside him may surprise everyone, including Shane.

Publish Date: September 20th, 2016

 

Pharmacy Girl: The Great War, Spanish Influenza, and the Truth about Billy Detwiler
By Kate Szegda
harmacy Girl: The Great War, Spanish Influenza, and the Truth about Billy DetwilerA story of hope and survival

Before COVID there was Spanish influenza. In 1918 there were masks. Schools, restaurants, and even churches closed. A nation at war curtailed the draft. One in four Americans stricken, and an estimated 675,000 Americans dead. All because of a deadly germ carried on a puff of air. But there were no effective vaccines. No ventilators. No medicines to stop a virus. And a war to win.

Everyone likes Josie, except the spoiled and arrogant Billy Detwiler. He calls her Pharmacy Girl, but it is no compliment. As the hazy days of September 1918 drift into the deadly autumn of Spanish influenza, Josie’s everyday problems of school and friends, even the war effort at home, become insignificant when her mother comes down with the flu. But Josie is no slacker. She faces Billy in a class election, raises money for the Liberty Loan, and steps up to help her family when the pandemic strikes home.

Publish Date: February 5th, 2019

 

Grades 9-12

Firekeeper’s Daughter
By Angeline Boulley
Firekeeper's Daughter
With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Publish Date: March 16th, 2021

 

Children of Blood and Bone
By Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and BoneThey killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Publish Date: March 6th, 2018

 

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country
By Amanda Gorman
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her call for unity and healing. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition, perfect for any reader looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

Publish Date:  March 30th, 2021

California Reads 2020-21 Recommendations:

 

Pre-K/TK/K

FEDERICO AND ALL HIS FAMILIES
By Mili Hernández, Illustrator: Gómez
FEDERICO AND ALL HIS FAMILIESRoof to roof, Federico the cat visits all his families everyday: Tadeo and his grandparents, Anna and her two Moms; Virginia, with her Mom and Dad, Paula and her two Dads… All of them different, all of them loved by Federico. Unconditionally.
This little jewel is perfect to show the smallest of the house that love can be found in any family. By author and compromised activist for diversity Mili Hernández and illustrator Gómez.

Publish Date:  June 9th, 2020

 

All Are Welcome
By Alexandra Penfold, Illustrator:  Suzanne Kaufman
All Are WelcomeA warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yamulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Publish Date:  July 10th, 2018

 

BE WHO YOU ARE
By Todd Parr
BE WHO YOU AREBe who you are!
Be proud of where you’re from.
Be a different color. Speak your language.
Wear everything you need to be you.

Who better than Todd Parr to remind kids that their unique traits are what make them so special? With his signature silly and accessible style, Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.

Publish Date: October 25th, 2016

 

IN MY HEART:  A Book of Feelings
By Jo Witek, Illustrator:  Christine Roussey
IN MY HEART: A Book of FeelingsHappiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness . . . our hearts can feel so many feelings! Some make us feel as light as a balloon, others as heavy as an elephant. In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside. With language that is lyrical but also direct, toddlers will be empowered by this new vocabulary and able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions. With whimsical illustrations and an irresistible die-cut heart that extends through each spread, this unique feeling book is gorgeously packaged.

Publish Date:  October 14th, 2014

 

Grades 1-2

MARIO and the Hole in the Sky:  HOW A CHEMIST SAVED OUR PLANET
By Elizabeth Rusch, Illustrator:  Teresa Martinez
MARIO and the Hole in the Sky: HOW A CHEMIST SAVED OUR PLANETThe true story of how a scientist saved the planet from environmental disaster.

Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned–and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

Publish Date:  April 3rd, 2018

 

 

WE ARE Water PROTECTORS
By Carole Lindstrom, Illustrator:   Michaela Goade
WE ARE Water PROTECTORSInspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption–a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Publish Date:  March 17th, 2020

 

Hair Love
By Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Hair LoveWhen mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to do his daughter’s hair in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestseller Vashti Harrison.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it is beautiful. When mommy does Zuri’s hair, she feels like a superhero. But when mommy is away, it is up to daddy to step in! And even though daddy has a lot to learn, he LOVES his Zuri. And he will 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.

Publish Date:  May 2nd, 2019

 

THE PROUDEST BLUE:  A Story of Hijab and Family
By Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali, Illustrator:  Hatem Aly
THE PROUDEST BLUE: A Story of Hijab and FamilyA powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school–and two sisters on one’s first day of hijab–by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand-new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

Publish Date:  September 10th, 2019

 

Grades 3-5

EFRÉN DIVIDED
By Ernesto Cisneros
EFRÉN DIVIDED Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman – or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

Publish Date:  March 31st, 2020

 

INDIAN NO MORE
By Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell
INDIAN NO MORERegina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?

Publish Date:  September 24th, 2019

 

SHAKING THINGS UP:  14 YOUNG WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD
By Susan Hood
THE TEACHERS MARCH! : How Selma’s Teachers Changed History“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

Fresh, accessible, and inspiring, Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women—each paired with a noteworthy female artist—to the next generation of activists, trailblazers, and rabble-rousers. From the award-winning author of Ada’s Violin, Susan Hood, this is a poetic and visual picture book that celebrates persistent women throughout history.

Among the powerful pairings: Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall takes on heroic World War II spies Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne; Selina Alko is matched with the brave Malala Yousafzai; New York Times bestselling illustrator Emily Winfield Martin is paired with the inventor of the controversial one-piece bathing suit, Annette Kellerman; and Shadra Strickland introduces America’s first known female firefighter, Molly Williams.

While women make up over half of the U.S. population, they face discrimination, have less representation in government and other fields, and struggle every day for their human rights. It is more important now than ever to raise a generation of girls who, in the face of adversity, persevere. This book was written, illustrated, edited, and designed by women.

Includes a foreword by a prominent female activist, an author’s note, a timeline, and additional resources.
This book features: Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet.

Publish Date:  January 23rd, 2018

 

THE TEACHERS MARCH! :  How Selma’s Teachers Changed History
By Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, Illustrator:   Charly Palmer
Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March, featuring evocative illustrations and eyewitness testimonies.

Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs–and perhaps their lives–by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members to tell this important story.

Publish Date:  September 29th, 2020

 

Grades 6-8

ASTRONAUTS:  Women on the Final Frontier
By Jim Ottaviani,  Illustrator:  Maris Wicks
ASTRONAUTS: Women on the Final FrontierIn the graphic novel Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier, Jim Ottaviani and illustrator Maris Wicks capture the great humor and incredible drive of Mary Cleave, Valentina Tereshkova, and the first women in space.

The U.S. may have put the first man on the moon, but it was the Soviet space program that made Valentina Tereshkova the first woman in space. It took years to catch up, but soon NASA’s first female astronauts were racing past milestones of their own. The trail-blazing women of Group 9, NASA’s first mixed gender class, had the challenging task of convincing the powers that be that a woman’s place is in space, but they discovered that NASA had plenty to learn about how to make space travel possible for everyone.

Publish Date:  February 4th, 2020

 

BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER
By Jewell Parker Rhodes
BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHERFrom award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbed the “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.

When an incident with “King” Alan leads to Donte’s arrest and suspension, he knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot-on Middlefield Prep’s fencing team and maybe learn something about himself along the way.

Publish Date:  March 3rd, 2020

 

SEEDFOLKS
By Paul Fleischman, Illustrator:  Judy Pedersen
SEEDFOLKSA Vietnamese girl plants six lima beans in a Cleveland vacant lot. Looking down on the immigrant-filled neighborhood, a Romanian woman watches suspiciously. A school janitor gets involved, then a Guatemalan family. Then muscle-bound Curtis, trying to win back Lateesha. Pregnant Maricela. Amir from India. A sense of community sprouts and spreads.

Newbery-winning author Paul Fleischman uses thirteen speakers to bring to life a community garden’s founding and first year. The book’s short length, diverse cast, and suitability for adults as well as children have led it to be used in countless one-book reads in schools and in cities across the country.

Seedfolks has been drawn upon to teach tolerance, read in ESL classes, promoted by urban gardeners, and performed in schools and on stages from South Africa to Broadway.

Publish Date:  1997

 

BÉISBOL en ABRIL y otros cuentos
By Stephanie Diaz and Gary Soto
BÉISBOL en ABRIL y otros cuentos
In this unique collection of short stories, the small events of daily life reveal big themeslove and friendship, youth and growing up, success and failure. Calling on his own experiences of growing up in California’s Central Valley, poet Gary Soto brings to life the joys and pains of young people everywhere. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us.

En esta excepcional coleccin de cuentos, los pequeos acontecimientos de la vida diaria revalan grandes temas: el mor y la amistad, la juventud y el crecimiento, el xito y el fracaso. Partiendo su propia experiencia de haber crecido en California, el poeta chicano Gary Soto recrea las alegras y tristezas de los jvenes de todas partes. Los listos, duros y vulnerables chinos de estos cuentos son latinos, pero sus sueos y deseos son los mismos de todo el mundo.

Publish Date:  1990

 

Grades 9-12

WATCH US RISE
By Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan
WATCH US RISE
Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

Publish Date:  February 12th, 2019

 

WE ARE NOT FROM HERE
By Jenny Torres Sanchez
WE ARE NOT FROM HEREA ripped-from-the-headlines novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña have no false illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Though their families–both biological and found–create a warm community for them, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the three teens know they have no choice but to run: for the border, for the hope of freedom, and for their very lives.

Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico with their eyes on the U.S. border, they follow the route of La Bestia, a system of trains that promise the hope of freedom–if they are lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and the desperation that courses through their very veins, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know that there’s no turning back, dangerous though the road ahead might be.

In this powerful story inspired by real–and current–events, the plight at our southern border is brought to painful, poignant life.

Publish Date:  May 19th, 2020

 

THE BEAST PLAYER
By Nahoko Uehashi and Cathy Hirano
THE BEAST PLAYERIn epic YA fantasy about a girl with a special power to communicate with magical beasts and the warring kingdom only she can save.

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So, when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come?

Publish Date:  2006

 

STAMPED:  RACISM, ANTIRACISM, AND YOU
By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
STAMPED: RACISM, ANTIRACISM, AND YOUThis is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Publish Date:  March 10th, 2020