• All the Impossible Things

    by Lindsay Lackey Year Published: 2019 Realistic Fiction

    Red's inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby "Red" Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep her skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn to control it, but can't figure out how.

    This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red's heart.

    But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she's quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother's chaos. Now Red must discover the possible in the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs.

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Before Ever After

    by Jacqueline Woodson Year Published: 2020 Sports
    ZJ’s father, “Zachariah 44,” is a famous NFL football player. ZJ loves his dad, and occasionally feels the weight of the spotlight as his son, especially as he considers whether football is a sport for him. ZJ’s dad has taken many hits to the head throughout his career, but he’s always gotten back up and gone back into the game he loves. Now, however, those hits seem to be catching up to him, and what starts as a temporary pause from playing soon marks the end to Zachariah’s career. It’s confusing and scary for ZJ to see his dad’s agonizing headaches and small memory lapses deteriorate into mood swings, personality changes, aggression, depression, and terrible memory loss. Sometimes his dad doesn’t even recognize ZJ as his son. Doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong, and worse, they’re not sure how to help. As his dad’s condition worsens, ZJ finds comfort in memories—of good times with his dad, before things started to change—and in the support of his mom and the friends who stick with his family, including ZJ’s own three best friends. This novel-in-verse is set in the early 2000s, before much was widely known about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and the risks posed to players in the NFL. Despite the heartbreak of what is happening to ZJ’s dad, moments of joy and love shine through. (Ages 9-13)
    CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
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  • Echo Mountain

    by Lauren Wolk Year Published: 2020 Historical Fiction

    After losing almost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie's family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy after a terrible accident leaves her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.

    Ellie is a girl who takes matters into her own hands, and determined to help her father she will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as "the hag." But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal.

    Historical fiction at its finest, Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Lauren Wolk, the Newbery Honor- and Scott O'Dell Award-winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families.

    From the Publisher

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  • Free Lunch

    by Rex Ogle Year Published: 2019 Biography
    Instead of giving him lunch money, Rex's mom has signed him up for free meals. As a poor kid in a wealthy school district, better-off kids crowd impatiently behind him as he tries to explain to the cashier that he's on the free meal program. The lunch lady is hard of hearing, so Rex has to shout.

    Free Lunch is the story of Rex's efforts to navigate his first semester of sixth grade-who to sit with, not being able to join the football team, Halloween in a handmade costume, classmates and a teacher who take one look at him and decide he's trouble-all while wearing secondhand clothes and being hungry. His mom and her boyfriend are out of work, and life at home is punctuated by outbursts of violence. Halfway through the semester, his family is evicted and ends up in government-subsidized housing in view of the school. Rex lingers at the end of last period every day until the buses have left, so no one will see where he lives.

    Unsparing and realistic, Free Lunch is a story of hardship threaded with hope and moments of grace. Rex's voice is compelling and authentic, and Free Lunch is a true, timely, and essential work that illuminates the lived experience of poverty in America.

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Here in the Real World

    by Sara Pennypacker Year Published: 2020 Realistic Fiction

    From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere.

    Ware can't wait to spend summer "off in his own world"-dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called "normal" kids do.

    On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot.

    Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer-he doesn't live in the "real world" like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.

    But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights' Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good-and vows to save the lot.

    But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Nimona

    by Noelle Stevenson Year Published: 2015 Graphic Novel

    Nimona is the New York Times bestselling graphic novel sensation from Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic. Kirkus says, "If you're going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one."

    Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a "superstar" talent (NPR.org).

    Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

    But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Out of Wonder

    by Kwame Alexander Year Published: 2017 Poetry
    Twenty sparkling, original poems each celebrate a specific poet in a terrific collection that also serves as an introduction to the poets honored. The opening poem by Kwame Alexander, “How To Write a Poem,” celebrates Naomi Shihab Nye (“Let loose your heart— / raise your voice. … find / your way / to that one true word / (or two).” The final offering, also by Alexander, celebrates Maya Angelou (“Rise / into the wonder / of daybreak. … Know your beauty / is a thunder / your precious heart unsalable. ...Shine on honey! / Know you / are phenomenal.” In between are poems paying tribute to Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Bashō, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Walter Dean Myers, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes, Billy Collins, Pablo Neruda, Judith Wright, Mary Oliver, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, William Carlos Williams, Okot p’Bitek, Chief Dan George, and Rumi. The poems, varied and wonderful, skillfully reflect their subjects thematically and stylistically. Additional information about each of the 20 poets is found at book’s end. A singular, beautifully composed illustration serves as a perfect accompaniment for each poem, complementing but never competing with words that will open eyes, and minds, and hearts to these writers. (Ages 8-13)
    CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.
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  • Reflection: A Twisted Tale

    by Elizabeth Lim Year Published: 2018 Fantasy
    What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld? When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily. With the help of Shang's great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang's spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise--or become King Yama's prisoner forever. Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend. Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it's too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him--and be lost in the Underworld--forever?
    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Saving Marty

    by Paul Griffin Year Published: 2017 Realistic Fiction
    Fans of Because of Winn Dixie will adore this warm and heart-wrenching story of the friendship between a boy and a pig who thinks it's a dog.

    Eleven-year-old Lorenzo Ventura knows heroes are rare--like his father, who died in the war, or his friend Paloma Lee, who fearlessly pursues her dream of being a famous musician. Renzo would never describe himself as a hero, but his chance comes when he adopts Marty, a runt piglet.

    Marty is extraordinary--he thinks he's a dog and acts like one too--and his bond with Renzo is truly one of a kind. At first, the family farm seems like the perfect home for Marty, but as he approaches 350 pounds, it becomes harder for Renzo to convince his mom that a giant pig makes a good pet. So when Marty causes a dangerous (and expensive) accident, Renzo knows Marty's time is up. He'd do anything and everything for his best friend, but will everything be enough to save Marty?

    Paul Griffin masterfully melds the heartrending and the hopeful in this unforgettable story about the power of friendship . . . and the unsung heroes all around us.
    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes

    by Christian McKay Heidicker Year Published: 2019

    A 2020 Newbery Honor Recipient!

    The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

    When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

    Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen hauntingly beautiful illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Auxier, and R. L. Stine have found their next favorite book.

    Booklist 2019 Editors' Choice Selection

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • The Canyon's Edge

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2020 Adventure/Novel in Verse
    Hatchet meets Long Way Down in this heartfelt and gripping novel in verse about a young girl's struggle for survival after a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.

    One year after a random shooting changed their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them find peace. Nora longs for things to go back to normal, like they were when her mother was still alive, while her father keeps them isolated in fear of other people. But when they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips across their path, sweeping away Nora's father and all of their supplies.

    Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone in the desert, facing dehydration, venomous scorpions, deadly snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her dreams for the past year. If Nora is going to save herself and her father, she must conquer her fears, defeat the Beast, and find the courage to live her new life.

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • The Goldfish Boy

    by Lisa Thompson Year Published: 2017 Realistic Fiction
    Lisa Thompson's debut novel is a page-turning mystery with an emotionally-driven, complex character study at its core -- like Rear Window meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn't been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac. When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child's life... but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?
    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • The Inheritance Games

    by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Year Published: 2020
    Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

    To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch -- and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • The List of Things That Will Not Change

    by Rebecca Stead Year Published: 2020 Realistic Fiction
    Twelve-year-old Bea’s parents divorced amiably two years ago, after her Dad came out, and she divides her time between their two apartments in New York City. Her dad and his easygoing partner, Jesse, are planning their wedding in May, and for only-child Bea this means she may get something she’s always longed for: a sister. Jesse’s daughter, Sonia, lives in California with her mom. Still, Bea has worries, lots of worries, and they’re making her chronic eczema worse. She worries about her sometimes-lonely mom. She worries that Sonia won’t love her as a sister. She worries about conflicts with other kids at school, and about failing yet another weekly spelling test. Bea is mostly truthful with her therapist, Miriam, whom she sees regularly. But she isn’t completely honest, especially about the times she’s been mean, really mean, to other kids —times that adults have missed. In short, almost vignette-like chapters, Stead skillfully balances introspection and action as she reveals Bea’s inner and outer lives. Bea’s deep-set guilt for some of her past actions continually churn, making her worry and itch, itch, itch. Bea is a character so real, her flaws portrayed with rare verisimilitude, that she will resonate deeply with many child readers in this brilliantly crafted story about guilt, forgiveness, and change. (Ages 8-12)
    CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
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  • The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother)

    by David Levithan Year Published: 2021 Mystery
    Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it's the story Aidan is sticking to.

    His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.

    When the kids in school hear Aidan's story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan's side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?
    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • Truly Devious

    by Maureen Johnson Year Published: 2018

    New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

    Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place," he said, "where learning is a game."

    Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym "Truly, Devious." It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

    True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester.

    But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 

    The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

    Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.
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  • We are not Free

    by Traci Chee Year Published: 2020 Historical Fiction
    The voices of 14 teenagers and young adults, all friends and acquaintances from San Francisco's Japantown, narrate this story of Japanese and Japanese American imprisonment during World War II. The novel begins and ends in the voice of aspiring artist Minnow (Minoru). In between, chapters from the perspective of the other 13, boys and young men, girls and young women, chronicle their individual and collective experiences from March 1942 to shortly before Allied victory in Europe three years later. The intensity and range of emotions, including their sadness, anger, and frustration, is palpable as they and their families are sent first to the Tanforan assembly center (a racetrack), then to the Topaz “camp.” Family tensions—some of which existed before the war, some of which imprisonment foment or amplify—and disagreement over the loyalty oath all over 17 are eventually asked to swear to the United States (both insulting and dangerous in the opinion of many) —add to their trauma. Some end up at Tule Lake, where conditions are more overtly racist and brutal than at Topaz. A few join the U.S. Army. The narrative strand of each of their stories is never dropped even as chapters focusing on one and then another in turn. This ambitious, expansive novel always feels intimate, grounded in the lives and experiences of its distinct, vividly realized characters. (Age 13 and older)
    CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
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  • We Dream of Space

    by Erin Entrada Kelly Year Published: 2020 Historical Fiction
    The three Nelson Thomas kids are in separate orbits in January, 1986. Cash is repeating 7th grade and feels inadequate at everything he tries; 12-year-old Fitch has frequent angry outbursts and finds escape at the local arcade; Bird, Fitch’s twin, loves taking apart small machines and drawing their schematics. She draws the machine that is her family, too: gears that aren’t working together no matter how Bird tries to fix it. Their parents fight constantly, hurling anger and insults at each other. At school, Ms. Salonga challenges her students to contemplate the how and why of human space exploration as she focuses on the upcoming Challenger launch in science class Captivated, Bird dreams of becoming the first female shuttle commander and imagines conversing with Challenger astronaut Judith Resnik, who even offers thoughts on Bird being labeled “smart” but “plain” by her classmates. Bird also imagines what it would be like to have her friend Dani’s family, with parents who get along and pay attention. Bird is at the center of this story’s orbit, but Erin Entrada Kelly masterfully depicts the inner lives of all three children, who are white, as she builds to Challenger’s launch, an event Bird is watching. The tragedy of the shuttle’s explosion devastates Bird. Her brothers, unlike their parents, see their sister’s pain. In a novel rich with motifs and layers of meaning, they rise to meet it with love. (Ages 9-12)
    CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
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  • When Stars are Scattered

    by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed Year Published: Graphic Novel/Biography
    Separated from their mother when soldiers attacked their Somalian village, Omar and his brother, Hassan, live in a sprawling refugee camp in Kenya, watched over by loving foster mother Fatuma. Fiercely protective of Hassan, who has a developmental disability and experiences seizures, Omar hesitates to begin school, but excels in his classes once he does. School provides structure to the otherwise long, monotonous days, which become years, of waiting: to be called for an interview, to be told they can be resettled in North America or Europe, to be reunited with their mother, whose fate is unknown, although Omar searches for answers every chance he has. This personal memoir, a collaboration between Omar Mohamed, who now works in refugee resettlement, and graphic novelist Victoria Jamieson, details the specifics of Omar and Hassan’s lives, including their friendships with others in the camp. In doing so, it illuminates the hardships of refugee life in general—crowding, food and water shortages, hopelessness—the challenge for people with disabilities, and the particular situations of girls and women. Colorful, expressive illustrations, a satisfying ending, and Mohamed’s illuminating author’s note with photographs, balance the very real trauma and pain of this moving story. (Ages 9-13)
    CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
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  • When you Trap a Tiger

    by Tae Keller Year Published: 2020
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