The Anti-Book hit me right in my twelve-years-old-and-mad-at-everything feelings. Mickey reminded me of myself as a young person, and reminded me that it's okay to feel angry (or sad or confused) as long as it's expressed in safe ways. Pseudonymous Bosch's first book under his real name is a fantastical, funny, queer coming-of-age story that's great for fans of Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl.
The year is 1976, and Sofia Savea has just received a diary for her thirteenth birthday. Life for her is similar to many teenagers growing up in New Zealand in the 1970’s. She writes about her family, the upcoming speech competition at school, and the go-go boot she wants to buy with her pocket money. When her older brother starts talking about protests and injustices towards Pacific Islanders, things begin to change for Sofia and her family. Read along with Sofia’s diary as she navigates changes in her community, new friendships, and learns to find her voice in the movement for Pacific Islanders’ rights in New Zealand.
Katie has no idea how to take care of a cat! Imagine her surprise when a mysterious neighbor invites her to catsit not one… but 217 extraordinary cats in a Manhattan apartment. What ensues is a suspenseful story of surprising heroes and supervillains, friendship, and absolutely no litter boxes. Perfect for fans of Reina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson!
This story is for the kids who don’t yet know their own power and believe in unseen magic. Twelve-year-old Lily often feels invisible, especially when her mom and her older sister fight. When a tiger appears unexpectedly in her new town that no one else can see, she turns to her halmoni’s wisdom and Korean folk tales to protect her family and find her voice. Every chapter shimmers with magic in this Newbery Medal-winning novel.
When Effie moves in with her aunt that she barely knows, everything in her life changes. She has a new house, a new school, and new friends. As Effie settles into her new life, she realizes that her kooky aunts might be more than just eccentric. They might beâ€¦magical. And to top it off, Effie might have witchy powers of her own! This middle grade graphic novel is a ton of fun, full of expressive illustrations, lively characters, and, of course, magic.
Piper doesn’t want to spend the summer at a mysterious manor house with family she barely knows, but when her beloved father falls ill, she has no choice but to move to the remote and misty mansion. What happens next is anything but what she expected. This book is full of everything you’d want in a fantasy novel: portals, undiscovered magic powers, secret societies, and enchanted gardens. These wonders do not erase or sugarcoat Piper’s grief, but the delight of discovering a new world balances Piper’s honest emotional journey and make for a compelling read.
*This book will be available as a paperback on 5/25/21. Pre-order the paperback HERE.*
This graphic novel delivers a Hardy Boys aesthetic (complete with sibling sleuths and a midcentury setting) with a fresh infusion of modernity, a twist of magic, and, of course, a whole lot of mystery!
After moving to Seattle, Cici finds herself feeling out of place at her new school and wishing she was still with her grandma, A-má, in Taiwan. Her plan is solid: she is going to win the grand prize in a juniors cooking competition and get her A-má a ticket to Seattle for her 70th birthday. This story of family, food, and finding your own way will leave you inspired...and hungry!
Bea and Cad are two exceptionally well-developed characters. The comradery between the two and their growing acceptance of each other’s strengths and faults is hugely heartwarming and sure to captivate readers. The absolutely stunning artwork is the frosting on a delightfully well-written cake. With unexpected twists and shining dialogue, Lightfall is a new series to watch!
A delightful odd-couple story. Badger is a dedicated rock scientist. He likes everything contained and in its proper place. When Skunk arrives on his doorstep, Badger’s life is turned upside down. Skunk and Badger end up on some wonderful adventures involving lots and lots of chickens! The writing is joyful and lyrical, and Klassen’s wistful illustrations make you want to linger in the story. A wonderful book to share and read aloud.
Inspired by the Minnesota author’s travels in Malta and love-hate relationship with museums, this fun and unusual graphic novel tells the story of two stray cats who are searching for a mythical garden. Not only do they walk across several Mediterranean islands, they walk through dozens of famous paintings as well. A lovely fable for young readers.
This book strikes the perfect balance between fact and fun by including comic-book-style vignettes about three Black heroes from days of yore alongside real photographs of Black, Brown, and Native cowboys and homesteaders. For any child curious about the U.S. history that doesn’t show up in a John Wayne movie, this will perfectly whet their appetite to find out more.
Khosrou is just a misunderstood refugee kid telling a story in front of his class in Oklahoma (and everyone calls him Daniel). As Daniel begins to speak, he embodies the great Persian storyteller Scheherazade (of One Thousand and One Nights), recounting numerous tales to entertain, distract, and placate an inhospitable audience (including you, dear reader). Woven with threads of vivid metaphors and a few too many (hilarious) poop stories, Daniel’s patchwork (true) story will break your heart and mend it again. Storytelling at its finest.
Many middle grade graphic novels faithfully depict universal teenage drama, and while Class Act has its fair share of growth spurts, body odor, and budding relationships, it also dives deep into how race and privilege affect all aspects of our lives. Powerful and engaging, this companion to Newbery award-winning New Kid broadens our view of Jordan, Drew, and friends as they navigate their second year of prep school with humor and heart.
They wear gloves, and pointy shoes, and wigs. Most of all...they despise children! After meeting the Grand High Witch herself, a boy and his grandmother suddenly find themselves as the only ones who can save all the children from the witches’ evil plot. This contemporary and colorful graphic adaption of the beloved Roald Dahl story had me falling in love with The Witches all over again.
All her life, quiet, good Suraya has only needed one friend: her ghost, Pink, who is sworn by blood to protect her. But when Suraya makes her first human friend, Pink’s extreme jealousy sets off a dangerous chain of events that will alter their bond forever. Does fortune favor the bold? In a hair-raising quest across the Malaysian countryside, Suraya is sure to find out!
Shannon Wright and Varian Johnson combine their talents to create a vivid and witty graphic novel about twins forging separate identities. The pages burst with color and movement while the script is both honest and humorous. Not only do the artists capture the pains of middle school, they celebrate the love of family.
Crowds, loud noises, and physical contact: gentle Lou knows these fears make her different, but a transient life with her mom has helped them avoid Lou’s sensory processing disorder. After an accident reveals their living conditions, Lou is sent to live with relatives. Finally, she has the support she needs to tune out the noise and discover courage! A tender, inspiring, and necessary story that opens a window into the neurodiverse mind.
In this tender and thoughtful story, beautifully told in verse, we meet Jude, who has left war-torn Syria with her mother, for America. With her brother, father and so many precious memories still back there, Jude struggles to identify where she belongs. As she adapts, makes friends, and deals with prejudice, she works to discover her own identity, be true to herself – and eventually discover "home".
Misunderstood and negatively labeled, Thelonius and his Special Ed classmates are the main suspects when a gun is found near school. While Thelonius knows that his antics/pranks can be maddening, he also knows that he's not a criminal. Tired of being a usual suspect, he takes on an investigation of his own. A clever read that deftly balances humor with honesty. Great choice for kids who feel unfairly labeled.
Packed with fun, suspense, and real history! After agreeing to a spontaneous road trip with his grandma, Scoob realizes there's a lot he doesn't know about her--like what it was like to be part of an early interracial marriage or where she's taking him. I listened on Libro.fm and loved the narrator, Dion Graham, who did a GREAT job with the voices, conveying Scoob's confusion and G'ma's volatility.
This is a sweet and perfectly funny story about a boy trying to find a field where he can shine and a way to feel comfortable in his skin. Mental health, coming out, and family stress can make middle school a tough time, but this book handles those issues with wit, charm, and an incredibly fun cast of characters to help get Rahul through.
For Gabriel, life is pretty great in his small southern town in the 1940’s. But when he crosses paths with and befriends Mr. Hunter, an older black man, Gabriel’s eyes are opened to racism and the ugly truths of his hometown. Caring, non-judgmental, Gabriel seeks out truth, understanding and ultimately fairness for the oppressed. I LOVED this fantastic heartwarming story about an unlikely and rewarding friendship.
Being an immigrant from Iran is not easy in California in the late 1970’s. For Cindy, trying to reinvent herself, fit in, and shake off traditional Iranian ways is a bumpy path – not helped by the growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. You can’t help but love and cheer for Cindy in this story that brings levity while shedding light on a tense and problematic time in history.
This graphic novel memoir left me in awe of and inspired by a young boy’s struggle, strength and courage in the face of incredible adversity. Against all odds, Omar escapes war-torn Somalia, survives a Kenyan refugee camp and realizes his dreams of America. Victoria Jamieson’s illustrations are perfect and I can’t imagine a better or more powerful way to share this true story with kids.
(Review for Audiobook from Libro.fm) At first, I was skeptical about getting the full experience of this story without the illustrations. But oh my I am glad I listened to WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED. Narrated by a full cast, I was transported inside this story. Each character’s voice provided inflections I might have missed if reading ink on the page. Plus, the music and sound effects were lush and breathed vibrant life into the audiobook format. This story is powerful and I can’t wait to re-read with the light of Jamieson’s images.
A fun, fantastic murder mystery that introduces us to indomitable, spunky, and tenacious Mo! Washed ashore as a baby in a small southern town, Mo knows what she wants and doesn’t let much get in the way. When she’s not sending messages in a bottle upriver (in the hopes it will get to her birth mother), Mo busies herself with the goings on in town. And when a murder occurs, Mo, along with her reluctant best friend, sets out to solve it.
A beautiful story of determination, survival, and friendship. To escape their cruel father, two sisters run away into the crowded streets of Chennai, India. They soon find themselves hungry and homeless and relying on the kindness of strangers. After stumbling upon two homeless boys - the four immediately band together to survive and in doing so learn to trust and dare and dream. Truly inspirational!
Sometimes you just need a good comfort read, and for me there's nothing more comforting than a sweet story about friendship, family, and finding yourself. This is the book that first made me fall in love with Jen Wang's art and I've been tumbling ever since! Europe's fashion capital has a prince with a secret: while his parents scheme to find him a fiancée, he's lighting up the night as Paris' most fashionable and mysterious legendary lady. With the help of his incredible dressmaker Frances, he'll wear fabulous frocks, face his family's expectations, and learn to love himself--and what more could any of us really ask for?
This story begins with a group of friends following lanterns from their local autumn festival downriver. Then, there are swirling eyes in the river, a well-dressed bear under a streetlight, and what started as a small-town story becomes so much more. Touching, captivatingly illustrated, and surreal, This Was Our Pact transported me in a way I never expected from the first pages and, well, I never looked back.
Twelve-year-old Jordan Bank is a funny, smart, and creative kid. He works to understand the many complex layers of friendship, bullying, and race through funny, yet powerful sketches. The pictures in this book are worth a thousand words. One of my favorite middle-grade novels ever. I encourage not only kids to read it, but parents and teachers too.
Herbert Lemon is the Lost-and-Founder for the Grand Nautilus Hotel, which means he is in charge of reuniting lost items with their owners. But when a girl comes into his office trying to find her lost parents, Herbie isn’t sure that’s in his job description. And he’s definitely sure tracking down a local legend called the Malamander isn’t. In the town of Eerie-on-Sea, heroes (and legends) come in all shapes and sizes, and Malamander will have you wondering which is which.
When you feel like you don’t really fit in, the characters of your favorite books can feel like comforting friends. Except when they actually turn up in real life. Matilda Pages keeps running into her favorite storybook characters, literally. When she discovers she can actually go into the stories, she must learn to manage her new ability before the adventures in the books become too real. This debut from author Anna James was impossible to put down, and left me wondering which of my favorite classics I would wander into if I could.
On the eve of her 13th birthday Fred worries about growing up. Fred navigates a land of impossibility wrought with noodle looping wordplay, confounding creatures, and a rat queen who has banned birthdays. Enchanting salmon toned illustrations complement an unparalleled adventure of daughter-mother love. So clever, this infinitely satisfying timeless story deserves an irrational number of stars. Recommended ages: ∞
Family! Corporate corruption! Talking trash cans! Cog tackles all the tough topics in the life of a young cyborg whose cognitive development is thrown for a loop when an accident lands him back at the plant where he was made. There he realizes that he doesn’t want to be a pawn of the sinister company that created him and that he has a special knack for granting other robots free will, which could change everything.
In this gorgeous story about courage, empathy, and community, life on Sanlagita Island has always been tough, and there have always been stories of a different island, far across the sea, where life is easier. For Lailani, living with her mean step-father is hard, but she also believes that it can get better. When her mother gets sick, Lailani takes fate into her own hands and sets off in search of a cure and of hope.
Addie’s family has always loved Maple Lake, where they swim, boat, and fish every summer. It’s crystal-blue water inspired her love of science. But when her brother drowns one icy spring, Addie wonders if it’s possible to love a place that took half her heart. Still grieving, she decides to spend the summer as a Young Scientist along its shore. So begins a summer of healing, friendship, and curiosity, as she learns about water pollution and stewardship and sets out to unlock the secrets of the Maple Lake.
Sweet Pea has a lot on her plate: a former best friend turned bully, a growing distance with her current BFF, the recent divorce of her parents, and helping out her reclusive and eccentric advice columnist neighbor. Navigating middle school isn’t easy and Sweet Pea isn’t perfect but what she also has is confidence, tenacity and desire to fix things. Readers will alternately laugh, cringe and find her utterly relatable.
Ellie knows she is so much more than a kid with cerebral palsy stuck in a wheelchair and she’s not up for pity or patronizing treatment. She’s feisty and yearning for independence. When a move to Oklahoma has her starting a new school and making friends for the first time in her life, she sees a way to make her dreams come true. Ellie is a refreshingly spunky character who will inspire all readers.
Seth has lived in the hotel his whole life, parentless and put-upon by the uncaring owners and their dastardly daughter. All he wants is to be a world-class cook like his dad was, but when mystery and murder suddenly check in, Seth discovers that the world is much bigger than he imagined and he’ll have to think fast to prove his innocence.