“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.” -- Toni Morrison
I can't believe this incredible book is a debut novel with its lyrical language and wholly unique characters and voices. Calling for a Blanket Dance illustrates what it's like to be Mexican American and Indigenous in the United States. I'm so glad we picked it for our community-wide read, because it demonstrates the expectations that communities have for each individual, and the responsibility we all have to raise each other. This beautiful novel is The House on Mango Street meets There, There, and deserves to be read by everyone, savored chapter by chapter.
This is my favorite book I've read all year, and is perfect for both young readers and family read-alouds! The Lost Library is destined to be a contemporary classic as it's narrated by a mouse-loving orange cat, a fifth grade detective, and a ghost, that all want to get to the bottom of the mystery running through the heart of the story. Once I turned the last page of The Last Library I wanted to hug the nearest librarian and then start it over again!
This uniquely illustrated graphic novel follows a miniature boy who is escorted to an island of misfit creatures who teach him about the ecology of the island and how to be courageous. Ember is is a pixar movie, a gentle lesson on accepting others, and an adventure story all wrapped up in one whimsical package! Every single graphic novel reader is sure to love this book as much as I do!
The Truth About Dragons is a vibrantly illustrated story, jam-packed with dragon pictures, that uplifts children from multiple heritages and will certainly catch the eye of picture book readers of all ages! A great way to celebrate similar children, start conversations on biracial identity, or to just admire how cool dragons are, this is a must read for all the young readers in your life!
Wow, I really loved this book! It's like a big hug, a steaming cup of coffee, and a light mystery, dusted with romance. DND and cozy fantasy fans, this one's for you. Pick up a copy so we can talk about how great it is and how excited we are to read the next one!
This book found me right when I needed it, and I am so grateful that it did! As a fat, queer, dnd-playing nerd, I felt like I was reading about myself and my adventuring party, which was like a great big hug from Christen. This book is for anyone who plays dnd, has anxiety, likes a sprinkle of romance, who is learning how to come into themself, or best of all, all of the above!
Equal parts softball, magical queer girls, and steamy romance this is a graphic novel that I loved! With absolutely killer illustrations, this feels like Sailor Moon meets A League of Their Own; definitely a home run!
As a fat, queer, fan of Great British Bake Off, I felt like this book was actually made for me! Set on the fictional inaugural Junior Irish Baking Show, Shireen has to work alongside her ex-girlfriend after their not-so-great breakup and her new maybe crush, while trying to win it all and save her parent's donut shop called You Drive Me Glazy. Full of baking puns and reality show drama, this is sugary sweet and perfectly risen story that you don't want to miss!
Moby Dyke is an honest look into lesbian bar culture, their history and impact on the queer community, who is allowed to be in those spaces, and why there are less than 25 lesbian bars left in the country. Krista's descriptions of each of the bars made me feel like I was there beside her, dancing on the sticky floors. Pick this one up if you want to learn more about queer history, or if you're a fan of niche nonfiction titles, like My Autobiography of Carson McCullers!
Cam absolutely will NOT marry a man just to inherit her father's money, so she moves away and disguises herself as a man. In her new town she befriends (and maybe falls in love with) the crown princess Brie; what could go wrong? Pick up this book if you appreciate cheesy puns, because this book is double-stuffed with them, and if you love a sweet friends-to-lovers romance!
Wow, I just love Ross Gay's writing so darn much. I've been a huge fan of his since reading Book of Delights, so I was elated to hear that he had another essay collection coming out; and I think this one might be even better. With his signature eclectic and thoughtful language Gay meditates on what incites, or brings about, joy, and perhaps even more important, what joy incites, a.k.a. what impacts we have on the world around us when we are joyful. Every single human should read this book, either cover to cover like me, or savor it essay by essay, it might just be the healing balm or breath of fresh air you've been searching for.
A Rover's Story is by far the cutest and most heartwarming book I have read in a very long time! It features a talking robot, Resilience, who starts developing human emotions as he and his drone companion, Fly, try as hard as they can to carry out their mission on Mars; what's cuter than that? And it's packed full of facts about NASA's Mars Rover Program; I sure learned a lot. Every middle grade reader, and everyone who gets read to at bedtime, should pick up this book, especially fans of WALL-E and The One and Only Ivan!
Pet is a story about identity and justice and truth. It's about hunting monsters when no one will acknowledge they exist, especially in the places no one wants to look. The writing is so outstanding that I had to slow down and savor every word. Pick this one up if you're a fan of Jason Reynolds, Get Out, and fighting for what's right.
Alex is great at getting any girl she wants but not so great at keeping her. So, to prove to her rock-star girlfriend that she's not a total commitment-phobe she sets out to help her new friend Molly get the girl she's been crushing on for years. Things most certainly don't go according to their plans when feelings start coming up and getting in the way. Written in alternating perspectives by an awesome wife and wife duo based on their real life meet-cute, this love story's got it all!
“Kate felt ready for anything. Wind was whipping her hair around. She didn’t know if she was doing something very smart or very stupid, but in that moment she didn’t care, because the thrill of it made her heart want to burst.” The Silver Arrow feels like what would happen if environmental activist Greta Thunberg rode the Polar Express into Narnia, but the train was filled with endangered animals and even a candy car! This page-turning adventure will inspire readers of all ages to fight for the future of the world’s inhabitants and to take care of the planet they are going to inherit. The Silver Arrow is perfect for family read-alouds and independent readers alike. Hop on!
Knight Owl is perfect for every picture book age reader, especially the ones who love cute animals! Follow Owl as he finally becomes a Knight, like he's been dreaming his whole life, as he gets placed on the Knight Night Watch (because he's the only one who can stay awake through the night). Can he be brave and clever enough to save the kingdom from whatever is disappearing other knights in the middle of the night, and make new friends along the way?
When Carl Chesterfield feels anxious, he looks out his bedroom window and counts the hundreds of Pittsburgh bridges. One night when his parents are talking about his dad’s failing food truck, Carl swears he sees one of the bridges move. Carl joins two of his classmates and the unlikely trio forms the Midnight Brigade, set on proving that monsters are eating the city’s bridges. What they discover is wilder, crankier, and smellier than they could’ve ever imagined. A contemporary BFG with tons of humor and heart, this story of friendship and finding your voice is great for family read alouds and middle readers alike.
In this creative take on memoir, Jenn Shapland expertly and poetically illustrates what it means to be tied to the people that came before us. As a queer woman reading this book, I feel deeply connected to both Carson and Jenn; there are parts of their stories that are also parts of my own. Pick this one up if you’re a fan of Into the Dream House or I Am, I Am, I Am, or of genres like creative nonfiction and memoir.
Amy is a baker turned bridesmaid for hire when she meets the new girl in town, Charley. The two instantly connect but Amy's fear of what other people think starts to get in the way. Can she learn to put her people pleasing aside and fight for what she wants? Set in the mid-2010's when gay marriage is nationally leaglized, this rom-com is One Last Stop meets The Great British Bake Off, and it's the sticky sweet love story you've been waiting for!
Twelve-year-old super smart super spy and extreme sportswoman, Charlie Thorne, is back at it again in this heart-thumping sequel! This time she’s in South America racing her way through the Amazon rainforest to track down the priceless treasure Charles Darwin left behind before a ruthless KGB agent and a team of Italian siblings who’ve been looking for this treasure their whole lives. Only pick this book up if you’re ready to feel the sweat on your brow and your heart beating in your chest when you’re transported into the biggest rainforest in the world and see if Charlie can find the treasure first!
Studious outsider with dreams of scholarships and medical school meets spontaneous new skater girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and sparks fly instantly. But both Liz and Mack are competing against each other for prom queen, what could go wrong? Grab a big cup of tea and curl up with this classic feel-good romantic comedy to find out!
Untamed is now my favorite book; it’s seriously changed my life. It’s full of truth, love, bravery, and imperfect humanity. When I start a family, I’m reading it again. When I meet the love of my life, I’m reading it again. When I need to be reminded to listen to my Knowing, I’m reading it again. It’s opened me up and allowed me to recognize my truest self, and encouraged me to work every single day towards becoming untamed.
I read this absolute freight train of a book in a single day. This graphic, raw, and messy book is part memoir, part love letter to a mother who did her best. With lyrical poetic language, Jones details his own coming of age story, including his sexual assault and depression, to create a brutal reminder what its like to be a black, gay man today. Pick this one up at your own risk, you definitely wont regret it.
Holy crap, I haven't read a book that sharp and unputdownable in a long, long time! Reid doesn't pull any punches as she highlights the many different and often subtle ways racism is present in everyday life. She also conveys perfectly what it's like to be a young person, on the brink of a career in today's world. This one's going to be HUGE so do yourself a favor, pick it up and join the conversation.
What would you do if the power suddenly went out, your dad was gone, and it was up to keep your brother alive while you walk 96 miles through the Nevada desert in 3 days? Grab this book and find out what John does in that exact situation in this heart-pounding, page-turning debut novel that's great for fans of outdoor survival books like The Trail and My Side of the Mountain. Just make sure you have a big glass of ice water next to you, because Esplin's writing is so clear that you feel like you're right there in the desert with John and Stew with cracked lips, sunburned skin, and a dry throat.
Scoob gets whisked onto an impromptu road trip through the American South with his G-ma, armed with her maps and his G-pop's copy of the Traveler's Green Book. He learns about his own complex family history and how it fits into the context of the complicated and often tragic history of black people in the US. With genuine characters, a little bit of mystery, and a lot of heart Nic Stone discusses current and past race relations in a refreshing and relatable way. Pick this book up and go for a ride!
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I love, love, loved this book! The Hate U Give meets To All the Boys I've loved Before in this beautiful coming of age rom-com. Filled to the brim with heart, humor, and romance, Frankly in Love is a tender portrait of growing up as a first generation Korean-American in today's world. Pick this one up if you want to curl up with a great romance that has a lot to say.
I could talk about Cottom's word-choice, her well-reasoned positions, how Thick pried my eyes open and punched me in the gut. But that's not why you should read this book. It is provocative, big, ugly, and definitely takes up space. It demands to be read. So read it.
Charlie Thorne is many things: a 12-year-old genius with an IQ just 10 points below Einstein himself, an extreme snowboarder who can jump 60-foot cliffs with ease, and even an expert criminal hacker. Because of her unique skills, Charlie gets recruited by the CIA on an epic globe-spanning adventure to track down Einstein’s last equation, Pandora, before it falls into the hands of an extremist terrorist group. Follow Charlie on a heart-thumping, Jack Reacher-type spy thriller that I couldn’t put down! Fans of Spy School and Mr. Lemoncello’s Library will love it too!
Lane is stuck in her grandmother's huge, lonely mansion in Sabal Palms, Florida for the summer while her parents get divorced. To overcome the boredom, she leaves her favorite mystery books in the library bathroom, hoping to find new friends who understand the message; wanted: someone to run away to the museum. And so the Ostentation of Others and Outsiders is formed. With four totally unique characters, Perez brings us yet another excellent story that has it all: deep friendships, mystery, bird facts, as well as big ideas like privilege, race relations, and the necessity of standing up for what you believe in. Strange Birds is absolutely my new favorite book; don't miss this one!
This book is like a deep breath of fresh air, slowing everything down and filling you up to the brim. With clear, poetic language Gay meditates on the little things in his everyday life that bring him joy, and calls us to do the same. Like the admiring looks one gets when carrying a tomato seedling onto a plane, and the nostalgia of Botan rice candy. Read this book if you want to be reminded how to look at the world up close, and if like Gay, you want to delight in what it means to be alive.
Hannah is an Elemental witch living in Salem, Massachusetts who is just trying to finish her training and make it through the summer without running into her ex, Veronica. But, when someone starts threatening their coven with dark magic, Hannah must team up with Veronica in order to protect herself and her family. Filled with magic, manipulative exes, and new crushes, These Witches Don't Burn is a magical queering of Sabrina the Teenage Witch - a must read for Pride month!
Millie, a huge geology nerd, enrolls in a prestigious Scottish boarding school in order to finally experience the Scottish Highlands she's been obsessing over. Not to mention, it gives her a chance to escape heartbreak when her best friend/something more gets back together with her boyfriend. At Gregorstun Millie takes classes alongside, and even lives with, Scottish royalty. Her Royal Highness is a queer twist on the princess and the pauper trope; exactly what I'd want a queer Hallmark movie to be!
After their fathers start dating, Avery and Bett find themselves at the same summer camp. At first, the girls want nothing to do with each other, and work to break their fathers up. But then they start to develop a real friendship and have to work together in a Parent-Trap-like scheme to get their fathers back together. This book, told entirely through text messages and emails, is filled to the brim with humor and heart; its a great summer read for fans of the Parent Trap and Lumberjanes.
You can ask anyone, I am a huge Murakami fan. I love his characters, pacing, and attention to detail -- his memoir is no different. In it, he philosophically describes the parallels between his writing and long-distance running careers. Now that I've read this book, I not only know one of my favorite authors better, but I am also inspired to write, and who knows, maybe even take up running someday. I loved this book and recommend it obviously for other Murakami fans, but also for anyone who loves to run or write.
As a lifelong soccer player, I grew up alongside the Women's national soccer program through players like Mia Hamm, Heather O'Reilly, and Brandi Chastain. I cried, laughed, and cheered, as I recognized myself in Murray's account of this team; "The women of the national team were the sort of athletes America hadn't seen before. Young girls had role models just like them for the first time." Do yourself a favor, if you're a woman, a parent, an athlete, or sports fan, read this book before the eighth world cup in June 2019; and then read it again whenever you need to feel inspired.
In the wake of her mother's and sisters' deaths, Coyote and her dad Rodeo move into a school bus and drive around the country, following every D.E.A.D. (drop everything and drive) dream for the country's best fish tacos and pork chop sandwiches. Coyote learns there are plans to destroy her hometown park, and has to hoodwink her reluctant dad into taking her back to save the time capsule she, her mother, and her sisters buried there. Along the way they pick up new perspectives, new friends, and even a cat named Ivan. This is, by far, my favorite middle grade novel I've read, definitely one I'm going to read again and again.
There are honestly no words to describe how much I love this book. It is a deeply beautiful meditation on the intersection of cultural and sexual identities that broke my heart and put it back together again. When Rukhsana's Bengali-Muslim parents catch her kissing her girlfriend, they take her to Bangladesh to force her into an arranged marriage. But through her relationship with her grandmother, Rukhsana learns how and why we need to fight for what we love. I think this book is so important and so well done; its easily one of my favorites that I've read this year.
Norris, a Haitian Black Canadian, moves to Austin in the middle of junior year. In order to survive he creates a field guide/burn book of his fellow classmates, sorting them into categories based on 90's teen movies. However, through his new friendships Norris realizes that his categorizations were too harsh; maybe Maddie "the beta cheerleader" isn't as ditsy and submissive as he originally thought and Patrick "Hairy Armpits" isn't just a thick-headed jock. Filled with sarcasm, Field Guide is both hilarious and heartwarming; great for fans of John Green and Mean Girls.
One day in her science class Iris, the only deaf student in her class, learns about Blue 55, a whale who can't communicate with other whales. She uses the skills she's gained from fixing radios to make a song for Blue 55 and travels all the way to Alaska to let him know hes not alone. Song for a Whale is about the journey one girl takes in order to connect with a whale who has no one else; I absolutely loved it! Its great for fans of Insignificant events in the Life of a Cactus and Katherine Applegate.
Seven-year-old Chula lives in a gated community in Bogota, Colombia during the dangerous reign of Pablo Escobar. She is drawn to the family's thirteen-year-old maid, Petrona, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. Told from the two girls alternating perspectives, this debut novel, which is based on events from the authors life, is a refreshing perspective on the atrocities that occurred in Colombia during the 1990s. Contreras' style is lyrical, atmospheric, and reminiscent of the great Latin American writers, like Allende and Marquez. I absolutely loved this story and I cant wait to see what she does next.
I had to read this book for my abnormal psychology class in college, and I'm glad I did. Twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan is an up and coming author for a major New York magazine when she starts to experience hallucinations, violent psychotic episodes, and seizures. Susannah goes through many misdiagnoses and failed treatments before she meets Dr. Najjar who is willing to look at it from a different perspective. Brain on Fire is important, haunting, raw, and will forever change the way you look at mental health.
This book is just beautiful. It wonderfully illustrates the different kinds of relationships we have with each other. Father son relationships. Distant familial relationships. New and instantly important friendships. Simply put, this book is for anyone who has ever felt inadequate, then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than ok.
Allan Karlsson is living in a nursing home and is turning 100. However, instead of attending the party thrown for him, he escapes out the window in his slippers and a hilarious journey ensues, including a suitcase containing 1 million dollars, some unfriendly criminals, and an elephant. This would seem like the adventure of a lifetime, however Allan has not lived a normal life. Fun and utterly outrageous, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is one of my favorite books of all time.
Ishiguro creates an atmospheric and ethereal setting for this beautiful book about friendship, truth-telling, and the morality of technology. At first glance this book doesn't seem like it belongs in the science-fiction category, however there's a secret purpose to the boarding school Hailsham which will shock you, grab you, and never let you go.
There are two storylines in this book: one about high school student Caden Bosch whose schizophrenia is worsening, and the other about a boy who agrees to explore the deepest part of the Marianas Trench with a pirate captain. The two storylines converge in a way that will floor you and break your heart. Challenger Deep is a raw and important first person perspective about what its like to live with a mental disorder.
I honestly picked this book up because of the cover, and the story was just as beautiful. Anderson delivers again with a raw and heart-wrenching story about what its like when a loved one is struggling with PTSD. The Impossible Knife of Memory is poignant, relevant, and a must-read for fans of Anderson and Shusterman.
Melly's on her way to Camp Rockaway with her best friend Olivia, but right before she leaves her parents tell her that they are getting a divorce. While only at camp for 2 short weeks, Melly learns how to channel her feelings about the divorce, and fellow camper Adeline, into her music to become a better drummer. Drum Roll, Please is a beautiful story of self-discovery and standing up for yourself; a great read for musicians and fans of Camp Rock.
I absolutely loved this book! Its set in the near future when we've stopped trying to solve our problems and instead spend all of our time in the OASIS, an immersive online multiplayer game. With plenty of adventure and suspense, and an amusing cast of characters, Ready Player One is a truly great love letter to the 1980's and online gaming cultures alike.
Zach Lightman is a typical high school student who spends most of his time watching sci-fi movies and playing video games. His favorite video game is Armada, a flight simulator where the objective is to protect the earth from alien invaders. Zach is called to duty to protect the world when the alien spaceship from Armada lands in the high school parking lot. This book is a fun and fast-paced alien invasion adventure laden with 80s pop culture, in true Cline fashion. Great for fans of Ready Player One and Ender's Game.