Summer Reading

Grades K-1 | Grades 2-3 | Grades 4-5 | Middle School List | High School List

The Guilderland Recommended Reading web page has been created to present current, relevant and high-interest literature to foster reading for pleasure in young adults. The page contains an extensive list of titles in a variety of genres to appeal to a wide audience at all levels. In addition, we have included brief descriptions of the books as provided by the publisher. Some titles for our older students may contain mature content and we recommend using reviews to make informed decisions when selecting books.

It is our goal to provide parents and students with ample resources that can be used to sustain development of skills and a life-long love for reading. Teachers look forward to learning more about their students reading journeys. We encourage all students to jot down reading reflections or maintain a reading journal for sharing with their friends and classmates.

Suggested titles for students in Kindergarten & Grade 1

Non-fiction titles

Parents are urged to consider titles for read-a-loud or independent reading

  • Alexander, Kwame. Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures. A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird–pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.
  • Frost, Helen. Wake Up! Lyrical text and close-up photographs invite readers to explore all the baby animals that are born in the spring.
  • Messner, Kate. Over and Under the Pond.  Celebrates the forms of life that live above and under a pond, including turtles, red-winged blackbirds, blue herons, minnows, frogs, and catfish.
  • Roderick, Stacey. Bugs from Head to Tail. An insect-themed addition to the popular series that includes Ocean Animals features an interactive guessing-game format that challenges readers to figure out which depicted body parts belong to different bugs, in an early reference that also discusses insect habitats, diet, behaviors and standout skills.
  • Sidman, Joyce. Round. (eBook available on OverDrive) Invites readers to search their worlds for round objects in nature.
  • Williams, Lily.  If Sharks Disappeared. (eBook available on OverDrive) A nonfiction picture book tracing the repercussions of what would happen if sharks disappeared from our planet.

Fiction titles

  • Arnold, Tedd.  Noodlehead Nightmares. (eBook available on OverDrive) Brothers Mac and Mac star in this collection of bedtime tales inspired by folktales about fools from around the world.
  • Collier, Bryan. It’s Shoe Time!  Elephant and Piggie read a book about deciding what shoes to wear. Rhyming dialogue and engaging cartoon-style illustrations by the Caldecott Honor-winning artist of Trombone Shorty and the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! reinforce early skills in a story that redefines the boundaries of being a pair.
  • Cooper, Elisha. Big Cat, Little Cat. (eBook available on OverDrive) A moving tale about friendship, new beginnings, and cats.
  • Dicamillo, Kate. La La La. Follows a singing girl’s fruitless search for a friend her world, until one night when her song is finally heard by someone who understands.
  • Durango, Julia. The One Day House. A little boy promises his beloved friend, an elderly lady, that one day he will fix up her old house–and his words inspire the other people in the neighborhood to pitch in and get it done.
  • Harper, Charise Mericle. The Good for Nothing Button. Yellow Bird has found a button and wants to share it with Red Bird and Blue Bird. This is just an ordinary button. It does not do anything when you press it. But when Red Bird and Blue Bird give it try, they are delighted to find that the button does not do nothing, and that is something!
  • Jeffers, Oliver. Here We Are : Notes for Living on Planet Earth. In this salutation from Earth, the chronicler gives a tour of the planet and introduces those who call it home. The award-winning creator of How to Catch a Star offers an intimate missive about the world and his hopes for his child, sharing uplifting and sweetly humorous observations about the importance of kindness and tolerance.
  • Lester, Helen. Boris and the Worrisome Wakies. Boris has trouble sleeping during the day, which is bedtime for badgers, causing him to fall asleep at night school and miss such delights as exploding science experiments, funny jokes, and badgerball games.
  • Litwin, Eric. The Nuts: Keep Rolling! Hazel and Wally want to be big and tall so they start rolling, picking up mud and goo that makes them seem bigger but leads to a series of problems they can avoid only if they keep rolling.

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Suggested titles for students in Grades 2 & 3

Non-Fiction Titles

  • Balkan, Gabrielle. Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals. Ten record-breaking animal bones are introduced through a series of … guessing game with clues. Readers examine animals’ skeletons and guess to whom they belong; the answers are revealed in … scenic habitats, with easily understood–and humorous–explanations.
  • Bang, Molly. Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Cycles Water Around the Earth. Explains the sun’s role in the movement of water around the Earth, discussing currents, the physical states that water can be found in around the planet, and the ways human beings are interfering in the cycle.
  • Cousteau, Philippe. Follow the Moon Home: a Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles. A book about loggerhead sea turtles, and a girl’s attempts to help save their babies from man-made light. This beautifully illustrated story elegantly combines the themes of finding one’s way in a new place and environmental activism by children.
  • Eggers, Dave. Her Right Foot. (eBook available on OverDrive) The author of This Bridge Will Not Be Gray shares engaging historical facts about America’s emblematic Statue of Liberty, revealing how the story of the Statue’s right foot has become powerfully representative of the country’s foundations upon the principles of acceptance and diversity.
  • Felix, Rebecca. Cool Doughs, Putties, Slimes & Goops: Crafting Creative Toys & Amazing Games. Presents a variety of step-by-step projects featuring doughs, putties, and slimes.
  • Jenkins, Steve. Apex Predators: World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present. (eBook available on OverDrive) Introduces readers to some of the most powerful predators in history, from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the African lion.
  • McElligott, Matthew. The Weather Disaster. (eBook available on OverDrive) In the second book of the series, Dr. Cosmic’s class of clever monsters must face down blizzards, thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes, in this perfect blend of adventure and exploration.
  • Pallotta, Jerry. Tarantula vs. Scorpion. Who Would Win? series. This nonfiction reader compares and contrasts two ferocious small creatures. Kids learn about the tarantula and scorpion’s anatomy, behavior, and more. Book is packed with photos, charts, illustrations, and amazing facts.
  • Porter, Esther. Peeking Under the City. Illustrates the major systems that lie beneath a city to help it function, including sewer, gas, electrical, and more. Designed to be turned sideways to be read, the book provides plenty of vertical space for intriguing cross sections showing services and structures underground.
  • Stewart, Melissa. Feathers: Not Just for Flying. A visual introduction to some of the many uses of feathers profiles 16 bird species and invites aspiring young naturalists to explore informative sidebars that underscore specific ways each bird uses its feathers for a variety of practical purposes.

Fiction Titles

  • Arnold, Elana K. A Boy Called Bat. (eBook available on OverDrive) When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has austim, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently.
  • Elliott, Rebecca. Eva’s treetop festival. Owl Diaries series. Having a Bloomtastic Festival at school to celebrate spring is a great idea–but Eva Wingdale, a young owl, discovers that it is also a lot of work, and there is nothing wrong with asking her friends for help.
  • Flintham, Thomas. Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy! When King Viking and his evil robot army attack Animal Town, and kidnap Singing Dog, it is up to Super Rabbit Boy, with some help from Sunny and his video game console, to save the day.
  • Gall, Chris. NanoBots. (eBook available on OverDrive) A young inventor accidentally creates a group of tiny robots that employ their unique abilities and teamwork to become incredibly useful–and maybe even change the world. Includes author’s note on the science and uses of nano-robotics.
  • Hanlon, Abby. Dory Dory Black Sheep. When Dory’s best friend learns to read before she does, Dory retreats into her wild imagination and finds herself in the middle of one of the babyish books she is struggling to read where she encounters imaginary friends and enemies.
  • Manley, Curtis. Shawn Loves Sharks. Shawn loves sharks with all his heart, so when his nemisis, Stacy, is assigned ‘sharks’ for the big class project, Shawn is not happy.
  • Naberhaus, Sarvinder. Blue Sky White Stars. (eBook available on OverDrive) A stirring poetic tribute to the beauty and wonder of America’s symbols, history, landscape.
  • Pennypacker, Sara.  Waylon!: One Awesome Thing. Waylon, a boy with the mind of a scientific genius and the vulnerable heart of an eight year old, is trying to understand his older sister and deal with changes among the kids at school.
  • Phi, Bao. A Different Pond. (eBook available on OverDrive) As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. 2018 Caldecott Honor.
  • Santat, Dan. After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again. After falling off the wall, Humpty Dumpty is very afraid of climbing up again, but is determined not to let fear stop him from being close to the birds.
  • Tonatiuh, Duncan. Dear Primo: a Letter to My Cousin. Two cousins, one in Mexico and one in New York City, write to each other and learn that even though their daily lives differ, the boys are very similar at heart.
  • West, Tracey. Rise of the Earth Dragon. Dragon Master series. Eight-year-old Drake is snatched up by the King’s soldiers and taken to the castle where he is told by the wizard Griffith that he has been chosen to be a Dragon Master like Ana, Rori, and Bo–and his first task will be to discover whether his dragon, Worm, has any special powers.

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Suggested titles for students in Grades 4 & 5

Non-Fiction Titles

  • Alexander, Kwame. Out Of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets.
    A lyrical ode to poets by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Crossover and the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of Voice of Freedom features original poems crafted to honor 20 famed writers who have inspired and motivated their readers.
  • Challoner, Jack. Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects. (eBook available on OverDrive) Learn about science in your own home kitchen using everyday materials. Put together a school project or simply make something incredible to share with your friends!
  • Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. (eBook available on OverDrive) An exploration of the Grand Canyon. Filled with arresting artwork and fascinating information, Chin’s imposing latest proves that the Grand Canyon is “much more than just a big hole in the ground.”
  • Enz, Tammy. Incredible Snack Package Science. Provides step-by-step instructions for creating nine science projects with used snack packages, including building a stomp rocket, solar hot dog cooker, and underwater spyglass.
  • Hale, Shannon. Real Friends. (eBook available on OverDrive) The Newbery Honor-winning author of Princess Academy traces the roller-coaster challenges of first friendships as demonstrated by her own experiences from kindergarten through fifth grade, years marked by cliques, bullies and her efforts to gain popularity. (Graphic novel format.)
  • Hood, Susan.  Ada’s Violin: the Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. Tells the true tale of an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash called the ‘Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.’
  • Newman, Patricia. Sea Otter Heroes: the Predators that Saved an Ecosystem. Provides insight into the delicate balance of ecosystems and how the seagrass of the California coast inlet called Elkhorn Slough was saved by the activities of sea otters.
  • Roy, Katherine. How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild. (eBook available on OverDrive)This nonfiction picture book follows an elephant’s growth from a newborn calf to a full-grown adult in one of the most socially and structurally complex family groups on earth.
  • Shetterly, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures: the True Story of Four Black Women and Space the Space Race. A lavishly illustrated picture book adaptation of the inspiring story of the four brilliant mathematicians who were pivotal to the success of America’s space program, written by one of their associates, describes how they overcame the harsh limitations imposed on black women in the segregated 1960’s.

Fiction Titles

  • Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree. (eBook available on OverDrive) An old red oak tree tells how he and his crow friend, Bongo, help their human neighbors get along after a threat against an immigrant family is carved into the tree’s trunk.
  • Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War I Finally Won. (eBook available on OverDrive) As the frightening impact of World War II creeps closer and closer to her door, eleven-year-old Ada learns to manage life on the home front.
  • Holm, Jennifer L. Swing it, Sunny! In the mid-1970’s, Sunny Lewin is back, star of her personal show, facing the prospect of Middle School, and dealing with the problems of her somewhat dysfunctional family–in particular her older brother, Dale, who has been sent off to a military academy because of his delinquent behavior.
  • Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello Universe.  (eBook and audiobook available on OverDrive) The lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully’s prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him. (2018 Newbery Award winner.)
  • Khan, Hena. Amina’s voice. (eBook available on OverDrive) A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community.
  • King, A. S. Me and Marvin Gardens. Obe Devlin spends a lot of his time cleaning up the creek that runs through what little is left of his family’s once extensive farmland, and worrying about what the developers are doing nearby, and the pollution it is causing–but one day he finds a strange creature by his creek that eats plastic, and soon the animal he calls Marvin Gardens becomes his personal secret, which he believes needs to be protected from pretty much everybody.
  • Messner, Kate. The Exact Location of Home. Believing his long-absent father is missing and leaving clues behind through geocaching, Zig, thirteen, relies on his love of electronics, a garage sale GPS unit, and his best friend, Gianna, to search for answers.
  • Pla, Sally J. The Someday Birds. (eBook available on OverDrive) Charlie, twelve, who has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder, must endure a cross-country trip with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit their father, who will undergo brain surgery.
  • Snyder, Laurel. Orphan Island. (eBook and audiobook available on OverDrive)
    A group of orphans wait each year for a boat to arrive on the island, replacing the eldest with the youngest, never to be seen again, as each remaining child child learns what it means to say goodbye to childhood forever.
  • Wolk, Lauren. Beyond the Bright Sea. (eBook available on OverDrive)
    Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a tiny skiff as an infant and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbor across the sandbar. But it isn’t until the night when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Using her bravery and perseverance, Crow must follow clues that not only lead to a personal treasure, but to uncovering her lost identity and, ultimately, understanding what it means to be a family.

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Suggested titles for students in Middle School

Fiction Titles

  • Bowling, Dusti. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again. Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.
  • Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. War I Finally Won. (Sequel to War that Saved My Life.) (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was–damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now? World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thornton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy? As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?
  • Cheng, Jack. See You in the Cosmos. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) Eleven year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan–named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover–from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
  • Cottrell Boyce, Frank. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it’s even more important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country. Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik–a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: the Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved. Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made–and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.
  • Gratz, Alan. Refugee. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.
  • Hautman, Pete. Slider. (Ebook available on Overdrive) David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better: he’s going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom’s credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren’t enough, he’s also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don’t, so they just label him Mal). And don’t even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. Master talent Pete Hautman has cooked up a rich narrative shot through with equal parts humor and tenderness, and the result is a middle-grade novel too delicious to put down.
  • Korman, Gordon. Restart. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Chase does not remember falling off the roof, in fact he does not remember anything about himself, and when he gets back to middle school he begins to learn who he was through the reactions of the other kids–trouble is, he really is not sure he likes the Chase that is being revealed, but can he take the opportunity amnesia has provided and restart his life?
  • Meyer, Marissa. Renegades. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) The Renegades are human, but with extraordinary abilities. They emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and is on a mission for vengeance. Adrian is a Renegade boy who believes in justice– and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
  • Pérez, Celia. The First Rule of Punk. (Ebook available on Overdrive) There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.
  • Roy, Jennifer Rozines. Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: based on a true story. (Ebook available on Overdrive) At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations led by the United States. Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.
  • Terry, Ellie. Forget Me Not. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calliope’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is–an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public? Partially in verse and partially in prose with two intertwined points of view, Ellie Terry’s affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.

Non-Fiction Titles

  • Conkling, Winifred. Votes for Women! : American suffragists and the battle for the ballot. (Ebook available on Overdrive) In this expansive yet personal volume, author Winifred Conkling covers not only the suffragists’ achievements and politics but also the private journeys that fueled their passion and led them to become women’s champions. From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who founded the suffrage movement at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention; to Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for president; to Sojourner Truth and her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”; to Alice Paul, who was arrested and force-fed in prison, Conkling combines thorough research with page-turning storytelling to bring the battle for the right to vote to vivid life. Votes for Women! also explores the movement’s often powerful, sometimes difficult relationship with the temperance and abolition movements, and takes unflinching look at some of the uglier moments in the fight for the women’s vote.
  • Engle, Margarita. Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot–the Latinos featured in this collection, Bravo!, come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today!
  • Swanson, James. Chasing King’s Killer: the hunt for Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) In his meteoric, thirteen-year rise to fame, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a mass movement for Civil Rights — with his relentless peaceful, non-violent protests, public demonstrations, and eloquent speeches. But as violent threats cast a dark shadow over Dr. King’s life, Swanson hones in on James Earl Ray, a bizarre, racist, prison escapee who tragically ends King’s life. Swanson transports readers back to one of the most shocking, sad, and terrifying events in American history.
  • Hatter, Clyde. Create with code: build your own website. Introduces coding using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, providing step-by-step instructions for creating a website and adding photos, embedding videos, and using file transfer programs.
  • Anthony, Lawrence. The Elephant Whisperer: my life with the herd in the African wild. (Young Readers Edition) (Ebook available on Overdrive) When Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a rogue herd of elephants in his reserve in South Africa, it was the last chance for these elephants. If Anthony didn’t take them, they would be shot. But he had no experience with elephants at all. What was he to do? Take them on, of course! What follows is an exciting and heartwarming series of adventures, in which Anthony learns about elephants and becomes part of their family. Full of both triumph and tragedy,The Elephant Whisperer, is a fascinating and unforgettable account of living with the majestic elephant.
  • Dias, Marley. Marley Dias Gets it Done: and so can you! (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) Marley explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity, inclusion, and using social media for good. She offers practical tools for galvanizing kids’ strengths in their homes, communities, schools, and libraries, while getting support from adults. Focusing on the importance of literacy and diversity, Marley shares her personal journey to compassionate social action and delivers hands-on strategies for becoming a lifelong reader.

Picture Books

  • Haring, Kay.  Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing. This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.
  • Harrison, Vashti. Little Leaders: Bold women in black history. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.
  • De la Pena, Matt. Loren Long, Illustrator. Love. (Ebook and Audiobook available on Overdrive) In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Pena and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age. “In the beginning there is light/and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed/and the sound of their voices is love.”

Graphic Novels

  • Jamieson, Victoria. All’s Faire in Middle School. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind-she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.
  • Pullman, Philip.  The Adventures of John Blake. Mystery of the Ghost Ship. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John rescues a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promises to help.But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg’s true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will.Marsden, Mariah.  Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel. (Ebook available on Overdrive) Based on Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. A graphic novel adaptation of the classic novel about Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, who is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm. The siblings, who asked for a boy to help them with their farm work, are determined to send her back to the orphanage, but Anne quickly changes their minds.

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Suggested titles for students in High School

Fiction Titles

  • Adeyemi, Tomi. Children of Blood and Bone.  533 p. Seventeen-year-old Zelie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.
  • Albertalli, Becky.  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.  303 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) Sixteen-year-old, not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is blackmailed into playing wingman for his classmate or else his sexual identity–and that of his pen pal–will be revealed.
  • Colbert, Brandy.  Little and Lion.  330 p.  (E- Book available on Overdrive) When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she’s isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.
  • Gardner, Whitney. You’re Welcome, Universe.  304 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural. Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student.  Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.
  • Girard.  M. E. Girl Mans Up.  373 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) A girl named Pen grapples with her identity, and the expectations traditional gender roles play in her family, with her friendships, and at school.
  • Hesse, Monica.  Girl in the Blue Coat.  301 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) In 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, teenage Hanneke–a ‘finder’ of black market goods–is tasked with finding a Jewish girl a customer had been hiding, who has seemingly vanished into thin air, and is pulled into a web of resistance activities and secrets as she attempts to solve the mystery and save the missing girl.
  • Jackson, Tiffany D. Allegedly : a novel. 387 p. A young girl, convicted of murder as a child, serves her sentence only to be placed in a group home, where, upon her release, she must grapple with starting over and an unplanned pregnancy.
  • Jones, Tayari. Leaving Atlanta.  255 p. Three African-American children living in Atlanta during the summer of 1981 find their lives forever changed when a series of murders leaves the city paralyzed with fear.
  • LaCour, Nina.  We are Okay.  234 p. After leaving her life behind to go to college in New York, Marin must face the truth about the tragedy that happened in the final weeks of summer when her friend Mabel comes to visit.
  • Larbalestier, Justine.  My Sister Rosa.  312 p. (E- Book and Audiobook available on Overdrive) When his father’s business takes the family to New York City, a seventeen-year-old Australian boy must balance his desire to protect his ten-year-old sister, a diagnosable psychopath, from the world with the desperate need to protect the world from her.
  • Meyer, Marissa.  Heartless. 453 p. (E- Book and Audiobook available on Overdrive) In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath would rather open a bakery and marry for love than accept a proposal from the King of Hearts, especially after meeting the handsome and mysterious court jester.
  • Pullman, Philip.  La Belle Sauvage  (The Book of Dust). 449 p. (Available on Overdrive as an E-Book) When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra.
  • Reynolds, Jason.  Long Way Down.   306 p.  (Verse – Available on Overdrive as an E-Book) As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.
  • Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. 445 p.  (Available on Overdrive as an E-Book) A story set on the American border with Mexico, about family and friendship, life and death, and one teen struggling to understand what his adoption does and doesn’t mean about who he is.
  • Sanchez, Erika L.  I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.  344 p. (Available on Overdrive as an E-Book) Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
  • Shusterman, Neal.  Scythe. 433 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (‘gleaned’) by professional reapers (‘scythes’). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe–a position neither of them wants. The one who becomes a scythe must kill the one who doesn’t.
  • Shusterman, Neal.  Thunderhead.  (sequel to Scythe)
  • Stone, Nic.  Dear Martin.  210 p. Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.
  • Taylor, Laini.  Strange the Dreamer. 536 p. In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian, and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name.
  • Watson, Renee.  Piecing Me Together.  264 p. Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school’s amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.
  • Yoon, Nicola.  The Sun is Also a Star.  348 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Daniel has always been a good son and good student. But when he sees Natasha he forgets all that and believes there is something extraordinary in store for both of them.

Non-Fiction Titles

  • #notyourprincess : voices of Native American Women. 109 p.
    An eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change.
  • Aronson, Marc.  Eyes of the world : Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the invention of modern  photojournalism. 294 p. Looks at the life and work of war photographers Robert Capa and Gerta Taro, who were pioneers in the field of photojournalism as they captured images from the Spanish Civil War.
  • Hari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 464 p. Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
  • Heiligman, Deborah. Vincent and Theo: The van Gogh Brothers. 464p. (E- Book and Audiobook available on Overdrive) Heiligman delivers an exquisitely told, heartfelt portrayal of that deep emotional and intellectual bond. It was an attachment solidified in the brothers’ youth and, at times, a volatile one, given the artist’s passionate, often obsessive connection to his work and his financial insecurity. Despite Vincent’s fluctuating moods and fragile mental health, Theo’s support and love never flagged, even when his other responsibilities and personal health issues intervened. The author frames their lives in “galleries,” from their childhoods to their early deaths, delicately detailing their work, frustrations, successes, differences, and difficulties.
  • Hegar, Mary Jennings. Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front. 304p From the time Hegar was very young, she knew she wanted to be a fighter pilot. Despite sexism, military politics, and emotional setbacks, she persisted until she was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force as a combat pilot, and then served three tours in Afghanistan. As a combat search-and-rescue team member, Hegar earned a Purple Heart and other honors. Her book is more than a mere account of her accomplishments, detailing the obstacles she encountered yet encouraging other women eager to join the military.
  • Levinson, Cynthia and Sanford Levinson. Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today. 192 p. Each chapter in this timely and thoughtful exploration of the Constitution’s creation begins with a story―all but one of them true―that connects directly back to a section of the document that forms the basis of our society and government. From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.
  • Oluo, Ijeoma.  So You Want to Talk About Race. 248 p. A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. In ‘So You Want to Talk About Race’, … Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the ‘N’ word. … Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
  • Ricca, Brad.  Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The true story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation. 363 p. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation’s greatest crime fighters during an era when women weren’t even allowed to vote. After graduating from N.Y.U. law school, Grace opened a legal clinic in the city for low-income immigrant clients, and quickly established a reputation as a fierce, but fair lawyer who was always on the side of the disenfranchised.
  • Sandler, Martin W.  The Whydah : a pirate ship feared, wrecked, and found. 170 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) Describes what happened when a slave ship packed with plunder was captured by pirates in 1717 then sunk by a brutal storm. Tells the story of the 1984 expedition to locate the wreck of The Whydah and what was uncovered.
  • Slater, Dashka.  The 57 Bus. 305 p. (E- Book available on Overdrive) One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter.One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.
  • Tyson, Neil deGrasse. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. 224 p. Celebrity scientist Tyson’s profound intellect is matched by his charm and wit. In this slim title, he attempts to explain some of the most complex astrophysics concepts in layman’s terms. Readers should be prepared for a challenging yet edifying experience from the get-go: “In the beginning…all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.” Tyson riffs on topics such as gravity, the speed and makeup of light, the shape of space, and dark matter, maintaining as chatty a tone as possible as he tries to make these important principles comprehensible to the uninitiated.

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