Help the development of skills and a life-long love for reading
With the help of the Guilderland School Librarians, this Recommended Reading page was created to present current, relevant and high-interest literature to help students discover, think, and broaden their vocabulary.
In addition, we encourage students to check out audio and ebook options that are available through both the school and public libraries. Students will find they have access to several ebooks right through their library catalog. To access the titles, they will need to log into the catalog, which you can find on your school’s library web page. If your student needs any assistance accessing any of these resources, please feel free to contact their librarian for assistance.
What you will find on this page:
- An extensive list of titles in a variety of genres to appeal to a wide audience at all levels.
- A brief description of each book as provided by the publisher.
- If a digital version of the book is available, it will be noted. These digital versions are available on platforms such as SORA, Tumblebooks, Capstone and more.
- Some titles for our older students may contain mature content and we recommend using reviews to make informed decisions when selecting books.
Another resource available to our students is SORA. Many of the books on these readings lists are available through SORA.
Sora is a platform that provides audio and ebooks for district users. Students simply identify Guilderland as their school and use their school id to obtain access. Please note the public library’s version of SORA is different, but both accounts can be accessed through the school login, once linked.
- Altamont Elementary School Library
- Guilderland Elementary School Library
- Lynnwood Elementary School Library
- Pine Bush Elementary School Library
- Westmere Elementary School Library
- Farnsworth Middle School Library
- Guilderland High School Library
Administered by the Guilderland Public Library, students can earn points and raffle tickets by reading books, writing reviews and completing activities. The program runs from June 22 to August 14. Watch the video below to get an overview of the GLP Summer Reading Program.
Suggested titles for students in Kindergarten & Grade 1
- Barnett, Mac. The important thing about Margaret Wise Brown.
Picture book biography of the children’s book author shares insights into her life and enduring literary influence.
- Kaner, Etta. Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? How Animals Keep Warm. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
How animals adapt to cold weather.
- McCarthy, Meghan. Firefighters’ Handbook.
A nonfiction picture book exploration of what it takes to be a firefighter, including training and equipment.
- Pallotta, Jerry. Who Would Win? Series (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
What dangerous animal would win in a fight? Explore this series for fun facts on animal anatomy and behavior.
- Portis. Antoinette. Hey, water!
Splashy illustrations and simple text explore water in its many shapes and forms.
- Rogers, Fred. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Digital: Sora)
Read the poetry and songs of Mr. Rogers.
- Scheutz, Kari. Birds (and other Blastoff Readers! books) (Digital: Sora)
Search Blastoff Readers! for non-fiction books featuring first facts and amazing photos in an easy to read format.
- Schaefer, Lola M. Lifetime (Digital: TumbleBooks)
A book about picturing numbers and considering the endlessly fascinating lives all around us, Lifetime is sure to delight young nature lovers.
- Slade, Suzanne. A computer called Katherine : how Katherine Johnson helped put America on the moon
Tells the story of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician who helped put the first man on the moon.
- Thornhill, Jan. I am Josephine : (and I am a living thing).
Josephine identifies herself as a human, a mammal, an animal and a living being, in a book that helps readers recognize the similarities among all living things and place humans as part of the natural world.
- Wallace, Karen. Wild Baby Animals(and other DK Readers books) (Digital: Sora)
Read along and learn all about the habitat and feeding habits of wild baby animals. Search DK readers for other good non-fiction titles.
- Alexander, Kwame. How to read a book.
Suggests a method of reading that begins with planting oneself beneath a tree and leads to a book party one hopes will never end.
- Bell, Cece. Smell my foot! (Digital: Sora)
An early reader told through comic panels shares the giggle-inducing interactions of the rule-following Chick and the absent-minded Brain, whose burgeoning friendship is tested by miscommunications and misunderstandings about good manners.
- Berger, Carin. All of us.
Simple text and collage illustrations remind the reader that we are stronger together than alone. Parents and their little ones will love this disarmingly simple poem about the power of love and community to vanquish fear and darkness.
- Cornwall, Gaia. Jabari jumps.
After he passes his swimming test, little Jabari decides he’s ready to try jumping off the diving board, but when the big moment arrives, Jabari needs to work up the courage to jump.
- Freedman, Deborah. Carl and the meaning of life. (Digital: Sora)
When a field mouse asks Carl the earthworm why he tunnels through the dirt, Carl doesn’t have an answer, so he sets off to find out.
- Fucile, Tony. Poor Louie. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
Loving life with his human parents, Louie becomes alarmed when his routine changes and double sets of new furniture and clothing begin showing up in his home as his mom’s tummy gets bafflingly larger.
- Maillard, Kevin Noble. Fry bread : a Native American family story. (Digital: Sora)
Follows a Native American family as they make fry bread and celebrate their culture.
- Morris, Richard T. Bear came along. (Digital: Sora)
An assortment of animals living separate lives discover they need each other when they have a chance encounter on a river.
- Pizzoli, Greg. The book hog. (Digital: Sora)
The Book Hog loves books and has a large collection, although he never learned to read.
- Robinson, Christian. Another.
A young girl and her cat take an imaginative journey into another world.
- Smith, Heather. Angus, all aglow. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
In this illustrated picture book, a young child can hear color and is enamored with his grandmother’s beaded necklace, in spite of the reservations of those around him.
- Smith, Sydney. Small in the city.
A little boy offers advice to his cat, which is lost in the city, from taking shortcuts through safe alleys to finding a friend in the park.
- Selznick, Brian. Baby Monkey, private eye.
Baby Monkey, private eye, will investigate stolen jewels, missing pizzas, and other mysteries–if he can manage to figure out how to put his pants on.
- Tallie, Mariahadessa Ekere. Layla’s happiness.
Spirited and observant, Layla’s a child who’s been given room to grow, making happiness both thoughtful and intimate. It’s her dad talking about growing-up in South Carolina; her mom reading poetry; her best friend Juan, the community garden, and so much more.
- Wenzel, Brendan, illustrator. A stone sat still. (Digital: Sora)
Told in rhyming verse, a stone is considered from a variety of environmental and emotional perspectives, as it sits where it is, surrounded by grass, dirt, and water, an unchanging certainty in the world.
- Yang, James. Stop! Bot! (Digital: Sora)
A boy has lost his bot! It’s going up, up! Who will save the day? A man with a broom? A lady with a hairdo? A hungry plant? And–hey!–who’s eating all those bananas? Stop! Bot!”
Tedd Arnold, Doreen Cronin, Matt de la Peña, Kevin Henkes, Fran Manushkin, Yuyi Morales, Peter Reynolds, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Susan Verde, Melanie Watt, Mo Willems
Suggested titles for students in Grades 2 & 3
- Barton, Bethany. I’m trying to love math. (Digital: Sora)
The award-winning creator of Give Bees a Chance combines her signature riotous artwork and high-engagement text to reveal the amazing role of math in everyday things, from music and pizza to spacecraft and cookie baking.
- Barton, Chris. The Day-Glo Brothers. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
Learn about the extraordinary journey that led two brothers to the discovery of a whole new kind of color, one that glows with an extra-special intensity–Day-Glo.
- Biebow, Natascha. The crayon man : the true story of the invention of Crayola crayons.
Tells the story of the invention of the Crayola crayon by inventor Edwin Binney.
- Buzzeo, Toni. When Sue found Sue : Sue Hendrickson discovers her T. rex.
From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
- Engle, Margarita. Dancing hands : how Teresa Carreño played the piano for President Lincoln. (Digital: Sora)
Tells the story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln.
- Gladstone, James. Earthrise : Apollo 8 and the photo that changed the world. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
From speeding comets and asteroids to orbiting bodies and beyond, readers will explore the formation of different parts of space, reasons why we study space and so much more, in a series that is out of this world!
- Karanja, Caroline. Adi’s Perfect Patterns and Loops. (Digital: Sora)
Best friends Adi and Gabi love to play with Adi’s toy train. Round and round it goes-choo choo! Watching it loop the track gives the girls an idea. These scientific thinkers use their computer coding knowledge to put the train to work! Look for the other titles in this series if you want to learn more about coding: Adi Sorts with Variables, Gabi’s Fabulous Functions and Gabi’s If/Then Garden.
- Sisson, Stephanie Roth. Spring after spring : how Rachel Carson inspired the environmental movement. (Digital: Sora)
A picture book biography of Rachel Carson, the iconic environmentalist who fought to keep the sounds of nature from going silent.
- Stemple, Heidi E. Y. Counting birds : the idea that helped save our feathered friends. (Digital: Sora)
Everyday kids learn how they can help protect bird species, near and far, with the real-life story of bird counting and watching.
- Slade, Suzanne. A computer called Katherine : how Katherine Johnson helped put America on the moon (Digital: Sora)
Tells the story of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician who helped put the first man on the moon.
- Beaty, Andrea. Ada Twist and the perilous pants. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
When Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets a little carried away wearing his famous helium pants, it’s up to Ada and friends to chase him down. As Uncle Ned floats farther and farther away, Ada starts asking lots of questions.
- Biedrzycki, David. SumoKitty. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
A hungry cat gets a job hunting mice at a sumo training center (heya), but once the mice are gone he continues to stuff himself until he is too fat to chase the mice that have returned–so he decides to train with the sumo wrestlers, and SumoKitty becomes a scourge of mice and an inspiration to the wrestlers.
- Blabey, Aaron. The Bad Guys. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Graphic novel format. The Bad Guys, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha, want to be heroes, and they decide that the way to do it is free the 200 dogs in the city dog pound–but their plan soon goes awry.
- Charman, Katrina. The ember stone. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Perodia is threatened by Thorn, a powerful vulture, who is using magic to spread a terrible darkness–but when a young owl named Tag, and his best friend, the squirrel Skyla, rescue a golden egg from Thorn’s Tiger bats they may have found the key to Perodia’s salvation: the last firehawk, guardian of the ember stone.
- Clanton, Ben. Narwhal : unicorn of the sea. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Graphic novel format. Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do … love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
- Dicamillo, Kate. Eugenia Lincoln and the unexpected package. (Digital: Sora)
When an unexpected package containing an accordion arrives, Eugenia Lincoln tries to get rid of the instrument by selling it, destroying it, and giving it away, but nothing works.
- Jones, Noah Z. Moldylocks and the three beards. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
After falling through the refrigerator into the Land of Fake Believe, Princess meets a girl named Moldylocks who takes her to the home of the Three Beards for chili–but when the Beards capture her friend, Princess must come up with a plan to save her.
- Miedoso, Andres. The haunted house next door.
When supernatural things start happening in the house timid Andres and his parents just moved into, next-door-neighbor Desmond Cole comes to the rescue.
- Sotomayor, Sonia. Just ask! : be different, be brave, be you. (Digital: Sora)
A story in which friends who have different abilities, work together to build a community garden.
- Zalben, Jane Breskin, author. A moon for Moe and Mo.
Moses Feldman and Mohammed Hassan both live on Flatbush Avenue, but when they meet at the grocery store they quickly become best friends, sharing a picnic while their families prepare for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan.
Katherine Applegate, Betty Birney, Andrea Cheng, Kate DiCamillo, Dan Gutman, Abby Klein, Steve Jenkins, Megan McDonald, Kadir Nelson, Sara Pennypacker, Cynthia Rylant
Suggested titles for students in Grades 4 & 5
- Alexander, Kwame. The undefeated. (Digital: Sora)
Presents an ode to black American triumph and tribulation. Alexander and Nelson combine their considerable talents in this ode to inspiring African American heroes in the fields of sport, the arts, and political activism, as well as everyday champions whose very survival exemplifies success.
- Alexander, Lori. All in a drop : how Antony van Leeuwenhoek discovered an invisible world.
This chapter book biography shows how a self-taught scientist was the first to observe the microbial life in and around us. By building his own microscope, Antony van Leeuwenhoek advanced humanities understanding of the oft-invisible world around us. in a drop.
- Paquette, Ammi-Joan; Thompson, Laurie Ann. Two Truths and a Lie : Forces of Nature. (Digital: Sora)
You’ve heard of the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie. Picking out the fakes isn’t as easy as you think, however. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story–it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to ferret out the truth. Also look for Two Truths and a Lie : Histories and Mysteries and Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive.
- Nobleman, Marc Tyler. Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. (Digital: TumbleBooks)
This is the true story of how Batman began! Every Batman story is marked with the words “Batman created by Bob Kane.” But that isn’t the whole truth. A struggling writer named Bill Finger was involved from the beginning. Bill helped invent Batman, from concept to costume to character. He dreamed up Batman’s haunting origins and his colorful nemeses. It was only after his death that fans went to bat for Bill, calling for acknowledgment that he was co-creator of Batman.
- Slade, Suzanne. Daring dozen : the twelve who walked on the moon.
From Neil Armstrong’s first small step to Gene Cernan’s last footprint, award-winning author Suzanne Slade captures the experiences of the twelve astronauts who walked on the moon. The book reveals how the Apollo moon missions (1969-1972) built upon one another and unveiled important new discoveries about our nearest neighbor in space
- Allen, Kate. The line tender. (Digital: Sora)
Following a tragedy that further alters the course of her life, twelve-year-old Lucy Everhart decides to continue the shark research her marine biologist mother left unfinished when she died years earlier.
- Applegate, Katherine. Endling: The last. (Digital: Sora)
By, the last of the dairnes, sets out to find others of her kind and along the way meets new allies. The group soon uncovers a secret that threatens the lives of every creature in their world.
- Bell, Cece. El Deafo. (Digital: Sora)
Graphic novel memoir of author/illustrator Cece Bell who grew up hearing impaired.
- Cartaya, Pablo. The epic fail of Arturo Zamora. (Digital: Sora)
When his family’s restaurant and Cuban American neighborhood in Miami are threatened by a greedy land developer, thirteen-year-old Arturo, joined by Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast, fights back, discovering the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of Jose Marti, includes recipes.
- Cooper, Elisha. River.
A woman in a canoe takes the reader on a journey down the Hudson River, from its source, a lake in the Adirondack Mountains, to the point where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. Includes a note on the history of the Hudson River.
- Craft, Jerry. New kid. (Digital: Sora)
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds–and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his friends and staying true to himself?
- Gemeinhart, Dan. The remarkable journey of Coyote Sunrise. (Digital: Sora)
Twelve-year-old Coyote and her father rush to Poplin Springs, Washington, in their old school bus to save a memory box buried in a park that will soon be demolished.
- Heidicker, Christian McKay. Scary stories for young foxes. (Digital: Sora)
Seven fox kits, wanting a scarier story than their mother will tell, visit the old storyteller at Bog Cavern in the Antler Wood, but will any be brave enough to stay until the end?
- Kelly, Lynne. Song for a whale. (Digital: Sora)
Twelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris’s plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales.
- Lord, Cynthia. Because of the rabbit. (Digital: Sora)
After years of being home schooled, Emma starts fifth grade at a public school and struggles with the challenges of being new and being paired with Jack, a boy who does not seem to fit in with anyone, on a school project.
- Mattick, Lindsay. Winnie’s great war. (Digital: Sora)
An imagining of the real journey undertaken by the extraordinary bear, from her early days in the Canadian forest to her travels with the Veterinary Corps across the country and overseas, all the way to the London Zoo, where she met Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh.
- McDunn, Gillian. Caterpillar summer. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Since her father’s death, Cat has taken care of her brother, Chicken, for their hard working mother but while spending time with grandparents they never knew, Cat has the chance to be a child again.
- Preller, James. Blood Mountain. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Thirteen-year-old Grace and her eleven-year-old brother Carter are watched by a mountain man when they get lost during a strenuous hike on Blood Mountain.
- Scheerger, Sarah Lynn. Operation frog effect. (Digital: Sora w/UHLS)
Ms. Graham’s fifth-grade class wants to promote change in the world; but when eight of them take an assignment too far, they must take responsibility for their actions and unite for a cause they all believe in.
- Terciero, Rey. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy : a graphic novel.
A graphic novel adaptation of “Little women” by Louisa May Alcott which chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in mid-nineteenth-century New England.
- Warga, Jasmine. Other words for home. (Digital: Sora)
Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative’s home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises.
Katherine Applegate, Mac Barnett, Sharon Creech, Christopher Paul Curtis, Dan Gutman, Lisa Graff, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Grace Lin, Wendy Mass, Rick Riordan, Raina Telgemeier
- Gratz, Alan. Allies 325 p.
It is June 6, 1944, D-Day, and Dee Carpenter (true name Dietrich Zimmermann), an underage private in the United States Army, is headed for Omaha Beach, seeking revenge for his uncle, who was arrested by Nazis when Dee was a little boy; meanwhile, Samira Zidano, an eleven-year old French-Algerian girl is looking for the French resistance, desperate to deliver the message that the invasion is about to begin, and get their help in freeing her mother–this is the most important day of the twentieth century, and both children want to fight, and survive.
- Holt, K. A. Redwood and Ponytail 424 p. (Digital: Sora)
Told in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ways they did not anticipate.
- King, A. S. The Year We Fell From Space by A. S. 272 p.
Middle schooler Liberty likes to make her own maps of the stars, in fact she is obsessed with them, especially since her family is falling apart; her parents are getting divorced, her nine-year-old sister will barely leave the house and carries a stuffed tiger at all times, her father is suffering from depression, but will not talk about it, and the brothers down the street, once friends, have turned into bullies–so when a tiny meteorite literally falls in her lap it is like a sign, but a sign of what?
- Lupica, Mike. Strike Zone 272 p.
Twelve-year-old Nick García dreams of winning MVP of his summer baseball league, of finding a cure for his sister, of meeting his hero, Yankee pitcher Michael Arroyo, and of no longer living in fear of the government and ICE agents.
- Messner, Kate. Chirp 240 p. (Digital: Sora)
Moving to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, a young gymnast hides a secret as she makes new friends and investigates her grandmother’s claim that someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm.
- Preus, Margi. Village of Scoundrels. 320 p.
Based on the true story of the French villagers in WWII who saved thousands of Jews, this novel tells how a group of young teenagers stood up for what is right. Among them is a young Jewish boy who learns to forge documents to save his mother and later goes on to save hundreds of lives with his forgery skills. There is also a girl who overcomes her fear to carry messages for the Resistance. And a boy who smuggles people into Switzerland. But there is always the threat that they will be caught: A policeman is sent to keep an eye on them, German soldiers reside in a local hotel, and eventually the Gestapo arrives, armed with guns and a list of names. As the knot tightens, the young people must race against time to bring their friends to safety.
- Rhodes, Jewell Parker.Black Brother, Black Brother 240 p.
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
- Stead, Rebecca. The List of Things that Will Not Change. 224 p.
Despite her parents’ divorce, her father’s coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents’ unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father’s lake house.
- Stone, Nic. Clean Getaway. 240 p.
For the life of him, William ‘Scoob’ Lamar can’t seem to stay out of trouble–and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G’ma, Scoob’s favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he’s in the RV faster than he can say freedom. With G’ma’s old maps and a strange pamphlet called the ‘Travelers’ Green Book’ at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G’ma’s memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G’ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob’s questions, and refusing to check Dad’s voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem–G’ma included.
- Svetcov, Danielle. Parked 400 p.
Newly homeless Jeanne Ann and wealthy Cal form a vital friendship as they both search for stability and community, finding it through love of books, art, and food.
- Townsend, Jessica. The Trials of Morrigan Crow 465 p.
A cursed child destined to die on her eleventh birthday is rescued and whisked away to a secret realm called Nevermoor and given the chance to compete for a place in a prestigious organization called the Wundrous Society
- Warga, Jasmine. Other Words for Home 352 p. (Digital: Sora)
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US –and her new label of ‘Middle Eastern,’ an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises–there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude just might try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
- Aldridge, Ethan M. Estranged/The Changeling King 224 p. (Digital: Sora)
A Duology – Debut author-illustrator Ethan M. Aldridge will captivate readers with this full-color fantasy, graphic novel that has all the makings of a classic, about a changeling and human child who were switched at birth and must now work together to save both their worlds. Perfect for fans of Amulet.
- Craft, Jerry. New Kid 256 p. (Digital: Sora)
Seventh-grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds–and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his friends and staying true to himself?
- Hale, Shannon. Best Friends
Sixth grade is supposed to be perfect. Shannon’s got a sure spot in the in-crowd called The Group, and her best friend is their leader. Jen, the most popular girl in school. But the rules are always changing, and Shannon has to scramble to keep up. She never knows which TV shows are cool, what songs to listen to, and which boys she’s allowed to talk to. Who makes these rules, anyway? And does Shannon have to follow them?
- Holm, Jennifer L. Sunny Rolls the Dice 224 p.
Sunny’s just made it to middle school . . . and it’s making her life very confusing. All her best friend Deb wants to talk about is fashion, boys, makeup, boys, and being cool. Sunny’s not against any of these things, but she also doesn’t understand why suddenly everything revolves around them. She’s much more comfortable when she’s in her basement, playing Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of new friends. Because when you’re sword fighting and spider-slaying, it’s hard to worry about whether you look cool or not. Especially when it’s your turn to roll the 20-sided die.
Larson, Hope. All Together Now 192 p.
Middle-schooler Bina is having the best time playing in her new band with her friends, Darcy and Enzo. But both the band and her friendships begin to crumble when Darcy and Enzo start dating, effectively relegating Bina to third-wheel status. To make matters worse, Bina’s best friend, Austin, starts developing a crush on her . . . one she is not sure she reciprocates. Now Bina must follow her heart. Can she navigate its twists and turns before the lights come up and the music starts playing.
- Palacio, R. J. White Bird. 220 p. (Digital: Sora)
Tells the story of Julian’s grandma’s childhood as she, a Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II and how the boy she once shunned became her savior and best friend.
- Alexander, Kwame and Kadir Nelson. The Undefeated. (Digital: Sora)
Alexander and Nelson combine their considerable talents in this ode to inspiring African American heroes in the fields of sport, the arts, and political activism, as well as everyday champions whose very survival exemplifies success. In elegiac-style verse, Alexander celebrates “the swift and sweet ones / who hurdled history . . . / the ones who survived / America / by any means necessary,” and those “who shine / their light for the world to see / and don’t stop / ‘til the break of dawn.” Nelson’s photo-realistic illustrations, rendered in oil, include action shots (Jesse Owens, mid hurdle), portraits (Martin Luther King Jr. and an African American Union soldier), composites (of jazz and sports greats), and iconographic compositions that depict the unspeakable (bodies lined up representing abducted Africans en route to America, part of the Middle Passage).
- Browne, Mahogany L. Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice 56 p.
Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women of color that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out. With Theodore Taylor’s bright, emotional art and writing from Mahogany Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice.
- Dunbar, Erica Armstrong and Kathleen Van Cleve. Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge. (Digital: Sora)
A National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction, Never Caught is the eye-opening narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave, who risked everything for a better life–now available as a young reader’s edition! In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the First Family–and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.
- Ha, Robin. Almost American Girl: an illustrated memoir (GN) 228 p. (Digital: Sora)
The author recounts how she and her mother moved from South Korea to the United States.
- Kanefield, Teri. Andrew Jackson: the Making of America (#2 in the Making of America (Digital: Sora)
This biography critically examines one of America’s most polarizing presidents. Jackson’s backwoodsy lifestyle and fierce determination positioned him as a political outsider and voice of the people. The narrative highlights Jackson’s public service, military leadership, and two-term presidency. His successes and failures, as well as his controversial treatment of Native Americans, are objectively portrayed. We recommend the entire Making of America Series.
- Lowry, Lois. On the Horizon. 80 p.
From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.
- Ogle, Rex. Free Lunch 208 p. (Digital: Sora)
Rex Ogle recounts his first semester in sixth grade in which he and his younger brother often went hungry, wore secondhand clothes, and were short of school supplies and he was on his school’s free lunch program. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex’s is a compelling story of a more profound hunger — that of a child for his parents’ love and care.
- Redding, Anna Crowley. Google It: A History of Google. 256 p. (Digital: Sora)
Think. Invent. Organize. Share. Don’t be evil. And change the world.Larry Page and Sergey Brin started out as two Stanford college students with a wild idea: They were going to organize the world’s information. From that one deceptively simple goal, they created one of the most influential and innovative companies in the world. The word “google” has even entered our vocabulary as a verb. Now, find out the true history of Google–from its humble beginnings as a thesis project made out of “borrowed” hardware and discount toys through its revolution of the world’s relationship with technology to a brief glimpse of where they might take us next. Award-winning investigative reporter Anna Redding shares an inspiring story of innovation, personal and intellectual bravery, and most importantly, of shooting for the moon in order to change the world.
- Reynolds, Jason and Ibram X. Kendi. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. (Digital: Sora)
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism–and antiracism–in America. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
- Sheinkin, Steve. Born to Fly. 288 p. (Digital: Sora)
Tells the story of the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, the first official all-female air race in the U.S, complete with thrills,chills, and sabotage.
- Alan Gratz
- Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
- Mike Lupica
- Tim Green
- Shannon Hale
- Jason Reynolds
- Kenneth Oppel
- John Flanagan
- Marissa Meyer
- Neal Shusterman
- Jennifer Nielsen
- Laurie Halse Anderson
- Jacqueline Woodson
- Kwame Alexander
- Carl Hiaasen
- The Making of America series by Teri Kanefield
Suggested titles for students in High School
- Ahmadi, Arvin. Girl Gone Viral. 553 p. (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires. But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget. Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him. What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?
- Ahmed, Samira. Internment. 400 p. (Digital: Sora)
Rebellions are built on hope. Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
- Alexander, Kwame. Swing. 448 p. (Digital: Sora)
Noah and his best friend Walt want to become cool, make the baseball team, and win over Sam, the girl Noah has loved for years. When Noah finds old love letters, Walt hatches a plan to woo Sam. But as Noah’s love life and Walt’s baseball career begin, the letters alter.
- Berry, Julie. Lovely War. 466 p. (Digital: Sora)
The Greek goddess Aphrodite recounts two tales of tragic love during WWI to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: ‘Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another?’ but her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music revealing that War is no match for the power of Love.
- Howard, Max. Fifteen and Change. 191 p.
Zeke would love to be invisible. His mother is struggling to make ends meet and stuck with a no-good boyfriend. Zeke knows he and his mom will be stuck forever if he doesn’t find some money fast. When Zeke starts working at a local pizza place, he meets labor activists who want to give him a voice, and the living wage he deserves for his work. Zeke has to decide between living the quiet life he’s carved for himself and raising his voice for justice.
- Khorram, Adib. Darius the Great is Not Okay. 314 p. (Digital: Sora)
Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.
- Page, Nathan. The Montague Twins The Witch’s Hand. Released this July!
Brothers. Detectives. Witches? Meet Pete and Alastair Montague in the first installment of a new graphic novel duology. Pete and Alastair Montague are just a couple of mystery-solving twins, living an ordinary life. Or so they thought. After a strange storm erupts on a visit to the beach, they discover there is more to their detective skills than they had thought. Their guardian, David Faber, a once prominent professor, has been keeping secrets about their parents and what the boys are truly capable of. At the same time, three girls go missing after casting a mysterious spell, which sets in motion a chain of events that takes their small town down an unexpected path. With the help of David’s daughter, Charlie, they discover there are forces at work that they never could have imagined, which will impact their lives forever.
- Power, Rory. Burn Our Bodies Down. Released this July!
A new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery–until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself. Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.
- Reynolds, Jason. Look both ways: a tale told in ten blocks. 231 p.
(Digital: Sora and UHLS)
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
- Richardson, Kim Michelle. Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. 308 p. (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
Cussy Mary Carter is the last of her kind, her skin the color of a blue damselfly in these dusty hills. But that doesn’t mean she’s got nothing to offer. As a member of the Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy delivers books to the hill folk of Troublesome, hoping to spread learning in these desperate times. But not everyone is so keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and the hardscrabble Kentuckians are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble in their small town.
- Shusterman, Neal. Dry. 390 p. (Digital: Sora)
When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.
- Stone, Nic. Jackpot. 343p. (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she and her popular and wildly rich classmate, Zan can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize.
- Sullivan, Mark T. Beneath a Scarlet Sky. 513 p.
In 1940s Italy, teenager Pino Lella joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and falls for a beautiful widow, he also becomes the personal driver of one of the Third Reich’s most powerful commanders.
AUTHORS WE RECOMMEND ALWAYS:
- Anderson, Laurie Halse
- Bruchac, Joseph
- Cabot, Meg
- Crutcher, Chris
- Dessen, Sarah
- Green, John
- King, A. S.
- Levithan, David
- Reynolds, Jason
- Sepetys, Ruta
- Stone, Nic
- Strasser, Todd
- Thomas, Angie
- Trueman, Terry
- Zusak, Markus
Non – Fiction
- Anderson, Laurie Halse. Shout. 304 p. (Digital: Sora)
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.
- Fleming, Candace. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. 304 p. (Digital: Sora)
The tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs—at once an intimate portrait of Russia’s last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost; The Lincolns) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family’s extravagant lives and the plight of Russia’s poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.
- Heiligman, Deborah. Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship.” 304 p. (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
In 1940, the passenger ship City of Benares set sail from Britain, carrying 200 passengers, many of them children hoping to escape the ravages of war. Before they could reach safety, the ship was struck by a torpedo, and a tragic race to save the passengers began. Cinematic language, extensive back matter, archival photos and dramatic illustrations bring this suspenseful and devastating story to life.
- Krosoczka, Jarrett. Hey Kiddo. 254 p. (Digital: Sora)
In graphic novel format author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka discusses growing up in a family grappling with addiction.
- Marrin, Albert. A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust. 400p. (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
A heart-wrenching look at the history of the Warsaw Ghetto, told by comparing the philosophies of Doctor Janusz Korczak, a pediatrician-turned-orphanage-director who championed children’s rights, and Adolf Hitler, a racist fanatic whose policies led to the murder and manipulation of children. This masterfully woven story is meticulously documented and asks tough, resonant questions about good and evil.
- Ogle, Rex. Free Lunch. 208p (Digital: Sora and UHLS)
An honest and engrossing account of Ogle’s sixth-grade year and his family’s experience with poverty and its effect on their relationships. Ogle captures the voice and emotion of his sixth-grade self in this powerful story of trauma and resilience.
- Takei, George. They Called Us Enemy. 204 p. (Digital: Sora)
Actor, author, and activist George Takei recounts his childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II and the impact the experience had on his later life.
- Wein, Elizabeth. Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II . 400 p. (Digital: Sora)
A thrilling, richly detailed account of the regiments of female Russian aviators who fought in World War II as pilots, mechanics, and navigators. Through extensive research, descriptive personal stories, and examples of overcoming misogynist social norms, this powerful account shows the bravery and camaraderie needed to change history.
NOTABLE NON-FICTION AUTHORS
- Steve Shenkin
- Bill Bryson
- Lawrence Wright
- Jon Krakauer
- Malcolm Gladwell
- Jeanette Walls
- Yuval Noah Harari
- Siddartha Mukherjee
- Elizabeth Kolbert
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