Summer Reading

Help the development of skills and a life-long love for reading

Elementary School List | Middle School List | High School List

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. 

SORA available to GCSD Students

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.

School Libraries

Guilderland Public Library Summer Reading Program

Administered by the Guilderland Public Library, students can earn points and raffle tickets by reading books, writing reviews and completing activities. The program typically runs from the end of June to mid-August. 

Elementary Summer Reading 2024 (All Elementary Buildings)

Download a PDF of the elementary summer reading list

Grades K-1

Cordell, Matthew.  Evergreen
To deliver her mother’s delicious soup to her sick Granny Oak, Evergreen the squirrel must face her fears and make the journey, during which she meets other forest dwellers, including some who want to get their hands on her soup!
Donaldson, Julia.  The Baddies
A troll, a witch, and a ghost compete to see who can scare the little girl who is new to the their neighborhood, but her courage and kindness defeats them all.
Dyckman, Ame and Mark Teague.  Bat, Cat and Rat: three and a half stories
In three-and-a-half stories, friends and roommates Bat, Cat and Rat share, joke, and read together.
Harrison, Vashti.  Big
When a young brown-skinned girl is born, her life is full of possibilities. As she grows and learns, she’s told that being a big girl is a good thing. Later, the word big begins to have negative connotations when others use it to make fun of her, exclude her, or single her out, such as in ballet class. Eventually, the girl tires of feeling bad about who she is and she decides to give the hurtful words of others back to them. She stands up for herself and chooses to love herself just as she is.
Messner, Kate.  Over and Under the Waves
Discover the . . . depths of the kelp forest, and all the . . . creatures living just a paddle’s length away-both over and under the waves.
Montgomery, Sy and  Matt Petersen.  The Book of Turtles
This tribute to one of the most diverse, fascinating, and beloved species on the planet (turtles) speaks to the diversity and wisdom of these long-lived reptiles.
Rash, Andy.  Eclipse
After hearing about the total solar eclipse happening in two months, a boy makes a plan with his father to go see it. They drive to the perfect campsite, not wanting to miss the couple of minutes when the sun will be completely hidden by the moon. When the moment happens, being together makes it even more special. Based on a trip that author-illustrator Andy Rash took with his son to see the eclipse in August 2017, Eclipse is a heartfelt and playfully illustrated ode to seeking out unique adventures and savoring the most special moments with the people you love. The book features maps of eclipses’ paths and scientific back matter about eclipses.
Smith, Lane.  Stickler Loves the World
Stickler is a woodland creature who reminds us to appreciate the everyday wonders we often ignore.
Tabor, Corey R.  Fox Has a Problem
Fox has a not-so-new problem, and every possible solution leads to more problems for the other animals, until they all come together with the ultimate fix.
Windness, Kaz.  Worm and Caterpillar are Friends
A worm and a caterpillar are best friends and when one of them is about to go through a big change, they both learn what is inside is what counts.

Grades 2-3

Bidania, V. T. Astrid & Apollo and the giant geography project
Astrid and Apollo, eight-year-old Hmong American twins, embark on a papier-mâché project to create famous landmarks from Laos for the Magnificent Wonders of the World Exhibit, but encounter an unexpected problem that threatens the twins’ participation. Includes Hmong words and their definitions.
Doerrfeld, Cori.  Beneath  
Finn is in a bad mood, so his grandfather takes him on a walk in the forest, and tells him about all the things that are beneath the surface of plants and animals–and even people.
Lanan, Jessica.  Jumper : a day in the life of a backyard jumping spider
A nonfiction picture book that follows a day in the life of a backyard jumping spider. Includes information about jumping spiders.
Lavelle, Kari.  Butt or face? : Can you tell which end you’re looking at?
In . . . [this book], weird animals are introduced with a close-up photo. Kids must guess: are they seeing . . . the bottom or the top? Readers will learn about animals like Cuban Dwarf Frogs, whose backsides look like a pair of eyes, and the Mary River Turtle, which not only has a unique face, but even breathes through its butt! On every reveal page, kids can enjoy the animals’ complete photos and . . . scientific facts, which explain how the critters’ camouflage and trickery help them to engage with their habitats.
Messner, Kate.  Fergus and Zeke
Fergus, the pet mouse in Miss Maxwell’s classroom, stows away in a backpack on a field trip to the museum. He makes a new friend, Zeke, another mouse, who shows Fergus many interesting exhibits, but now he wonders how to get back to school.
Scheidt,  Dave.  Mayor Good Boy  
A small town elects a dog mayor and, even with foes trying to put a stop to his campaign of fun, Mayor Good Boy helps Greenwood become a town filled with kindness.
Shasken, Steven.  Pizza and Taco. Who’s the Best?
Best friends Pizza and Taco agree on nearly everything until Pizza declares himself the best of all, leading to debating, voting, competing, and finally defining what being the best really means.
Smith, Nikkolas.  The Artivist 
Motivated by the realization of global inequities, a young boy embraces his dual identities as an artist and activist, becoming an “artivist” to make a difference by using his viral mural as a catalyst for positive change.
Steinke, Aron Nels. Mr. Wolf’s Class 
Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he’s got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is very sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing!
West, Tracey.  The Rise of the Earth Dragon.
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.

Grades 4-5

Anderson, M. T. Elf Dog and Owl Head.  229 p.
Quarantined with his family as a global plague ravages the world, Clay retreats to the woods where he meets a special little dog who leads him on surreal adventures where choosing the wrong path could cause them both to lose their way forever.
Bow, Erin.  Simon Sort of Says.  305 p. 
Two years after a tragedy saddles him with viral fame, twelve-year-old Simon O’Keeffe and his family move to Grin And Bear It, Nebraska, where the internet and cell phones are banned so astrophysicists can scan the sky for signs of alien life, and where, with the help of two new friends, a puppy, and a giant radio telescope, Simon plans to restart the narrative of his life.
Day.  Nicholas. The Mona Lisa vanishes : a legendary painter, a shocking heist, and the birth of a global celebrity.  276 p. 
A narrative nonfiction about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, how the robbery made the portrait the most famous artwork in the world–and how the painting by Leonardo da Vinci should never have existed at all.
DiCamillo, Kate.  Ferris.  226 p. 
During the summer before fifth grade, Ferris Wilkey has her hands full with her little sister terrorizing the town, her Aunt Shirley moving into their basement and her grandmother seeing a ghost–one who has wild, impractical and illuminating plans.
Eggers, Dave.  The Eyes and the Impossible.  249 p. 
Johannes, a free dog, lives in a park hemmed in on three sides by dense human neighborhoods, and on one side by the ocean. His job is to be the Eyes–to see everything that happens within the park and report to the park’s elders, three ancient bison who ensure the Equilibrium. His friends–a stalwart seagull, a mordant raccoon, a one-eyed squirrel, and a pelican who can read–work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and other animals who share the park and making sure everything is in balance. But changes are afoot.
Hirsch, Andy.  Dogs : from predator to protector. 119 p. 
Join one friendly mutt on a journey to discover the secret origin of dogs, how genetics and evolution shape species.
Klassen, Jon.  The skull : a Tyrolean folktale. 105 p. 
In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can brave Otilla save them both?
Ogle, Rex and Dave Valeza.  Four Eyes.  220 p. 
Sixth grade isn’t as great as Rex thought it would be. He’s the only kid who hasn’t had a growth spurt, and the bullies won’t let him forget it. His closest friend is unreliable, at best. And there’s a cute girl in his class who he can’t stop thinking about. With so much going on, everything is a blur, including Rex’s vision! So when he discovers that he needs glasses, and his family can only afford the ugliest pair in the store, any hope Rex had of fitting in goes completely out of focus. This moving true story is for anyone who has ever felt like they did not belong! 
Schmidt, Gary D. The Labors of Hercules Beal
Seventh-grader Hercules Beal has to figure out how to fulfill his teacher’s assignment of performing the Twelve Labors of Hercules in real life, and discovers important things about friendship, community, and himself along the way.
Weatherford, Carole Boston.  How do you spell unfair? : MacNolia Cox and the National Spelling Bee
A true story of determination and groundbreaking achievement follows eighth grade African American spelling champion MacNolia Cox, who left Akron, Ohio, in 1936 to compete in the prestigious National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., only to be met with prejudice and discrimination.

FMS Summer Reading 2024

Download a PDF of the FMS summer reading list


Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The Night War. 280 p.
“We don’t choose how we feel, but we choose how we act.” During World War II, twelve-year old Miriam secretly spirits other Jewish people out of Nazi-occupied France after being separated from her family and forced into hiding.
DiCamillo, Kate. Ferris. 240 p.
During the summer before fifth grade, Ferris Wilkey has her hands full with her little sister terrorizing the town, her Aunt Shirley moving into their basement and her grandmother seeing a ghost–one who has wild, impractical and illuminating plans.
Eggers, Dave. The Eyes and the Impossible. 256 p. 
Free dog Johannes’ job is to observe everything that happens in his urban park and report back to the park’s three bison elders, but changes are afoot, including more humans, a new building, a boatload of goats, and a shocking revelation that changes his view of the world. The illustrated story of a dog who unwittingly becomes a hero to a park full of animals.
Everett, Sarah. The Probability of Everything. 336 p.
When an asteroid has an 84.7% chance of colliding with the Earth in four days, eleven-year-old Kemi, who loves scientific facts and probability, assembles a time capsule to capture her family’s truth as she tries to come to terms with saying goodbye.
Gidwitz, Adam.  Max in the House of Spies. 336 p.
To find his way back home to his family in Germany during WWII, Max Bretzfeld, with a kobold named Berg on one shoulder and a dybbuk named Stein on the other, sets out to do the impossible–become a British spy
Gratz, Alan. Heroes. 272 p.
December 6, 1941: Best friends Frank and Stanley have it good. Their dads are Navy pilots stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the boys get a front-row view of the huge battleships and the sparkling water. Yes, World War II is raging in Europe and in Asia, but the US isn’t involved in the war, and the boys are free to dream about becoming comic book creators. December 7th, 1941: Everything explodes. That morning, Frank and Stanley are aboard the battleship the USS Utah when Japanese planes zoom overhead and begin dropping bombs on the ships below. Chaos ensues as everyone scrambles to dive for safety. Frank and Stanley realize what’s happening:  Japan is attacking America! The war has come to them. 
Kelly, Erin Entrada. The First State of Being. 272 p.
When Ridge, a time-traveling teenager from the future, gets trapped in 1999, he befriends Michael, a lonely twelve-year-old boy, changing the course of their lives forever.
Korman, Gordon. Slugfest. 304 p.
Forced to take Physical Education Equivalency, aka “Slugfest,” in summer school so he can maintain his star spot on the JV football team, Yash recruits his fellow PE rejects to train with him and pass this course, an endeavor that turns into a summer he’ll never forget.
Lupica, Mike. The Turnover. 243 p.
When a young basketball star decides to research his grandfather–and coach–for a school project, he uncovers a decades-old scandal that changes everything he thought he knew about his grandfather.
Marsh, Katherine. The Lost Year. 368 p.
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, thirteen-year-old Matthew discovers a shocking secret about his great-grandmother’s past as he learns about her life during the Holodomor famine in Soviet Ukraine.
Millington, Allie.  Olivetti. 253 p.
Witty typewriter Olivetti and twelve-year-old introvert Ernest embark on a mission to find Ernest’s missing mother that takes them across San Francisco.
Schmidt, Gary D. The Labors of Hercules Beal. 352 p.
Seventh-grader Hercules Beal has to figure out how to fulfill his teacher’s assignment of performing the Twelve Labors of Hercules in real life, and discovers important things about friendship, community, and himself along the way.


Fleming, Candace.  The Enigma Girls: how ten teenagers broke ciphers, kept secrets, and helped win World War II. 371 p.
The powerful and fascinating story of the brave and dedicated young women who helped turn the tides of World War II for the Allies, with their hard work and determination at Bletchley Park. . Bletchley Park was a well-kept secret during World War II, operating under the code name Station X. The critical work of code-cracking Nazi missives that went on behind its closed doors could determine a victory or loss against Hitler’s army. Amidst the brilliant cryptographers, flamboyant debutantes, and absent-minded professors working there, it was teenaged girls who kept Station X running. Some could do advanced math, while others spoke a second language. They ran the unwieldy bombe machines, made sense of wireless sound waves, and sorted the decoded messages. They were expected to excel in their fields and must know how to keep a secret. 
Hood, Susan. Harboring Hope: the true story of how Henny Sinding helped Denmark’s Jews escape the Nazis. 400 p. 
The inspirational true story of how 22-year-old Henny Sinding courageously helped smuggle hundreds of Jewish families in occupied Denmark to safety in Sweden during the Holocaust.
Shepard, Ray Anthony.  A  Long Time Coming: a lyrical biography of race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama. 336 p.
Researched and drawn from numerous primary sources, this biography-in-verse tells the story of racism in the U.S. through six important Black Americans from different eras who struggled for justice, chronicling how much–and how little–racism has changed since our country’s founding.
Sheinkin, Steve.  Impossible Escape. 256 p.
A true story of two Jewish teenagers racing against time during the Holocaust–one in hiding in Hungary, and the other in Auschwitz, plotting escape.
Towler, Paige.  Pizza: the cool stories and facts behind every slice. 192 p.
In this nonfiction book filled with history, science, facts, and stats, readers can discover how pizza became the world’s favorite comfort food.  

Graphic Novels

Cohen, Emily Bowen.  Two Tribes. 256 p.
Inspired by her own life, this graphic novel embraces the complexity, meaning, and deep love that comes from being part of two vibrant tribes. Mia is still getting used to living with her mom and stepfather, and to the new role their Jewish identity plays in their home. Feeling out of place at home and at her Jewish day school, Mia finds herself thinking more and more about her Muscogee father, who lives with his new family in Oklahoma. Her mother doesn’t want to talk about him, but Mia can’t help but feel like she’s missing a part of herself without him in her life. Soon, Mia makes a plan to use the gifts from her bat mitzvah to take a bus to Oklahoma—without telling her mom—to visit her dad and find the connection to her Muscogee side she knows is just as important as her Jewish side.
Martin, Pedro.  Mexikid: a graphic memoir. 320 p. 
Pedro Martin’s grown up in the U.S. hearing stories about his legendary abuelito, but during a family road trip to Mexico, he connects with his grandfather and learns more about his own Mexican identity in this moving and hilarious graphic memoir.
Nadel, Estelle.  The Girl Who Sang. 272 p.
Born to a Jewish family in a small Polish village, Estelle Nadel―then known as Enia Feld―was just seven years old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Once a vibrant child with a song for every occasion, Estelle would eventually lose her voice as, over the next five years, she would survive the deaths of their mother, father, their eldest brother and sister, and countless others.
Pham, Thien. Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam. 240 p.
Told through the lens of meaningful food and meals, this graphic memoir chronicles the author’s life, beginning with his childhood immigration to America, where food takes on new meaning as he and his family search for belonging, for happiness and for the American dream.  

GHS Summer Reading 2024

Download a PDF of the GHS summer reading list


Adler, Dahlia. Home Field Advantage. 296 p. 
Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but after the football team’s quarterback dies in an accident, this seems like a tough feat. When the quarterback is replaced by a girl, Amber knows she should work against this unliked Jaclyn to keep her cheer status but the two fall for each other.
Albertalli, Becky.  Imogen, Obviously. 416 p. 
Imogen Scott may be hopelessly heterosexual, but she’s got the worlds greatest ally title locked down. . . . She even has two queer best friends. There’s Gretchen, a fellow high school senior, who helps keep Imogen’s biases in check. And then there’s Lili–newly out and newly thriving with a cool new squad of queer college friends. . . . Now that she’s finally visiting Lili on campus, she’s bringing her ally A game. Any support Lili needs, Imogen’s all in. Even if that means bending the truth, just a little. Like when Lili drops a tiny queer bombshell: she’s told all her college friends that Imogen and Lili used to date. And none of them know that Imogen is a raging hetero–not even Lilis best friend, Tessa. Of course, the more time Imogen spends with chaotic, freckle-faced Tessa, the more she starts to wonder if her truth was ever all that straight to begin with.
Alexander, Kwame.  The Door of No Return. 418 p.         
A novel in verse about a boy escaping slavers during the nineteenth century.     
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn.  The Inheritance Games. 376 p. (the entire series!)
When a Connecticut teenager inherits vast wealth and an eccentric estate from the richest man in Texas, she must also live with his surviving family and solve a series of puzzles to discover how she earned her inheritance.
Bracken, Alexandra.  Silver in the Bone. 474 p.
Tamsin Lark goes on a quest to find the infamous ring from Arthurian legend to break her brother’s curse.
Cashman, Christy.  Truth About Horses.  367 p. 
Fourteen-year-old Reese’s dream of winning the Black Elk race is shattered when her beloved horse, Trusted Treasure, falls at the last jump and the vet suggests they put him down. While still reeling from that loss, her family suffers a second tragedy–one that results in the end of their family business, the sale of Trusted Treasure, and irreparable damage to Reese’s relationship with her father. Heartbroken and still longing to find Trusted Treasure, Reese meets Wes, a Lakota Indian whose way of training horses is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If anyone can win the Black Elk, it’s Wes, but he’s struggling with his troubled past, and having a teenage girl hanging around his barn isn’t exactly what he’d planned. Through heartaches and triumphs, Reese must prove her worth if she wants to heal her family, help Wes, and show them all that some dreams are worth fighting for.
Graves, Byron.  Rez Ball. 357 p. 
This novel tells the relatable, high-stakes story of a young athlete determined to play like the hero his Ojibwe community needs him to be.
Hazelwood, Ali. Check & Mate.  352 p. 
When eighteen-year-old Mallory begrudgingly agrees to return to chess in one last charity tournament, her surprise upset against Nolan Sawyer, the reigning world champ and bad boy of the chess world, sets her on a whirlwind adventure as she rediscovers her passion for the game.
Hibbert, Talila.  Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute.  319 p. 
To win the grand prize at the end of their survival course, ex-best friends Claire and Bradley trudge through mud, dirt and their messy past to find the adventure bringing them closer together, sparking a whole new kind of relationship.
Hughes, Alison.  Fly.  197  
Told in free verse, this moving novel about courage, connection and self-discovery follows Felix, a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy, who, captivated by the noble, chivalrous ideals of knighthood, embarks on a quest to save his lady love from the school bully.
Ibrahim, Maiya.  Spice Road.  454 p. 
Imani’s brother is thought to be dead—a fate her family reluctantly accepts, since his reputation was sullied by rumors of a magical addiction. After coming across a djinn who claims that her brother is still alive, Imani takes off on a perilous adventure to a land plagued with evils, both monster and human. Throughout her journey, Imani is forced to reckon with some hard truths about her brother, her home, and the land beyond. 
Josephson, Kalyn.  This Dark Descent.  387 p
Mikira, a seventeen-year-old daughter of a famous horse breeder, takes part in a magical horse race to save her family, and enlists the help of Arielle, a talented, black-market enchanter, and Damien, a young lord involved in a succession battle, who both have their own motives for helping her.
Korman, Gordon.  The Fort. 239 p. 
When a tight-knit group of middle school friends discover a trap door in the woods that leads to a completely intact bomb shelter, they vow to keep the place a secret while sharing their individual secrets to build the safest space possible.
McGinnis, Mindy.  A Long Stretch of Bad Days. 362 p. 
To earn the last credit she needs to graduate, Lydia Chass teams up with foul-mouthed Bristal Jamison to transform her listener-friendly local history podcast into a hard-hitting, truth-telling expose as they investigate an unsolved murder from their small town’s past.
Monsef, Kiyash. Once There Was.  406 p. 
When fifteen-year-old Iranian American Marjan discovers her murdered father was secretly a veterinarian to magical creatures, she realizes she must take up his mantle, despite the many dangers.
Parker, Kellie.  Thin Air.  308 p. 
A flight to Paris filled with teens competing for a cash prize turns deadly.
Quinn, Kate.  The Diamond Eye.  435 p. 
Known as Lady Death–a lethal hunter of Nazis–Mila Pavlichenko, sent to America on a goodwill tour, forms an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a connection with a silent fellow sniper, offering her a chance at happiness until her past returns with a vengeance.
Reintgen, Scott.  A Door in the Dark.  361 p. 
Follows six teenage wizards as they fight to make it home alive after a malfunctioning spell leaves them stranded in the wilderness.
Ross, Rebecca.  Divine Rivals.  367 p. 
When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever.
Shukairy, Ream. The Next New Syrian Girl. 409 p. 
The unlikely friendship between Syrian American boxer Khadija and Syrian refugee Leene reveals the pressures and expectations of the perfect Syrian daughter and the repercussions of the Syrian Revolution both at home and abroad.
Wein, Elizabeth.  Stateless. 384 p. 
Stella North is one of twelve young pilots competing in a 1937 air race meant to promote peace in Europe, but when one of her competitors is sabotaged, Stella races to determine who is capable of murder, and who might be the next victim.
Authors We Recommend Always:
  • Alexander, Kwame
  • Anderson, Laurie Halse
  • Bruchac, Joseph
  • Crutcher, Chris
  • Dessen, Sarah
  • Green, John
  • King, A. S.
  • Levithan, David
  • Reynolds, Jason
  • Sepetys, Ruta
  • Stone, Nic
  • Strasser, Todd
  • Thomas, Angie
  • Trueman, Terry
  • Wein, Elizabeth
  • Zusak, Markus


Aberg-Riger, Ariel.  America Redux: Visual Stories from Our Dynamic History. 294 p. 
America Redux explores the themes that create our shared sense of American identity and interrogates the myths we’ve been telling ourselves for centuries. With . . . American catchphrases as chapter titles, these twenty-one visual stories illuminate the . . . unexpected, sometimes darker sides of history that reverberate in our society to this very day–from the role of celebrity in immigration policy to the influence of one small group of white women on education to the effects of ‘progress’ on housing and the environment, to the inspiring force of collective action and mutual aid across decades and among diverse groups.
Chuculate, Eddie.  This Indian Kid: A Native American Memoir.   207p. 
Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate recounts his experience growing up in rural Oklahoma, from boyhood to young manhood. 
Cooper, Candy J.  Shackled: A tale of wronged kids, rogue judges, and a town that looked away.  163 p. 
Here is the explosive story of the Kids for Cash scandal in Pennsylvania, a judicial justice miscarriage that sent more than 2,500 children and teens to a for-profit detention center while two judges lined their pockets with cash, as told by Candy J. Cooper, an award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Day, Nick.  The Mona Lisa Vanishes: a legendary painter, a shocking heist, and the birth of a global celebrity.  276 p. 
A narrative nonfiction about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, how the robbery made the portrait the most famous artwork in the world–and how the painting by Leonardo da Vinci should never have existed at all.
Dronfield, Jeremy.  The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz : a true story retold for young readers.  387 p. 
This powerful adaptation of the adult international bestselling narrative shines a light on the true story of two brothers who experienced the atrocities of the Holocaust in very different ways.
Hakim, Joy.  Discovering Life’s Story: Biology’s Beginnings.  185 p. 
How did our scientific quest to understand life begin? From the earliest questioning about the origins of life to the first use of the word virus, this book unfolds the history of biology itself. Joy Hakim takes readers back through time to biology’s beginnings. Observe the inquisitive scholars of Ancient Greece and the Islamic Golden Age as they began to ask questions about how the human body works; journey to the Renaissance where Leonardo da Vinci was dissecting cadavers to uncover human anatomy; and stop in the late 1800s, where a baffled Dutch biologist found a tiny infectious particle destroying tobacco crops, which he named virus.
Hakim, Joy.  Discovering Life’s Story: The Evolution of an Idea.
In the second volume of the Discovering Life’s Story series by best-selling author Joy Hakim, the theory of evolution takes hold–transforming ideas about survival, extinction, and life itself.
Jarrow, Gail.  American Murderer: The Parasite that Haunted the South.  159 p. 
Imagine microscopic worms living in the soil. They enter your body through your bare feet, travel to your intestines, and stay there for years sucking your blood like vampires. You feel exhausted. You get sick easily. It sounds like a nightmare, but that’s what happened in the American South during the 1800s and early 1900s. Doctors never guessed that hookworms were making patients ill, but zoologist Charles Stiles knew better. Working with one of the first public health organizations, he and his colleagues treated the sick and showed Southerners how to protect themselves by wearing shoes and using outhouses so that the worms didn’t spread. Although hookworm was eventually controlled in the United States, the parasite remains a serious health problem throughout the world.
Ogle, Rex.  Abuela, Don’t Forget Me. 198 p.   
Rex Ogle captures and celebrates the powerful presence of a woman he could always count on–to give him warm hugs and ear kisses, to teach him precious words in Spanish, to bring him to the library where he could take out as many books as he wanted, and to offer safety when darkness closed in. Throughout a coming of age marked by violence and dysfunction, Abuela’s red-brick house in Abilene, Texas, offered Rex the possibility of home, and Abuela herself the possibility for a better life.
Oluseyi, Hakeem.  A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey From the Street to the Stars.  333p. 
Renowned American astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi’s (born James Plummer) coming-of-age memoir, from young boy to graduate-school student, charts the remarkable resilience of a boy who was offered few chances to succeed, but fought hard to achieve his dream.
Sepetys, Ruta.  You: The Story.  
You: The Story is a powerful how-to book for aspiring writers that encourages you to look inward and excavate your own memories in order to discover the authentic voices and compelling details that are waiting to be put on the page. Masterfully weaving in humorous and heartfelt stories from her own life that illustrate an aspect of the craft of writing (such as plot, character development, or dialogue), Sepetys then inspires readers with a series of writing prompts and exercises.
Sheinkin, Steve.  Impossible Escape: a true story of survival and heroism in Nazi Europe.  243 p
A true story of two Jewish teenagers racing against time during the Holocaust–one in hiding in Hungary, and the other in Auschwitz, plotting escape.
Slater, Dashka.  Accountable: the true story of a racist social media account and the teenagers whose lives it changed.  
When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as “edgy” humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew.  Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account’s discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults–educators and parents–whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse.In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?
Speller, Katherine. The Beasts in your Brain: Understanding and Living With Anxiety and Depression. 144 p
Making room for mental health in the new normal. “Reminds readers they are not alone in their feelings, teaches them the science of mental illness, and empowers them to quell the brain beasts of depression and anxiety.
Notable Non-Fiction Authors:
  • Bryson, Bill
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth  
  • Sheinkin, Steve
  • Gladwell, Malcolm
  • Krakauer, Jon
  • Walls, Jeanette
  • Harari, Yuval Noah
  • Mukherjee, Siddartha
  • Wright, Lawrence

Graphic Fiction

North, Ryan.  Danger and Other Unknown Risks. 206 p. 
Follows Marguerite de Pruitt and her canine pal, Daisy, as they embark on a journey to save the world.
Rubio, Salva.  The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel. 120p. 
Follows the true story of Dita Kraus, a fourteen-year-old girl from Prague who after being sent to Auschwitz is chosen to protect the eight volumes prisoners have smuggled past the guards.
Xu, Wendy.  The Infinity Particle. 266 p. 
Clementine Chang moves from Earth to Mars for a new start and is lucky enough to land her dream job with Dr. Marcella Lin, an Artificial Intelligence pioneer. On her first day of work, Clem meets Dr. Lin’s assistant, a humanoid AI named Kye. Clem is no stranger to robots–she built herself a cute moth-shaped companion named SENA. Still, there’s something about Kye that feels almost too human. When Clem and Kye begin to collaborate, their chemistry sets off sparks. The only downside? Dr. Lin is enraged by Kye’s growing independence and won’t allow him more freedom. Plus, their relationship throws into question everything Clem thought she knew about AI. After all, if Kye is sentient enough to have feelings, shouldn’t he be able to control his own actions? Where is the line between AI and human? As her past and Kye’s future weigh down on her, Clem becomes determined to help him break free–even if it means risking everything she came to Mars for.

Graphic Non-Fiction

Lee, Deborah.  In Limbo. 339p.
Set between New Jersey and Seoul, this coming-of-age story follows the author as she goes to South Korea, where she realizes something that changes her perspective on her family, her heritage and herself. 
Myer, Sarah.  Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story. 260 p. 
Bullied by her classmates, Sarah, a Korean American girl growing up in a rural community with few Asian neighbors, channels her rage into her art and cosplay until it threatens to explode.
Ogle, Rex.  Four Eyes. 218 p. 
When Rex finds out he needs glasses, he’s beyond miserable. Dealing with the bullies at school, his family being broke, and an embarrassing lack of friends, he has way too much on his plate already. 
Pham, Thien.  Family Style: Memories of An American From Vietnam.  234 p. 
Told through the lens of meaningful food and meals, this graphic memoir chronicles the author’s life, beginning with his childhood immigration to America, where food takes on new meaning as he and his family search for belonging, for happiness and for the American dream.
Santat, Dan.  A First Time for Everything. 308 p. 
In this feel-good coming-of-age memoir, the best-selling author and Caldecott Medalist shares his life-changing middle school trip to Europe during which he experiences a series of firsts, including first love.
Xavier, Clement.  The Bodyguard Unit: Edith Garrud, Women’s Suffrage, and Jujitsu. 136 p. 
A nonfiction graphic novel which examines the life of British martial artist and suffragist Edith Garrud.
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