Recommended Reading List – Hidden

Table of Contents

Picture Books

Middle Grade

Young Adult

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Picture Books


  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer, Illustrated by: Elizabeth Zunon)

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind cover

    William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala–crazy–but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

African American

  • Dave the Potter (Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by: Bryan Collier)

    Dave the Potter cover

    Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill’s elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier’s resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave’s story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

  • Harlem (Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated by: Christopher Myers)

    Harlem cover

    Walter Dean Myers calls to life the deep, rich, and hope-filled history of Harlem, this crucible of American culture. Christopher Myers’ boldly assembled collage art resonates with feeling, and tells a tale all its own. Words and pictures together connect readers -of all ages – to the spirit of Harlem in its music, art, literature, and everyday life, and to how it has helped shape us as a people.

  • Lottie Paris and the Best Place (Angela Johnson, Illustrated by: Scott M. Fischer)

    Lottie Paris and the Best Place cover

    Lottie Paris has a favorite place. The library! She loves to go there and read about space. She knows there are rules at the library, but sometimes they are not so easy to follow. The library is Carl’s favorite place, too. And he loves to read about dinosaurs. When Lottie and Carl meet, they become fast friends. Now Lottie reads about dinosaurs, and Carl loves space!

  • Bird (Zetta Elliot, Illustrated by: Shadra Strickland)

    Bird cover

    Young Mekhai, better known as Bird, loves to draw. With drawings, he can erase the things that don’t turn out right. In real life, problems aren’t so easily fixed. As Bird struggles to understand the death of his beloved grandfather and his older brother’s drug addiction, he escapes into his art. Drawing is an outlet for Bird’s emotions and imagination, and provides a path to making sense of his world. In time, with the help of his grandfather’s friend, Bird finds his own special somethin’ and wings to fly.

  • Henry’s Freedom Box (Ellen Levine, Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson)

    Henry's Freedom Box cover

    Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday — his first day of freedom.

African American/Gender Roles

African/Biracial/Mixed Race

  • Anna Hibiscus’ Song (Atinuke, Illustrated by: Lauren Tobia)

    Anna Hibiscus' Song cover

    This is a beautiful, vibrant story, with rich colours and words that sing right off the page. This is the first picture book featuring Anna Hibiscus and she is very happy in it! So happy, in fact, that she can’t quite decide what to do with herself!! So she turns to her grandparents, her aunties, her cousins Chocolate, Angel and Benz, her uncle Tunde and her father, who each offer her a way to express her boundless joy. But being around the people she loves so much only makes her happiness grow and grow; she is SO happy, she is going to EXPLODE! It is her mother who finally helps her to channel her brimming happiness. Sitting in her mango tree Anna sings an amazing song. Amazing is Africa. Amazing is Anna Hibiscus. Anna Hibiscus’ world is brought to full colour for the first time in her very own picture book. This is a delightful story set against a bustling African city in the midst of a huge, happy family.

Asian American

  • Round Is a Mooncake (Roseanne Thong, Illustrated by: Grace Lin)

    Round Is a Mooncake cover

    A little girl’s neighborhood becomes a discovery ground of things round, square and rectangular. Many of the objects are Asian in origin, other universal: round rice bowls and a found pebble, square dim sum and pizza boxes, rectangular Chinese lace and very special pencil case. Bright art accompanies this lively introduction to shapes and short glossary explains the cultural significance of the objects featured in the book. Perfect for read-alouds or one-on-one sharing.

  • The Ugly Vegetables (Grace Lin)

    The Ugly Vegetables cover

    t’s easy to appreciate a garden exploding with colorful flowers and fragrances, but what do you do with a patch of ugly vegetables? Author/illustrator Grace Lin recalls such a garden in this charming and eloquent story.

Biracial/Mixed Race

  • The Very Inappropriate Word (Jim Tobin, Illustrated by: Dave Coverly)

    The Very Inappropriate Word cover

    Michael loves interesting words (hard words like ELASTIC, little words like VAST, and big words like SMITHEREENS) and is always on the lookout for words to collect. Then one day, he picks up a new word. A bad word. An inappropriate word. At least, that’s what his friend says. But Michael kind of likes the word. He thinks he might try it out. At school. Bad idea.

  • All the World (Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by: Marla Frazee)

    All the World cover

    Following a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning till night, this book affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to warm family connections, to the widest sunset sky


  • A Splash of Red (Jen Bryant, Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet)

    A Splash of Red cover

    As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm, and couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint–and paint, and paint! Soon, people–including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth–started noticing Horace’s art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.


  • Jacob’s New Dress (Sarah and Ian Hoffman, Illustrated by: Chris Case)

    Jacob's New Dress cover

    Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.

LGBTQIA / Latino

  • Antonio’s Card (Rigoberto Gonzalez, Illustrated by: Cecilia Concepcion Alvarez)

    Antonio's Card cover

    Antonio loves words, because words have the power to express feelings like love, pride, or hurt. Mother’s Day is coming soon, and Antonio searches for the words to express his love for his mother and her partner, Leslie. But he’s not sure what to do when his classmates make fun of Leslie, an artist, who towers over everyone and wears paint-splattered overalls. As Mother’s Day approaches, Antonio must choose whether — or how — to express his connection to both of the special women in his life.


  • Soccer Star (Mina Javaherbin, Illustrated by: Renato Alarcao)

    Soccer Star cover

    When Paulo Marcelo Feliciano becomes a soccer star, crowds will cheer his famous name! Then his mother won’t have to work long hours, and he won’t have to work all day on a fishing boat. For now, Paulo takes care of his little sister Maria (she teaches him reading, he teaches her soccer moves) and walks her to school, stopping to give his teammates cheese buns as they set out to shine people’s shoes or perform for the tourist crowd. At day’s end, it’s time to plan the game, where Givo will bounce, Carlos will kick, and Jose will fly! But when Jose falls on his wrist, will the team finally break the rules and let a girl show her stuff? Set in a country whose resilient soccer stars are often shaped by poverty, this uplifting tale of transcending the expected scores a big win for all.

  • Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote (Duncan Tonatiuh)

    Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote cover

    In this allegorical picture book, a young rabbit named Pancho eagerly awaits his papa’s return. Papa Rabbit traveled north two years ago to find work in the great carrot and lettuce fields to earn money for his family. When Papa does not return, Pancho sets out to find him. He packs Papa’s favorite meal–mole, rice and beans, a heap of warm tortillas, and a jug of aguamiel–and heads north. He meets a coyote, who offers to help Pancho in exchange for some of Papa’s food. They travel together until the food is gone and the coyote decides he is still hungry . . . for Pancho! Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the hardship and struggles faced by thousands of families who seek to make better lives for themselves and their children by illegally crossing the border.

  • Round Is a Tortilla (Roseanne Thong, Illustrated by: John Parra)

    Round Is a Tortilla cover

    In this lively picture book, children discover a world of shapes all around them: rectangles are ice-cream carts and stone metates, triangles are slices of watermelon and quesadillas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the shapes found in every child’s day!

  • Nino Wrestles the World (Yuyi Morales)

    Nino Wrestles the World cover

    Senoras y Senores, put your hands together for the fantastic, spectacular, one of a kind . . . Nino! Fwap! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! He takes down his competition in a single move! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Nino–popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!

Middle East

  • The Librarian of Basra (Jeanette Winter)

    The Librarian of Basra cover

    Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the library–along with the thirty thousand books within it–will be destroyed forever.

Middle East / Disability

  • King For a Day (Rukhsana Khan, Illustrated by: Christiane Kromer)

    King For a Day cover

    Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik’s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant. In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life’s challenges.


  • My First Ramadan (Karen Katz)

    My First Ramadan cover

    It’s time for Ramadan to begin. Follow along with one young boy as he observes the Muslim holy month with his family. This year, the narrator is finally old enough to fast, and readers of all ages will be interested as he shares his experiences of this special holiday.

  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns (Hena Khan, Illustrated by: Mehrdokht Amini)

    Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns cover

    Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam’s beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent’s lap.

  • Big Red Lollipop (Rukhsana Khan, Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall)

    Big Red Lollipop cover

    Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?


  • SaltyPie (Tim Tingle, Illustrated by: Karen Clarkson)

    SaltyPie cover

    In this powerful family saga, author Tim Tingle tells the story of his family’s move from Oklahoma Choctaw country to Pasadena, TX. Spanning 50 years, Saltypie describes the problems encountered by his Choctaw grandmother–from her orphan days at an Indian boarding school to hardships encountered in her new home on the Gulf Coast.

Middle Grade

African American

  • Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson)

    Brown Girl Dreaming cover

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a childs soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodsons eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

  • One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia)

    One Crazy Summer cover

    Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

  • Yummy (G. Neri)

    Yummy cover

    “In 1994, in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side, a 14-year-old girl named Shavon Dean was killed by a stray bullet during a gang shooting. Her killer, Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer, was 11 years old. Neri recounts Yummy’s three days on the run from police (and, eventually, his own gang) through the eyes of Roger, a fictional classmate of Yummy’s. Roger grapples with the unanswerable questions behind Yummy’s situation, with the whys and hows of a failed system, a crime-riddled neighborhood, and a neglected community. How could a smiling boy, who carried a teddy bear and got his nickname from his love of sweets, also be an arsonist, an extortionist, a murderer? Yet as Roger mulls reasons, from absentee parenting to the allure of gang membership, our picture of Yummy only becomes more obscure. Neri’s straightforward, unadorned prose is the perfect complement to DuBurke’s stark black-and-white inks; great slabs of shadow and masterfully rendered faces breathe real, tragic life into the players. Like Roger, in the end readers are left with troubling questions and, perhaps, one powerful answer: that they can choose to do everything in their power to ensure that no one shares Yummy’s terrible fate. (Aug.)” Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

  • Hold Fast (Blue Balliet)

    Hold Fast cover

    From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago’s shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father’s strange disappearance.


  • The Year of the Rat (Grace Lin)

    The Year of the Rat cover

    Last year, Anna learned how to be a good friend. Now that her family has adopted a baby girl from China, she wants to learn how to be a good sister. But the new year proves challenging when the doctor warns that the baby isn’t thriving. Can Anna and her best friends, Laura and Camille, create a science project that saves the day? In this heartwarming sequel to Theand#160;Year of the Book, readers will be just as moved by Anna’s devotion to her new sister as they will be inspired by her loving family and lasting friendships.

  • Inside Out and Back Again (Thanhha Lai)

    Inside Out and Back Again cover

    Inside Out and Back Again is a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award! Inspired by the author’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child’s-eye view of family and immigration.

Asian American

  • Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream (Jenny Han)

    Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream cover

    The candid Korean-American narrator of Han’s (Shug) warm novel is preoccupied with luck. After her Korean grandfather interprets her scary dream as good luck, eight-year-old Clara Lee has a charmed day. She snags the best seat on the bus, scales the rope in gym class, and finds a candy necklace in her desk. But Clara Lee’s luck expires the following day, when she has an upsetting encounter with a rival for the title of Little Miss Apple Pie at the town’s annual fall festival (her competitor boasts that her family is ‘as American as apple pie’) and contemplates dropping her bid for the title. Clara Lee’s ruminations meander, though believably so, and her rapport with her grandfather anchors the story (he explains that her dual heritage doesn’t ‘make you less than anybody else. It makes you more’). The funniest interludes are her credible interactions with her younger sister; Clara Lee’s memorable descriptions, such as the ‘limp green bean kind of hug’ she gives her grandfather when she’s feeling down, will endear her to readers. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 — 12. (Jan.)

  • In the Year of the Board and Jackie Robinson (Bette Bao Lord)

    In the Year of the Board and Jackie Robinson cover

    n the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is a children’s novel about a young girl named Shirley Temple Wong who leaves a secure life within her clan in China following World War II. She begins a new life in America because her father has taken a job as an engineer in the United States. Many Chinese customs and traditions are discussed, along with their importance to Wong and her family. Shirley’s family does not give up their cultural traditions, but they do adopt many American customs in order to adapt to the American way of life.


  • Out of My Mind (Sharon Draper)

    Out of My Mind cover

    Melody has a photographic memory. She remembers everything that has ever happened to her in precise, exact detail — from the words to a song she once heard when she was little to what she ate for a typical mundane breakfast. She also knows thousands and thousands of facts. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always — and there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school — but, NO ONE knows because she has virtually no way of communicating. Melody has cerebral palsy. All most people see is a special needs kid — never suspecting that trapped inside this eleven-year old girl is more information and insight than they ever imagined.


  • Touching Snow (M. Sindy Felin)

    Touching Snow cover

    M. Sindy Felinand#8217;s National Book Award finalist is in paperback for the first time. Karina has plenty to worry about on the last day of seventh grade: finding three Ds and a C on her report card again, getting laughed at by everyone again, being sent to the principaland#8212;again. But sheand#8217;s too busy dodging the fists of her stepfather and looking out for her sisters to deal with school. This is the story of a young girl coming of age amidst the violent waters that run just beneath the surface of suburbiaand#8212;a story that has the courage to ask: How far will you go to protect the ones you love?


  • Totally Joe (James Howe)

    Totally Joe cover

    This book continues the story of Joe Bunch, a character from The Misfits, an earlier book by James Howe. Joe is your average seventh-grade homosexual. He’s funny and smart and excited about the future. That future may or may not include starting a gay-straight alliance in his middle school, writing a novel, and kissing a boy named Colin. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you will be totally in love with Joe by the time you finish this book.


  • Return To Sender (Julia Alvarez)

    Return To Sender cover

    After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isnt sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?


  • Shooting Kabul (N.H. Senzai)

    Shooting Kabul cover

    In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadiand#8217;s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Adjusting to life in the United States isnand#8217;t easy for Fadiand#8217;s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home? Based in part on the Ms. Senzaiand#8217;s husbandand#8217;s own experience fleeing his home in Soviet controlled Afghanistan in the 1970s, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.


  • If I Ever Get Out of Here (Eric Gansworth)

    If I Ever Get Out of Here cover

    Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?

  • How I Became a Ghost (Tim Tingle)

    How I Became a Ghost cover

    old in the words of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, HOW I BECAME A GHOST is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy. From the book’s opening line, “Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before,” the reader is put on notice that this is no normal book. Isaac leads a remarkable foursome of Choctaw comrades: a tough-minded teenage girl, a shape-shifting panther boy, a lovable five-year-old ghost who only wants her mom and dad to be happy, and Isaac s talking dog, Jumper. The first in a trilogy, HOW I BECAME A GHOST thinly disguises an important and oft-overlooked piece of history.

  • Hidden Roots (Joseph Bruchac)

    Hidden Roots cover

    As Hard As 11-Year-Old Sonny And His Mother Try, They Can’t Predict His Father’s Sudden Rages, Which Can Turn Physical In An Instant. Jake’s Anger Only Gets Worse After Long Days Laboring At The Local Paper Mill, And When Uncle Louis Appears. Louis Seems To Show Up When Sonny And His Mother Need Help Most, But There Is Something About Him And His Quiet, Wise Ways That Only Fuels Jake’s Rage. The Love Of Sonny’s Fragile Mother, The Support And Protection Of His Uncle Louis, And An Unexpected Friendship With A Librarian Help Sonny Gain The Confidence To Stand Up To His Father. The Consequences Of His Actions, And The Source Of His Father’s Self-Hatred, Will Reverberate Through The Hearts And Minds Of Readers And Challenge Them To Examine Their Own Feelings About Love, Acceptance, And Self-Esteem.

South Asian

  • Rickshaw Girl (Mitali Perkins)

    Rickshaw Girl cover

    Mitali Perkins is the author of several novels for children, including SECRET KEEPER, the First Daughter series, BAMBOO PEOPLE, MONSOON SUMMER, and The NOT SO-STAR-SPANGLED LIFE OF SUNITA SEN. She lives in California.

  • Bamboo People (Mitali Perkins)

    Bamboo People cover

    Mitali Perkins is the author of several novels for children, including SECRET KEEPER, the First Daughter series, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and THE NOT SO STAR-SPANGLED LIFE OF SUNITA SEN. She lives in California.

Young Adult

African American

  • Pointe (Brandy Colbert)

    Pointe cover

    Shes eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction–and his abductor.

  • Tyrell (Coe Booth)

    Tyrell cover

    Tyrell is a young African-American teen who can’t get a break. He’s living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father’s in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn’t feel good enough for her — and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There’s another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father’s footsteps?

  • The First Part Last (Angela Johnson)

    The First Part Last cover

    Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy — impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever. She’s pregnant. Bobby’s going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they’re replaced by visits to Nia’s obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption.

  • Black Boy White School (Brian Walker)

    Black Boy White School cover

    He couldnt listen to music or talk on the phone without her jumping all over him about what they listened to up in Maine, or how they talked up in Maine, or how he better not go up to Maine and start acting ghetto.

African American/Latino

  • Takedown (Allison van Diepen)

    Takedown cover

    Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction–and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her he has the promise of a fresh start.

Asian American

  • American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang)

    American Born Chinese cover

    Jin Wang starts at a new school where hes the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesnt want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because hes in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kees annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Dannys reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. Hes ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But theres no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? Theyre going to have to find a way—if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

  • A Step From Heaven (An Na)

    A Step From Heaven cover

    When four-year-old Young Ju Park first hears the words Mi Gook — Korean for “America” — she is sure that they mean “Heaven.” But when her family moves to Southern California the following year, she finds the transition from life in Korea far from easy. The countless unexpected challenges — from learning English, to finding work, to attending school — put more and more pressure on the Park family until its fragile construction begins to splinter. Yet as Young Ju grows from child to adolescent in her new home she finds a surprising new voice — neither Korean nor American, but uniquely her own. That voice allows her to make sense of her world, and gives her the strength to succeed. A Step from Heaven is the stunning debut of an equally unique writer.

  • Kira Kira (Cynthia Kadohata)

    Kira Kira cover

    Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is andlt;iandgt;kira-kiraandlt;/iandgt; because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is andlt;iandgt;kira-kiraandlt;/iandgt; for the same reason. And so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering

  • The Thing About Luck (Cynthia Kadohata)

    The Thing About Luck cover

    Summer knows that kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan–right before harvest season.


  • Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson)

    Wintergirls cover

    Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friendas restless spirit.

  • Rose Under Fire (Elizabeth Wein)

    Rose Under Fire cover

    Rose Justice is a young pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. On her way back from a semi-secret flight in the waning days of the war, Rose is captured by the Germans and ends up in Ravensbruck, the notorious Nazi women’s concentration camp.

  • The Running Dream (Wendelen Van Draanen)

    The Running Dream cover

    Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She’s not comforted by the news that she’ll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?


  • The Vast Fields of Ordinary (Nick Burd)

    The Vast Fields of Ordinary cover

    Itas Dadeas last summer at home. He has a crappy job at Food World, a aboyfrienda who wonat publicly acknowledge his existence (maybe because Pablo also has a girlfriend), and parents on the verge of a divorce. College is Dadeas shining beacon of possibility, a horizon to keep him from floating away.

  • Luna (Julie Ann Peters)

    Luna cover

    Regan’s brother, Liam, can’t stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna reveals herself only at night. For years, Liam has transformed himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be with help from his sister’s clothes and makeup in the secrecy of their basement bedrooms. Now, everything is about to change — Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam’s family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives?

  • Far From You (Tess Sharpe)

    Far From You cover

    This beautifully realized debut delves into the emotions of a girl recovering from drug addiction and grief, all wrapped up in a solid mystery.

  • Hero (Perry Moore)

    Hero cover

    Even as a high-school basketball star, he has to keep his distance because of his father. Hal Creed had once been one of the greatest and most beloved superheroes of The League — until the Wilson Towers incident. After that, Thom’s mother disappeared and his proud father became an outcast. The last thing in the world Thom would ever want is to disappoint his father.

  • Miseducation of Cameron Post (Emily Danforth)

    Miseducation of Cameron Post cover

    When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

  • Freakboy (Kristin Elizabeth Clark)

    Freakboy cover

    From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. Hes a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

LGBTQIA / Latino

  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Saenz )

    Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe cover

    Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be

LGBTQIA / Middle East

  • If You Could Be Mine (Sara Farizan)

    If You Could Be Mine cover

    In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much talked about culture.




  • Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

    Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian cover

    Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

  • My Name Is Not Easy (Debby Dahl Edwardson)

    My Name Is Not Easy cover

    Luke knows his I’nupiaq name is full of soundswhite people can’t say. He knows he’ll have toleave it behind when he and his brothers are sentto boarding school hundreds of miles from theirArctic village.At Sacred Heart School things are different.Instead of family, there are students — Eskimo,Indian, White — who line up on different sides ofthe cafeteria like there’s some kind of war goingon. And instead of comforting words like tutu and maktak, there’s English. Speaking I’nupiaq — or any native language — is forbidden. And FatherMullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, isready to slap down those who disobey.Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. Buthe’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader — if he doesn’t self destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. Each has their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School — and in the wider world — will never be the same.

  • House of Purple Cedar (Tim Tingle)

    House of Purple Cedar cover

    The hour has come to speak of troubled times. It is time we spoke of Skullyville.” Thus begins Rose Goode’s story of her growing up in Indian Territory in pre-statehood Oklahoma. Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community, was destroyed by land-grabbers, culminating in the arson on New Year’s Eve, 1896, of New Hope Academy for Girls. Twenty Choctaw girls died, but Rose escaped. She is blessed by the presence of her grandmother Pokoni and her grandfather Amafo, both respected elders who understand the old ways. Soon after the fire, the white sheriff beats Amafo in front of the town’s people, humiliating him. Instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. And so unwinds this tale of mystery, Indian-style magical realism, and deep wisdom. It’s a world where backwoods spiritualism and Bible-thumping Christianity mix with bad guys; a one-legged woman shop-keeper, her oaf of a husband, herbal potions, and shape-shifting panthers rendering justice. Tim Tingle–a scholar of his nation’s language, culture, and spirituality–tells Rose’s story of good and evil with understanding and even laugh-out-loud Choctaw humor.

South Asian

  • Climbing the Stairs (Padma Venkatraman)

    Climbing the Stairs cover

    Artfully interweaving such social issues as pacifism, colonialism, and women’s rights, Padma Venkatraman’s thought-provoking and poignant historical novel is a definite must-read.

South Asian American

  • Born Confused (Tanuja Desai Hidier)

    Born Confused cover

    Dimple Lala doesn’t know what to think. She’s spent her whole life resisting her parents’ traditions. But now she’s turning seventeen and things are more complicated than ever. She’s still recovering from a year-old break-up and her best friend isn’t around the way she used to be. Then, to make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a “suitable boy.” Of course, it doesn’t go well . . . until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web of words and music. Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue.