Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram Penguin Young Readers Group Publication Date: March 22, 2022 ISBN: 9780593325261
Hunter is a member of the internationally beloved boy band Kiss and Tell, on their first North American tour. He’s also the only queer member of the band, and going through his first breakup. A messy, public breakup, after his ex posts their texts online. As if that’s not enough, he’s contending with The Label creating and controlling his image of the perfect queer teen role model, and a budding romance with another musician on the tour. Homophobia is present in the text, though never condoned.
Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds Narrated By: Jason Reynolds, Nile Bullock, Tatum Marylin Hall, JaQwan J. Kelly, DePre Owens Imprint/Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audiobooks Publication Date: January 11, 2022 ISBN: 9781797137544
In ten-sentences, Jason Reynolds explores the impact of racism, police brutality, and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as experienced by a Black family. Reynolds poetically expresses the fear and pain of the year 2020 while highlighting the importance of human connection.
Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds Etch / Clarion Books Publication Date: November 16, 2021 ISBN-13: 9780358250470
Celebrated illustrator Gareth Hinds adapts Kristin Cashore’s high-fantasy YA classic, Graceling! Katsa was born graced with lethal fighting skills, put to brutal use by her king from a young age. Out on a mission, she crosses paths with a mysterious fighter, the first to ever come close to beating her in combat. The fight changes her, and a series of related events work to unravel the mundane life of servitude and violence Katsa has always known.
You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Imprint: Delacorte Press Release date: September 28, 2021 ISBN: 9780525708049
Emory is lucky. She survived the car crash that killed the super popular Candy MontClair and provided the impetus for Emory’s older brother, Joey, to be shipped off to a rehab program in Colorado. Now left with physical and emotional scars from the trauma, Emory is trying to recover even as her mother places more responsibility on her to regulate the newly returned Joey’s behavior. Feeling unseen leaves Emory vulnerable to manipulation by her crush while weighing her down by the fear that her failures could be the cause of Joey’s relapse.
On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork Scholastic Press Publication Date: May 18, 2021 ISBN: 978-1338692150
The last few years haven’t been easy for Hector and his family. His father’s untimely death resulted in the loss of their home and subsequent move to the projects, and sent his brother Fili into a battle with depression and alcohol abuse. But things seem to be looking up–Hector’s become a star player on the school’s chess team and just recently won a prestigious essay contest. Even Fili seems to be doing better. Then, Joey, the younger brother of a local gang member, targets Hector, intimidating him and threatening to kill him. Terrified, but too afraid to tell anyone, Hector’s life begins spiraling downhill again, culminating in a tragic encounter that lands Hector in a reformatory school along with his nemesis, Joey.
Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell Abrams ComicArts / Abrams Books Publication Date: August 3, 2021 ISBN: 9781419730696
The song “We Shall Overcome” comes to mind as you read the graphic novel memoir of the great John Lewis. His memoir centers on illuminating the reality of our country’s battle with racism. From sharing the history of the Vietnam War to showing the challenges of voting as Black Americans—and the brutal treatment that Black people endure just to advocate for equality—each moment can be felt, seen, and heard as you turn the pages of this memoir. This nonfiction graphic novel is a great tool to supplement textbooks.
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House Publication Date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 978-0399545436
ZT has the perfect life. He has a group of friends he’s super tight with. His family is loving and supportive, and his dad is a football superstar. But this idyllic life begins to unravel when his father starts getting debilitating migraines, ending his football career. As his father begins to lose his memory, ZT learns that not all success stories have happy endings. And sometimes supporting the people we love most can be incredibly difficult.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
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Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).
Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough.
Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III Quill Tree Books Publication date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 9780063064317
Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind. Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation. Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.
Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson, Kwame Alexander, and Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator) Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company Publication Date: October 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-0399547966
Cassius Clay Jr. was always the greatest—even if everyone didn’t know it yet. Before the world knew him as Muhammad Ali, Cassius hung out with friends, loved his family, and struggled with school, all against the backdrop of 1950s Louisville, Kentucky. In this fictionalized biography, writers James Patterson and Kwame Alexander show the reader Cassius’ life with a mix of prose and poetry.
The book is engaging and full of heart, with fully realized characters and a well-paced plot. The cover draws you in, and Dawud Anyabwile’s art throughout adds to the book’s appeal. The mix of prose and poetry adds interest. Students will be able to see themselves in Cassius and his best friend, Lucky.