Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

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.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork

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. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell

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.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After Cover Art

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.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

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.


*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

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 and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

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.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

cover art

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.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander, and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

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.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander, and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Thanks to YALSA member Annierra Matthews, a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University, for compiling this collection of excellent graphic novels and comics featuring Black characters and/or produced by Black creators. Click here for the fiction collection she curated earlier this month.


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT: Hazel and Mari fall in love with each other at church bingo in ’63. Torn apart by others around them, they can’t be together. Years later, they meet again at bingo and find the bravery to share their love with the world.

Continue reading Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Black History is American History – Classroom Connections

This month, as we honor and celebrate Black History, we also recognize that Black History is not a box to be checked during the month of February alone. Black History is American History, and these resources are critical to the conversation, this month and every month of the year.

YALSA’s 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction Celebration is tonight (click here to register), and a booktalk event featuring the full list of nominated titles will take place on February 24. On that list is the excellent Lifting as we Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne.

Lifting As We Climb by Evette Dionne

This Coretta Scott King honoree focuses on the vital and often overlooked role of Black Women in the Suffrage Movement and connects the dots from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage, on to the civil rights movement and today’s activism, where women were and continue to be necessary and significant leaders.

The Library of Congress Born in Slavery collection offers digitized narratives collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in the New Deal-era Work Projects Administration (WPA). These oral histories and photographs preserve the first person accounts of formerly enslaved people.

Continue reading Black History is American History – Classroom Connections

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 1 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Class Act by Jerry Craft Book Cover
Class Act by Jerry Craft

Class Act by Jerry Craft
Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
ISBN: 9780062885517

In this follow-up to New Kid, familiar characters Jordan, Drew, and Liam return, but this time most of the story focuses on eighth grader Drew, one of the only Black students at the mostly white private school.  The boys wrestle with typical middle school things like puberty, and evolving friendships, but also more important, complex issues like identity, acceptance, and race and class.  Despite being friends, Jordan, Drew, and Liam live very different lives and that becomes more apparent for them in this installment. 

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 1 Edition