Pick a Book from These Genres!
Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain, Illustrated by Larry Day (Grades 1-5)
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends with very different personalities. But their differing views on how to run the newly created United States turned them into the worst of friends. They each became leaders of opposing political parties, and their rivalry followed them to the White House. Full of both history and humor, this is the story of two of America's most well-known presidents and how they learned to put their political differences aside for the sake of friendship.
I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos, Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas (Grades 1-5)
Fly is fed up with everyone studying butterflies. Flies are so much cooler! They flap their wings 200 times a second, compared to a butterfly's measly five to twelve times. Their babies―maggots―are much cuter than caterpillars (obviously). And when they eat solid food, they even throw up on it to turn it into a liquid. Who wouldn't want to study an insect like that?
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader's Edition by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Illustrated by Anna Hymas (Grades 5+)
When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.
Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (Newbery Honor Book) by Steve Sheinkin (Grades 5+)
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Grades 6+)
On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (Grades 6-8)
A memoir by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book) by Jacqueline Woodson (Grades 6-8)
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 child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s 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.
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman (Grades 6-8)
Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (Grades 9-12)
In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey (Grades 9-12)
Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.
A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia by Sandra Allen (Grades 9-12)
Sandra Allen is a writer and a reporter who was given a manuscript of her uncle’s autobiography in 2009. It was an awkwardly constructed 60-page piece written in all caps. She learned much about her uncle and his mental illness. She translated his autobiography and tangled family history to pay tribute to her uncle and bring some insight on a very misunderstood mental disorder.
Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television by Joy Press (Grades 9-12)
Joy Press examines the feminist cultural revolution on television since the ‘80s, when Roseanne Barr and Diane English openly questioned and ultimately changed the role of women in their sitcoms. Since then, many more women have changed the game behind the scenes to alter the way women are depicted on T.V..
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Grades 9-12)
This compelling true story of Trevor’s childhood growing up during the apartheid is an amazing New York Times bestseller. Born a Crime is the story of a trouble-seeking young boy who grows up in a society where he was never supposed to exist and struggles to find his place in the world.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Grades 6-12)
Her classmates don’t respect her people’s way of life, but when the most prestigious university in the galaxy is under attack, Binti is the only one with a chance to save them all.
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang (Grades 9-12)
Huang has been a professional stuntwoman and a weapons expert, and she has a degree from MIT. In Zero Sum Game, Cass Russell is a math genius whose ability to calculate helps her in her mercenary work. She is used to being one step ahead of everyone until she meets someone who can control minds. Now she can’t help but wonder if her thoughts are her own.
Street Freaks by Terry Brooks (Grades 9-12)
Brooks writes about a world where robots are law enforcement and parents inculcate technology into their children to the point where they don’t seem human. A boy is warned by his father to flee the city and find the Street Freaks who are sharpening their hacking skills to fight back.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Grades 6-12)
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives a quiet life, until his life is turned upside down by Gandalf the wizard. Gandalf wants Bilbo to help take back a mountain from a dragon with a group of dwarves. Bilbo starts on his adventure with Gandalf, who lies to the dwarves, telling them that Bilbo is a burglar.
The Harry Potter Series J.K. Rowling (Grades 3-8)
Harry Potter learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the son of two powerful wizards and has magical powers of his own. He is enrolled in Hogwarts, a wizarding school, and meets several friends. He discovers the truth about his parent’s death and strange and dangerous wizards seek to hurt him.
The Maze Runner James Dashner (Grades 6-12)
Thomas arrives in a glade in the center of a giant labyrinth. He has no memory of his former life. He becomes a Runner who patrols the always changing maze to find an escape route. He tries to convince his group that he knows a way out.
Cold Summer by Gwen Cole (Grades 6-12)
Kale Jackson can time travel, even when he doesn’t want to. He has PTSD from being in World War II. When his ex-girlfriend, Harper, moves back into town, he wonders what life would be like if he could stop time traveling. Things are kicked up a notch when Harper sees Kale’s name listed in an old newspaper as a casualty of war in WWII.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Grades 6-12)
Lara Jean has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each person a letter about how she felt and hid it in a box. One day, she finds that somehow the letters in her secret box have been mailed. All of her crushes confront her about the letters. She discovers that something good might come out of this.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Grades 9-12)
Mia is faced with some tough choices, stay with her true love or follow her classical music career even if it means leaving her family and friends. One morning, Mia goes on a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. If I Stay is a heartbreaking book about love, family, and choices.
The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes (Grade 7-9)
Molly, Pepper, and Ava are brought together by one haunting mystery. Ava was murdered, and her death lead to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Molly and Pepper use Ava’s diary to put the pieces of her murder together, but someone wants to stop them.
Overturned by Lamar Giles (Grades 6-12)
Nikki Tate lives in Las Vegas and everyone in town knows about her father. He is on death row for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. Nikki wants to get out of town. She is saving her money from illegal gambling and things get complicated. Her father’s conviction gets overturned and when he comes home, he’s hellbent on figuring out who framed him.
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston (Grades 9-12)
Five friends go hunting, only four come out of the woods alive. Grant was shot dead and none of his friends are saying anything. They’ve agreed to keep silent to protect the killer among them. This story is not what it seems as Kate Marino unravels the case.
Asylum Series by Madeleine Roux (Grades 7-12)
The setting is a former psychiatric hospital, where a gifted 16-year-old boy and other students spend their summer. This page turner takes the reader into the dark twisted world that these teens experience.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs (Grades 9-12)
A mysterious island, abandoned orphanage, and collection of strange old photography. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy (Grades 7-9)
Lana is a formerly shy girl who grows fearless after the death of her stepbrother. She looks into her past and the scary stories her brother told her to figure out a series of murders in her town.
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (Grades 1-3)
This poor black kitty’s family ran out of cat food, so the kitty became very bad. She was forced to eat an alphabet of healthy foods, from asparagus to zucchini.
Bein’ with You This Way by W. Nikola-Lisa (Grades 1-2)
In an urban park, a young girl urges her young playmates to snap their finger, tap their toes, and sing along with her. Her song brings light to the various differences of the people in the park. But no matter their skin color, size, hair type, or eye color, the children sing together.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (Grades 3-5)
Peter Hatcher and his rambunctious younger brother Fudge don’t get along too well. Peter has had enough of everyone treating Fudge like he’s cute and perfect.
Blue Laws by Kevin Young (Grades 9+)
This collection of poems spans twenty years between 1995 and 2015. Young writes about his love and loss on a personal level.
The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins (Grades 9+)
Collins uses his poetry to comment on popular public items. He writes of loss and tributes to his mother the poem he read at Seamus Heaney’s memorial service.
How Lovely the Ruins by Elizabeth Alexander (Grades 9+)
Elizabeth Alexander’s anthology is written around themes of suffering, both individually and culturally. This collection will make a difference in people who are looking for the right words during hard times.
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