History in the Making by Kyle Ward (The New Press, 2006) is a nonfiction volume of curated and categorized passages from a variety of high school American history textbooks, from the early days until 1999, showing the ways various stories from history have been told to students over the years. The lengthy subtitle of the

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As the title suggests, Fungi Grow by Maria Gianferrari (illustrated by Diana Sudyka; Beach Lane Books, 2023) is a nonfiction picture book focusing on the growth, spread, and purpose of fungi through the world. With realistic illustrations, a variety of fonts, and both a storyline and sidebar facts, this picture book provides a welcome and

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Because of an Acorn by Lola and Adam Schaefer (Chronicle Books, 2016; illustrated by Fran Preston-Gannon) has pretty pictures and simple text to show the connection between an acorn growing and the other types of life surrounding it. Birds, fruit, deer, chipmunks, and other animals all are able to live. They also contribute to adding

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The picture book Scroll by Hui Lu (Christy Ottaviano Books, September 2023) teaches about Chinese characters and calligraphy with an imaginative dialog and dream featuring a grandfather and his granddaughter. This illustrated and imaginative approach to learning about the character-based language is a perfect match for a young child to become engaged and interested in

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Middle grade readers will find themselves in for a fantastic and magical “backyard” adventure when they read Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T. Anderson (illustrated by Junyi Wu; Candlewick 2023). This novel’s summary threw me off, because it sounded like it would be about a boy dealing with the annoyance of remaining home during

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Middle grade novel Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins, 2019) captures one teen girl’s perspective as a Syrian refugee to America. Even without using dates within the text, Other Words for Home feels sadly applicable today since the Syrian conflict still rages and refugees flee to America from many different countries. Jude’s life

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Hot Dog by Doug Salati (Random House, May 2022) contrasts the oppressive heat of a busy city in summer with the bright freedom and delight of an open beach. The nameless dog obviously swelters in the sun and then delights it in as he leaps across the sand and splashes in cool blue waves. It’s

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Everyone except Maddie, and I mean everyone, has been inexplicably evacuated from her town in the middle of the night in the beginning chapters of the free verse novel Alone by Morgan E. Freeman (Aladdin, 2021). Now Maddie has no access to anyone (phones have been abandoned). She is without electricity and running water and

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In The First State of Being by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow Books, March 2024), Michael is a lonely celebrating his 12th birthday in the summer of 1999 when his life is changed by the appearance of strange kid in his apartment complex. Michael is an awkward kid obsessed with Y2K (yes, that moment when computers

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The nonfiction picture book My Light by Molly Bang (Blue Sky Press, 2004) is narrated by the sun and covers many topics in elementary science. The influence of the sun is woven into explanations about the power of the great star into the water cycle and so much more. The water’s movement and the warm

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