Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (Knopf, 20218) is a delightful romp in a neighborhood full of imaginative children during the course of one summer. This graphic novel shows the stories of more than a dozen children with a variety of unique personalities who live on a couple blocks, and to the discerning reader, it gives

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El Deafo by Cece Bell (colored by David Lasky) is a graphic novel that won the Newbery Award in 2015 for its great story. I feel like it’s well deserving for both the story and the illustration, as its graphic nature provides a unique format to tell of the author’s experiences growing up deaf in

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The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (adapted by Slava Rubio, translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites, illustrated by Loreto Aroca) is a graphic novel about Dita Adler, a Jewish teenager in Czechoslovakia during World War II. She ultimately survived the WWII concentration camp Auschwitz with her love of books, stories, and imagination as a strength

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Kid Trailblazers by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld (Quirk Books, 2022) includes brief biographies of “changemakers and leaders,” focusing on events and habits formed in each of their childhoods. I loved that some of those highlighted were from around the world. The biographies were full of pertinent information without being overwhelming. Colorful pictures accompany

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Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2022) teaches readers about an unknown young woman who went into a unique STEM field in the mid-1900s, this time the study of meteorology. Her interest in clouds began even

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Tru and Nelle by G. Neri is a book about a young Harper Lee and a young Truman Capote. In this book, however, Harper Lee is known as Nelle and young Truman is Tru. I often heard that the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the characters in that book were based on the childhood friendship of Harper

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I think that We Just Had a Baby by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Amelie Graux, is an appropriate book to kick off the new year since I did just have a baby. Actually, my baby was born a few weeks early, in early October of 2015, and she is now already 3 months old. Time

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The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron (originally published 1987) is a clever early chapter book about a boy and his younger brother, along with the crazy stories Julian makes up to explain the world around him. When seven-year-old Julian does not know the answer to his three-year-old brother Huey’s questions, he makes up stories! For example, he tells his

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Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (originally published in 1943) is a classic about a clever small-town boy. Over the course of the six stories in the volume, the reader discovers a bit of hilarity about a small town living in the middle of the century America. I loved the fact that although it was somewhat realistic,

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The Girl Who Heard Colors by Marie Harris, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Nancy Paulsen, 2013) focuses on the extra-sensory condition called synesthesia, in which various senses are enriched by colors. I do not have this condition myself, so it has always fascinated me. In this story, a young girl hears colors. Her story focuses on her

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a poetic autobiographical reflection on the author’s childhood. The writing is sparse, written in free verse, and yet each poem packs a punch of emotion. Ms Woodson recalls her earliest of memories (fictionalizing events as necessary). Her early childhood is spent with her grandmother and grandfather in South

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School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Alice Feagan (Kids Can Press, 2015) captures Malala’s vision in the epigram at the beginning: “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education.” In the cut-paper collage illustrations, the stories of real children around the

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