A Little Bit Super is a collection of stories about teenagers with superpowers, but their super powers are, unfortunately a bit limited. One teen can talk to animals, but only one day a month. Another can get his wishes granted when he crosses his fingers, but it only works for small, somewhat insignificant wishes. Yet

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TIn Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martin (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2023), the author shares a pivotal time from his childhood, specifically when he traveled to Mexico to retrieve his ailing grandfather and return with him to the United States. Pedro, who is also called Peter, feels conflicted by his half-American, half-Mexican identity,

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Lost Kites and Other Treasures by Cathy Carr (Amulet Books, February 2024) addresses anxiety and other mental illness with a middle-school story featuring Franny, who escapes to making creative “found” art when things start to feel overwhelming. Although Franny tries not to think about her absent mother and the traumas of her early life (after

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Matthew is a seventh-grader now required to finish his school year online, isolated from his friends, due to the COVID pandemic. Nothing could be worse than having to help his 100-year-old great-grandmother (GG) sort her belongings. But it is through his isolation with GG that Matthew learns the secrets of her life and just how

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The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park (illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng; Clarion Books, 2021) is a brief children’s poetic book with a thought experiment: what one thing would you save if a fire was destroying your home? No limits. After the teacher gives this question to her class, each subsequent page provides a

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Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (Dial Books, 2014) perfectly captures the thought process and imagination exaggeration of a super creative first grader. With a mix of text and comical illustrations, Hanlon puts together a fantasmagory (“a shifting melody of real or imagined characters”) of any imaginary play time. My very imaginative eight-year-old loved the mix

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With a long list of accolades, including the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and Printz Honor, young adult novel-in-verse Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum, 2017) provides me with a window into a different culture and life from my own as I watch this unique teenager wrestle with internal struggle after his older

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Ginny is used to moving. Even at age 11, this is fifth move. That’s what happens when your dad is military. But her dad’s surprise deployment throws off Ginny’s confidence. Now, in Ginny Off the Map by Caroline Hickey (Christy Ottaviano Books, June 2023), Ginny faces a new house and neighborhood and a long summer

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World War II was in full-force when Dory Byrne’s father left to fight. Now Dory and her two brothers are on their own, with their father’s assurance that the community will help them while he’s gone. Nothing Else but Miracles by Kate Albus (Margaret Ferguson Books, September 2023) tells the story of this spunky tween

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The middle grade novel No Place Like Home by James Bird (Feiwel & Friends, August 2023) is a heartfelt tale of resilience and the power of cultural identity. Twelve-year-old Ojibwe boy Opin faces the increasing discomfort of homelessness as he and his mother and brother make their way to Los Angeles to be with family.

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Using the metaphor of a braid, or trenza, as a reminder of love for self and others, the picture book Only a Trenza Away: A Tale of Trust and Strength by Nadine Fonseca and illustrated by Camilla Carrossine (Shadow Mountain, August 2023) gives a tender lesson between a father and a daughter, emphasizing the importance

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