The Cool Code by Deirdre Langeland, illustrated by Sarah Mai (Clarion Books, 2022), is an amusing graphic novel about a formerly homeschooled eighth-grader who creates an app to help her be “cool” in her new school. Zoey enters school worried about how to make friends, and in the end, she finds the true meaning of

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The twin sisters Clara and Hailey in Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee (Simon & Schuster, 2016) are not your average 17-year-old twins. As conjoined twins, they are attached at the base of the spinal cord, and as such have never been apart. Their personalities could not be more different, though. And although their life has been

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Ava XOX by Carol Weston (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016) continues 11-year-old Ava’s story over the course of her fifth-grade year. I was a bit nervous going into this book because the premise is that Ava begins to have a crush on a boy in her class, and I certainly don’t want my soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter to

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Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson is about two unlikely friends, one 4 and three-quarters years old and the other ninety-two and a half. I loved how this was a story about how friendships evolve and change. I love how the two friends, although very different in age, found things they liked to do together.

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OCDaniel by Wesley King is a much needed added addition to Young Adult collections, as it puts a frequently taboo subject (mental illness) at the center of the story. OCDaniel is about a middle school boy suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but he does not quite know what it is. He feels progressively frustrated with

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Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (published serially from 1838-1839) meets the Dickensian stereotype of a very long book. I began reading it when my daughter was newborn and I finally finished it, now that she’s three and half. Nicholas Nickleby is definitely not my favorite Dickens novel. In some respects it’s obvious that its a early

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The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman is a clever chapter book written from the perspective of four different preteens who have been caught cheating on their homework with a “homework machine.” The book is also fun as the students overcome their own prejudices and judgments of one another in order to unite in using the

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her into the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period.  At the beginning of the novel, Esperanza lives a

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