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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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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The Girl Who Sang by Estelle Nadel, illustrated by Sammy Savos and Bethany Strout (Roaring Brook Press, January 2024) is a graphic memoir about a very young Jewish girl surviving World War II hiding in barn. I’m always amazed at what humankind can endure and how strong children can be during hard times. The Girl

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The Collars of RBG: A Portrait of Justice by Elinor Carucci and Sara Bader (Clarkson Potter Publishers, November 2023) is a lovely coffee table book celebrating the unique personality and strong political influence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with detailed photographs of her legendary collars. The text of the book highlights the origin of each collar

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Mr. Darcy: the swoon-worthy hero we all are waiting for. But maybe not? In The Darcy Myth: Jane Austen, Literary Heartthrobs, and the Monsters They Taught Us To Love (Quirk Books, November 2023), literature scholar Rachel Feder retells this narrative in a more accurate way. With an abundance of humor and with plenty of modern

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Aliya’s Secret: A Story of Ramadan by Farida Zaman (OwlKids Books, October 2023) is a window into the world of one girl excited about Ramadan and eager to celebrate with a daily fast, just as her parents fast. When her parents discourage her from fasting all day, she decides to fast in secret, but it

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In the picture book The Words We Share by Jack Wong (Annick Press, 2023), the child narrator, Angie, tells how she is the one that helps her father with basics of communication in their Canadian community because he is not comfortable or fluent in English. Angie finds she can help the entire community, and to

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In the picture book Sensitive by Sara Levine and illustrated by Meherdokht Amini (Carlrhoda Books, October 2023), an unnamed girl hears complaints against her about her being too sensitive, “thin skinned,” and over-reactive. In the illustrations, which are done in a variety of media, these words from others slip through her “thin skin” and crowd

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It is not often that I hear of a “new” book by a classic author, but Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston never was published during her lifetime due to the subject matter: interviews from the 1920s with one of the last enslaved people from Africa. Finally, it was published in 2018. Now, Ibram X. Kendi

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The bright, engaging middle grade nonfiction book How Does Chocolate Taste on Everest? by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe (Charlesbridge, September 2023) highlights the most extreme places around the world. With a vacation guide book feel, How Does Chocolate Taste? emphasizes what you see, smell, taste, hear, and touch when you visit the highest, best, deepest, hottest, and coldest

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