2022 Staff Picks

This Story Is Not About a Kitten

This Story Is Not About a Kitten By Randall de Sève; illustrated by Carson Ellis

Contrary to what you may believe, this story is not about a kitten, hungry and dirty, scared and alone, needing a home. It is also not about the dog who heard the kitten meowing sadly. Even less so about the woman and child walking the dog, who stopped when their dog heard the kitten. Nor is it about the friends who brought a box for the kitten, or the man who offered it some milk. No, this story is not about a kitten at all—well, maybe a little—but more importantly this is a story about community, compassion, and generosity.

Randall de Sève’s thoughtful and warm story is sure to fill readers of all ages with hope and the warm fuzzy feeling that rescuing animals brings. Wonderfully complemented by Carson Ellis’s breathtaking illustrations, this book is sure to be cherished by animal-loving readers everywhere!

This Story is Not About a Kitten is in fact NOT a story about a kitten. This story is about the stopping and listening, the holding and bringing, the offering and asking and the working together that united a community to help a lost and lonely kitten find a home. I first fell in love with Carson’s illustrations when I discovered the Wildwood Chronicles and have been following her work ever since. Her breathtaking illustrations perfectly compliment Randall’s thoughtful and heartwarming story.” — Katie Halata, Director Library Marketing

Iveliz Explains It All

Iveliz Explains It All By Andrea Beatriz Arango; illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

Listen up:
The end of elementary school?
Worst time of my life.
And the start of middle school?
I just wasn’t quite right.
But this year?

Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school. . . .

Except is that what happens? Of course not. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary—even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself?

Powerful and compassionate, Andrea Beatriz Arango’s debut navigates mental health, finding your voice, and discovering that those who really love you will stay by your side.

Iveliz Explains it All is The Poet X for middle school audience.  Powerful and compassionate, it navigates mental health, finding your voice, and discovering that those who really love you will stay by your side.” — Natalie Capogrossi, Manager School Marketing 


It’s a good thing Sofía Acosta loves dreaming up costumes, because otherwise she’s a ballet disaster—unlike her parents, who danced under prima ballerina Alicia Alonso before immigrating to the suburbs of New York. Luckily, when the Acostas host their dancer friends from Cuba for a special performance with the American Ballet Theatre, Sofía learns there’s more than dance holding her family together. Between swapping stories about Cuba and sharing holiday celebrations, the Acostas have never been more of a team.

Then Sofía finds out about the dancers’ secret plans to defect to the United States, and makes a serious mistake—she confides in her best friend, only to discover that Tricia doesn’t want “outsiders” moving to their community. Now Sofía wonders what the other neighbors in her tight-knit suburban town really think of immigrant families like hers. Sofía doesn’t want to make a scene, but if she doesn’t speak up, how will she figure out if her family really belongs?

“Sofia Acosta is a combination of a unique slice of history — Cuban/US connections and immigration, a poignant story of a second-generation Cuban American girl learning about herself and a family’s love of ballet. Award winning author, Emma Otheguy, creates a wonderful main character, family and novel for middle grade readers that is fun too! ” — Adrienne Waintraub, Executive Director, School & Library Marketing 

I Am the Ghost in Your House

I Am the Ghost in Your House By Mar Romasco-Moore

Pie is the ghost in your house.
She is not dead, she is invisible.
The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses.
For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house.
But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself.
Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?

A magnificent story of love, and friendship, and learning to see yourself in a world based on appearances, I Am the Ghost in Your House is a brilliant reflection on the importance of how much more there is to our world than what meets the eye.

“I Am the Ghost in Your House is a genre-bender with twists and turns that is thoroughly entertaining and wildly unique, yet at the same time grounded in our contemporary world. It’s a magnificent story of love, friendship, and learning to see yourself in a world based on appearances. It also reminds us that there is much more to our world than what meets the eye.” — Erica Stone, Associate Manager Library Marketing

Does My Body Offend You?

Does My Body Offend You? By Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt

Malena Rosario is starting to believe that catastrophes come in threes. First, Hurricane María destroyed her home, taking her unbreakable spirit with it. Second, she and her mother are now stuck in Florida, which is nothing like her beloved Puerto Rico. And third, when she goes to school bra-less after a bad sunburn and is humiliated by the school administration into covering up, she feels like she has no choice but to comply.

Ruby McAllister has a reputation as her school’s outspoken feminist rebel. But back in Seattle, she lived under her sister’s shadow. Now her sister is teaching in underprivileged communities, and she’s in a Florida high school, unsure of what to do with her future, or if she’s even capable making a difference in the world. So when Ruby notices the new girl is being forced to cover up her chest, she is not willing to keep quiet about it.

Neither Malena nor Ruby expected to be the leaders of the school’s dress code rebellion. But the girls will have to face their own insecurities, biases, and privileges, and the ups and downs in their newfound friendship, if they want to stand up for their ideals and––ultimately––for themselves.

“Does My Body Offend You is a thought-provoking story of activism, friendship, and girl power. Neither Malena nor Ruby expected to be the leaders of the school’s dress code rebellion, but when no one else stands up, the two have to face their own insecurities, biases, and privileges to protect their ideals. A collaboration between two gifted authors writing from alternating perspectives, this compelling story is authentic, courageous, and full of humor and heart.” — Michelle Campbell, Assistant Director School Marketing 

Random House Teachers and Librarians