Book Lists

Celebrate National Poetry Month With These Great Reads

Eb & Flow

Eb & Flow By Kelly J. Baptist

A ten-day suspension has tweens De'Kari and Ebony seeing the world with a fresh perspective. Don't miss this poignant novel in verse from the award-winning author of Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero.

Two kids. One fight. No one thinks they’re wrong.

Flow

I don’t even hit girls . . . is what I’m thinking.

I roll my eyes, turn them to my shoes.

Shoes I’ma wear every day till they fall off my feet.

Eb

It was all just an accident!

Nobody was trying to mess up

his Stupid Ugly Shoes.

Now I’ve got my third suspension of seventh grade.

Ebony and De’Kari (aka Flow) do not get along. How could they when their cafeteria scuffle ended with De'Kari's ruined shoes, Ebony on the ground, and both of them with ten days of at-home suspension? Now Eb and Flow have two weeks to think about and explain their behavior—to their families, to each other, and ultimately to themselves.

Award-winning author Kelly J. Baptist delivers a novel in verse that follows Eb and Flow as they navigate their parallel lives. Single-parent homes, tight funds, and sibling dynamics provide a balancing act for the growing tweens. And whether they realize it or not, these two have a lot more in common than they think.

Isabel in Bloom

Isabel in Bloom By Mae Respicio

A girl discovers a connection between her home in the Philippines and her new home in the U.S. through a special garden in this middle grade novel that celebrates nourishment and growth.

Twelve-year-old Isabel is the new kid in her San Francisco middle school. It’s the first time in many years that she’ll be living with her mother again. Mama's job in the US allowed Isabel and her grandparents to live more comfortably in the Philippines, but now Isabel doesn't really know her own mother anymore.

Making new friends in a new city, a new country, is hard, but joining the gardening and cooking club at school means Isabel will begin to find her way, and maybe she too, will begin to bloom.  

In this beautifully rendered novel-in-verse, Mae Respicio explores how growth can take many forms, offering both the challenges and joy of new beginnings.

Something Like Home

Something Like Home By Andrea Beatriz Arango

A moving novel in verse in which a lost dog helps a lonely girl find a way home to her family . . . only for them to find family in each other along the way. From the Newbery Honor Award-winning author of Iveliz Explains It All.

“Trust me: this book will touch your heart." —Barbara O’Connor, New York Times bestselling author of Wish


Titi Silvia leaves me by myself to unpack,
but it’s not like I brought a bunch of stuff.
How do you prepare for the unpreparable?
How do you fit your whole life in one bag?
And how am I supposed to trust social services
when they won’t trust me back?

Laura Rodríguez Colón has a plan: no matter what the grown-ups say, she will live with her parents again. Can you blame her? It’s tough to make friends as the new kid at school. And while staying at her aunt’s house is okay, it just isn’t the same as being in her own space.

So when Laura finds a puppy, it seems like fate. If she can train the puppy to become a therapy dog, then maybe she’ll be allowed to visit her parents. Maybe the dog will help them get better and things will finally go back to the way they should be.

After all, how do you explain to others that you’re technically a foster kid, even though you live with your aunt? And most importantly . . . how do you explain that you’re not where you belong, and you just want to go home?

Ariel Crashes a Train

Ariel Crashes a Train By Olivia A. Cole

“A gorgeously kind, wonderfully gentle, and unfailingly compassionate depiction of OCD...bursting with light.”
— Ashley Woodfolk, critically acclaimed author of NOTHING BURNS AS BRIGHT AS YOU

Exploring the harsh reality of OCD and violent intrusive thoughts in stunning, lyrical writing, this novel-in-verse conjures a haunting yet hopeful portrait of a girl on the edge. From the author of Dear Medusa, which New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed called “a fierce and brightly burning feminist roar.”


Ariel is afraid of her own mind. She already feels like she is too big, too queer, too rough to live up to her parents' exacting expectations, or to fit into what the world expects of a “good girl.” And as violent fantasies she can’t control take over every aspect of her life, she is convinced something much deeper is wrong with her. Ever since her older sister escaped to college, Ariel isn't sure if her careful rituals and practiced distance will be enough to keep those around her safe anymore. 

Then a summer job at a carnival brings new friends into Ariel’s fractured world , and she finds herself questioning her desire to keep everyone out—of her head and her heart. But if they knew what she was really thinking, they would run in the other direction—right? Instead, with help and support, Ariel discovers a future where she can be at home in her mind and body, and for the first time learns there’s a name for what she struggles with—Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—and that she’s not broken, and not alone.

Bright Red Fruit

Bright Red Fruit By Safia Elhillo

An unflinching, honest novel in verse about a teenager's journey into the slam poetry scene and the dangerous new relationship that could threaten all her dreams. From the award-winning poet and author of HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY.

Bad girl. No matter how hard Samira tries, she can’t shake her reputation. She’s never gotten the benefit of the doubt—not from her mother or the aunties who watch her like a hawk.

Samira is determined to have a perfect summer filled with fun parties, exploring DC, and growing as a poet—until a scandalous rumor has her grounded and unable to leave her house. When Samira turns to a poetry forum for solace, she catches the eye of an older, charismatic poet named Horus. For the first time, Samira feels wanted. But soon she’s keeping a bigger secret than ever before—one that that could prove her reputation and jeopardize her place in her community.

In this gripping coming-of-age novel from the critically acclaimed author Safia Elhillo, a young woman searches to find the balance between honoring her family, her artistry, and her authentic self.

Chlorine Sky

Chlorine Sky By Mahogany L. Browne

"An absolute masterpiece." -Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X

From the first ever poet-in-residence at Lincoln Center comes a bold coming-of-age story told in verse about a young woman who loses a best friend, but finds herself in the process. The joys of basketball, the tumult of high school, and the bonds of family are lyrically woven together in this must-read novel.


With Lay Li I don’t have to think too hard

I’m the friend of the star
& I don’t mind, not at all
It gives me time to think about my dreams & the WNBA
But when I call Lay Li & she don’t pick up
A pit in my stomach grows like a redwood tree
 
Sky is used to standing in the shadow of her best friend. Lay Li is the sun everyone orbits around. But since high school started, Lay Li has begun attracting the attention of boys, and Sky is left out in the cold. The only place Sky can find her footing is on the basketball court. With each dribble of the ball, Sky begins to find her own rhythm. Lay Li may always be the sun, but that doesn’t mean Sky can’t shine on her own.
 
With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, a critically acclaimed poet, delivers her first novel in verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and learning to generate your own light.
 
“A story about heart and backbone, and one only Mahogany L. Browne could bring forth.” –Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Long Way Down

 

Hear From Our Authors!

New and Noteworthy YA

New Graphic Novels to Add to Your Shelf

Tryouts

Tryouts By Sarah Sax

It's warm up time in this newest installment in the Brinkley Yearbook series. Will Alexandra make the cut and help the historically boys baseball team defend their 9-year championship title?

Alexandra, also known as Al, has been playing baseball with her older brothers for as long as she can remember. But when she ages out of Little League, it seems like it’s the end of the road for Al and the sport she loves. Until, that is, her friend Sammy suggests that Al try out for the middle school team—a team that has always been boys-only. 

Al is prepared to fight for her right to try out, but to her surprise, the coach is delighted by her interest. When Al makes the team, it seems like everything is going to work out. But with a tenth consecutive championship on the line for Brinkley Middle School and a team that can’t seem to get along, will their season ground out faster than Al can say “home run”?

Summer Vamp

Summer Vamp By Violet Chan Karim

What happens when a very human kid ends up at the wrong summer camp—FOR VAMPIRES?! This quirky and heart warming graphic novel about making friends and getting in trouble is perfect for fans of Witches of Brooklyn.

After a lackluster school year, Maya anticipates an even more disappointing summer. The only thing she’s looking forward to is cooking and mixing ingredients in the kitchen, which these days brings her more joy than mingling with her peers . . . that is until her dad's girlfriend registers her for culinary summer camp! Maya's summer is saved! . . . or not. 

What was meant to be a summer filled with baking pastries and cooking pasta is suddenly looking a lot . . . paler?! Why do all of the kids have pointy fangs? And hate garlic? Turns out that Maya isn't at culinary camp—she's at a camp for VAMPIRES! Maya has a lot to learn if she's going to survive this summer . . . and if she's lucky, she might even make some friends along the way.

Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim By Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie


Summer is here! School’s out, the pool is open, and new adventures with friends await! But what happens when twelve year old Ty’s anxiety has other plans? From the world of Just Roll With It comes a boy-centric graphic novel about accepting yourself even when it’s a little scary.


Bouncing back from a broken arm should be no big deal—but when Ty spends a month off the swim team the thought of getting back in the water is suddenly not as fun as it used to be. 

After weeks of ignoring his friends, Ty isn't sure how to connect with them again in summer camp. They used to have swim team together but after so long without swimming he's out of shape and afraid of failing in front of them. With his friendships fracturing, will Ty be able to gain confidence in himself and fix everything before it's too late?

We Are Big Time

We Are Big Time By Hena Khan; illustrated by Safiya Zerrougui

SWISH! Cheer courtside for a Muslim teen as she joins an all-girls, hijab-wearing basketball team and learns that she’s much more than a score. This energetic graphic novel is inspired by a true story!

Aliya is new to Wisconsin, and everything feels different than Florida. The Islamic school is bigger, the city is colder, and her new basketball team is…well, they stink.

Aliya’s still excited to have teammates (although the team's captain, Noura, isn't really Aliya's biggest fan), and their new coach really understands basketball (even if she doesn't know much about being Muslim). This season should be a blast...if they could just start to win. As they strengthen their skills on the court, Aliya and the Peace Academy team discover that it takes more than talent to be great--it's teamwork and self-confidence that defines true success. 

For fans of The Crossover and Roller Girl, this graphic novel goes big with humor and heart as it explores culture and perceptions, fitting in and standing out, and finding yourself, both on and off the court.

Buckle Up

Buckle Up By Lawrence Lindell

Figuring out family is no easy street, especially in a divorce. Perfect for fans of New Kid and Smile, this contemporary graphic novel introduces a young boy navigating life with his dad, one car ride at a time.

Lonnie is going through big changes in his life—with his parents newly divorced, he's trying to figure out his new normal. He likes living with his mom and sister, but misses spending time with his father—and the short drives to and from school just aren't enough.

His dad is determined to make every moment count, relying on the car rides to talk about all of the big things that are hard to talk about elsewhere—divorce, sexuality, racism and more. As Lonnie gets used to this new dynamic and hard conversations, will he be better able to connect to his dad? Or will this new family structure force them even further apart?

First Test Graphic Novel

First Test Graphic Novel By Tamora Pierce; Illustrated by Becca Farrow

This eagerly awaited graphic novel adaptation of the iconic fantasy novel, First Test, reimagines the classic knight's tale, but with a twist. In a world not quite ready for her ambition, a determined girl seeks knighthood and finds herself on a mission to prove it.

Keladry is the first girl who dares to take advantage of a new rule in her homeland, Tortall--one that allows women to train for knighthood.. She knows she’s  ready for the traditional hazing and grueling schedule of a page, but standing in  her way is the Knight’s training master, Lord Wyldon.

The training master is dead set against girls becoming knights, and in an attempt to further hold Kel back Lord Wyldon decides that  she must pass a one-year trial that no male page has ever had to endure. But she is not to be underestimated. She will fight to succeed, even if the test is purposely unfair.

The Protector of the Small series gets its first graphic novel adaptation, bringing to life Tamora Pierce’s best-selling First Test in an exciting new format. This graphic novel story about believing in yourself and overcoming all odds,  combines action and adventure in a way that new and old fans of the series will love.

The Award-Winning Penderwicks Series is Ready for Spring with a Bright New Look!

This series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager. Over one million copies sold, now with a bright new look!

This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.

The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

When summer comes around, it’s off to the beach for Rosalind . . . and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey.

That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick)—a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor.  But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind’s directions about not letting Batty explode?  Will Jane’s Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty—contrary to all accepted wisdom—the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune?  And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family?

It’s a rollicking ride as the Penderwicks continue their unforgettable adventures in a story filled with laughs and joyful tears!

Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family.

Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.

Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, The Penderwicks in Spring is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what’s hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

Lydia’s older sister Rosalind is getting married and in the most perfect setting–Arundel! Now, the entire family is going back to the spot where they met their “honorary brother” Jeffrey and had endless adventures!

And sure enough, the adventures do not stop. There are close calls involving almost too many dogs to count, dances at bus stops. and the reappearance of a longtime enemy. But most of all, there are six siblings with a bond that’s as unshakeable as ever.

The Penderwicks at Last may be the end of a cherished series, but the family we love will never be forgotten.

Random House Teachers and Librarians