80 Middle Grade Books In Verse In Celebration Of National Poetry Month

Today’s post is sponsored by Chris Baron and The Magical Imperfect!

Title The Magical Imperfect
Author Chris Baron
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date June 15th 2021 by Feiwel & Friends
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For fans of Wonder, Chris Baron’s The Magical Imperfect is an affecting middle grade story of two outcasts who become friends…

Etan has stopped speaking since his mother left. His father and grandfather don’t know how to help him. His friends have given up on him.

When Etan is asked to deliver a grocery order to the outskirts of town, he realizes he’s at the home of Malia Agbayani, also known as the Creature. Malia stopped going to school when her acute eczema spread to her face, and the bullying became too much.

As the two become friends, other kids tease Etan for knowing the Creature. But he believes he might have a cure for Malia’s condition, if only he can convince his family and hers to believe it too. Even if it works, will these two outcasts find where they fit in?

Sylvia Plath once stated that certain poems and lines of poetry are able to travel “farther than the words of a classroom teacher or the prescriptions of a doctor; if they are lucky, farther than a lifetime.” I was really excited when author Chris Baron reached out and suggested we collaborate on a post in celebration of National Poetry Month in April because it gave me the opportunity to explore and learn more about a category of literature I was largely unfamiliar with. As I curated the following list of books written in verse for readers 8-12, I was incredibly moved and impressed by the breadth of subjects being explored. From the story of a refugee who finds comfort and empowerment in a local surf club to a celebration of the female poets of the Harlem Renaissance, I sincerely hope middle grade readers can find at least one book in this post that will help them discover the range, lyricism and magic of poetry and books written in verse.



Publication Date March 30th 2021 by Dial Books
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An extraordinarily beautiful novel-in-verse, this important debut weaves a dramatic immigrant story together with Pilipino mythology to create something wholly new.

Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.





Publication Date February 16th 2021 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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An accessible and beautifully written middle grade novel-in-verse by award-winning Irish author Meg Grehan about Stevie, a young girl reckoning with anxiety about the many things she has yet to understand — including her feelings about her friend Chloe. Perfect for fans of Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter To The World, Star Crossed, and George.

11-year-old Stevie is an avid reader and she knows a lot of things about a lot of things. But these are the things she’d like to know the most:
1. The ocean and all the things that live there and why it’s so scary
2. The stars and all the constellations
3. How phones work
4. What happened to Princess Anastasia
5. Knots

Knowing things makes Stevie feel safe, powerful, and in control should anything bad happen. And with the help of her mom, she is finding the tools to manage her anxiety.

But there’s one something Stevie doesn’t know, one thing she wants to understand above everything else, and one thing she isn’t quite ready to share with her mom: the fizzy feeling she gets in her chest when she looks at her friend, Chloe. What does it mean and why isn’t she ready to talk about it?

In this poetic exploration of identity and anxiety, Stevie must confront her fears to find inner freedom all while discovering it is our connections with others that make us stronger.





Publication Date March 9th 2021 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this poignant debut novel-in-verse.

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules – like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space – her swimming pool – where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life – by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.





Publication Date June 1st 2021 by Holiday House
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A brother’s disappearance turns one family upside down, revealing painful secrets that threaten the life they’ve always known.

When twelve-year-old Maddie’s older brother vanishes from his college campus, her carefully ordered world falls apart. Nothing will fill the void of her beloved oldest sibling. Meanwhile Maddie’s older sister reacts by staying out late, and her parents are always distracted by the search for Strum. Drowning in grief and confusion, the family’s musical household falls silent.

Though Maddie is the youngest, she knows Strum better than anyone. He used to confide in her, sharing his fears about the climate crisis and their planet’s future. So, Maddie starts looking for clues: Was Strum unhappy? Were the arguments with their dad getting worse? Or could his disappearance have something to do with those endangered butterflies he loved…

Scared and on her own, Maddie picks up the pieces of her family’s fractured lives. Maybe her parents aren’t who she thought they were. Maybe her nervous thoughts and compulsive counting mean she needs help. And maybe finding Strum won’t solve everything – but she knows he’s out there, and she has to try.

This powerful debut novel in verse addresses the climate crisis, intergenerational discourse, and mental illness in an accessible, hopeful way. With a gorgeous narrative voice, Everywhere Blue is perfect for fans of Eventown and OCDaniel.





Publication Date February 23rd 2021 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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The co-author of Watch Us Rise pens a novel in verse about all the good and bad that comes with middle school, growing up girl, and the strength of family that gets you through it.

Beatrice Miller may have a granny’s name (her granny’s, to be more specific), but she adores her Mamaw and her mom, who give her every bit of wisdom and love they have. But the summer before seventh grade, Bea wants more than she has, aches for what she can’t have, and wonders what the future will bring.

This novel in verse follows Beatrice through the ups and downs of friendships, puberty, and identity as she asks: Who am I? Who will I become? And will my outside ever match the way I feel on the inside?

A gorgeous, inter-generational story of Southern women and a girl’s path blossoming into her sense of self, Reckless, Glorious, Girl explores the important questions we all ask as we race toward growing up.





Publication Date June 8th 2021 by Kokila
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A middle grade novel-in-verse about Samira, an eleven-year-old Rohingya refugee living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, who finds peace and empowerment in a local surf club for girls.

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There’s before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, there’s before Samira saw the Bengali surfer girls of Cox’s Bazar, and after, when she decides she’ll become one.

Samira Surfs, written by Rukhsanna Guidroz with illustrations by Fahmida Azim, is a tender novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl’s journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power.





Publication Date March 16th 2021 by Clarion Books
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If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park explores different answers to this provocative question in linked poems that capture the diverse voices of a middle school class. Illustrated with black-and-white art.

When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates’ responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another — and themselves.

With her ear for authentic dialog and knowledge of tweens’ priorities and emotions, Linda Sue Park brings the varied voices of an inclusive classroom to life through carefully honed, engaging, and instantly accessible verse.





Publication Date October 5th 2021 by Groundwood Books
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A beautifully illustrated novel in verse about a young Indian girl who tackles the taboos around sanitation in her village.

In Latika’s village in rural India, there are no toilets. No toilets mean that the women have to wait until night to do their business in a field. There are scorpions and snakes in the field, and germs that make people sick. For the girls in the village, no toilets mean leaving school when they reach puberty.

No one in the village wants to talk about this shameful problem. But Latika has had enough. When a government representative visits their village, she sees her chance to make one of her dreams come true: the construction of public toilets, which would be safer for everybody in her village.

This beautifully illustrated novel in verse shines a light on how a lack of access to sanitation facilities affects girls and women in many parts of the world.





Publication Date January 12th 2021 by Aladdin
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Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.

When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone — left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.

As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?





Publication Date February 2nd 2021 by Quill Tree Books
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A heartbreakingly hopeful #OwnVoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted — they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked — Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon” — but they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.

From Indies Introduce author Rajani LaRocca comes a radiant story about the ties that bind and how to go on in the face of unthinkable loss. This is the perfect next read for fans of Jasmine Warga and Thanhhà Lại.





Publication Date October 12th 2021 by Margaret Ferguson Books
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The quest to save the words of a dying language – and to find the words to save what may be a dying friendship – lies at the heart of this exquisite verse novel.

Sixth grader Betsy is the one who informs her best friend, Lizard, that thousands of the world’s languages are currently threatened by extinction; Betsy’s mother is a linguistics professor working frantically to study dying languages before they are lost forever. But it is Lizard who, gripped by the magnitude of this loss, challenges Betsy, “What if, instead of WRITING about dying languages, like your mom, you and I SAVED one instead?”

As the girls embark on their quest to learn as much as possible of the near-extinct language of Guernésiais (spoken on the Isle of Guernsey, off the coast of France), their friendship faces unexpected strains. With Lizard increasingly obsessed with the language project, Betsy begins to seek greater independence from her controlling and charismatic friend, as well as from her controlling and charismatic mother. Then tragedy threatens Betsy’s life beyond what any words can express, and Lizard does something unthinkable.

Maybe lost friendships, like lost languages, can never be completely saved.





Publication Date March 9th 2021 by Candlewick
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The Newbery Medal–winning author of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! gives readers a virtuoso performance in verse in this profoundly original epic pitched just right for fans of poetry, history, mythology, and fantasy.

Welcome to ancient Greece as only genius storyteller Laura Amy Schlitz can conjure it. In a warlike land of wind and sunlight, “ringed by a restless sea,” live Rhaskos and Melisto, spiritual twins with little in common beyond the violent and mysterious forces that dictate their lives. A Thracian slave in a Greek household, Rhaskos is as common as clay, a stable boy worth less than a donkey, much less a horse. Wrenched from his mother at a tender age, he nurtures in secret, aided by Socrates, his passions for art and philosophy. Melisto is a spoiled aristocrat, a girl as precious as amber but willful and wild. She’ll marry and be tamed – the curse of all highborn girls — but risk her life for a season first to serve Artemis, goddess of the hunt.

Bound by destiny, Melisto and Rhaskos — Amber and Clay — never meet in the flesh. By the time they do, one of them is a ghost. But the thin line between life and death is just one boundary their unlikely friendship crosses. It takes an army of snarky gods and fearsome goddesses, slaves and masters, mothers and philosophers to help shape their story into a gorgeously distilled, symphonic tour de force.

Blending verse, prose, and illustrated archaeological “artifacts,” this is a tale that vividly transcends time, an indelible reminder of the power of language to illuminate the over- and underworlds of human history.





Publication Date March 23rd 2021 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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From acclaimed writer A.F. Harrold comes a riotous poetry collection that encourages readers to think critically — perfect for fans of Shel Silverstein!

Packed with silly rhymes and witty wordplay, A.F. Harrold’s poetry is positively bursting with fun — and advice. But it’s not always the most useful…

Never apologize to a door you’ve walked into, unless it’s a really special door.

Don’t serve a cat soup when the cat wants jelly. Tomato soup won’t fill a feline belly.

Don’t put a rock in a roll, unless you hate having teeth.

Among the seemingly nonsensical stanzas on onions, sausages, and kilted koalas are exercises in critical thinking — what advice should readers follow, and what should they dismiss? Harrold’s short, clever poems work seamlessly alongside Mini Grey’s vibrant art to create visual gags that will have readers in stitches. Both silly and poignant, this book is perfect for curious readers, poets, and cabbages everywhere!





Publication Date May 11th 2021 by HarperCollins
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For fans of Other Words For Home and Front Desk, this powerful, charming own voices immigration story follows a girl who moves from Karachi, Pakistan to Peachtree City, Georgia, and must find her footing in a new world. Reem Faruqi is the ALA Notable author of award-winning Lailah’s Lunchbox.

When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in, yet she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts.

And in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais — who is going through struggles of his own in the U.S. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.

Ultimately Nurah slowly gains confidence in the form of strong swimming arms, and also gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place.





Publication Date February 9th 2021 by Roaring Brook Press
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A poetry collection that both illustrates what mindfulness is and encourages young, growing minds to be present, from poet and educator Georgia Heard, with art by Isabel Roxas.

Poets have long observed the world in a mindful way. They point out beauty we might have missed, draw our attention to our inner thoughts, and call us to see our society in new ways.

But as daily life become more and more chaotic, children grow distracted. According to the CDC, 9.4% of children have ADHD and 7% have anxiety/depression. And these numbers continue to climb. As treatment doctors recommend healthy eating, physical activity, plenty of sleep, and mindfulness techniques.

Georgia Heard is a poet and educator — and she has long had her own meditation practice. In My Thoughts Are Clouds, she uses poetry to demonstrate what mindfulness is and gives kids — and their parents and teachers — accessible ways to learn mindfulness tools.





Publication Date January 5th 2021 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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From Children’s Literature Legacy Award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes a feminist-forward new collection of poetry celebrating the little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance — paired with full-color, original art from today’s most talented female African-American illustrators.

For centuries, accomplished women — of all races — have fallen out of the historical records. The same is true for gifted, prolific, women poets of the Harlem Renaissance who are little known, especially as compared to their male counterparts.

In this poetry collection, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses “The Golden Shovel” poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of these groundbreaking women-and to introduce readers to their work.

Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today’s most exciting female African-American illustrators: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, April Harrison, Vashti Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Cathy Ann Johnson, Keisha Morris, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Erin Robinson, Shadra Strickland, Nicole Tadgell, and Elizabeth Zunon.

Legacy also includes a foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author’s note, and poet biographies, which make this a wonderful resource and a book to cherish.





Publication Date January 19th 2021 by Greenwillow Books
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A new collection from the celebrated first Young People’s Poet Laureate and bestselling poet Jack Prelutsky, featuring more than one hundred original poems!
Hard-Boiled Bugs For Breakfast is guaranteed to make readers laugh, imagine, write, and dream.

From a lizard playing a mandolin (although not very well) to the surprised guest of honor (at a birthday party he threw for himself), there’s something for everyone in Jack Prelutsky’s Hard-Boiled Bugs For Breakfast. Illustrator Ruth Chan’s lively and hilarious black-and-white art jumps off the page and illuminates a wide array of poetic forms, from haiku to concrete poems and everything in between.

This collection is full of the wit, humor, and imagination that has made Jack Prelutsky a household name and one of the most beloved poets for children. His poetry books for kids include such favorites as A Pizza The Size Of The Sun and The New Kid On The Block.





Publication Date October 6th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s poignant middle grade novel in verse about coming to terms with indelible truths of family and belonging.

For the most part, Hannah’s life is just how she wants it. She has two supportive parents, she’s popular at school, and she’s been killing it at gymnastics. But when her cousin Cal moves in with her family, everything changes. Cal tells half-truths and tall tales, pranks Hannah constantly, and seems to be the reason her parents are fighting more and more. Nothing is how it used to be. She knows that Cal went through a lot after his mom died and she is trying to be patient, but most days Hannah just wishes Cal never moved in.

For his part, Cal is trying his hardest to fit in, but not everyone is as appreciative of his unique sense of humor and storytelling gifts as he is. Humor and stories might be his defense mechanism, but if Cal doesn’t let his walls down soon, he might push away the very people who are trying their best to love him.

Told in verse from the alternating perspectives of Hannah and Cal, this is a story of two cousins who are more alike than they realize and the family they both want to save.





Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Learn about seven groundbreaking women in math and science in this gorgeously written biographical novel-in-verse, a companion to the “original and memorable” (Booklist, starred review) Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science.

After a childhood spent looking up at the stars, Caroline Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet and to earn a salary for scientific research. Florence Nightingale was a trailblazing nurse whose work reformed hospitals and one of the founders of the field of medical statistics. The first female electrical engineer, Hertha Marks Ayrton registered twenty-six patents for her inventions.

Marie Tharp helped create the first map of the entire ocean floor, which helped scientists understand our subaquatic world and suggested how the continents shifted. A mathematical prodigy, Katherine Johnson calculated trajectories and launch windows for many NASA projects including the Apollo 11 mission. Edna Lee Paisano, a citizen of the Nez Perce Nation, was the first Native American to work full time for the Census Bureau, overseeing a large increase in American Indian and Alaskan Native representation. And Vera Rubin studied more than two hundred galaxies and found the first strong evidence for dark matter.

Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates seven remarkable women who used math as their key to explore the mysteries of the universe and grew up to do innovative work that changed the world.





Publication Date September 15th 2020 by Scholastic Press
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From the prolific author of The Moon Within comes the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story in verse of a young Latinx girl who learns to hold on to hope and love even in the darkest of places: a family detention center for migrants and refugees.

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe-Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.

Then one day, Betita’s beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?





Publication Date March 24th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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This harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse sensitively depicts a girl’s journey through the aftermath of abuse.

One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori’s uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn’t believe her at first. Her grandma still takes his side. And Tori doesn’t want anyone else — even her best friend — to know what happened.

Now Tori finds herself battling mixed emotions — anger, shame, and sadness — as she deals with the trauma. But with the help of her mom, her little sister, her best friend, and others, can Tori find a way to have the last word?

From debut author Sonja K. Solter comes a heartbreaking yet powerful novel that will strike a chord with readers of Jacqueline Woodson and Tony Abbott.





Publication Date February 4th 2020 by Carolrhoda Books
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How can we make the world a better place?

This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a “try it” prompt for an activity.

This second poetic collaboration from Irene Latham and Charles Waters builds upon themes of diversity and inclusiveness from their previous book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrations from Iranian-British artist Mehrdokht Amini offer readers a rich visual experience.





Publication Date August 25th 2020 by Holiday House
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A family divided, a country going to war, and a girl desperate to feel at home converge in this stunning novel in verse.

It’s early September 2001, and twelve-year-old Abbey is the new kid at school. Again.

I worry about people speaking to me / and worry just the same / when they don’t.

Tennessee is her family’s latest stop in a series of moves due to her dad’s work in the Army, but this one might be different. Her school is far from Base, and for the first time, Abbey has found a real friend: loyal, courageous, athletic Camille.

And then it’s September 11. The country is under attack, and Abbey’s “home” looks like it might fall apart. America has changed overnight.

How are we supposed / to keep this up / with the world / crumbling / around us?

Abbey’s body changes, too, while her classmates argue and her family falters. Like everyone around her, she tries to make sense of her own experience as a part of the country’s collective pain. With her mother grieving and her father prepping for active duty, Abbey must learn to cope on her own.

Written in gorgeous narrative verse, Abbey’s coming-of-age story accessibly portrays the military family experience during a tumultuous period in our history. At once personal and universal, it’s a perfect read for fans of sensitive, tender-hearted books like The Thing About Jellyfish.





Publication Date August 11th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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A novel in verse about a young deaf boy during World War II, the sister who loves him, and the conscientious objector who helps him. Inspired by true events.

Henry has been deaf from an early age―he is intelligent and aware of langauge, but by age six, he has decided it’s not safe to speak to strangers. When the time comes for him to start school, he is labeled “unteachable.” Because his family has very little money, his parents and older sister, Molly, feel powerless to help him. Henry is sent to Riverview, a bleak institution where he is misunderstood, underestimated, and harshly treated.

Victor, a conscientious objector to World War II, is part of a Civilian Public Service program offered as an alternative to the draft. In 1942, he arrives at Riverview to serve as an attendant and quickly sees that Henry is far from unteachable ― he is brave, clever, and sometimes mischievous. In Victor’s care, Henry begins to see how things can change for the better.

Heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful, Helen Frost’s All He Knew is inspired by true events and provides sharp insight into a little-known element of history.





Publication Date April 7th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On The Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On The Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.

In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On The Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.





Publication Date June 30th 2020 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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In the spirit of A Place To Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference.

March 11, 2011
An earthquake shakes Japan to its core.
A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast.
Everything changes.

In the aftermath of the natural disasters that have struck her country, eleven-year-old Maya is luckier than many. Her family didn’t lose their home, their lives, or each other. But Maya still can’t help feeling paralyzed with terror, and each aftershock that ripples out in the days that follow makes her fear all over again that her luck could change in an instant.

As word of the devastation elsewhere grows increasingly grim — tens of thousands have perished — it all seems so huge, so irreparable. Already flinching at every rumble from the earth, Maya’s overcome with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. How can her country ever recover, and how could anything she does possibly make a difference?

Before Maya can extend a hand to others, she must dig deep to find the hidden well of strength in herself in this sweeping, searing novel that shows even small acts can add something greater and help people and communities heal.





Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s stirring novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies.

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that — but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?





Publication Date September 8th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Hatchet meets Long Way Down in this heartfelt and gripping novel in verse about a young girl’s struggle for survival after a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.

One year after a random shooting changed their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them find peace. Nora longs for things to go back to normal, like they were when her mother was still alive, while her father keeps them isolated in fear of other people. But when they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips across their path, sweeping away Nora’s father and all of their supplies.

Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone in the desert, facing dehydration, venomous scorpions, deadly snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her dreams for the past year. If Nora is going to save herself and her father, she must conquer her fears, defeat the Beast, and find the courage to live her new life.





Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Groundwood Books
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What do you do when it feels impossible to live up to everything expected of you? When the only person who understands you disappears? When you are young and long for something that seems out of reach?

Berta dreams of being an artist, but as a girl growing up in a small Swedish farming village in the 1920s, she has little hope. She finds solace in nature, and in drawing and shaping birds from clay for her mother, the only person who seems to truly understand her. When her mother succumbs to tuberculosis, Berta feels alone, in despair and even more burdened by all the work on the farm. Can she find the courage to defy her father and the social conventions of her time, and fly free?

This beautifully illustrated novel in verse, inspired by the paintings, letters and diaries of Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910-1994), is a universal story of grief, longing and following your dreams.

Includes an afterword by journalist Alexandra Sundqvist.





Publication Date June 23rd 2020 by Sterling Children’s Books
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In this beautiful novel in verse, a Chinese-American girl contends with school bullies, tries to solve the mystery of her sister’s strange illness, and finds strength and validation at the local tennis court.

Frances Chin, a 10-year old Chinese-American girl, lives in the suburbs of Detroit with her immigrant parents and older sister, Clara. At school Frances copes with bullies and the loneliness that comes with not quite fitting in. At home, she feels a different kind of aloneness. Her parents are preoccupied with work and worry about Clara, whose hair is inexplicably falling out. But, with the help of her friend Annie, Frances is determined to play Nancy Drew and solve the mystery of Clara’s condition. She also faces the everyday challenges and unexpected thrills of being a tween, especially when she receives encouragement from a tennis coach. Although she struggles to speak up, Frances’s powerful inner voice resonates in gorgeous imagery and evocative free verse.





Publication Date September 29th 2020 by Greenwillow Books
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Beloved and acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye is the current Young People’s Poet Laureate, serving until August 2021. This celebratory book collects in one volume her most popular and accessible poems from the past forty years.

Featuring new, never-before-published poems, an introduction by bestselling poet and author Edward Hirsch, as well as a foreword and writing tips by the poet, and stunning artwork by bestselling artist Rafael López, Everything Comes Next is essential for poetry readers, classroom teachers, and library collections.

Everything Comes Next is a treasure chest of Naomi Shihab Nye’s most beloved poems. From favorites such as “Famous” and “A Valentine for Ernest Mann,” to the widely shared “Kindness” and “Gate A-4,” this collection celebrates her term as Young People’s Poet Laureate. The book is an introduction to the poet’s work for new readers as well as a comprehensive edition for classroom and family sharing. Writing prompts and tips by the award-winning poet make this an outstanding choice for aspiring poets of all ages.





Publication Date March 10th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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Woke: A Young Poet’s Guide To Justice is a collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.

Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.

With Theodore Taylor’s bright, emotional art, and writing from Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice.

With a foreword by best-selling author Jason Reynolds.





Publication Date February 26th 2019 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid. But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?

A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.





Publication Date January 8th 2019 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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A stunning nonfiction in verse co-written by one of the first people to desegregate a public high school and New York Times bestselling author Debbie Levy.

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. Jo Ann — clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students – found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen?

This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.





Publication Date October 15th 2019 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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A beautifully told middle-grade novel-in-verse about a Japanese orphan’s experience in occupied rural Manchuria during World War II.

Twelve-year-old Natsu and her family live a quiet farm life in Manchuria, near the border of the Soviet Union. But the life they’ve known begins to unravel when her father is recruited to the Japanese army, and Natsu and her little sister, Cricket, are left orphaned and destitute.

In a desperate move to keep her sister alive, Natsu sells Cricket to a Russian family following the 1945 Soviet occupation. The journey to redemption for Natsu’s broken family is rife with struggles, but Natsu is tenacious and will stop at nothing to get her little sister back.

Literary and historically insightful, this is one of the great untold stories of WWII. Much like the Newbery Honor book Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, Mariko Nagai’s Under The Broken Sky is powerful, poignant, and ultimately hopeful.





Publication Date September 24th 2019 by Versify
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In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of the Girls Who Code series and The Crossover.

In a new city, at a new school, twelve-year-old Emmy has never felt more out of tune. Things start to look up when she takes her first coding class, unexpectedly connecting with the material — and Abigail, a new friend — through a shared language: music. But when Emmy gets bad news about their computer teacher, and finds out Abigail isn’t being entirely honest about their friendship, she feels like her new life is screeching to a halt. Despite these obstacles, Emmy is determined to prove one thing: that, for the first time ever, she isn’t a wrong note, but a musician in the world’s most beautiful symphony.





Publication Date June 18th 2019 by Yellow Jacket
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For most people, home is a place with four walls. It’s a place to eat, sleep, rest, and live. For a refugee, the concept of home is ever-changing, ever-moving, ever-wavering. And often, it doesn’t have any walls at all.

Eleven-year-old Lam escapes from Vietnam with Dee Dee during the Vietnamese Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. For a refugee, the trip is a long and perilous one, filled with dangerous encounters with pirates and greedy sailors, a lack of food and water, and even the stench of a dead body onboard. When they finally arrive at a refugee camp, Lam befriends Dao, a girl her age who becomes like a sister-a welcome glimmer of happiness after a terrifying journey.

Readers will feel as close to Lam as the jade pendant she wears around her neck, sticking by her side throughout her journey as she experiences fear, crushing loss, boredom, and some small moments of joy along the way.

Written in verse, this is a heartfelt story that is sure to build empathy and compassion for refugees around the world escaping oppression.





Publication Date October 22nd 2019 by Lee & Low Books
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From the joyous to the poignant, poems by award-winning, diverse poets are paired with images by celebrated illustrators from similar backgrounds to pay homage to what is both unique and universal about growing up in the United States.

Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander takes us on a riotous ride through good times and sad spent with his extended family a journey perfectly captured by Coretta Scott King Award winner Michele Wood s vibrant overflowing and overlapping images. Pura Belpré Award winner Margarita Engle shares happy memories of learning to embroider, accompanied by fine artist and printmaker Paula Barragán s colorful graphic representation of a granddaughter and grandmother at work. Bestselling author Nick Bruel talks about his confusion over having to define himself by a single racial label, which is brought to life by newcomer Janine Macbeth s reflective image of herself trying to figure out her own mixed ancestry.

Together these heartfelt poems and captivating illustrations shine a light on the rich diversity of people in our nation as well as the timeless human connections and experiences we all share. Readers of any age and background will find much that sparks their memories and opens their eyes.





Publication Date April 9th 2019 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
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A relatable novel-in-verse about loss…and what happens afterwards

Twelve-year-old Birdie Briggs loves birds. They bring her comfort when she thinks about her dad, a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. Life without her dad isn’t easy, but at least Birdie still has Mom and Maymee, and her friends Nina and Martin.

But then Maymee gets a boyfriend, Nina and Martin start dating, and Birdie’s mom starts seeing a police officer. And suddenly not even her beloved birds can lift Birdie’s spirits. Her world is changing, and Birdie wishes things would go back to how they were before. But maybe change, painful as it is, can be beautiful too.

With compelling verse and a lighthearted touch, Eileen Spinelli captures the poignancy of adolescence and shows what can happen when you let people in.





Publication Date October 1st 2019 by Chronicle Books
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A universal story of finding a way to be comfortable in your own skin: Kate and Tam meet, and both of their worlds tip sideways. At first, Tam figures Kate is your stereotypical cheerleader; Kate sees Tam as another tall jock. And the more they keep running into each other, the more they surprise each other. Beneath Kate’s sleek ponytail and perfect façade, Tam sees a goofy, sensitive, lonely girl. And Tam’s so much more than a volleyball player, Kate realizes: She’s everything Kate wishes she could be. It’s complicated. Except it’s not. When Kate and Tam meet, they fall in like. It’s as simple as that. But not everybody sees it that way.





Publication Date June 11th 2019 by Feiwel & Friends
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Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips.

Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents ― they’re simply not around enough to listen.

After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book ― and the diet ― can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.





Publication Date May 28th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
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A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed.

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US — and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.

But this life also brings unexpected surprises — there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.





Publication Date October 8th 2019 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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From award-winning poet Margarita Engle comes Dreams From Many Rivers, a middle grade verse history of Latinos in the United States, told through many voices, and featuring illustrations by Beatriz Gutierrez Hernandez.

From Juana Briones and Juan Ponce de León, to eighteenth century slaves and modern-day sixth graders, the many and varied people depicted in this moving narrative speak to the experiences and contributions of Latinos throughout the history of the United States, from the earliest known stories up to present day. It’s a portrait of a great, enormously varied, and enduring heritage. A compelling treatment of an important topic.





Publication Date August 13th 2019 by Holiday House
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A heart-wrenching novel in verse about a poor girl surviving the Irish Land Wars, by a two-time Newbery Honor-winning author.

For Anna, the family farm has always been home… But now, things are changing.

Anna’s mother has died, and her older siblings have emigrated, leaving Anna and her father to care for a young sister with special needs. And though their family has worked this land for years, they’re in danger of losing it as poor crop yields leave them without money to pay their rent.

When a violent encounter with the Lord’s rent collector results in Anna and her father’s arrest, all seems lost. But Anna sees her chance and bolts from the jailhouse. On the run, Anna must rely on her own inner strength to protect her sister – and try to find a way to save her family.

Written in verse, A Slip Of A Girl is a poignant story of adversity, resilience, and self-determination by a master of historical fiction, painting a haunting history of the tensions in the Irish countryside of the early 1890s, and the aftermath of the Great Famine.





Publication Date August 13th 2019 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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A powerful middle grade novel-in-verse about one boy’s experience surviving the Holocaust.

Moishe Moskowitz was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family learned the language of fear. The wolves loomed at every corner, yet Moishe still held on to the blessings of his mother’s blueberry pierogis, of celebrating the Sabbath as a family, of a loyal friend. But each day the darkness weighed more heavily on Moishe as his family was broken, uprooted, and scattered across labor and concentration camps. Just as his last hopes began to dim, a simple act of kindness redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread.

Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet relates her father’s triumphant Holocaust story through the words of award-winning poet Hope Anita Smith. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated by Lea Lyon, this is an essential addition to the ever-important collection of Holocaust testimonies.





Publication Date April 17th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
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In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong.

Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes the person you need to take care of is yourself.





Publication Date September 4th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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In the tradition of The War That Saved My Life and Stella By Starlight, this poignant novel in verse based on true events tells the story of a boy’s harrowing experience on a lifeboat after surviving a torpedo attack during World War II.

With Nazis bombing London every night, it’s time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he’s one of the lucky ones—one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada.

Life aboard the luxury ship is grand — nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum’s glare. And after five days at sea, the ship’s officers announce that they’re out of danger.

They’re wrong.

Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They’ve been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive?

Award-winning author Susan Hood brings this little-known World War II story to life in a riveting novel of courage, hope, and compassion. Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 12 is about believing in one another, knowing that only by banding together will we have any chance to survive.





Publication Date September 18th 2018 by Yellow Jacket
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This historical middle grade novel written in free verse, set against the backdrop of the desegregation battles that took place in Houston, Texas, in 1972, is about a young boy and his family dealing with loss and the revelation of dark family secrets.

Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy – his daddy who killed a fellow white man and then crashed his car. With his mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with their Aunt Bee and attend a new elementary school. But it’s 1972, and this new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District’s war on desegregation.

Paulie soon begins to question everything. He hears his daddy’s crime was a race-related one; he killed a white man defending a black man, and when Paulie starts picking fights with a black boy at school, he must face his reasons for doing so. When dark family secrets are revealed, the way forward for everyone will change the way Paulie thinks about family forever.

The Colors Of The Rain is an authentic, heartbreaking portrait of loss and human connection during an era fraught with racial tension set in verse from debut author R. L. Toalson.





Publication Date January 2nd 2018 by Scholastic Press
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In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life – and of his assassination – through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Andrea’s stunning poetic requiem, illustrated with Brian’s lyrical and colorful artwork, brings a fresh perspective to Martin Luther King, the Gandhi-like, peace-loving activist whose dream of equality – and whose courage to make it happen – changed the course of American history. And even in his death, he continues to transform and inspire all of us who share his dream.

Wonderful classroom plays of Martin Rising can be performed by using the “Now Is the Time” history and the 1968 timeline at the back of the book as narration – and adding selected poems to tell the story!





Publication Date May 8th 2018 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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From the Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle comes a searing novel in verse about the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.

Thousands of young Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are teenagers, scared, longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls are happy to dance with the sailors — until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder.

Suddenly the young white sailors are attacking these girls’ brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence — when in reality these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin.

In soaring images and powerful poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle could tell it.





Publication Date April 3rd 2018 by Kids Can Press
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A powerful story of betrayal, forgiveness and self-discovery.

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.

Ebb & Flow is the captivating story of eleven-year-old Jett’s summer back home on the coast after “a rotten bad year” in a new town.

When his father went to jail, Jett and his mother moved away, and Jett quickly learned that fresh starts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. He returns to spend the summer with his unconventional Grandma Jo, bringing along a secret about the betrayal of a friend. Will a summer spent with Grandma Jo help Jett come to terms with his mistakes and forgive himself?

This emotionally charged story, told in free verse, will pull readers in and captivate them.





Publication Date November 27th 2018 by Cinco Puntos Press
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Twelve-year-old Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He’s starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool.

In Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo Álvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd – reader, gamer, musician – who runs with a squad of misfits like him, Los Bobbys. Sure, they get in trouble like anybody else, and like other middle-school boys, they discover girls. Watch out for Joanna! She’s tough as nails.

But trusting in his family’s traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart. Life is tough for a border kid, but Güero has figured out how to cope.

He writes poetry.





Publication Date April 2nd 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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From the New York Times best-selling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, the dynamic prequel to his Newbery Award–winning novel in verse, The Crossover.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. Chuck Bell takes center stage as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.

A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound goes back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck “Da Man” Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family’s past.





Publication Date March 6th 2018 by Chronicle Books
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Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He’s fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as damaged, and his schoolmates see him as the same class clown he’s always been. He feels stuck. So when his dad — divorced from his mom — suggests he take up boxing, he falls in love with the sport. And when he finds out about a school with a killer boxing team and a free-study curriculum, it feels like he’s found a ticket to a new Levi. But how can he tell his mom about boxing? And how can he convince his family to set him free?





Publication Date September 14th 2018 by Pajama Press
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From the award-winning author of Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, a timely middle-grade story about the devastation of wildfires and the resilience of the human spirit.

He’s a rescue, a mutt. Maybe there’s a little golden retriever in him, although he’s not exactly pretty. He’s had a run-in with coyotes and he’s missing an eye. But Mike is eleven-year-old Cara Donovan’s dog, and they love each other absolutely. Usually her pet follows Cara everywhere, but on the day the family first smells smoke in the air, Mike becomes anxious. Pine Grove is in the path of a wildfire, and the family is ordered to evacuate. In the ensuing chaos, Mike runs off. And then the unthinkable happens; there is no time to search for Mike. They are forced to leave him behind.

Shocked and devastated, Cara watches helplessly as the family drives through a nightmare, with burning debris falling from the sky and wild animals fleeing for their lives. Once in the city far from the burn zone, the Donovans are housed with a volunteer host family. Jewel, the hosts’ daughter, is nice, but Cara can only think about what she may have lost. What will happen if nothing is left? But as she reflects on what “home” means to her, Cara knows only one thing. She is not going to lose Mike. She will do what it takes to find him, even if it means going back to Pine Grove on her own.

With her signature style combining simplicity and lyricism, the author of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles and Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess tells an uplifting story of love and loss. And she shows how one girl’s stressful journey eventually leads her to an unexpected place, and a new definition of home.





Publication Date April 3rd 2018 by Groundwood Books
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A cocky morning crowing
and a day-break braying.

For the brother and sister in this novel in verse, each day begins with a barnyard wakeup call. During a summer spent on their grandparents’ farm, they collect eggs from the chicken coop, put on shows for city folks in passing trains, fill in for the farm dog by barking the cows home and dance around the perfectly ripening watermelon growing in Grandma’s garden. All of these barnyard adventures happen in the company of Rexter the rooster, Seed-Sack the mule and Ginger-Tea the farm dog ― animal friends that will steal readers’ hearts over the course of a carefree rooster summer.

Based on award-winning poet Robert Heidbreder’s childhood, these irresistible read-aloud poems show the tender relationship between children and their grandparents. Madeline Kloepper brings the cast of lovable human and animal characters to life with her vintage art style. This early novel in verse about the simple joys of childhood on a farm is nostalgic yet timeless.





Publication Date May 8th 2018 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Junior high school girls, meet your new BFF! Izzy Kline faces all the drama of middle school with total honesty and deep heart.

Hiding out in the girls’ bathroom…
FaceTiming one friend while group chatting two others…
Forced to ballroom dance with a boy for a social studies unit…

There is a LOT going on in middle school.

New experiences and shifting dynamics are around every turn. And it’s not just her friends – Izzy’s family is shifting as well. It’s anxiety-inducing but also thrilling as Izzy learns to stake her claim.

For fans of Fish In A Tree and verse novels like Brown Girl Dreaming, Beth Ain’s books perfectly capture the drama of adolescence with a ton of light humor and deep heart.





Publication Date March 14th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Claire and Abi have always loved their summers at the lake house, but this year, everything’s different. Dad and Pam, their stepmom, are expecting a new baby, and they’ve cleared out all of Mom’s belongings to make room. And last summer, Abi was looking at boys, but this summer, boys are looking back at her. While Abi sneaks around, Claire is left behind to make excuses and cover up for her. Claire doesn’t want her family to change, but there doesn’t seem to be a way of stopping it. By the end of their time at the house, the two sisters have learned that growing up doesn’t have to mean their family growing apart.

When My Sister Started Kissing is Helen Frost’s beautiful novel-in-verse about summertime and coming of age.





Publication Date January 31st 2017 by Chronicle Books
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From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.





Publication Date March 14th 2017 by Candlewick
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A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree’s New York Times best-selling ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.

Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.





Publication Date March 14th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
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A girl tries to hide her quirks at a new school in this middle-grade novel from debut author Ellie Terry.

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calliope’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is ― an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that they might be moving ― again ― just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

Partially in verse and partially in prose with two intertwined points of view, Ellie Terry’s affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.





Publication Date January 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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From the New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes an emotional, special new collection of poetry inspired by the Harlem Renaissance – paired with full-color, original art from today’s most exciting African-American illustrators.

Inspired by the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses “The Golden Shovel” poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of master poets like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jean Toomer, and others who enriched history during this era.

Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today’s most exciting African American illustrators – including Pat Cummings, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and many more – to create an emotional and thought-provoking book with timely themes for today’s readers.

A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author’s note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well.





Publication Date August 29th 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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From award-winning author Margarita Engle comes a lively middle grade novel in verse that tells the story of a Cuban-American boy who visits his family’s village in Cuba for the first time — and meets a sister he didn’t know he had.

Edver isn’t happy about being shipped off to Cuba to visit the father he barely knows. The island is a place that no one in Miami ever mentions without a sigh, but travel laws have suddenly changed, and now it’s a lot easier for divided families to be reunited. Technology in Cuba hasn’t caught up with the times, though, and Edver is expecting a long, boring summer.

He was NOT expecting to meet a sister he didn’t know he had. Luza is a year older and excited to see her little brother, until she realizes what a spoiled American he is. Looking for something — anything — they might have in common, the siblings sneak onto the Internet, despite it being forbidden in Cuba, and make up a fake butterfly. Maybe now their cryptozoologist mother will come to visit. But their message is intercepted by a dangerous poacher, and suddenly much more than their family is at stake. Edver and Luza have to find a way to overcome their differences to save the Cuban jungle that they both have grown to love.





Publication Date March 7th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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So many moments, both big and small, make up a year. Beth Ain chronicles them all in this heartwarming novel in verse, perfect for back to school – no matter what that looks like!

It’s a new school year, and Izzy Kline is having some feelings. There are plenty of reasons for the butterflies in her stomach to flap their wings. There’s a new girl in her class who might be a new best friend. The whole grade is performing Free to Be…You and Me — and Izzy really wants a starring role. And new changes at home are making Izzy feel like her family is falling apart. First-day jitters, new friends, an audition…How many butterfly problems can one kid take?





Publication Date March 14th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot―the Latinos featured in this collection, Bravo!, come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today!

Biographical poems include: Aida de Acosta, Arnold Rojas, Baruj Benacerraf, César Chávez, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Félix Varela, George Meléndez, José Martí, Juan de Miralles, Juana Briones, Julia de Burgos, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Paulina Pedroso, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, Ynes Mexia, Tomás Rivera.





Publication Date April 26th 2016 by Philomel Books
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When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you?

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it’s no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond – and in spite of – the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality…yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world? Told in breathless and visual verse, The Lonely Ones takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.





Publication Date October 4th 2016 by Wordsong
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This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading — anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father — by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.





Publication Date April 26th 2016 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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In this beautiful and haunting debut novel in verse, called “a tender piece on connectedness” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, a Japanese-American girl struggles with the loneliness of being caught between two worlds when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away.

Eleven-year-old Ema has always been of two worlds — her father’s Japanese heritage and her mother’s life in America. She’s spent summers in California for as long as she can remember, but this year she and her mother are staying with her grandparents in Japan as they await the arrival of Ema’s baby sibling. Her mother’s pregnancy has been tricky, putting everyone on edge, but Ema’s heart is singing — finally, there will be someone else who will understand what it’s like to belong and not belong at the same time.

But Ema’s good spirits are muffled by her grandmother who is cold, tightfisted, and quick to reprimand her for the slightest infraction. Then, when their stay is extended and Ema must go to a new school, her worries of not belonging grow. And when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes, Ema, her parents, and the world watch as the twin towers fall…

As her mother grieves for her country across the ocean — threatening the safety of her pregnancy — and her beloved grandfather falls ill, Ema feels more helpless and hopeless than ever. And yet, surrounded by tragedy, Ema sees for the first time the tender side of her grandmother, and the reason for the penny-pinching and sternness make sense — her grandmother has been preparing so they could all survive the worst.

Dipping and soaring, Somewhere Among is the story of one girl’s search for identity, a sense of peace, and the discovery that hope can indeed rise from the ashes of disaster.





Publication Date May 3rd 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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In this “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford “wields the power of poetry to tell [the] gripping historical story” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) of the Tuskegee Airmen.

I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying.

So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying!

From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II. In vibrant second-person poems, Carole Boston Weatherford teams up for the first time with her son, artist Jeffery Weatherford, in a powerful and inspiring book that allows readers to fly, too.





Publication Date March 8th 2016 by Candlewick
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What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz.

When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off?

In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era.

Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.





Publication Date April 12th 2016 by Wendy Lamb Books
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An award-winning, big-hearted time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. A great pick for fans of Margarita Engle and Eileen Spinelli.

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.





Publication Date August 30th 2016 by HarperCollins
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This uplifting New York Times bestseller reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises.

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna — and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.





Publication Date September 20th 2016 by Wordsong
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This lyrical middle-grade novel-in-verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice.

Keet knows the only good thing about moving away from her Alabama home is that she’ll live near her beloved grandfather. When Keet starts school, it’s even worse than she expected, as the kids tease her about her southern accent. Now Keet, who can “talk the whiskers off a catfish,” doesn’t want to open her mouth. While fishing with her grandfather, she learns the art of listening and gradually, she makes her first new friend. But just as she’s beginning to settle in, her grandfather has a stroke, and even though he’s still nearby, he suddenly feels ever-so-far-away. Keet is determined to reel him back to her by telling him stories; in the process she finds her voice and her grandfather again.





Publication Date August 30th 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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In this “beautifully written, thought provoking” (School Library Journal, starred review) novel in verse, award-winning author Margarita Engle tells the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who becomes a champion for civil rights.

Asia, Africa, Europe — Antonio Chuffat’s ancestors clashed and blended on the beautiful island of Cuba. Yet for most Cubans in the nineteenth century, life is anything but beautiful. The country is fighting for freedom from Spain. Enslaved Africans and near-enslaved Chinese indentured servants are forced to work long, backbreaking hours in the fields.

So Antonio feels lucky to have found a good job as a messenger, where his richly blended cultural background is an asset. Through his work he meets Wing, a young Chinese fruit seller who barely escaped the anti-Asian riots in San Francisco, and his sister Fan, a talented singer. With injustice all around them, the three friends are determined to prove that violence is not the only way to gain liberty.





Publication Date September 20th 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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This “evocative and beautiful” (School Library Journal) novel “vividly imagines the lives of three girls” (Booklist, starred review) in three different time periods as they grow up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.

More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.

Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet — and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.

Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us.





Publication Date August 9th 2016 by Candlewick
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In a touching poetic novel, a fall apple ritual — along with some inventive storytelling — brings a family together as they grieve the loss of a beloved family member.

When the first apple falls from the tree, Faith and Peter know that it’s applesauce weather, even though Peter is getting a little old for such things. It also means Uncle Arthur should be here to tell his stories, with a twinkle in his eye as he spins tales about how he came to have a missing finger. But this is the first year without Aunt Lucy, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, there’s no twinkle to be found and no stories waiting to be told. Faith is certain, though, that with a little love and patience, she and Peter might finally learn the truth about that missing finger.

Paired with warm, expressive illustrations by Amy June Bates, this heartfelt tale by award-winning poet Helen Frost highlights the strength of family and the power of a good story.





Publication Date April 5th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Can’t nobody stop you
Can’t nobody cop you…

In this follow-up to Newbery-winner The Crossover, soccer, family, love, and friendship take center stage. Twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.

This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!





Publication Date February 9th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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From Newbery Honoree Marion Dane Bauer comes a heartwarming novel in verse that’s a companion to the “wholly satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) Little Dog, Lost.

When an indoor calico cat named Patches spots a golden autumn leaf fluttering past her window, she can’t help but venture outside to chase it. But soon, Patches feels something tugging at her, telling her to find a special place — one she won’t know until she sees it. Why must she go on this search? She doesn’t know yet.

Along the way, Patches finds herself in dire circumstances, but with the help of the other neighborhood animals, she faces off against the scariest dog in town and continues on her journey to her special place.

Beautifully told in verse and accompanied by adorable illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell, this heartwarming novel from Newberry Honor­–winner, Marion Dane Bauer, is a timeless, touching, and fulfilling story about finding your way home.




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Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.

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