updated 10 Oct 2015
Inker’s Shadow by Allen Say; Scholastic Press
As the school’s first and only Japanese student, he experienced immediate racism among his fellow cadets and his teachers. The other kids’ parents complained about Allen’s presence at the all-white school. As a result, he was relegated to a tool shed behind the mess hall. Determined to free himself from this oppression, Allen saved enough money to buy a 1946 Ford for $50 – then escaped to find the America of his dreams! In this follow-up to Drawing from Memory, Allen continues to reinvent himself as an author and illustrator. Melding his paintings with cartoon images and archival photos, Allen Say delivers an accessible book that will appeal to any reader in search of himself.
Untwine by Edwidge Danticat; Scholastic
Giselle Boyer and her identical twin, Isabelle, are as close as sisters can be, even as their family seems to be unraveling. Then the Boyers have a tragic encounter that will shatter everyone’s world forever. Giselle wakes up in the hospital, injured and unable to speak or move. Trapped in the prison of her own body, Giselle must revisit her past in order to understand how the people closest to her — her friends, her parents, and above all, Isabelle, her twin — have shaped and defined her. Will she allow her love for her family and friends to lead her to recovery? Or will she remain lost in a spiral of longing and regret?
Untwine is a spellbinding tale, lyrical and filled with love, mystery, humor, and heartbreak. Award-winning author Edwidge Danticat brings her extraordinary talent to this graceful and unflinching examination of the bonds of friendship, romance, family, the horrors of loss, and the strength we must discover in ourselves when all seems hopeless.
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. Delacorte.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. (ages 12 and up)
The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. SourceBooks Fire. When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest,’ Tark and the ghostly Okiku must resolve their differences and return to find her. In a strange village inside Aokigahara, old ghosts and an ancient evil lie waiting. (ages 12 and up)
Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith. Clarion Books.
Magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell. When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first. Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s,Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor. (ages 10-12)
Connect the Stars by Marisa de lost Sontos and David Teague; HarperCollins
From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes a heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits discovering the importance of just being themselves.
When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.
Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars takes on some hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love! (ages 8-12)
Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney; Roaring Brook Press
Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross-to sing for his new label. Meanwhile, the country was on the brink of a cultural revolution, and one of the most powerful agents of change in the following decade would be this group of young black performers from urban Detroit. From Berry Gordy and his remarkable vision to the Civil Rights movement, from the behind-the-scenes musicians, choreographers, and song writers to the most famous recording artists of the century, Andrea Davis Pinkney takes readers on a Rhythm Ride through the story of Motown.
The Green Bicycle by Haifaa Al Monsour; Dial
Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.