500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario (Simon Pulse)
High school senior Nic, seventeen, tries to salvage her tattered reputation by helping her Ivy League-obsessed classmates with college admission essays and finds herself in the process.
Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Macmillan) Ages 9–12
Through stunning images provided by NASA and fascinating profiles and sidebars of lesser known contributors to the NASA program, young space fans will learn how NASA started, how it faced challenges along the way, how much it has achieved, and how it will continue to move forward in the future.
American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt & Co)
Brothers Teodoro and Manny Avila take a road trip to address Manny’s PTSD following his tour in Iraq, and to help T. change his life and win the heart of Wendy Martinez. Includes information and resources about PTSD.
Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes (Simon & Schuster) Ages 12–up.
Anxious, awkward Analee Echevarria only feels confident playing her favorite online game, but with a potential real-world romance and her father’s remarriage looming, she begins to rediscover herself.
The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor (RandomHouse) Ages 10–18.
Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, was a young girl when she dared to dream big. Her dream? To become a lawyer and a judge.
As Justice Sotomayor explains, “When I was a child my family was poor and we knew no lawyers or judges and none lived in our neighborhood. I knew nothing about the Supreme Court and how much its work in reinterpreting the Constitution and the laws of the United States affected peoples’ lives. You cannot dream of becoming something you don’t even know about. That has been the most important lesson of my life. You have to learn to dream big dreams.”
Sonia did not let the hardships of her background–which included growing up in the rough housing projects of New York City’s South Bronx, dealing with juvenile diabetes, coping with parents who argued and fought personal demons, and worrying about money–stand in her way. Always, she believed in herself. Her determination, along with guidance from generous mentors and the unwavering love of her extended Puerto Rican family, propelled her ever forward.
A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney (Imprint)
Pitched as a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with the butt-kicking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with a black teen heroine at its center, Alice is a warrior who battles Nightmares in the dark and terrifying dream realm known as Wonderland.
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Vivianna Mazza
Cowritten by Nigerian journalist and author Nwaubani, based on deep research into the Boko Haram kidnappings, including talking to some of the girls who were kidnapped, this is a heartrending look at what really happened to the more than two hundred schoolgirls taken by the terrorist group. This is a dark, heavy read, but a critically important story, told by an unnamed narrator in vignette-style prose, peppered throughout with articles and other pieces that frame the events of the story in greater context.
Check, Please! #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (FirstSecond) Ages 14–18
A collection of the first half, freshmen and sophmore year, of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life. This book ncludes updated art and a hilarious, curated selection of Bitty’s beloved tweets.
The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz (Simon & Schuster) Ages 8–12
Jaime, twelve, and Angela, fifteen, discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States, while news from home gets increasingly worse. A sequel to Only Road.
Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (Dutton) ages 12-18
The novel begins in suburban Minneapolis at the moment when seventeen-year-old Kollie Flomo begins to crack under the strain of his life as a Liberian refugee. He’s exhausted by being at once too black and not black enough for his African American peers and worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian family and community. When his frustration finally spills into violence and his parents send him back to Monrovia to reform school, the story shifts. Like Kollie, readers travel back to Liberia, but also back in time, to the early twentieth-century and the point of view of Togar Somah, an eighteen-year-old indigenous Liberian on the run from government militias that would force him to work the plantations of the Congo people, descendants of the African-American slaves who colonized Liberia almost a century earlier. When Togar’s section draws to a shocking close, the novel jumps again, back to America in 1836, to the children of Yasmine Wright, who leave a Virginia plantation with their mother for Liberia, where they’re promised freedom and a chance at self-determination by the American Colonization Society. The Wrights begin their section by fleeing the whip and by its close, they are then ones who wield it. With each new section, the novel uncovers fresh hope and resonating heartbreak, all based on historical fact.
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) Ages 13–up
Jetta, a teen who possesses secret, forbidden powers, must gain access to a hidden spring and negotiate a world roiling with intrigue and the beginnings of war.
Grand Theft Horse by G. Neri, illus. by Corban Wilkin (Tu Books) Ages 12–up
Gail Ruffu was a rookie trainer known for her unconventional methods and ability to handle dangerous horses. When she became part owner of an untamed thoroughbred named Urgent Envoy, everything changed. After Urgent Envoy showed real promise, her co-owners forced Gail to speed up training and race him too early, causing the horse to develop a hairline shin fracture. Refusing to drug the horse to keep it running, Gail lost Urgent Envoy to her partners, who pushed the horse even harder. One more race would kill him. When nobody heeded her warnings, Gail had to act.
In this gorgeous graphic biography, G. Neri, author of the acclaimed Yummy and Ghetto Cowboy, retells the life of his cousin Gail, a pioneer who challenged the horse racing world for the sake of one extraordinary horse. With illustrations by brilliant newcomer Corban Wilkin, it is a must-read for horse lovers everywhere.
Here to Stay by Sarah Farizan (Algonquin) ages 12-18
When a cyberbully sends the entire high school a picture of basketball hero Bijan Majidi, photo-shopped to look like a terrorist, the school administration promises to find and punish the culprit, but Bijan just wants to pretend the incident never happened and move on.
The Hidden City by David Bowles (Garza Twins #3) (IFWG Publishing) ages 8-12
When Carol and Johnny learn of the Ollamat, an ancient stone that can channel savage magic, they convince their parents to take them to the cloud forests of Oaxaca. With Pingo’s help, they search for the legendary city where it has been protected for a thousand years. But the twins aren’t the only ones hunting for the Ollamat. After it is stolen, they must travel through an emerald mirror into the beautiful yet dangerous Tlalocan: the paradise of the rain god. To retrieve the stone, they must face talking apes and forest elementals, rock worms and vicious elves, demons of lightning and something even more unexpected: the souls of people they have watched die. As always, they are aided by allies old and new, though nothing can quite prepare them for the biggest foe of all – a member of their very family.
Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan (Whitman) DEBUT AUTHOR ages 12-18
When the notorious I.A. Cōcha is captured by the Olympus Commonwealth and revealed to be a sixteen-year-old girl, she is sentenced to correctional rehabilitation at a training ground for the elite Star Force where she forms unlikely alliances.
Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting (Vesuvian) Ages 13–up
Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.
Just Mercy : A True Story of the Fight for Justice adapted for young adults by Bryan Stevenson (Delacorte)
In this young adult adaptation of the acclaimed bestselling Just Mercy, which the New York Timescalls “as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so,” Bryan Stevenson delves deep into the broken U.S. justice system, detailing from his personal experience his many challenges and efforts as a lawyer and social advocate, especially on behalf of America’s most rejected and marginalized people.
Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Candlewick) ages 8-12
Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.
Monk! Thelonious, Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind a Musical Revolution by Youssef Daoudi (FirstSecond) Ages 18–up
Set against the backdrop of New York during the heyday of jazz, Monk! explores the rare alchemy between two brilliant beings separated by an ocean of social status, race, and culture, but united by an infinite love of music. This breathtaking graphic novel by Youssef Daoudi beautifully captures the life of the “the high priest of bop” in spontaneous, evocative pen and ink that seems to make visible jazz itself.
Naomis Too (Two Naomis) by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick (Balzer/BrayHarperCollins) Ages 8–12
In this sequel to Two Naomis, now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges.
Path to the Stars : My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo (Clarion/HMH Kids) ages 10-12
The inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was transformed by joining the Girl Scouts and who currently serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA
Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer and Bray) ages 12-18
National Book honoree Zoboi—author of the stunning debut American Street—returns with a Brooklyn-set Pride & Prejudice retelling with a Haitian Dominican protagonist. Yes, really. Liz becomes Zuri Benitez, a Bushwick-bred teen who bristles as she watches new neighbors the Darcys move into the brownstone across the street. Gentrifiers, of course. But she can’t help but be intrigued by the wealthy Darius—he of the disarming smile to go with that prep school chic. And yes, Pride is just as confounding and swoonworthy as the Austen original.
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice by Veronica Chambers, illus. by Paul Ryding. (HarperCollins) Ages 8–12
Resist profiles men and women who resisted tyranny, fought the odds, and stood up to bullies that threatened to harm their communities. Along with their portraits and most memorable quotes, their stories will inspire you to speak out and rise up—every single day.
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (Sky Pony Press) ages 12-18
This follow-up to Mandanna’s debut, The Lost Girl, is a Mahabharat retelling—set in space. The potential heir to the throne of Kali, Esmae was sent away (abandoned) by her mom, the Queen, as a baby because of a curse. Now she has returned to a kingdom ravaged by the new king, and has only one chance to save it. She enters the tournament held by the King of Wychstar, planning to reveal herself for who she really is—and must join forces with her twin brother, Alexi, a stranger, to reclaim the throne. Confounding connections, stunning worldbuilding, and manipulative gods mark this epic, whirling space opera.
Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream by Julissa Arce. (Little, Brown Books)
Julissa Arce explores her days in Mexico separated from her parents and her daily fears while growing up undocumented in Texas.
Storm Runner (Storm Runner book 1) by Jennifer Cervantes (Rick Riordan Presents)
To prevent the Mayan gods from battling each other and destroying the world, thirteen-year-old Zane must unravel an ancient prophecy, stop an evil god, and discover how the physical disability that makes him reliant on a cane also connects him to his father and his ancestry.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Simon & Schuster) Ages 13–17
Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.
Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles Sep 4, 2018
Twelve-year-old Güero, a red-headed, freckled Mexican American border kid, discovers the joy of writing poetry, thanks to his seventh grade English teacher.
Tight by Torrey Maldonado (Nancy Paulsen Press) ages 10 and up
After his quick-tempered father gets in a fight and is sent back to jail, sixth-grader Bryan, known for being quiet and thoughtful, snaps and follows new friend Mike into trouble.
Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (HarperCollins) ages 14–up
Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.
Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the minland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.
Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.
This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.
Voyage of the Dogs by GregVan Eekhout (HarperCollins) ages 8-12
Lopside is a Barkonaut—a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet.
When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts—and Barkonauts always complete their mission.
We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden (Bloomsbury) Ages 12–18.
This … young adult adaptation brings her ideas to a new audience. When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump.
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson (Crown/RandomHouse) Ages 8–12
What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists
Wildcard by Marie Lu (Putnam) Ages 12–18
Teenage hacker Emika Chen embarks on a mission to unravel a sinister plot and is forced to join forces with a shadowy organization known as the Blackcoats.
The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez ages 8-12
Some days, ten-year-old Margaríta Sandoval feels as if the wind might blow her away. The country has been gripped by the Great Depression, so times are hard everywhere. Then she has to leave her família in New Mexico — especially her beloved Abuelita — to move to Fort Steele, Wyoming, where her father has taken a job on the railroad.
When Margaríta meets Caroline, she’s excited to have a friend her own age in Wyoming. But it often seems like Caroline, like many other people in town, doesn’t understand or appreciate the Sandovals’ Hispanic heritage. At the same time, the Sandovals discover they might lose Abuelita’s land and their ancestral home unless they can pay off her tax bill. Can Margaríta keep her friend, help her family in New Mexico, and find a place in Fort Steele for good?
Zora & Me : The Cursed Ground by T. R. Simon (Candlewick) ages 10-14
When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they’ve uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk’s silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora’s curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia’s struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America’s first incorporated black township — the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.