Micah knows what all children know, what imagination and their hearts (and exceptional adults like Micah's grandpa) tell them: miracles and magic are real, they exist just out of sight, and if you look at just the right time you can find them. And Micah is just the sort of person we all want to be. Though he isn't perfect (or even perfectly confident) he is determined, he won't let life give him No for an answer, and he has a couple of people in his life who care enough about him to help in risky-crazy ways.
I've never seen a story like Jude's depicted in children's literature. At 12 years old, she and her mom leave Syria to live with her uncle in America. But once in America, they quickly understand they won't be treated like they belong. This America that promised an acceptance of people from different countries, is one that calls Jude a terrorist once she starts wearing a hijab.
But through it all, Jude remains hopeful. From trying to make new friends, to trying out for her school's musical, she starts to learn that making a new home doesn't mean you have to forget the one you came from. This novel in verse is urgently relevant and not to be missed!
Everyone always says that the lanterns they set off during the annual Autumn Equinox Festival eventually turn into stars. This year a group of four boys, and an unwanted tag-along Nathaniel, make a pact to follow the lanterns down the river further than anyone has before. Only Ben and Nathaniel keep their word to "never look back" and together they set off on an enchanting adventure that is both funny and heartwarming. This Was Our Pact is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel for anyone who loves the quiet kind of magic you can typically only find in a Ghibli movie.
Mac Barnett, beloved children's author, has published quite a few cherished books. But before he was a New York Times bestselling author, he was a kid. And when he was a kid, he was a spy. This (true?) story chronicles Mac's early years as an undercover spy for the Queen of England and all the dangerous cool-guy tasks he had to complete to rescue the crown jewels. Perfect for the kid with a big imagination who enjoys a good laugh. Can be read aloud or read alone by a new reader!
Lolly's brother died last year. Everything is mostly back to normal, but Lolly still feels a stone in his heart when he thinks about Jermaine. The only time he feels better is when he's building his Legos. One day, he starts building out of his imagination instead of following the instructions--and slowly, his worldview begins to change. Told with a strong and compassionate voice, The Stars Beneath Our Feet is a tender story about grief, family, and coming together as a community.
I read Hello Universe with my 10 year old and we both fell in love with it. This amazing, wonderful, big-hearted book won the Newbery Medal and it definitely deserves it! We didn't want it to end. It's the story of three kids struggling to find their voice. Discovering the strength to speak up and say what you need is not always an easy path. Finding friendship where you least expect it can give you the leg up you didn't realize you needed. This book is a gift and prompted some wonderful conversations between my son and I. Young and old alike will find value and joy in this beautiful story.
A moving story about life and death and what lives on. The Poet's Dog is Teddy, an Irish Wolfhound, and he is the thread that connects the past and the present. Through him, the love of his former owner, Sylvan, who gave him words, and taught him to save others, lives on. A slim and meditative book about love and caring for others during times of hardship.
Twelve-year-old Milo can't wait for Christmas break at his adoptive parents' inn. But when strange guests start arriving one by one, Milo's plans for a relaxing winter break turn upside down. With rumors of a mystery surrounding the very inn in which Milo has spent his childhood, and with each guest acting stranger than the last, Milo sets out to discover the mystery of Greenglass House. Falling into this cozy mystery is the perfect way to spend any blustery, fall day!
A smoothie of Into the Wild and On the Road, blended with Grade A feminism and fantasy. Though the plot moves at a walking pace, Tess's character drives this book forward. As she follows the eponymous road on her indelible journey, she moves away from a past that shackles her and towards a future that welcomes her audacious spirit. And as Tess learns, sometimes you just have to walk it off to progress.
Though this book is short, it is nothing short of profound. Meg was my first fictional hero, and she taught me something fundamentally important: that you can be flawed and still be a hero. You can be angry and amazing, full of fear and love at the same time, and all of those layers stack together to make you strong. A book to combat darkness, in all its forms.