Updated: Aug 28, 2020
"In the Red" by Christopher Swielder
Michael Prasad knows he shouldn’t go out on the Mars surface alone. It’s dangerous. His parents have forbidden it. And the anxiety he feels almost every time he puts on a spacesuit makes it nearly impossible for him to leave the safety of the colony.
But when his best friend, Lilith, suggests they sneak out one night, he can’t resist the chance to prove everyone — including himself — wrong.
As the two ride along the Mars surface in a stolen rover, miles from the colony, a massive solar flare hits the planet, knocking out power, communication, and navigation systems, and the magnetic field that protects the planet from the sun’s deadly radiation.
Stranded hours from home with an already limited supply of food, water, and air, Michael and Lilith must risk everything if they’re to get back to the colony alive.
"The Bird in Me Flies" by Sara Lundberg
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
"5 Worlds: The Amber Anthem" by Mark Siegel, Alexis
Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun
In book 4, Oona Lee arrives on Salassandra determined to light the yellow beacon and continue her quest to save the Five Worlds from the evil Mimic's influence. But the beacon is encased in amber! An ancient clue says that Oona and her friends must seek out the Amber Anthem to succeed. Meanwhile, Stan Moon sends an evil Jax robot to assassinate Oona and hunts down An Tzu himself. Turns out, as An Tzu fades away from his Vanishing Illness, he's becoming someone else — someone who could tip the scales in the battle for the Five Worlds!
"What Do You Do if You Work at the Zoo?" by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Going to the zoo is so exciting! You might see penguins swimming underwater, snakes sunning in the reptile house, or giraffes eating leaves out of high trees. You might even see people at the zoo, ones just like you! But what do those people do?
Caldecott Honor–winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page introduce young readers to the people who keep zoo animals safe, healthy, and happy, even though they aren’t in the wild habitats they’ve evolved for. From cuddling a baby kangaroo to trimming elephant toenails to playing soccer with a rhino, zookeepers work hard and do some pretty wacky things to take care of the incredible animals we see.
So, what would you do if you were in the zookeeper’s shoes? Read the book and find out!
"The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America's Presidents" by Kate Messner and Adam Rex
An inspiring and informative book for kids about the past and future of America's presidents.
Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine.
When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.
And right now — today! — there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art — or already making change.
• A breezy, kid-friendly survey of American history and American presidents
• Great for teachers, librarians, and other educators
• Kate Messner's nonfiction picture books have been lauded by critics and received a variety of awards.
"Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World's Biggest Solar Plant" by Allan Drummond
In his signature style, Allan Drummond tells the story of the largest solar plant in the world, the Noor Solar Power Plant in Morocco's Sahara Desert, in Solar Story — by relating it to the everyday life of a schoolgirl in a small village next to the plant.
As we see on a class field trip, the plant is not only bringing reliable power to the village and far beyond, but is providing jobs, changing lives, and upending the old ways of doing things — starting within the girl's own family.
Blending detail-filled watercolors, engaging cartoon-style narration, sidebars, and an afterword, the author showcases another community going green in amazing ways.
"On the Horizon: World War II Reflections" by Lois Lowry
From Lois Lowry comes an account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With black-and-white illustrations by 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 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. Composed of poems about individual sailors who lost their lives on the Arizona and about the citizens of Hiroshima who experienced unfathomable horror.
Young Adult Fiction
"Dragon Hoops" by Gene Luen Yang
In his latest graphic novel, New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.
Gene understands stories — comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.
But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.
Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
"Rebelwing" by Andrea Tang
Business is booming for Prudence Wu.
A black-market-media smuggler and scholarship student at the prestigious New Columbia Preparatory Academy, Pru is lucky to live in the Barricade Coalition where she is free to study, read, watch, and listen to whatever she wants. But between essays and exams, she chooses to spend her breaks sweet-talking border patrol with her best friend, Anabel, in order to sell banned media to the less fortunate citizens of the United Continental Confederacy, Inc.
When a drop-off goes awry, Pru narrowly escapes UCC enforcers to find that her rescuer is, of all things, a sentient cybernetic dragon. On the one hand, Pru is lucky not to be in prison, or worse. On the other, the dragon seems to have imprinted on her permanently, which means she has no choice but to be its pilot.
Drawn into a revolution she has no real interest in leading, Pru, Anabel, and friends Alex and Cat become key players in a brewing conflict with the UCC as the corporate government develops advanced weaponry more terrifying and grotesque than Pru could have ever imagined.
Young Adult Nonfiction
"Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti–Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the lives of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and anti-racists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W. E. B. Du Bois to legendary anti–prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading pro-slavery and pro–civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.
As Kendi illustrates, racist thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Racist ideas were created and popularized in an effort to defend deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and to rationalize the nation’s racial inequities in everything from wealth to health. While racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much–needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers tools to expose them — and in the process, reason to hope.
"The Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season" by John Feinstein
Thirty years ago after changing the sports book landscape with his mega-hit, A Season on the Brink, #1 New York Timesbestselling author John Feinstein returns to his first love — college basketball — with a fascinating and compelling journey through a landscape of unsung, unpublicized and often unknown heroes of Division-1 college hoops.
John Feinstein has already taken readers into the inner circles of top college basketball programs in The Legends Club. This time, Feinstein pulls back the curtain on college basketball's lesser-known Cinderella stories — the smaller programs who no one expects to win, who have no chance of attracting the most coveted high school recruits, who rarely send their players on to the NBA.
Feinstein follows a handful of players, coaches, and schools who dream, not of winning the NCAA tournament, but of making it past their first or second round games. Every once in a while, one of these coaches or players is plucked from obscurity to continue on to lead a major team or to play professionally, cementing their status in these fiercely passionate fan bases as a legend. These are the gifted players who aren't handled with kid gloves — they're hardworking, gritty teammates who practice and party with everyone else.
With his trademark humor and invaluable connections, John Feinstein reveals the big time programs you've never heard of, the bracket busters you didn't expect to cheer for, and the coaches who inspire them to take their teams to the next level.
"The Eagle Huntress: The True Story of the Girl Who Soared Beyond Expectations" by Aisholpan Nurgaiv
The subject of the award-winning documentary The Eagle Huntress tells the true story of how she became the first girl to compete in — and win — one of Mongolia's most prestigious competitions.
In this compelling memoir, teenaged eagle hunter Aisholpan Nurgaiv tells her own story for the first time, speaking directly with award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Liz Welch (I Will Always Write Back), who traveled to Mongolia for this book. Nurgaiv's story and fresh, sincere voice are not only inspiring but truly magnificent: with the support of her father, she captured and trained her own golden eagle and won the Ölgii eagle festival. She was the only girl to compete in the festival.
Filled with stunning photographs, The Eagle Huntress is a striking tale of determination — of a girl who defied expectations and achieved what others declared impossible.
Aisholpan Nurgaiv's story is both unique and universally relatable: a memoir of survival, empowerment, and the positive impact of one person's triumph.
Book descriptions borrowed from Goodreads.com