NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER
A SYDNEY TAYLOR MIDDLE GRADE HONOR BOOK
Like Ruta Sepetys for middle grade, Anne Blankman pens a poignant and timeless story of friendship that twines together moments in underexplored history.
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work–Chernobyl–has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who’ve always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina’s estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother’s secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they’ve wished for: a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend’s life? Would you risk your own?
Told in alternating perspectives among three girls–Valentina and Oksana in 1986 and Rifka in 1941–this story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match for the power of true friendship.
BOY WHO GREW A FOREST: THE TRUE STORY OF JADAV PAYENG
2020 Green Earth Book Award Long list
2020 Crystal Kite Awards – Southeast Division Winner
2020-2021 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award List
Notable Social Studies Trade Books list – Winning Title!
2019 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award – Winning Title
Florida Book Award Gold Winner
Recipient of the 2019 Eureka! Honors Award
Winner -Best of 2019 Kids Books – Most Inspiring Category
As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction deforestation and erosion was causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River. So he began planting trees. What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals. The Boy Who Grew a Forest tells the inspiring true story of Payeng–and reminds us all of the difference a single person with a big idea can make.
CARL AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
From the often Caldecott-buzzed Deborah Freedman, a sweet and funny story about finding your place in the world.
Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: “Why?” Carl’s quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it’s not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.
EQUALITY'S CALL: THE STORY OF VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA
Learn all about the history of voting rights in the United States—from our nation’s founding to the present day—in this powerful picture book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Pout-Pout Fish.
A right isn’t right
till it’s granted to all…
The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done.
GHOST IN APARTMENT 2R
What if there was a ghost in your brother’s room?
This kid-friendly mystery about three friends who try to help a restless spirit find peace is perfect for fans of Under the Egg and The Book Scavenger.
It stinks that Danny’s older brother moved out and went to college. But you know what’s worse? He left behind an angry ghost in his room!
With the help of his friends Nat and Gus, Danny interviews everyone his Brooklyn neighborhood to find out about spirits. Is it an Arabian ghoul? A Korean gwishin? A Polish haunting? Maybe the answer lies with Danny’s own bubbe and her tales of a dybbuk, a Jewish mythological ghost. Regardless of its origins, what does the spirit truly want? And can Danny manage to bring the phantom to rest?
“Gently scary with plenty of fun . . . absolutely delightful.” —Kirkus Reviews
“As addictive as your favorite video game. I couldn’t put it down.” –ADAM GIDWITZ, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm on Click Here to Start
“This is one adventure no gamer should miss!” –GORDON KORMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Restart on Game Masters of Garden Place
GUEST: A CHANGELING TALE
When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took baby Thomas, return the changeling she calls Guest, and make them give Thomas back. Natural and magical obstacles and her own reckless temperament make her journey arduous and full of dangers, and a plot rich in surprises and twists makes this book a must-read for Mary Downing Hahn’s fans.
HELLO FROM RENN LAKE
The environmental activism of Hoot meets the summer friendship of Lemons in this heartfelt story about community, conservation, and standing up for the things you love.
Annalise Oliver’s family has owned and run lakeside cabins in Renn Lake, Wisconsin, for generations. This summer, she gets to help out while her younger sister focuses on being an actress and her best friend is babysitting rambunctious twin boys. It’s the perfect opportunity for Annalise to work and spend more time by her beloved lake.
When she was three years old, Annalise discovered that she could sense what Renn Lake was thinking and feeling. Now, at twelve, she still turns to Renn for comfort. But when a small patch of algae quickly becomes a harmful bloom, Annalise can no longer hear Renn, and the lake is closed. She and her friends must find a way to save the lake.
Writing from the perspectives of both the lake and Annalise, acclaimed author Michele Weber Hurwitz tells a sensitive and heartfelt story about community, activism, and fighting for the things you love.
LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES
One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make…
It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemysl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio — a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.
But everything changes when the German army invades Przemysl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio’s brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania’s house for the German army.
With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.
This remarkable tale of courage and humanity, based on a true story, is now a Reese’s Book Club YA Pick!
MADELINE FINN AND THE SHELTER DOG
In this companion to the award-winning Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, Madeline Finn finds a way to help more dogs and read more stories.
Madeline Finn asks her mother for a puppy every single day. Finally, Mom says yes, and Madeline Finn chooses Star, one of the puppies born to Mrs. Dimple’s dog Bonnie. Then Mrs. Dimple tells Madeline Finn about animal shelters—a place many other pets come from. After a visit to their local shelter, Madeline Finn has some questions. Does anyone play with the shelter dogs, or snuggle with them, or read to them? Questions lead to answers, and ideas, and soon Madeline Finn and her human and animal community discover that there are lots of ways for small people to make a big difference.
Author-illustrator Lisa Papp offers a heartwarming exploration of life in an animal shelter in this inspiring and endearing book for young readers eager to help their communities.
“Uniquely magical…Timely and timeless.” — New York Times
* “This tightly packed, powerful fantasy contains resonant truths.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller.” — Booklist, starred review
* “Richly tiered… wrenchingly real…compelling.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A gem of a story with timely messages.” — School Library Journal
“Rich and relevant.” — The Horn Book
“A luminous embodiment of hope.” — Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
“Mañanaland is that rare gift of a book.” — Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Disappeared
Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.
If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he’d make Santa Maria’s celebrated fútbol team and whether he’d ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won’t talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret–involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety–he decides to seek answers on his own.
With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo’s legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds.
This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity.