The Insiders

English & Spanish MG LGBTQ Friendship Bullying Queer Friendships Latinx Family Moving New School Fantasy/Magic Mark Oshiro summary Ahh middle school. Hormones, moving to new schools, wanting to look cool…secret rooms that respond to your needs? Maybe not for all of us, but for H├ęctor and his new middle school this seems to be the…

Partly Cloudy

English & Creole MG SEL Family Friendship New Schools Forest Fires Racism Tanita S. Davis Cover Art: Geneva Bowers summary From Tanita S. Davis of Serena Says (which has a melodramatic and lovely narrator) comes Madalyn from Partly Cloudy. Madalyn really loves naps, and I appreciate that personality quirk. She’s moved in with her Great…

A Kid is a Kid is a Kid

English 3+ Conversation Starters New Kids Gender Stereotypes Ability Friendship SEL Back to School Sara O’Leary & Qin Leng summary I looooove A Family is a Family is a Family, it’s one of the books I always include on recommendation lists. Now, a follow-up is out and I might be even more in love with…

A Fiction Feast: Leveled Readers for the Family

English Mixed: all ages Fiction Feast Baking Board Books Early Chapter Books Friendship SEL Cooking Skills summary Today is #TheFictionFeast once again! With the summer winding down and the school year ramping up, I thought about the days at home (and nannying) when the need for an activity for multiple ages is needed before we…

Hold That Thought!

English 4+ Nonbinary Protagonist Friendship Support Ideas SEL Creativity Bree Galbraith & Lynn Scurfield summary Pointed nonbinary representation in books? YES PLEASE. So everyone knows I’m a Bree Galbraith fangirl (in a totally not weird definitely not creepy way), and her latest release is gorgeous in every way. In our story, Finn wakes up in…

Hot Pot Night!

English 2+ years Community Cooking Friendship Vincent Chen summary If you don’t like hot pot, I just don’t know if I can trust your tastebuds and #SorryNotSorry about that. In this simple story, an apartment building comes together (think old-school Stone Soup style) to make a communal meal. It is in a similar vein of…

Waking the Mountain

English 4-8 years Environmental Activism Social-Emotional Learning Magic Nature Sustainability Fantasy Marina Fonseca & Lisa Junius summary Waking the Mountain follows a magical land that used to be lush and green, but isn’t any longer. Ethereal illustrations show a journey across many broken lands, and some humanoid figures that want to restore the landscape. The…

Finding Junie Kim

English & Korean MG & Up Korean War Family History Korean-American Experience Racism Friendship Activism Own Voices SEL Immigration War Communism CW: Violent death of a pregnant woman Ellen Oh Cover Art: Alex Cho summary I’ll be real with you, I didn’t expect this book to rip my heart out in the way that it…

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

english MG & Up Friendship Adventure Social-Emotional Learning Own Voices Nizrana Farook summary Chaya is our protagonist and Robin Hood-esque figure, stealing from the rich and distributing it to folks in her village who need to pay for medical care, food, or other emergency costs. When she can’t resist breaking into the palace for some…

Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever

English 4-8 years STEM Community Friendship Social-Emotional Learning Gardening Problem-Solving Ruth Spiro & Holly Hatam Summary: Maxine and Leo are best friends (along with Milton the goldfish) and also complete opposites. Leo is gentle and creative, and Maxine is practical and mathematically minded. I love the way this story not only bucks gender stereotypes, but…