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Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame
By Supriya Kelkar
Lee & Low Books
In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in–and certain death on her husband’s funeral pyre–only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people. (Grades 5-8)
The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story
By Thao Lam
A Kirkus Reviews most anticipated picture book of fall 2020 with starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books–a heartfelt and personal immigration story, new from critically acclaimed author Thao Lam. (Grades 2-5)
Maurice and his Dictionary
By Cary Fagan, illustrated by Enzo Lord Mariano
This is the story of one refugee family’s harrowing journey, based on author Cary Fagan’s own family history. The graphic novel follows a young Jewish boy, Maurice, and his family as they flee their home in Belgium during the Second World War. They travel by train to Paris, through Spain to Portugal, and finally across the ocean to Jamaica, where they settle in an internment camp. (Grades 3-5)
Anne of Green Gables
By L.M. Montgomery, Adapted by Crystal S. Chan
Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert were planning to adopt an orphaned boy to help out around their farm, Green Gables – instead, they got Anne Shirley. A plucky redheaded girl with a vibrant imagination, Anne turns first Green Gables and then the rest of Prince Edward Island on its ear. (Grades 5-8)
By William Shakespeare
In this classic tale, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. This book is a faithful adaptation of the play with the complete, original text left intact. (Grades 9-12)
The Reindeer Girl
By Holly Webb
One night, just before Christmas, Lotta wakes up to find herself in the world of her great-grandmother’s stories. As a member of a herding family, she has her very own reindeer and calf to take care of. Will Lotta be able to keep them safe in the face of danger in the Arctic winter? And how will she get back home?
Includes additional educational and reference material at the end of the book regarding reindeer and life in Norway. (Grades 2-4)
Black Heroes of the Wild West
By James Otis Smith, Introduction by Kadir Nelson
This graphic novel celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, card playing coach driver who never missed a delivery. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, was one of the wiliest lawmen in the territories, bringing thousands of outlaws to justice with his smarts. Bob Lemmons lived to be 99 years old and was so good with horses that the wild mustangs on the plains of Texas took him for one of their own.
The Inkberg Enigma
By Jonathan King
“Haven’t you always thought there’s something WEIRD about this town, Miro?” Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of an ancient castle. Miro lives in his books; Zia is never without her camera. The day they meet, they uncover a secret. The fishing works, the castle, and the town council are all linked to an ill-fated 1930s Antarctic expedition. But the diary of that journey has been hidden, and the sea is stirring up unusual creatures. Something has a powerful hold over the town. With Zia determined to find out more, Miro finds himself putting aside his books for a real adventure.
The Thing About Bees
Readers to Eaters/Live Oak Media
“In a holistic–and wholly original–treatment, Larkin spins a buoyant monologue to his (actual) young sons about why bees are to be valued and how they are analogous to rambunctious children; the narrative is threaded with unconditional love for both subjects. Smart ABAB rhymes propel the narrative, while other lyrical structures offer pauses and maintain attention: “Sometimes bees can be a bit rude./They fly in your face and prance on your food…. /And worst of all, they do this thing/called sting./OUCH!”—from the School Library Journal starred review
James Otis Smith
Black Heroes of the Wild West
“While American popular culture would have us believe that white men ruled the Wild West, Smith’s stellar debut deftly proves otherwise…The boundless collective spirit of these three is captured though engaging storytelling and action-packed, full-color panel illustrations. Several pages of supplemental material, including many fascinating photos, drawings, and maps, shed much-needed light on the complex and multifaceted histories of Black and Indigenous peoples in the West during the Reconstruction era. Highly recommended for all collections.”—Booklist starred review
Founder and Producer
Live Oak Media
Listen in as the producer of Odyssey-honored audiobooks including Jazz, H.O.R.S.E., We Are Grateful¸ and more talks with Francisca Goldsmith about how audiobooks can impact young listeners.
Find audiobook reviews, resources, and much more at Audiofile Magazine.
Read the October/November issue for free.
Narrator and Director
Rise and The Overground Railroad
Listen in as “Voice of Choice” narrator and director Dion Graham talks about recent projects including Rise: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People and The Overground Railroad.
Soundlearningapa.org has research and resources for audio literacy. Find the latest research along with selection lists for each grade at https://www.audiopub.org/sound-learning.
By Ellen Potter. Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Live Oak Media
“Piper is brave and tough on the surface, and her sense of loss lies at the heart of the conflict. Written with humor as well as pathos, the first-person text shows her confused emotions and her resiliency as well. An appealing debut for the series.” —Booklist
Written and read by Christopher Lloyd
What on Earth Books
This entertaining, fast-paced narrative history connects all the essential dots of the past with personality, humor, and flair. Running time is 7.5 hours split into 15 chapters of 20–25 minutes each.
Graphic Novel Booktalk
We Are Grateful
By Traci Sorrell, Narrated by Lauren Hummingbird, Agalisiga (Choogie) Mackey, Ryan Mackey, Traci Sorell, and Tonia Hogner-Weavel
Live Oak Media
When we talk about #ownvoices, it seems that sometimes we leave out the actual voice. Live Oak Media took such care with this Odyssey-honored audiobook to make sure that it in turn honored the story and culture it came from. Narrated by the author with other members of the Cherokee community, the story comes alive with a purity and power that is not to be missed. The book is justly celebrated, the audiobook magnifies that achievement.
Leave a Message in the Sand: Poems About Giraffes, Bongos, and Other Creatures with Hooves
By Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen
Eerdmans Young Readers
The joys to be found in this collection of whimsical poetry are many–the cleverness of the hoofed theme, the wit and information imparted in each poem, the delicate and joyful illustrations on each spread. And that’s just the beginning. Whether to study on their own or to serve as inspiration for budding young poets, this is a book to be enjoyed repeatedly, almost as if you had a second stomach.
Tracy Gallagher, Special Projects Librarian
By C.K. Smouha, illustrated by J. Lindenberger
This sweet story creates a situation in which a mouse and an elephant become pen pals because they are both grey, have big ears, and are 8 years old. While pen pals might seem a bit old-fashioned in today’s world, many schools and libraries are still utilizing pen pal programs in either a physical or a digital format. This is a great way to encourage children to learn about other cultures, develop global perspectives, or practice writing. This particular story, filled with busy artwork, has just enough drama to appeal to a young audience. I would recommend this one to the child who enjoys looking at all the details on a page.
Carrie Oliva, Logistics Coordinator
Calvin Gets the Last Word
By Margo Sorenson, illustrated by Mike Deas
Calvin carries his beloved dictionary wherever he goes to find words to describe every situation he encounters. What’s Calvin’s primary goal? It’s to find the perfect word to describe his aggravating older brother! Told from the dictionary’s point of view, readers travel along with Calvin through his exciting (and occasionally messy) day and may even learn some new words along the way. In the end, this loving story makes for a lively read-aloud and reveals how entertaining, enjoyable, amusing and fun it can be to discover new words.
By Pascal Jousselin
Whether you’re encouraging students to consider dimension, the relationships between time and space, or storytelling development, Mister Invincible is YOUR Local Hero. With the body of a chubby couch potato and the superpower of altering now and then and here and there through panel hopping, these graphic novel stories entertain and inspire in equal doses. Have fun! Discover Mr. Invincible!
Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix
By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Man One
Readers to Eaters/Live Oak Media
Here’s an #OwnVoices picture book that can inspire young readers to write a celebration of their own favorite local hero or their favorite gustatory experience! The illustrations, by graffiti artist Man One, is as exuberant as the text by noted children’s author Jacqueline Briggs Martin working with publisher Readers to Eaters own cofounder, June Jo Lee. Man One also narrates the audiobook edition of this, produced by Live Oak Media. Dive in, get hungry, and express your love for great street food!
The Legend of the First Unicorn
By Lari Don and illustrated by Natasa Illinic
Scotland is full of magic and mystery… and unicorns? In this delightful new story from Floris Books, The Legend of the First Unicorn by writer Lari Don and illustrator Natasa Illinic create a unique origin story for one of the world’s favorite mythical creatures and Scotland’s national animal. This is one of my favorite books this season because it truly captures the magic of Scotland with an adventure story that is all about kindness and friendship.
When Aidan Became a Brother
By Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
Lee & Low Books
When Aidan Became a Brother is a perfect gift for a family welcoming in a new baby. This sweet #Ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy’s life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother. Aidan’s story is one of acceptance and respect, creating a unique and fresh picture book story that will tell children all around the world they deserve to be loved, respected, and accepted.
Brilliance Audio ◆ Britannica Books ◆ Diamond Book Distributors ◆ Eerdmans ◆ Floris Books ◆ Gecko Press
Kube/Islamic Foundation ◆ Lee & Low ◆ Live Oak Media ◆ Manga Classics ◆ Owlkids ◆ Readers to Eagers
Tiger Tales ◆ Tiny Owl ◆ Toon Books ◆ What on Earth Publishing
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