Published: 2019
Theme: Value of Knowledge
Best for: 9 to 11

“This giant’s understanding came slowly, seasons upon seasons. I looked and looked at the markings-letters, you mans call them… The letters held open my head, like a stick propping open an oaken door on a day of snapping winds.” This is a thoughtful adventure story that makes some essential points about the need for questioning our societal beliefs, no matter what the cost.

Published: 2018
Theme: Biography; Science
Best for: 9 and up

“At the age of thirteen, Maria had watched, waited, and witnessed with her own eyes. And she had created a record of study, just as scholars did at universities.” This is a visually beautifully and factually rich children’s book about an important young woman who pursued art and science on her own.

Published: 2019
Theme: Speaking Up
Best for: 9 to 12

“Different isn’t wrong,” Pixit said with such utter certainty that Mina couldn’t help but believe him…Mina said, “I just need to find a different way, a way that works for me.” To get to the point, this is a must-read, about the power of children to change the world, finding their own voice along the way. Very inspiring fantasy that’s not so fantastical in the end!

Published: 2018
Theme: Knights
Best for: ages 9 and up

“Mel wavered. She was feeling beaten. The flying lizards were too large. Too fast. Too attentive. It was hopeless. But I mustn’t give up, she thought.” A very fun and entertaining book great for all genders and middle-school age kids.

Published 1972
Theme: WWII refugee
Best for: 9 and up

“Next morning before school Anna ran into Papa’s room to see him. The desk was tidy. The bed was neatly made. Papa had gone.” Neither overly melodramatic nor depressing, this is an excellent look at the life of a WWII Jewish refugee family…

Published: 2018
Theme: Fantasy; Courage
Best for: Girls age 11 and up

“I’ve been looking for a way to find out more about my powers, about my destiny. This is the sign I’ve been waiting for, I’m sure of it. This is where I need to go.” She pointed at her rough drawing of the shrine…” A sequel to Sisters of Glass, and every bit as dramatic and compelling. Fantasy genre.

Published: 2000
Theme: Power of Love
Best for: 9 to 12

“I put my hand beneath his should to steady him. I felt something there, something held in my his jacket. I reached across his back and felt something beneath his other shoulder as well. Like thin arms, folded up.” Children have the ability to see the miraculous, and to hope… and this book brings it home in a well-told story.

Published: 2011
Theme: Children’s Creativity
Best for: 9 to 12

“My name is Mina and I love the night. Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep.” The best thing to say about this children’s book is …read it. It will uplift your spirit and inspire creative teaching.

Published: 2019
Theme: Fathers and Sons
Best for: 9 and up

“I decided to revolt. I mean, wiping up dog vomit, nearly drowning in an Australian tropical thunderstorm, drinking tea with mild and sugar, and I haven’t even told you about the forty-five minutes of Mr. Barkus’s word problems.” A great coming- of-age book, as well as dealing with family drama, with lots of humor.

Published: 2019
Theme: Father and Son reconciliation
Best for: 9 to 12

“It’s hard, sometimes, reconciling the difference between what you really feel about something and what you think you’re supposed to feel.” A slow-starter with a very unconventional ending worth staying with.

Published: 2002
Theme: Nature Adventure and Adoption
Best for: 9 to 12

“I felt unbound. I was free as the wind. And I wasn’t in just any old canoe, but one I had made myself. She floated, she sped, she was unreal.” A great book by a classic children’s book author, about adoption, and self-sufficiency in nature.

Published: 2007
Theme: Historical Fiction; French Revolution
Best for: 11 and up

“I know how to make needle lace and sew and hem and build a fire and tend it and clean the ashes out. I can make tea and toast and cook a chicken if I have to. I can empty chamber post and scrub floors…” This very well-written historical fiction about the French Revolution is based on a true incident…

Published: 2018
Theme: Historical Fiction, India’s Partition
Best for: 11 and up

“We would go somewhere fresh and new where people were happy. All kinds of people practicing all kinds of religions..[where] nobody would mind that you were Muslim and Papa was Hindu….” This is a no-holds-barred experience of the tragedy that ensued from the Partition in 1947 into India and Pakistan. For 11 and up.

Published: 2017
Theme: Light-weight Science Fiction
Best for: 9 and up

“I’ve got a doctorate in astrophysics and a black belt in karate,” the woman replies, poking me hard in the chest with her telescope. “So sit down before I knock your block off.” This book does a great job of making both space and science fiction, very readable and enjoyable.

Published: 2018
Theme: Breaking Stereotypes
Best for: 8 to 11

“Ellie hated it when her friends got in trouble in front of her, especially when she had something to do with it. She thought about what her dad said – that engineering was supposed to help people- and her stomach went squiggly.” . Let’s hear it for books that let girls be engineers, boys like dolls, and old people doing more than just drinking tea…

Published: 2005
Theme: Gay Teens
Best for: 9 and up

“I took one of the pins Aunt Pam had given me and put it on my shirt. It said Celebrate Diversity. Then I took it off, thinking I’d give it to Addie, because it’s one she’d really like, and I put on another one: Being Who You Are Isn’t A Choice.” A superbly written, sensitive and humorous children’s book dealing with being gay as a teen.

Published: 2018
Theme: Magical Fantasy
Best for: 8 to 12

“Something must have hatched inside that box! And the mysterious creatures must be strong enough to have rocked the box as they were being born. Yet they’re small enough to fit inside the empty mint tin.” A delightful and lightweight fantasy with witches, time travel, and baby dragons, set in Brooklyn.

Published: 2018
Theme: Saving the World
Best for: 8 to 11

“Max didn’t have a mother or father to tell her when it was time to wake up, go to bed, do her homework, eat her vegetables, turn off the TV, or hurry because she’d miss the subway. Max was completely on her own.” An odd and quirky book that tries to have children solve the mess of the world, with a bit of adventure thrown in.

Published: 2018
Theme: Healing through books
Best for: 9 and up

“It’s better to read in the library. Sitting at my favorite table… reading and listening to the sound of other folks turning pages makes me feel I’m in a house full of company I don’t have to talk to.” A beautiful and lyrical small book set in 1946, exploring the loneliness that comes from being uprooted from South to North.

Published: 2018
Theme: Refugees, Compassion
Best for: 9 and up

“The middle school cafeteria always makes me wish for the school in Istanbul. We often shared meals there, seated on the ground, with little to give. But most important, it was quiet.” It is time, past time, to bring our children into the conversation about religious tolerance, and immigration. This book is a start.

Published: 2018
Theme: Moral Courage; Refugees
Best for: 10 and up

“Ahmed–he had a name, Max reminded himself–was just a boy, a boy who liked soccer and comic book heroes. He had lost his parents, he was alone, and he seemed far more frightened than dangerous.” All I can say is – read this to crack open your heart with compassion for the plight of refugees.

Published: 2018
Theme: Optimism
Best for: 10 and up

“No one knew where the Mona Lisa was hiding. Chantal made a fist. How she hated the war. It had scared all the art way from the city.” A truly uplifting story about hope even during the direst of times, this will make your heart smile.

Published: 2018
Theme: Fantasy Adventure with Books
Best for: 10 and up

He’d been trained as a solider, after all. He knew how to fight. The same rules applied, if you thought about it, to books and to swords. For one thing, you didn’t run away from a challenge. You met it head-on. This is a non-stop, action packed books about libraries and librarians, and if you thing that’s an oxymoron, you’ll need to read this yourself…

Published in English: 2003
Theme: Courage and Loyalty
Best for: 8 to 10

“Do the stars care if you play for them?” I wondered. I asked Nonno and he said he believed they did. So we sat around the fire, took out our flutes and played a little song for the stars.” This is a classic fantasy children’s book, one that easily transcends time and place.

Published 2017
Theme: Books and Readers
Best for: 9 and up

“Books are the external memory of mankind–a warehouse of memories.” Translated from Spanish, this excellent children’s book leads us into the investigation of the value and power of books and how to befriend them.

Published: 2018
Theme: Protection of Endangered Species
Best for: 9 to 12

“This story is for all who have the courage to protect instead of dominate, to save instead of plunder, and to preserve instead of destroy.” A sequel to Dragon Rider, this action-packed adventure with fantasy animals, is all about protecting all living beings.