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From The Desk of Zoe Washington

Janae Marks

Published In 2020

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon: #1 Kids Indie Next List * Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of the Year * SLJ Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Best Book of the Year * Junior Library Guild Selection * Edgar Award Nominee * Four Starred Reviews


From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating story full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition.


Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?


A crime he says he never committed.


Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.


But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.


"When Marcus tells Zoe he is innocent, and her grandmother agrees, Zoe begins to learn about inequality in the criminal justice system, and she sets out to find the alibi witness who can prove his innocence." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")

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Because of Mr.Terupt

Rob Buyea

Published In 2010

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon: "Seven students are about to have their lives changed by one amazing teacher in this school story sequel filled with unique characters every reader can relate to.

It’s the start of a new year at Snow Hill School, and seven students find themselves thrown together in Mr. Terupt’s fifth grade class. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.
 
They don’t have much in common, and they’ve never gotten along. Not until a certain new teacher arrives and helps them to find strength inside themselves—and in each other. But when Mr. Terupt suffers a terrible accident, will his students be able to remember the lessons he taught them? Or will their lives go back to the way they were before—before fifth grade and before Mr. Terupt?"

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What Comes Next

Rob Buyea

Published In 2021

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon: Twelve-year-old Thea and her family are moving to a new town for a fresh start--her parents' bright idea. To Thea, it feels like running away. She lost her best friend, Charlie, in a tragic accident, and in the painful aftermath, she has gone mute. Her two younger sisters, however, are excited about moving, especially after their dad promises that the family will get a rescue puppy. This doesn't change Thea's mind, though, until Jack-Jack bounds into her life and makes it clear that he is no ordinary dog. As she bonds with Jack-Jack, and as the dog's mischievous ways steer her toward someone she can confide in, Thea opens up to the possibility of new friendships and forgiveness, and comes to believe in what cannot be fully explained.

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The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd

Published In 2002

Grade Level #9th grade and up

Amazon: "Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come."

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Goodbye Mr. Terupt

Rob Buyea

Published In 2020

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon- "The seven kids who bonded in Mr. Terupt's fifth-grade class are in eighth grade now and reunited with their beloved teacher. Readers will once again be inspired by how the kids face their challenges and by the adults who help them along the way.

Jeffrey, Alexia, Anna, Danielle, Luke, Peter, and Jessica are thrilled to have their beloved teacher, Mr. Terupt, back for the school year as their biweekly adviser. They still rely on him for guidance on so many things, including these dilemmas:

JEFFREY wants to make varsity wrestling, but at what cost? Worried that she may have the same cancer gene as her mom, ALEXIA takes a DNA test--only she's scared to open the results. Neglected by her soon-to-be-married mom, and wounded by Jeffrey's callous brush-off, ANNA keeps her hurt feelings bottled up--until she can't. DANIELLE has ups and downs with her diabetes, but her budding romance with Luke proves to be the real challenge. LUKE's tackling lots of difficult schoolwork, none of it harder than letting Danielle know he likes her. Anxious about her dad's return, JESSICA pours her heart into writing poetry. Angry at what he thinks is a betrayal, PETER gives Mr. Terupt the silent treatment.

To celebrate their remaining time with Mr. Terupt, the students hatch bucket-list type projects to make the school year important, memorable, and way bigger than just the group. Will the gang stick together down to the final project? Will their friendships endure after the difficult goodbye?"

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Mr. Terupt Falls Again

Rob Buyea

Published In 2013

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon- "The kids and teacher of Because of Mr. Terupt are back in this warm-hearted sequel filled with unique characters every reader can relate to.

One teacher changed their lives. Now the class will need to change his.


Mr. Terupt’s class is spending one more year with him before they graduate and head off to junior high. But for seven students, sixth grade comes with its own set of challenges. Peter's parents expect him to attend private school after sixth-grade, but Peter has plans to stay right where he is. Eager to grow up, Alexia gets in over her head with some older kids. Danielle suspects that her family is keeping a secret from her, and she's determined to find out what it is. Jeffrey makes a life-changing discovery. Curious about her teacher's past, Jessica uncovers startling details about Mr. Terupt. Anna finally decides she's ready for the truth about her absent dad. And Luke's keen observations lead to questions with unexpected answers.

It's a roller coaster of a year as Mr. Terupt helps his students be the best they can be—and enlists their help to pull off an extra-special project. But are happy endings on the horizon? Or will everyone fall all over again?

Spend more time at Snow Hill School with Because of Mr. Terupt and Saving Mr. Terupt! And don't miss the conclusion to the series, Goodbye, Mr. Terupt, coming soon!"

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Leading Literate Lives

Stephanie Affinito

Published In 2021

Grade Level

Stephanie Affinito is a former classroom teacher and literacy specialist, is a teacher educator at the University at Albany. who has authored two books. Leading Literate Lives is her second book and offers a realistic and thoughtful framework for reading and writing connecting our experiences as readers and writers to how we learn. Colorful, interesting, and offering realistic, easy to implement ideas as only an author who is an educator can provide. 

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Saving Mr. Terupt

Rob Buyea

Published In 2016

Grade Level #5-7

Amazon- "The kids and their favorite teacher from Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again return for a third book in this warmhearted series filled with unique characters every reader can relate to.

The one teacher who changed everything is the one thing missing this school year.

The kids from Mr. Terupt’s fifth- and sixth-grade classes are entering their first year of junior high school. There’s a lot to be excited about, but starting at a new school isn’t easy. Peter and Jeffrey face tough competition on their wrestling team. Alexia has a disastrous first day of school, and that’s only the beginning. Anna is desperate for Charlie to propose to her mother—what is he waiting for?! Danielle isn’t feeling so well, but she's trying to tough it out, like Grandma. Trouble with a bully makes Luke dread going to school for the first time ever. And Jessica is waiting anxiously for an acceptance to a theater retreat in New York City.
 
Everyone is missing Mr. Terupt. When a fight threatens to break up the group forever, they think their favorite teacher is the only one who can help them. But the kids soon find out that it’s Mr. Terupt who needs saving.
 
This novel includes extra content in the back of the book. Readers will find a Junior High Survival Guide with tips from the old gang!"

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Genesis Begins Again

Alicia D. Williams

Published In 2020

Grade Level #5-6 #6-8

There are ninety-six reasons why thirteen-year-old Genesis dislikes herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list:
-Because her family is always being put out of their house.
-Because her dad has a gambling problem. And maybe a drinking problem too.
-Because Genesis knows this is all her fault.
-Because she wasn’t born looking like Mama.
-Because she is too black.

Genesis is determined to fix her family, and she’s willing to try anything to do so…even if it means harming herself in the process. But when Genesis starts to find a thing or two she actually likes about herself, she discovers that changing her own attitude is the first step in helping change others.  Simon & Schuster

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The Parker Inheritance

Varian Johnson

Published In 2018

Grade Level #4-8

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. Google. Puzzle mystery, family history

2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book

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Hello Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly

Published In 2017

Grade Level #Middle grade novel #grades 5-6

Four middle-schoolers’ fates intertwine one summer Chapters alternate between the four kids’ perspectives, sharing their unique interests, backgrounds, beliefs, and doubts. Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure. 

Winner of the Newbery Medal

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Breakout

Kate Messner

Published In 2018

Grade Level #4-8

“Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.” Kate Messner

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears

Meg Medina

Published In 2018

Grade Level #Middle Grades 4-6

Winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal, this coming-of-age tale by New York Times best-selling author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family. Penguin Random House

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A Big Mooncake for Little Star

Grace Lin

Published In 2018

Grade Level #PreK-K #1-2 #3-5

This beautiful picture book tells a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.

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When The Sea Turned to Silver

Grace Lin

Published In 2016

Grade Level #4-8

This takes place after Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Pinmei’s grandmother tells wonderful stories to her and other villagers. But one night the emperor’s soldiers’s kidnap grandmother. Pinmei sets out on a journey to rescue her with her friend Yishan, facing many obstacles.
NPR Best Book of the Year Pick

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Where The Mountain Meets The Moon

Grace Lin

Published In 2009

Grade Level #4-8

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a children's novel inspired by Chinese folklore. This is a wonderous novel with an epic journey and memorable characters in the tradition of The Wizard of Oz. 2010 Newbery Book

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Front Desk

Kelly Yang

Published In 2018

Grade Level #3-5 #6-8

Front Desk is based on author Kelly Yang’s life. In the story, fifth grader Mia Tang lives and works with her Chinese immigrant parents at the Calivista Motel. This story details the families first year and the obstacles Mia faces but perseveres. Family, resilience, bias, bullying, community, diversity,

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Book Uncle and Me

Uma Krishnaswami

Published In 2012

Grade Level #3-5

Nine-year-old Yasmin intends to read a book a day for the rest of her life. Book Uncle, who runs a free lending library on the street corner, always has the perfect book for her. But when Book Uncle runs into trouble, Yasmin decides to help. Thinking about a lesson learned from a fable, Yasmin gets to work, ideas begin to fly like feathers, and soon everything starts to spin - out of control.

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Harbor Me

Jacqueline Woodson

Published In 2020

Grade Level #Middle GradesAges 12+

“Six kids who learn differently are sent to a different room every Friday. There, with no adults present, they begin to reveal things the others didn’t know about their lives.”  JacquelineWoodson.com

2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

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Alma and How She Got Her Name

Juana Martinez Neal

Published In 2018

Grade Level #primary - intermediate

A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book

This is the story of Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela and her wonderings about how she got her name. It is a beautiful story about the meaning that our names hold and the richness of being given a family name. Learning about where your name came from helps to inspire a reflection of how we view ourselves and the stories our names hold. This story is beautifully written and illustrated by the author. 

This is Juana Martinez-Neal's author-illustrator debut book. 

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A Long Walk to Water

Linda Sue Park

Published In 2010

Grade Level #5 and up

Story based on a true story of Salva Dut, one of the Lost Boys from Sudan during the second Sudanese Civil War in 1985.The story begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. 

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Crenshaw

Katherine Applegate

Published In 2015

Grade Level #4-8

The importance of friends helping individuals deal with life's hardships is shown through the friendship between Crenshaw and Jackson.

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Hair Love

Matthew A.Cherry

Published In 2019

Grade Level #K-3 ages 4-8 #but I think ageless

A story of a father learning to take care of his daughter’s hair while the mom is ill. Beautiful story of a father/daughter and family love. 

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Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly Illustrated By Laura Freeman

Published In 2018

Grade Level #3-5

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award winner Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! Amazon

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Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space

Margot Lee Shetterly

Published In 2016

Grade Level #6-12

This inspiring book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country. Scholastic

New York Times Bestseller 

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Hemmingway's Girl

Erika Robuck

Published In 2012

Grade Level #high school- up

Amazon: "In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.

When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.  Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams?  As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves."

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A Single Shard

Linda Sue Park

Published In 2001

Grade Level #5-8

Tree-ear is fascinated by the celedon ware created in the village of Ch’ulp’o. He is determined to prove himself to the master potter, Min—even if it means making a solitary journey to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . or arriving at the royal court with nothing but a single celadon shard.(Amazon summary)
2002 Newbery Medal

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Feathers

Jacqueline Woodson

Published In 2007

Grade Level #3-12

During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light — her brother Sean’s deafness, her mother’s fear, the class bully’s anger, her best friend’s faith and her own desire for “the thing with feathers.” Scholastic

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Out of My Mind

Sharon Draper

Published In 2010

Grade Level #4-8

Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can’t walk. She can’t talk. She can’t write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people—her teachers, her doctors, her classmates—dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. Simon & Schuster

New York Times bestseller 

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Eleven

Patricia Reilly Giff

Published In 2008

Grade Level #4-7

"This intimate story realistically examines friendship, family secrets and the struggles of a learning-disability child trying to make sense to the world." Publishers Weekly 

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Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Published In 2015

Grade Level #4-8

A story of three kids, Ally, Keisha, and Albert, who “set the world on fire” as they overcome challenges and conflicts. The plot begins with Ally refusing to try at school because of her learning disabilities, but a new teacher will make a big difference. “Everyone is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend it’s whole life thinking it’s stupid” (p. 159). 

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I am Enough

Grace Byers

Published In 2018

Grade Level #3-5

"An ode to self-confidence and kindness from actor and activist Grace Byers, this picture book depicts girls of diverse body shapes and skin tones."-Publishers Weekly

A #1 New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner! This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

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Inside Out and Back Again

Thanhha Lai

Published In 2011

Grade Level #Middle gradesages 8-12

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family. Goodreads

Inside Out and Back Again is a #1 New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award!

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Listening With My Heart

Gabi Garcia Illustrator: Ying Hui Tan

Published In 2017

Grade Level #K-6

Listening with my heart reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves. It also touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and kindness. Includes mindfulness and self-compassion activities. Amazon

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Vashti Harrison

Published In 2017

Grade Level #3-7

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is the debut book from Vashti Harrison. Based on her popular Instagram posts from Black History Month 2017 it features 40 biographies of African American women that helped shape history. Vashti Harrison

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Children's

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A Chair for My Mother

Vera Williams

Published In 1982

Grade Level #1-5

After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy. A Chair for My Mother has sold more than a million copies and is an ideal choice for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. "A superbly conceived picture book expressing the joyful spirit of a loving family."—The Horn Book










 A 1983 Caldecott Honor Book

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One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams Garcia

Published In 2010

Grade Level #5-6

Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. And even though Delphine must look after her sisters during a summer trip to California to visit Cecile. When they arrive on the West Coast, their mother decides that they will attend a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, the three sisters learn much about their family, their country, and themselves. Scholastic

 Newbery Honor novel
Coretta Scott King Award winner 
Scott O'Dell Award winner for Historical Fiction

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Rain Reign

Ann Martin

Published In 2014

Grade Level #4-8

Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms and struggles with Aspergers. She’s named her beloved dog Rain (name with two homonyms). No one understands her obsessions and rules, including her teachers and single father. When her dog goes missing during a bad storm, Rose goes off to find him. The story is told from Rose’s point of view.

New York Times-bestselling middle grade novel

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P.S. Be Eleven

Rita Williams Garcia

Published In 2013

Grade Level #3-7

Sequel to One Crazy Summer, The Gaither sisters continue to tell a story from their point of view. The historical novel, set in the 1960s, features vivid characters, insight into family relationships, and a strong sense of place.

Coretta Scott King Award

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Rayme Nightingale

Kate Di Camillo

Published In 2016

Grade Level #5-8

Raymie and her new friends, Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski, have all lost parents and seek ways to move on with their lives and to protect one another along the way. Tense, dramatic conclusion. 

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Say Something

Peter Reynolds

Published In 2019

Grade Level #K-3

In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are... what you are thinking... and what you believe. And how you'll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!  Finding your voice and making the world a better place. Amazon

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The Word Collector

Peter Reynolds

Published In 2018

Grade Level #K-3

Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. - Scholastic

In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him -- short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. Amazon.

A New York Times Bestseller
Named an Outstanding Literary Work for Children by the NAACP

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The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

William Kamkwamba And Bryan Mealer

Published In 2009

Grade Level #3-5

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.

Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy's brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William's story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family. Amazon

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The Day You Begin

Jacqueline Woodson

Published In 2018

Grade Level #K-2

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a place where there is no one like you. A heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

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The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani

Published In 2018

Grade Level #5-8

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. Told through Nisha's letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl's search for home, for her own identity...and for a hopeful future.- Amazon

A 2019 NEWBERY HONOR BOOK

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Wishtree

Katherine Applegate

Published In 2017

Grade Level #4-8

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood.

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Eight Ate: A Feast of Homonym Riddles

Marvin Terban

Published In 1982

Grade Level #3-5

"This collection of original riddles is unlike any other because the main words in each answer sound exactly alike, but have different meanings. Zany illustrations add to the fun and provide clues to the solutions. And the newly designed full-color cover makes the package even more appealing. ... Google Books"

42
A Bat Cannot Bat, A Stair Cannot Stare: More About Homonyms and Homophones

Brian Cleary; Brian Gable Illustrator

Published In 2014

Grade Level #3-5

"Do you think there's no more to know about homonyms and homophones? This book will prove you wrong! With dozens of laughs per second, the value of the lesson doesn't lessen the second time around. ... Google Books"

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How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear?: What Are Homonyms and Homophones? (Words Are CATegorical)

Brian Cleary; Brian Gable Illustrator

Published In 2004

Grade Level #3-5

"The eighth title in our best-selling Words Are Categorical series takes a lighthearted look at homonyms and homophones with playful rhymes and comical cartoon cats. All together, this series has more than 1 million copies in print! Homonyms are easier to show than explain! ... Google Books"

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Dear Dear: A Book of Homophones

Gene Barretta

Published In 2007

Grade Level

"Clever Aunt Ant has just moved to the zoo. Speaking in homophones, she describes the quirky animal behavior she sees. ... Google Books"

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