Happy Feet: The Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hoppers and Me by Richard Michelson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Richard Michelson’s picture book Happy Feet (illustrated by E.B. Lewis) brings to life Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom through the eyes of Happy Feet.  Through Happy Feet’s eyes we meet Stretch, Musclehead, Whitey, Long-Legged George and Big Bea, who were famous Lindy Hop dancers at the Savoy Ballroom.  Celebrate dance and a bit of the history of Harlem in the 1920s by checking this out.

We March by Shane W. Evans

Shane Evans’s picture book We March follows a family as they participate with more than 250,000 other people gathering peacefully in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963 with hopes of moving our country toward racial equality.  On this day in history, the protesters marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial to listen to famous musicians and speakers.  It was on this date that Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Jamie Watson received a scholarship to play rugby at Sherringford, a private school in Connecticut.  So he leaves his mom in London and makes his way to Connecticut near his estranged father who he hasn’t seen since he was ten years old.  At Sherringford, Watson runs into Charlotte Holmes, the great, great, great granddaughter, of Sherlock Holmes.  Jamie is the great, great, great grandson of John Watson.  Is it a coincidence that these two have ended up at the same boarding school? Of course not, for soon there’s a murder of a student on the Sherringford campus, and Jamie and Charlotte are both considered prime  suspects. But things are never as simple as they seem.  Someone is using the mysteries Sherlock Holmes to frame this new pair of Holmes & Watson.  Holmes’s skills of deduction and Watson’s trust and loyalty will be tested to the limits.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Princess Diana hopes to prove herself as a true Amazon warrior joining the ranks of her mother, Hippolyta and Tek.  When a boat explodes outside the boundary of Themyscira, Diana follows her gut, breaks Amazon law, and rescues Alia Keralis.  Suddenly, life is thrown in to turmoil on the island.  Seeking advice from the Oracle, Diana is told that Alia is a warbringer, and she must die or she will bring destruction to their world.  But Diana feels that there must be another way to save Alia and save both their worlds from death and destruction. So she asks the Oracle her final question, and the answer given sends the girls on a dangerous quest.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter and her friend Kahlil leave a neighborhood party when things start to get out of hand.  Not far from the party, the two are pulled over by a white police officer.  While being questioned by the officer, Kahlil leans in the car to check on Starr.  The officer believing that Kahlil has a weapon shoots and kills the unarmed Kahlil in front of Starr. After the shock of the incident starts to dissipate, Starr finds herself facing decisions of whether to keep quiet to protect herself and her family or to speak up to honor Kahlil.

 

The Playbook: 52Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander

“There is no magic to achievement.  It’s really about hard work, choices, and persistence.”–Michelle Obama

Kwame Alexander provides inspiration for life through quotes from notable sports figures and other important figures combined with great graphics and photographs.  Alexander shares personal stories of triumph and disappointment focusing on the learning experiences from mistakes and defeat to grow and prepare for what comes next.  He also shares stories of athletes who overcame great obstacles to rise to the top of their sport.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” –Oprah Winfrey

Shipwrecked! by Rhoda Blumberg

Shipwrecked! shares the adventures of Manjiro Nakahama who in 1841, as a fourteen-year-old fisherman, was shipwrecked along with four other fishermen on the desolate island of Torishima. After five months of surviving on the island, they were rescued by the American whaling ship, the John Howland. Because of Japan’s strict laws that isolated its people from the rest of the world, the Americans could not return Manjiro home. The highly-intelligent Manjiro spent his teens and young adult life learning about the customs and culture of the United States and the other countries he visited while working on whaling ships. Manjiro always hoped to return home to his family and share what he learned with the government of Japan, but Japanese’s laws condemned travelers from overseas to death. Manjiro lived an amazing life. Shipwrecked! contains maps, illustrations, and photographs of Manjiro’s travels.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

Finley McManus is a quiet Irish American who escapes his dismal environment of Bellmont by focussing on his love of basketball and his basketball-playing girlfriend, Erin.  The only white player on his high school varsity basketball team, Finley works with determination during the off-season to be in the best condition for the team.  Finley lives with his dad and grandfather, and assists with his disabled grandfather’s care when his father works the night shift. Finley and Erin’s plan to work hard to get scholarships to get out of Bellmont away from the Irish mob and the other negative aspects of their hometown seems to be on track until Coach asks Finley to befriend Russ Allen and keep his secret.  Russ Allen, the former high school basketball phenom from California, refers to himself as Boy 21.  Russ believes he is an alien and not long for this world.  Coach has instructed Finley to get Boy 21 ready for the upcoming basketball season, but the problem is Boy 21 plays the same position as Finley.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee follows the lives of three children and their families at different times in history when they needed to flee their homeland to find sanctuary in another country.  Told in alternating chapters, follow Josef and his family fleeing from Berlin, Germany during the Nazi occupation in the 1930s aboard the St Louis hoping to find sanctuary in Cuba.  In 1994, Isabela and her family are fleeing Cuba hoping to find asylum and freedom in Miami, Florida.  In 2015, Mahmoud and his family are fleeing civil war in Syria hoping to make their way to a safe haven in Germany.  Follow these courageous children on their dangerous journies to find a better life and home in a new country.