Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Strange things start happening in Sunny’s life when her friends reveal to her that they have magical abilities and they suspect that she has them as well. Sunny discovers that she is a “free agent” of the Leopard People.  Besides her regular studies at school, Sunny begins learning magical history, juju, spells, and other magic with her three friends Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha.  All of this she must keep from her overprotective and strict family. Things become even more complicated when the four friends discover that they have been selected by the magical council to take on a serial killer.

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Six students are placed in the ARTT  (a room to talk) room by their teacher, Mrs. Laverne.  It’s a room without adults, a room where the six of them can talk about anything they want.  Haley narrates the story of Amari, Ashton, Esteban, Holly, Tiago, and herself.  Through their afternoons spent together, the six become close and soon trust each other enough to talk about tough issues and their insecurities. They discuss feelings and issues from Esteban’s father being sent to a detention center by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to bullying and racial profiling.  Each of the six has a gift to share with the rest of the group that brings strength to the others in the ARTT room. The stories they share with each other gather empathy and the group’s support.  Harbor Me is an example of the importance and power of friendship.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jerome is a ghost.  The unarmed, twelve-year-old boy was shot and killed in a Chicago neighborhood vacant lot by a white police officer.  Now Jerome can only be seen by Sarah Moore, the young daughter of the officer who shot him.  Sarah discovers that her father made some serious mistakes the night Jerome was shot.  Jerome isn’t sure why he keeps hanging around his family, his friend Carlos, and Sarah, but with the help of the ghost of Emmett Till, he will learn what he needs to do to help others.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zelie remembers the magic, and she remembers the horrific night when magic was taken away.  The night her mother and other maji were executed on the orders of the hardened and ruthless King Saran. The night that left her people distraught and hopeless. Since that terrible incident, Zelie and her brother, Tzain, work hard to take care of their father.  Then one day while Zelie is selling fish at the market a young girl, Amari, runs into Zelie. Amari is being chased by the king’s guard.  Amari begs for Zelie’s help, and Zelie gives in against her better judgment.  Zelie, Amari, and Tzain find themselves on a dangerous journey to bring magic back with Amari’s brother, Inan, in pursuit hoping to carry out the king’s orders to terminate their mission.

Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor by Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is a world-renowned scientist, inventor, and expert on visual thinking. Temple has autism. In her book Calling All Minds,  she shares creative projects with directions on how to complete them, information on inventors, the history of inventions and patents, and lots of other interesting information. Most of all, Temple Grandin encourages and inspires her readers to create, to invent, and to learn from their mistakes.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude has been living in the High Court of Faerie since she was stolen from the mortal world at the age of seven. Madoc, general to the faerie king and her father in the faerie world, murdered her mother and father. He brought Jude to Faerie along with her twin sister Taryn and her half-sister, Vivi. Jude struggles to fit in the faerie world as a mortal.  She is under the protection of Madoc but mortals are often despised by the folk.  Jude has caught the eye of Prince Cardan, the youngest child of the king and a classmate of Jude’s.  Known as the Cruel Prince, Cardan and his group of fairy friends do everything thing they can to make Jude’s life miserable. Jude isn’t one to back down. Jude has hopes of becoming a knight, but she will need Madoc’s blessing to do so.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is always in his own head.  He’s a thinker. He’s a loner.  He finds it hard to connect to his war veteran father and his sisters.  His brother is in prison. His mom is the only one who seems to get him but she won’t talk about his brother.  Ari is not happy. Ari is angry. Then one summer he heads to the pool in his El Paso community and there he meets Dante.  Dante is different, but he is friendly and kind. Dante becomes the first and only friend Ari has ever had. Will Dante be able to reach through all the barriers Ari has put up to protect himself from being hurt by family and friends? Will he be able to help Ari let go of all the anger and pressure Ari carries around in his heart?

What Would She Do? 25 True Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women by Kay Woodward

What Would She Do? is filled with biographies of trailblazing women from a variety of cultures and countries. Read about the Trung sisters, Michelle Obama, and Marta Vieira da Silva among others. The illustrations and graphics in this book are vibrant. Each separate biography ends with ideas on how our “shero” would handle a current day situation.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.” Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography is inspirational.  This young lady values education. In Taliban occupied Pakistan, girls were forbidden to receive an education.  Malala and her family continued to educate girls off and on at her father’s school under the oppressive occupation by the Taliban.  Malala gave her voice to their cause through her anonymous blog. Yet one day, as she was returning from school, a member of the Taliban boarded her bus demanding to know, “Who is Malala?” Upon discovering which young lady on the bus was Malala, he shot her and several others. He shot Malala in the face. Miraculously, Malala survived. She faced several operations and many months of recovery, but now she continues to write and speak on behalf of education for all.


Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

In her Pakastani village, Amal dreams of attending college and becoming a teacher.  So as the eldest daughter in her family of all daughters, Amal applies herself in all her lessons and always gives her best effort at school. She is Miss Sadia’s star pupil.  But when Amal insults the cruel area landlord, she finds herself in dire circumstances.  Because of this insult and the fact that her father owes the Khan family money, Amal must leave her family to work for the Khans. Her dreams of a bright future are slipping through her fingers.