Next Great Read
"An unforgettable graphic memoir about a Mexican-American boy’s family and their adventure-filled road trip to bring their abuelito back from Mexico to live with them that National Book Award Finalist Victoria Jamieson calls “one of those books that kids will pass to their friends as soon as they have finished it.”
Pedro Martin has grown up hearing stories about his abuelito—his legendary crime-fighting, grandfather who was once a part of the Mexican Revolution! But that doesn't mean Pedro is excited at the news that Abuelito is coming to live with their family. After all, Pedro has 8 brothers and sisters and the house is crowded enough! Still, Pedro piles into the Winnebago with his family for a road trip to Mexico to bring Abuelito home, and what follows is the trip of a lifetime, one filled with laughs and heartache. Along the way, Pedro finally connects with his abuelito and learns what it means to grow up and find his grito." - Description from publisher
"Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair".
But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby—she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair." - Description from publisher
Doodles from the Boogie Down
"A young Dominican girl navigates middle school, her strict mother, shifting friendships, and her dream of being an artist in this debut coming-of-age graphic novel inspired by the author's tween years.
Eighth grade in New York City means one thing: It’s time to start applying to high schools! While her friends are looking at school catalogs and studying for entrance exams, Steph is doodling in her notebook and waiting for art class to begin. When her art teacher tells her about LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Steph desperately wants to apply. But she’s in the Bronx, and LaGuardia is a public school in Manhattan—which her mom would not approve of. Steph comes up with a plan that includes lying to her mom, friends, and teachers. Keeping secrets isn’t easy, and Steph must decide how far she’ll go to get what she wants.
Doodles from the Boogie Down is a sparkling semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel debut set in the early aughts that's perfect for fans of Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm and Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham." - Description from publisher
"Being twins means having a best friend forever . . . But when one goes to middle school in Mexico and the other across the border in California, can that bond withstand the distance? Luis Fernando is staying local in Mexicali, Mexico, while Luisa Teresa crosses the border every day so she can go to a private school in Calexico, California. As they try to embrace new experiences close to and far from home, the twins hit obstacles: like making new friends and navigating school pressure without the other one for support. Fernando and Teresa finally have the chance to stand on their . . . isn’t that what the always wanted?
A unique and timely story about siblings, middle school, and peer pressure from rising star Jose Pimienta, Twin Cities is at once a relatable contemporary story and much-needed window into an experience so many kids can relate to but has rarely been seen in children’s graphic novels." - Description from publisher
Invisible: A Graphic Novel
"Can five overlooked kids make one big difference?
There's George: the brain
Sara: the loner
Dayara: the tough kid
Nico: the rich kid
And Miguel: the athlete
And they're stuck together when they're forced to complete their school's community service hours. Although they're sure they have nothing in common with one another, some people see them as all the same . . . just five Spanish-speaking kids.
Then they meet someone who truly needs their help, and they must decide whether they are each willing to expose their own secrets to help . . . or if remaining invisible is the only way to survive middle school.
With text in English and Spanish, Invisible features a groundbreaking format paired with an engaging, accessible, and relatable storyline. This Breakfast Club-inspired story by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of Concealed, and Gabriela Epstein, illustrator of two Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel adaptations, is a must-have graphic novel about unexpected friendships and being seen for who you really are." - Description from publisher
"A sweetly humorous middle grade novel packed with action, basketball, and a dash of magical realism about friendship and family, first crushes, and belonging, from acclaimed author Gary Soto.
Thirteen-year-old Jordan Mendoza has a huge crush on his classmate, Sierra, but he's never going to win her affections if he stays a C student and keeps embarrassing himself on the basketball court. And it doesn't help that his best friend, Antonio, likes to tease him about it all a little too much.
But when Jordan dives into the waters of a dangerous irrigation canal to save a drowning puppy, he's suddenly got even more on his mind than kissing Sierra and making the starting team. Can he nurse the abandoned puppy back to health (and will his parents let him keep her) Who threw her into the canal--and is it possible that there are more puppies needing rescue And why are the cops suddenly at Jordan's door, looking for him
There's something for every reader in this story's mix of humor, sports, themes of thrilling independence, subtle strands of magical realism, and timely social commentary, all held together by a sweet and satisfying emotional core." - Description from publisher
"A dazzling story full of heart about how one twelve-year-old channels her rage into synchronized swimming dreams from The Education of Margot Sanchez author Lilliam Rivera.
Natalia De La Cruz Rivera y Santiago, also known as Nat, was swimming neighborhood kids out of their money at the local Inglewood pool when her life changed. The LA Mermaids performed, emerging out of the water with matching sequined swimsuits, and it was then that synchronized swimming stole her heart.
The problem? Her activist mom and professor dad think it's a sport with too much emphasis on looks--on being thin and white. Nat grew up the youngest in a house full of boys, so she knows how to fight for what she wants, often using her anger to fuel her. People often underestimate her swimming skills when they see her stomach rolls, but she knows better than to worry about what people think. Still, she feels more like a submarine than a mermaid, but she wonders if she might be both.
Barely Floating explores what it means to sparkle in your skin, build community with those who lift you up, and keep floating when waters get rough." - Description from publisher
"From debut author Tamika Burgess comes the captivating and empowering story of Sicily Jordan--a Black Panamanian fashionista who rocks her braids with pride--who learns to use her voice and take pride in who she is while confronting prejudice in the most unexpected of places.
Sicily Jordan's worst nightmare has come true! She's been enrolled in a new school, with zero of her friends and stuck wearing a fashion catastrophe of a uniform. But however bad Sicily thought sixth grade was going to be, it only gets worse when she does her class presentation.
While all her classmates breezed through theirs, Sicily is bombarded with questions on how she can be both Black and Panamanian. She wants people to understand, but it doesn't feel like anyone is ready to listen--first at school and then at home. Because when her abuela starts talking mess about her braids, Sicily's the only one whose heart is being crumpled for a second time.
Staying quiet may no longer be an option, but that doesn't mean Sicily has the words to show the world just what it means to be a proud Black Panamanian either. Even though she hasn't written in her journal since her abuelo passed, it's time to pick up her pen again--but will it be enough to prove to herself and everyone else exactly who she is." - Description from publisher
"Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow. If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't talk.
So when Max uncovers a buried family secret--involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety--he decides to seek answers on his own. With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo's legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds. This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity." - Description from publisher
The Moon Within
"Celi Rivera's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?
A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar." - Description from publisher
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 1)
"How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany's locker?
When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn't under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal's office for the third time in three days, and it's still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany's locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he's capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken--including his dead mother--and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with.
There's only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter." - Description from publisher
"Ernesto Cisneros, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Efrén Divided, is back with a hilarious and heartfelt novel about two best friends who must rely on each other in unexpected ways. A great next pick for readers who loved Ghost by Jason Reynolds or The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez.
Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won't change things at home--not without each other's help.
This year, star basketball player Isaac plans on finally keeping up with his schoolwork. Better grades will surely stop Isaac's parents from arguing all the time. Meanwhile, straight-A Marco vows on finally winning his father's approval by earning a spot on the school's basketball team.
But will their friendship and support for each other be enough to keep the two boys from falling short?" - Description from publisher
Shine On, Luz Véliz!
"A beautiful coming-of-age story for fans of Front Desk and Merci Suárez Changes Gears, this book celebrates identity, language, heritage, family, and the determination to follow one's own inner light.
Have you ever been the best at something . . . only to lose it all?
Luz Véliz is a soccer star--or rather, she was a soccer star. With her serious knee injury, it's unlikely she'll be back on the field anytime soon. But without soccer, who is she? Even her dad treats her differently now--like he doesn't know her or, worse, like he doesn't even like her. When Luz discovers she has a knack for coding, it feels like a lifeline to a better self. If she can just ace the May Showcase, she'll not only skip a level in her coding courses and impress Ms. Freeman and intriguing, brilliant Trevor--she'll have her parents cheering her on from the sidelines, just the way she likes it.
But something--someone--is about to enter the Vélizes' life. And when Solana arrives, nothing will be the same, ever again.
Unforgettable characters, family drama, and dauntless determination illuminate Luz's journey as she summons her inner strength and learns to accept others and embrace the enduring connection of family. Through it all, Luz's light is a constant--a guide for others, a path forward through the dark, and an ineffable celebration of her own eternal self." - Description from publisher
You Only Live Once, David Bravo
"Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn't have a single class with his best (okay, only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a class presentation about his heritage, but he's not sure how--or even if--he wants to explain to his new classmates that he's adopted. After he injures Antoine in an accident at cross-country practice, he just wishes he could do it all over.
He doesn't expect his wish to summon a talking, shapeshifting, annoying dog, Fea, who claims that a choice in David's past actually did put him on the wrong timeline... and she can take him back to fix it.
But when their first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, David and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline--on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.
Coco meets Sliding Doors in this laugh-out-loud, heartwarming middle grade novel that explores how our choices make us who we are."
Stella Díaz Has Something to Say
"In her first middle-grade novel, award-winning picture book author and illustrator Angela Dominguez tells a heartwarming story based on her own experiences growing up Mexican-American.
Stella Díaz loves marine animals, especially her betta fish, Pancho. But Stella Díaz is not a betta fish. Betta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brother and her best friend Jenny. Trouble is, Jenny is in another class this year, and Stella feels very lonely.
When a new boy arrives in Stella's class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school! But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Díaz has something to say!
Stella Díaz Has Something to Say introduces an infectiously charming new character with relatable writing and adorable black-and-white art throughout. Simple Spanish vocabulary is also integrated within the text, providing a bilingual element." - Description from publisher
A Land of Books
"A young Aztec girl tells her little brother how their parents create beautiful painted manuscripts, or codices. She explains to him how paper is made from local plants and how the long paper is folded into a book. Her parents and others paint the codices to tell the story of their people's way of life, documenting their history, science, tributes, and sacred rituals.
Duncan Tonatiuh's lyrical prose and beloved illustration style, inspired by the pre-Columbian codices, tell the story of how--contrary to the historical narrative that European colonizers bestowed "civilization" and knowledge to the Americas--the Aztec and their neighbors in the Valley of Mexico painted books and records long before Columbus arrived, and continued doing so among their Nahua-speaking descendants for generations after the Spanish Conquest. From an award-winning author-illustrator, A Land of Books pays tribute to Mesoamerican ingenuity and celebrates the universal power of books." - Description from publisher
My Two Border Towns
"A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy's life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.
Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado. It's close--just down the street from his school--and it's a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they're greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son's weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Available in English and Spanish." - Description from publisher
Carmela Full of Wishes
"When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true--she's finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . .
With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places." - Description from publisher
Where Are You From?
"This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo.
When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one.
Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.
Where am I from?
You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep....
With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong." - Description from publisher
If Dominican Were a Color
"The colors of Hispaniola burst into life in this striking, evocative debut picture book that celebrates the joy of being Dominican.
If Dominican were a color, it would be the sunset in the sky, blazing red and burning bright.
If Dominican were a color, it’d be the roar of the ocean in the deep of the night,
With the moon beaming down rays of sheer delight.
The palette of the Dominican Republic is exuberant and unlimited. Maiz comes up amarillo, the blue-black of dreams washes over sandy shores, and people’s skin can be the shade of cinnamon in cocoa or of mahogany. This exuberantly colorful, softly rhyming picture book is a gentle reminder that a nation’s hues are as wide as nature itself." - Description from publisher
"A recipient of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection Award, Bodega Cat is an ode to New York's iconic feline friend, and the communities they call home.
Bodega is a Spanish word for "grocery store," but they are so much more than that. Bodegas are often a community cornerstone, a welcoming neighborhood haven, and in New York, an emblem of the city's cultural diversity. And who knows these treasured institutions better than the cats who run them? (Or at least they think they do!)
In Bodega Cat, a cat named Chip takes us through his bustling workday at the Matos family's bodega: from receiving boxes in the morning and the breakfast rush, through counting inventory and making deliveries, to dinnertime with his family, when Papi cooks up some of the best Dominican food in the borough for their friends and neighbors. There is no rest for this busy kitty...except for when it's time to chase pigeons with his brother Damian, or to take the occasional nap on the potato chip bags.
A slice of city life that celebrates the people who give New York its heart."
Areli Is a Dreamer
"In the first picture book written by a DACA Dreamer, Areli Morales tells her own powerful and vibrant immigration story.
When Areli was just a baby, her mama and papa moved from Mexico to New York with her brother, Alex, to make a better life for the family--and when she was in kindergarten, they sent for her, too.
Everything in New York was different. Gone were the Saturdays at Abuela’s house, filled with cousins and sunshine. Instead, things were busy and fast and noisy. Areli’s limited English came out wrong, and schoolmates accused her of being illegal. But with time, America became her home. And she saw it as a land of opportunity, where millions of immigrants who came before her paved their own paths. She knew she would, too.
This is a moving story--one that resonates with millions of immigrants who make up the fabric of our country--about one girl living in two worlds, a girl whose DACA application was eventually approved and who is now living her American dream.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that has provided relief to thousands of undocumented children, referred to as “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as children and call this country home." - Description from publisher
The Coquíes Still Sing
"A powerful story about home, community, and hope, inspired by the rebuilding of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, created by Pura Belpré honor-winning author Karina González and illustrator Krystal Quiles.
Co-quí, co-quí! The coquí frogs sing to Elena from her family’s beloved mango tree—their calls so familiar that they might as well be singing, “You are home, you are safe.” But home is suddenly not safe when a hurricane threatens to destroy everything that Elena knows.
As time passes, Elena, alongside her community, begins to rebuild their home, planting seeds of hope along the way. When the sounds of the coquíes gradually return, they reflect the resilience and strength of Elena, her family, and her fellow Puerto Ricans.
The Coquies Still Sing is also available in Spanish." - Description from publisher
"Introduce your little ones to wepa, or what is better known medically as ADHD, in both English and Spanish!
Her mom thinks she is too messy; her teachers think she is too loud. But Abuela says that’s nonsense. Mia Emilia Lucia Renata simply has too much wepa! In this case, wepa is a metaphor for Mia's fire, her energy, or what is better known medically as ADHD, and how it's often misunderstood by family and loved ones.
Mia tries to bottle up her wepa, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t contain it. With a bit of inspiration from Abuela and her friends, Mia discovers the perfect place to release her wepa. A place where her wepa is celebrated and isn’t too much.
Parents will celebrate the wepa behind this bilingual English-Spanish hardcover as it helps the reader develop an understanding of ADHD and how to encourage little ones to feel connected with a supportive community." - Description from publisher
Six of Crows
"Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo returns to the breathtaking world of the Grishaverse in this unforgettable tale about the opportunity—and the adventure—of a lifetime." - Description from publisher