April is National Poetry Month!
by Abi Cushman
It looks like a wet and dreary day for Bear and his trio of friends. How could he possibly have fun when he is soaked? But Badger, Rabbit, and Moose don't seem to mind. In fact, Moose can still hula hoop! And it looks like so much fun. Might Bear like to try?
Here is a story that shows that fun is not dependent on sunshine and blue skies. Indeed, it might be more fun to be soaked!
by Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), illustrations by Marcos Almada Rivero
Rhyming text and lively illustrations showcase the epic trip taken by the monarch butterflies. At the end of each summer, these international travelers leave Canada to fly south to Mexico for the winter — and now readers can come along for the ride! Over the mountains capped with snow, to the deserts down below. Children will be delighted to share in the fascinating journey of the monarchs and be introduced to the people and places they pass before they finally arrive in the forests that their ancestors called home.
Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)
Rhymes with Claire
by Chad J. Thompson
Otto, the rhyming parrot, is causing a little bit of trouble for Doug's friend Claire. Claire brings Otto to school, and the little feathered fellow, who rhymed Doug's name with everything from mug to pug to bug, uses Claire's moniker as a jumping-off point. All starts off innocently enough — fair and share — but then takes a decidedly more dangerous turn from bear to flare! How can one little parrot cause so much trouble?
Luca's Bridge/El puente de Luca
by Mariana Llanos, illustrations by Anna López Real
Together in their car, Luca, his brother Paco, and their parents head across the border to Mexico where his parents were born. Luca doesn't understand why he must leave the only home he has ever known, his friends, and his school. He struggles through lonely and disorienting times — reflected both in Real's delicate, symbolic illustrations and through Llanos's description of Luca's dreams — and he leans on music, memory, and familial love for support. Luca's Bridge/El puente de Luca is a story for everyone about immigration, deportation, home, and identity.
Intermediate (Grades 3–5)
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
by Don Tate
George loved words, but he was also enslaved. Forced to work long hours, he was unable to attend school or learn how to read. But he was determined — he listened to the white children's lessons and learned the alphabet. Then he taught himself to read.
Soon he began composing poetry in his head and reciting it as he sold fruits and vegetables on a nearby college campus. News of the slave poet traveled quickly among the students, and before long, George had customers for his poems. But George was still enslaved. Would he ever be free?
In this powerful biography of George Moses Horton, the first southern African American man to be published, Don Tate tells an inspiring and moving story of talent and determination.
Words with Wings
by Nikki Grimes
Gabby's world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents' arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, friendship, one girl's indomitable spirit, and a teacher's ability to reach out and change a life.
Middle School (Grades 6–8)
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur/Moon Girl y dinosaurio diabólico
by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare, illustrations by Natacha Bustos
Lunella Lafayette is a preteen supergenius who wants to change the world but has learned the hard way that it takes more than just big brains. Fearful of the monstrous inhuman genes inside her, life is turned upside down when a savage, red-scaled tyrant is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future that we call today. The pair are many things, and together they are the most amazing Marvel Team-Up.
Closer to Nowhere
by Ellen Hopkins
For the most part, Hannah's life is just how she wants it. She has two supportive parents, she is popular at school, and she has been killing it at gymnastics. But when her cousin Cal moves in with her family, everything changes. Cal tells half-truths and tall tales, pranks Hannah constantly, and seems to be the reason why her parents are fighting more and more. Nothing is how it used to be. She knows that Cal went through a lot after his mom died, and she is trying to be patient, but most days Hannah just wishes Cal had never moved in.
For his part, Cal is trying his hardest to fit in, but not everyone is as appreciative of his unique sense of humor and storytelling gifts as he is. Humor and stories might be his defense mechanism, but if Cal doesn't let his walls down soon, he might push away the very people who are trying their best to love him.
Told in verse from the alternating perspectives of Hannah and Cal, this is a story of two cousins (who are more alike than they realize) and the family they both want to save.
High School (Grades 9–12)
Take the Mic
A young-adult anthology featuring fictional stories of everyday resistance
by Bethany C. Morrow, Darcie Little Badger, Jason Reynolds, L. D. Lewis, Connie Sun, Samira Ahmed, Yamile Saied Méndez, Laura Silverman, Keah Brown, Sofia Quintero, and Ray Stoeve, with cover and interior art by Richie Pope
You might be the kind of person who stands up to online trolls. Or who marches to protest injustice. Perhaps you are #DisabledAndCute and dancing around your living room, alive and proud. Or perhaps you are the trans mentor that you wish you'd had when you were younger. Maybe you call out false allies or stand up to loved ones. Maybe you speak your truth and drop the mic, or maybe you take it with you when you leave. This anthology features fictional stories in poems, prose, and art that reflect a slice of the varied and limitless ways that readers like you resist every day.
by Mahogany L. Browne
A novel in verse about a young girl coming of age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend.
She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don't dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.
Chlorine Sky is about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.
To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to OverDrive* and log in with your MPS student ID number.
*Some titles are not available through OverDrive.