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April 2024 Selections


Grandma tenderly hugging her smiling little granddaughterYou Be Grandma

by Karla Clark, illustrations by Addy Rivera Sonda

Can you be Grandma and turn off the light?
Grandma's too tired to be Grandma tonight.
She played dress-up and drank afternoon tea.
Helped you climb up the sycamore tree.
Took a hike and went for a dip.
                                                          Now she's exhausted! There's an ache in her hip.

In this clever rhyming picture book, a grandma tells her granddaughter that she is simply too tired to be Grandma tonight and asks her granddaughter to take over for her. An utterly relatable theme told with humor and heart provides a story that parents, grandparents, and children will delight in reading together at bedtime.


A cookie in the shape of a pig running past the beauty salon as Mama Nita tries to catch himThe Runaway Piggy/El cochinito fugitivo

by James Luna, illustrations by Laura Lacámara

In the classic tradition of The Gingerbread Man,  James Luna's piggy cookie leaps off the baking tray in Martha's Panadería and takes the reader on a mad dash through the barrio, past Lorenzo's Auto Shop, Nita's Beauty Salon, Leti's Flower Shop, and Juana's Thrift Shop.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A young girl picking tomatoes from huge tomato vinesWhen Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

by Julie Fogliano, illustrations by Julie Morstad

and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes

Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. With Julie Fogliano's skilled writing and Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.

A smiling father holding his cherished daughterYo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter

by Mark Gonzales, illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini

In this letter to his young daughter, Afro-Mexican Muslim father, poet, and spoken word artist Gonzales lovingly introduces her to the many facets of her world. Speaking directly to Muslim children and indirectly to all children everywhere, he addresses the beauty of Islam and "learning what it means to be human."


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

A young girl grasping a tree as the wind blows around herInside Out and Back Again

by Thanhhà Lai

Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrill 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 — toward America.


Stella Díaz Has Something to Say

Stella Diaz laughing as she speaks Spanish and Englishby Angela Dominguez

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 had 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.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Several people in Harlem reading, talking, making, and seeingOne Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

by Nikki Grimes, artwork by Cozbi A. Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon

Inspired by the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, best-selling author Nikki Grimes uses the "Golden Shovel" poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of master poets such as Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jean Toomer, and others who enriched history during this era.

Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today's most exciting African American illustrators to create an emotional and thought-provoking book with timely themes for today's readers.


Twelve-year-old Addie wearing a luchador mask, which is also a symbolic maskTumble

by Celia C. Pérez

Twelve-year-old Adela "Addie" Ramirez has a big decision to make when her stepfather proposes adoption. Addie loves Alex, the only father figure that she has ever known, but with a new half-brother on the way and a school theater performance on her mind, everything feels like it's moving too fast. She has a million questions, and the first is about the young man in the photo that she found hidden away in her mother's things.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Soma trying to decide what and how much to say at the spoken word contestKween

by Vichet Chum

Soma Kear's verses have gone viral. Trouble is, she didn't exactly think her slam poetry video through. All she knew was that her rhymes were urgent. On fire. An expression of where she was, and that place . . . was a hot mess.

Following her Ba's deportation back to Cambodia, everything has changed. Her Ma is away trying to help Ba adjust to his new life, and her older sister has taken charge with a new authoritarian tone. Meanwhile, Soma's trending video pushes her to ask whether it's time to level up. With her school's spoken word contest looming, Soma must decide: Is she brave enough to put herself out there? To publicly reveal her fears of Ba not returning? To admit that things may never be the same?

With every line that she spits, Soma searches for a way to make sense of the world around her. The answers are at the mic.


An enormous wide-open mouth with the title of the book inside itTales of the Madman Underground

by John Barnes

September 1973. The beginning of Karl Shoemaker's senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl has been part of "the Madman Underground" — kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and-be-normal. But "normal," of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored roller-coaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.


Books in Spanish

Count Velvet, the masked wrestler, dancing in the center of the ring¡Primera caída! (El enmascarado de terciopelo 1) (siete años en adelante)

de Diego Mejia Eguiluz

Desde su debut, el Conde de Terciopelo se ha empeñado en demostrar que no hay luchador más rudo que él. Desde chiquito le enseñaron a aguantar como los machos. Últimamente, le afecta lo que la gente piense de él, su enemigo acérrimo le hace burla y, para colmo de males, la niña que entrena a su rival ha descubierto su punto débil y está maquinando un malévolo plan contra él.


To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to Sora* (formerly OverDrive) and log in with your MPS student ID number.

*Some titles are not available through Sora.

To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to Sora* (formerly OverDrive) and log in with your MPS student ID number.

*Some titles are not available through Sora.

Suggest a book

If you would like to recommend a book title, please fill out this form:


Reading Curriculum Specialist:

Tanya D. Evans
Phone: 414-475-8110

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2023
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