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August 2019 Selections


Milk Goes to School

by Terry Border

First days of school are tough, and making new friends is even tougher. Milk's dad gave her a sparkly new backpack and told her that she was the crème de la crème, but most of the other kids don't seem to agree. In fact, some of her new classmates think Milk is just a little bit spoiled!


The Kissing Hand/Un beso en mi mano

by Audrey Penn

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. This heartwarming book has become a children's classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

The Day You Begin/El día en que descubres quién eres

by Jacqueline Woodson

At times, you will walk into a room and no one there will be quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow, you do it. This book reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes—and how brave it is that we go forth anyway.


We Don't Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds that she may not be at the top of the food chain after all.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Mark Teague

In a wildly funny twist on the annual "How I spent my summer vacation" school essay ritual, Mark Teague shakes up a dull classroom with a young student's imaginative account of his adventures in the Wild West. Most kids go to camp or Grandma's house, or maybe they're stuck at home all summer. Not Wallace Bleff. He was "supposed" to visit his Aunt Fern. Instead, Wallace insists, he was carried off by cowboys and taught the ways of the West—from riding buckin' broncos to roping cattle. Lucky for Aunt Fern, he showed up at her house just in time to divert a stampede from her barbecue party!


Listening with My Heart/Escuchando con mi corazón

by Gabi Garcia

When Esperanza finds a heart-shaped rock, she sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world. But when the school play doesn't go the way she'd imagined, will she remember to be kind to herself?

Listening with My Heart  reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves! It is a beautifully illustrated book that touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy, and self-acceptance.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)


by Torrey Maldonado

Tight: Lately, Bryan's been feeling it in all kinds of ways. He knows what's tight for him in a good way—reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama's hard to escape where he's from, and that gets him wound up tight.

And now Bryan's new friend Mike is challenging him to have fun in ways that are crazy risky. At first, it's a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into trouble. But Bryan never feels right acting wrong. So which way will he go when he understands that drama is not his style? Fortunately, his favorite comic heroes shed light on his dilemma, reminding him that he has power—the power to choose his friends and stand up for what he believes is right.


Other Words for Home

by Jasmine Warga

Jude never thought she'd be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven't quite prepared her for starting school in the U.S.—or for her new label of "Middle Eastern," an identity she's never known before.

But this life also brings surprises—new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.


High School (Grades 9–12)

I Am Malala/Yo soy Malala

by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

When she was 15, Malala almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. Few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. By 16, she had become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success

by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt

Growing up on the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey, Sampson, George, and Ramek could easily have followed their childhood friends into drug dealing, gangs, and prison. But when a presentation at their school made the three boys aware of the opportunities available to them in the medical and dental professions, they made a pact among themselves that they would become doctors. It took a lot of determination—and a lot of support from one another. Despite hardships along the way, the three succeeded.


If you would like to recommend a book-of-the-month title, please click here:

To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads booklists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to OverDrive and log in with your MPS student ID number.

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