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August 2020 Selections


Cartoon of young child smiling at us with a crown on his headThe King of Kindergarten

by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He has dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can't wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he's up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can't wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements and then wake up to start another day.


Cartoon of four curious figures, ranging from tall to small, with large eyes and knit capsShh! We Have a Plan/¡Shh! Tenemos un plan

by Chris Haughton

Four friends creep through the woods trying to catch a bird. "Three, two, one . . . GO!" But the bird escapes. The friends will not give up trying to catch the bird, but the littlest one has other plans. And so does the bird!



Primary (Kindergarten—Grade 2)

Composite cover made up of five photos of children who differ in skin colorAll the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color/Todos los colores de nuestra piel: La historia de por qué tenemos diferentes colores de piel

by Katie Kissinger

Celebrate the essence of one way that we are all special and different from one another—our skin color! This bilingual (English/Spanish) book offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It's also filled with colorful photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones. Reading this book frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children.


A tiny cartoon person painting a really big dotThe Dot/El punto

by Peter H. Reynolds

Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can't draw—she's no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says.

That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti's journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds's delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Cartoon of a smiling young girl leaning up against a wall with a phantom bicycle behind herWays to Make Sunshine

by Renée Watson

Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind—school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she's got the talent that matters most: it's a talent that can't be seen, she's nice, not mean!

Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn't everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don't quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.


Cartoon of a middle-school girl smiling at us from the window of a taco truckStef Soto, Taco Queen

by Jennifer Torres

Stef Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family's taco truck. She wants Papi to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be a distant memory. Then maybe everyone at school will stop seeing her as the Taco Queen.

But when her family's livelihood is threatened, Stef surprises everyone by becoming the truck's champion. Stef will discover what matters most and embrace and identity that includes old Tia Perla.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Color photo of Perry Wallace jumping toward the hoop with a basketball on his fingertipsStrong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South

by Andrew Maraniss

Perry Wallace entered kindergarten the year that integrated schools allowed Blacks and whites to learn side by side. In high school, his sensational jumping and dunking earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools. His Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee's first racially integrated state tournament.

When Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he endured turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted and met the unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography reveals the inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.


Cartoon illustration of a mother and young son unpacking an old station wagon near a forestWhen You Look Up

by Decur, translated by Chloe Garcia Roberts

Lorenzo isn't happy about moving. But in his new room, he finds an old desk with hundreds of drawers, each with its own smell! Inside the desk, he finds a book and begins to read. When he looks up, he sees curious things. Has the book come to life? This is a graphic novel about observation, imagination, and the many incredible lenses through which everyday experience might be perceived.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Color photo of two faces, the young man representing the past and the young woman representing the presentDreamland Burning

by Jennifer Latham

When 17-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a violent encounter propelled 17-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against Blacks, Will was forced to make hard choices and face his inner demons to do what was right. This lightning-paced page turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important questions about the complex state of U.S. race relations.


Photo of a young man on top of a train, looking out to the horizonEnrique's Journey/La travesía de Enrique

by Sonio Nazario

Adapted for young people, this edition of Enrique's Journey  is the true story of Enrique, a teenager from Honduras setting out to find his mother who had to leave him and go to the United States in search of work. Enrique's story will bring to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face simply trying to survive and provide for their families. The book includes an eight-page photo insert and an epilogue describing what has happened to Enrique and his family since the original edition was published.


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.

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.

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

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