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December 2021 Selections


Brick by Brick

by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

Papi is a bricklayer, and he works hard every day to help build the city, brick by brick. His son, Luis, works hard too — in school, book by book. Papi climbs scaffolds, makes mortar, and shovels sand. Luis climbs on the playground and molds clay into tiny bricks to make buildings, just like Papi. Together, they dream big about their future as they work to make those dreams come true. One Saturday, Papi surprises Luis with something special that he's built for their family, brick by brick.


'Twas Nochebuena (A Christmas Story in English and Spanish)

by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrations by Sara Palacios

It's Christmas Eve, and you are invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos  (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones  (songs) while sipping champurrado  (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it's time to cheer "Feliz Navidad, and to all a good night!"


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Blue Floats Away

by Travis Jonker, illustrations by Grant Snider

Little Blue is an iceberg that lives at the North Pole with his parents until, one day, he floats away and strikes out on his own. Along the way, Blue encounters new things (sharks) and beautiful things (sailboats). He starts to wonder which way is home when something unexpected starts to happen. Little Blue is getting smaller and smaller until . . . he transforms! After mixing with the warm ocean water, Blue reappears as a cloud. He encounters new things (airplanes) and beautiful things (birds). He charts a course for home. As it gets colder and colder, Blue gets bigger and bigger until . . . hey, is that a snowflake?


The Longest Storm

by Dan Yaccarino 

No one knew where the strange storm came from, or why it lasted so long. The family at the center of this timely story has to hunker down together, with no going outside — and that's hard when there is absolutely nothing to do and everyone's getting on everyone else's nerves. Fights erupt over messy rooms and digital devices, faces turn orange with rage, and communication ceases. But when a bolt of lightning knocks out the power, the family finds a way to reconnect and face whatever the future brings, together.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Playing the Cards You're Dealt

by Varian Johnson

Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin is finally old enough to play in the spades tournament that every Joplin Man before him seems to have won.  When Ant's best friend gets grounded, he is forced to find another spades partner. And Shirley, the new girl in his class, isn't exactly who he has in mind. She talks a whole lot of trash — way more than his old partner. Plus, he's not sure that his father wants him playing with a girl. But she's smart and tough and pretty and knows every card trick in the book. So Ant decides to join forces with Shirley — and keep his plans a secret.

Only it turns out that secrets are another Joplin Man tradition. And his father is hiding one so big that it may tear their family apart . . . 


The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire Series #1)

by Tui T. Sutherland

Clay and his friends have grown up under a mountain, secretly raised by the Talons of Peace to fulfill a mysterious prophecy. The five young dragons are destined to end the war that has been raging between the tribes of Pyrrhia — how they'll do this, none of them knows. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. When one of their own is threatened, Clay and his friends decide to escape. Maybe they can break free and end the war at the same time — or maybe they will risk everything.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Violets Are Blue

by Barbara Dee

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup — special effects makeup, to be exact. When Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. Things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school's upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren's mom isn't doing so well. She is taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. What's worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren't going well at her mom's new job at the hospital where she is a nurse. After an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem — a problem that can't be wiped away or covered up.


The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

by Adrianna Cuevas

A Cuban American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja,  a witch that transforms into animals.


High School (Grades 9–12)


by Candace Buford

For guys like Russell Boudreaux, football is the only way out of their small town. As the team's varsity tight end, Rus has a singular goal: to get a scholarship and play on the national stage. But when his best friend is unfairly arrested and kicked off the team, Rus faces an impossible choice: Speak up or live in fear. 

"Please rise for the national anthem."

Desperate for change, Rus kneels during the national anthem. In one instant, he falls from local stardom and becomes a target for hatred. But he is not alone. With the help of his best friend and an unlikely ally, Rus will fight for his dreams . . . and for justice.


Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

by Crystal Maldonado

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it's hard, and her mom's leaving a billion weight-loss shakes on her dresser doesn't help. The world and everyone in it has ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega — a sensitive, funny, and painfully honest coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme — tackles our relationships with our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.


Books in Spanish

La gran fiesta de los olores

by Pato Mena

¡¿Una fiesta de disfraces organizada por un topo?! ¡Pero no pueden ver! Sin embargo, Topo Maravilla organiza legendarias fiestas de disfraces. ¿Quieres saber cómo? ¿Alguna vez te has preguntado cómo se las arreglan los topos para disfrazarse para las fiestas de disfraces? La respuesta es . . .¡TRAJES DE AROMA! Sin embargo, esto también conlleva algunos riesgos . . . 


Cuentos con sazón

by Lulu Delacre

En casa de Carmen Teresa se reunen muchos familiares de distintos países de América Latina para celebrar el Año Nuevo. Doña Josefa le regala a Carmen Teresa un cuaderno en blanco y todos le sugieren que lo utilice para escribir los recuerdos de infancia de los que están ahí reunidos. Así comienza una original recopilación de historias a las que les acompañan las recetas de los platos favoritos de cada uno.


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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