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December 2023 Selections


Raccoon, dressed like a secret spy, shushing with finger to lips, with pizzas behind himSecret Pizza Party

by Adam Rubin, illustrations by Daniel Salmieri

Raccoon loves pizza! But someone is always chasing poor Raccoon away from his favorite food with a broom. What's a hungry raccoon to do? Plan an elaborate secret pizza party, of course! But shhhh! It's a secret! In fact, you should probably just forget that I told you. No, no secret pizza party happening here. You didn't already tell your friends, did you? Uh-oh.

A little owl dressed in armor, spear in hand, on guard from the top of the castle with a big moon behind himKnight Owl

by Christopher Denise

Since the day he hatched, Owl dreamed of becoming a real knight. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but his sharp nocturnal instincts can help protect the castle, especially since many knights have recently gone missing. While holding guard during Knight Night Watch, Owl is faced with the ultimate trial — a frightening intruder. It is a daunting duel by any measure. But what Owl lacks in size he makes up for in good ideas.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Rock, Paper, and Scissors sitting together looking braveThe Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

by Drew Daywalt, illustrations by Adam Rex

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors  imagines that Rock, Paper, and Scissors were once warriors battling in their respective kingdoms, looking for worthy foes. Each of them vanquishes all others. Rock smooshes an apricot, Paper defeats a printer by causing a paper jam, and Scissors lays waste to a roll of tape. Finally, they meet each other, and kids can predict the outcome: Rock defeats Scissors, Paper defeats Rock, and Scissors defeats Paper.


Noemi, with her mama on her left and the Notebook Keeper on her right, thinking about the border behind themThe Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border

by Stephen Briseño, illustrations by Magdalena Mora

Noemi and Mama flee their home in Mexico and head for the US border. There, they look for the "Notebook Keeper," the person in charge of a ledger for those waiting to cross, and they add their names to the book. As the days turn into weeks, hope dwindles. One day, when the Notebook Keeper's own name is called to cross, Noemi and Mama are chosen to take her place.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Barb, kicking fiercely and wielding a sword, with monsters behind herBarb and the Ghost Blade (Book 2 of Barb the Last Berserker)

by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson

Barb is a Berzerker, part of an elite crew of warriors who protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters. The evil Witch Head has captured all the adult Berzerkers, and Barb is the only one who can save them. Barb and her ragtag gang must infiltrate Maug Horn, the monster capital where only monsters are allowed, and find Franny Fire Fingers, who they hope will lead them to the Wise Wizards and the power to fight Witch Head. But when even the powerful Shadow Blade sword is no match for the evil that Barb encounters, she must learn that her true power comes from her own heart.


Leon leaping like a superhero from a tall building, cape flowing behind himLeon the Extraordinary: A Graphic Novel

by Jamar Nicholas

In the city where Leon lives, superheroes — and supervillains — are commonplace. So how does an ordinary kid like Leon, who has no superpowers himself, become the superhero he wants to be? When all his classmates suddenly become obsessed with a new phone app that turns them into zombies, Leon gets his chance to prove that using his brain and following his heart can save the day.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Bradley, wearing a VR headset showing him as a K-pop fan with pink hair, and Edelle, Hunter, Jasper, and Keiko as their avatarsVirtually Me: A New Virtual Reality School Where Students Get a Fresh Start after a Pandemic

by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

The pandemic was rough on everyone, especially with school becoming virtual. For Bradley, Edelle, Hunter, Jasper, and Keiko, that is about to change. A mysterious box arrives at each of their houses, and they're invited to attend a virtual school. More than just being online, they will be able to create an avatar of themselves and interact with their friends and other classmates in real time using VR headsets. For each of them, that presents an opportunity to become someone they're not or someone they haven't been. For all of them, it is a chance to see just how much they have assumed about each other in the past, and maybe it's an opportunity to become friends.


Malú, wearing her punk rock look and Chuck Taylors, holding a microphone and dancingThe First Rule of Punk

by Celia C. Pérez

On day one at a new school, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School's queen bee, violates the school's dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her Dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says that things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.


High School (Grades 9–12)

A young couple kissing as the snow falls around themWhiteout: A Novel

by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

As the city grinds to a halt, twelve teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen in spite of the storm? No one is prepared for this whiteout. But then, we can't always prepare for the magical moments that change everything.


Rio swimming underwater with the whale White BeakThe Lost Whale/La ballena perdida

by Hannah Gold, illustrations by Levi Pinfold, translation by Marcelo E. Mazzanti

What if you could communicate with a whale? Rio has been sent to live with a grandmother he barely knows in California while his mom is in a hospital back home. Alone and adrift, the only thing that makes him smile is joining his new friend Marina on her dad's whale-watching trips. That is, until an incredible encounter with White Beak, a gentle giant of the sea, changes everything. But when White Beak goes missing, Rio must set out on a desperate quest to find his whale and somehow save his mom. Read this incredible story about the connection between a boy and a whale and the bond that sets them both free.


Books in Spanish

An elephant with glasses clutching a book of storiesEl elefante con gafas

de Natasha Domanova (para preescolar)

Un elefante no es nada extraordinario. Pero si el elefante lleva gafas el cuento se pone interesante . . . ¿verdad? Un elefante con gafas se ha caído y . . . ¡aquí empieza esta historia! 



Carlos and one of his neighbors looking for his sockEl calectín perdido: Una historia llena de vecinos

de Lawrence Schimel, ilustraciones de Luciano Lozano (para los grados 3+)

¿Qué es lo peor que le puede pasar a un calcetín? ¿Que se lo trague la lavadora? ¿Que se pierda en un cajón? Eso es lo que le ocurre al joven protagonista de esta historia. Dispuesto a recuperar su calcetín, Carlos emprenderá una aventura detectivesca escaleras abajo. Carlos no imagina que mientras intente desvelar el misterio, descubrirá el secreto major guardado del edificio donde vive: sus vecinos.


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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