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February 2022 Selections


Tiny T. Rex and the Perfect Valentine

by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrations by Jay Fleck

Tiny has decided to make the perfect Valentine for his best friend, Pointy. But as Tiny discovers, making a Valentine isn't easy. It might take a few tries until Tiny realizes that the best Valentine might have been there all along. Tiny may be a small dino in a big world, but that won't stop him from making friends, conquering his fears, and stomping his way into your heart.


Mariama—Different But Just the Same/Mariama—Diferente pero igual

by Jerónimo Cornelles, illustrations by Nívola Uyá, translation by Jon Brokenbrow

Everything is new for Mariama after a long journey by car, train, boat, and plane from Africa. She's going to discover a world where the streets, her school, and the food are all different. But what about the people? She will have to work hard to learn the language that moon-white children speak, but with the help of her new friends Hugo and Paula, Mariama will discover that, despite all the different customs and traditions that exist between them, there is something that brings them closer beyond all the differences: the pleasure of playing and laughing.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family

by Elizabeth Zunon

Chocolate is the perfect treat everywhere!

As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. "Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao," Daddy says. "We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him." Once the cake is baked, it's ready to eat, but this isn't her only birthday present. There is a special surprise waiting at the front door . . . 


Dalia's Wondrous Hair/El cabello maravilloso de Dalia

by Laura Lacamara

One night, while Dalia slept safely wrapped in her mother's cool silken sheets, her hair grew and grew. By the time the rooster crowed, her hair had "grown straight up to the sky, tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree." Her mother was amazed and wondered what her daughter would do with her wondrous hair.

In this whimsical bilingual picture book, Dalia's hair becomes a magical force of nature, a life-giving cocoon.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrations by Floyd Cooper

Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford provides a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.


My Name Is María Isabel/Me llamo María Isabel

by Alma Flor Ada

For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. "We already have two Marías in this class," says the teacher. "Why don't we call you Mary instead?"

But María Isabel has been named for her papá's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she has lost the most important part of herself?


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrations by Eric Velasquez

Even as a young child growing up in the 1920s, Shirley Chisholm was a leader. At the age of three, older children were already following her lead in their Brooklyn neighborhood. As a student at Brooklyn College, Shirley could outtalk anyone who opposed her on the debate team. After graduating, she used her voice and leadership to fight for education change. In community groups, she stood up for the rights of women and minorities. Her small stature and fiery determination often took people by surprise. But they listened.

In 1964, Shirley took her voice and leadership to politics, becoming the first Black woman elected to the New York State Assembly, and in 1968, the first Black woman elected to Congress. Then in 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidency of the United States. She pushed for laws that helped women, children, students, poor people, farm workers, Native people, and others who were often ignored. She fought for health care. She spoke up for military veterans. She spoke out against war.


Kingston and the Magician's Lost and Found

by Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi

Twelve-year-old Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn — the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston's father was King Preston, one of the world's greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he is determined to find his father.

Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City's magic with him. Now Echo City — a ghost of its past — is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town, and those who have stayed behind don't look too kindly on anyone who reminds them of what they once had.

When Kingston finds a magic box that his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there's more to his father's disappearance than meets the eye.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

by Kekla Magoon

Revolution in Our Time  puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today.

In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens.

Kekla Magoon's eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers' history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.


Punching the Air

by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system, he is seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. "Boys just being boys" turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.


Books in Spanish

Ayobami y el nombre de los animales/Ayobami and the Names of the Animals (ages 4–8)

de Pilar López Ávila, ilustraciones de Mar Azabal

La guerra ha terminado y Ayobami, al fin, puede ir a la escuela. Para que no se pierda, el padre de Ayobami construye un barquito y lo lanza al río abajo. «Si sigues el barquito llegarás a la escuela». El barco naufragó y Ayobami decidió cruzar la jungla. ¿Permitirán los animales salvajes que llegue sana y salva a su destino?


Copo de Algodón (Ecos de Tinta) (grades 6–8)

de María García Esperón y Marcos Almada Rivero

Copo de Algodón  nació en la era del Quinto Sol. Un día su mundo se agitó, como las aguas al lanzar una piedra. Conoce los acontecimientos de su época: las guerras floridas, la matanza de Cholula, la llegada de Hernán Cortés, y la muerte de Moctezuma. Sumérgete en la historia antigua y fascinante de México.

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

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2022
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