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February 2023 Selections


A young girl with rainbow colors behind herBlack Is a Rainbow Color

by Angela Joy, illustrations by Ekua Holmes

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.


Red is a rainbow color.
Green sits next to blue.
Yellow, orange, violet, indigo,
They are rainbow colors, too, 

But my color is black . . . 
And there is no BLACK in rainbows.

From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall's back, black surrounds our lives. It is a color simply to describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.


A tiny porcupine letting us know he wants a cuddleI Need a Hug

by Aaron Blabey 

In this sweet story about friendship and learning not to judge a book by its cover, a tiny porcupine just wants a cuddle. All of the other animals turn him away because of his prickly spikes. But finally, the porcupine meets one animal that is happy to hug — a snake!



Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A group of siblings, parents, and grandparents all smiling at each otherWho Are Your People?

by Bakari Sellers, illustrations by Reggie Brown

This inspiring picture book by New York Times  bestselling author Bakari Sellers and illustrator Reggie Brown is a tribute to the family and community that help make us who we are. Perfect for sharing and giving. When you meet someone for the first time, they might ask, "Who are your people?" and "Where are you from?" Children are shaped by their ancestors, and this book celebrates the village that it takes to raise a child.


A little girl in the back of a car telling her parents that she needs the bathroomOh, No, Gotta Go!

by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrations by G. Brian Karas

As soon as the car pulls away, someone needs the bathroom. "Where is un baño? ¿Dónde está? I really do need one," I told mi mamá. After racing around town, passing a gushing fountain and cutting the inevitable line for the ladies' room, this adorable little girl makes it to the bathroom in the nick of time.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

A young woman and young man, half-submerged in water, looking aheadThe 1619 Project: Born on the Water

by Nikole Hanna-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrations by Nikkolas Smith

A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can trace back only three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that four hundred years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived.


A woman holding an umbrella with a man and a dog all looking upDictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z

by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini

This inspiring resource for young readers is organized as a dictionary: each entry presents a word — such as ally, empathy,  or respect — related to creating a better worldFor each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

The Brooklyn Bridge in outline against complete darkness with tiny hearts appearing all overBlackout

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

A summer heat wave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks . . . 

A first meeting.
Long-time friends.
Bitter exes.
And maybe the beginning of something new.

When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.

Pilar harnesses her bruja powers, helping her friend Carmen against a fearsome witch Pilar Ramirez and the Curse of San Zenon

by Julian Randall

After being transported to the island of Zafa and rescuing her long-captive cousin Natasha, Pilar is back in Chicago and hiding the shocking truths about Zafa and about Natasha being alive. So, when Pilar and her family are invited on a trip to Santo Domingo, she welcomes the distraction. But when her close friend Carmen magically appears in the Dominican Republic searching for help, Pilar is soon on the hunt for the escaped demon El Baca and his mysterious new ally . . . 


High School (Grades 9–12)

Fayard and Tamar in an embrace, gazing into each other's eyesFor All Time

by Shanna Miles

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He is a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic. Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They have even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life, one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is that they never get to see how their story ends. Until now. When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?


Sierra Santiago in the center of a swirl of colors as she learns shadowshapingShadowshaper

by Daniel José Older

Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world. Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-disabled grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears . . . well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.


Books in Spanish

Five kids hanging out in the school cafeteriaInvisible

de Christina Diaz Gonzalez, ilustraciones de Gabriela Epstein

¿Pueden cinco niños inadaptados de la secundaria hacer una gran diferencia? Están atrapados cuando se les obliga a completar las horas de servicio comunitario de su escuela. Aunque están seguros de que no tienen nada en común entre sí, la gente los ve como todos igualitos . . . cinco niños que hablan español. Luego conocen a alguien que realmente necesita su ayuda, y deben decidir si cada uno está dispuesto a exponer sus propios secretos para ayudar . . . 


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 2023
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