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February 2024 Selections


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., smilingWho Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

by Lisbeth Kaiser, illustrations by Stanley Chow

The chronology and themes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s meaningful life are presented in a masterfully succinct text with just a few sentences per page. The fresh, stylized illustrations are sure to captivate young readers and adults alike. With a read-aloud biographical summary in the back, this age-appropriate introduction honors and shares the life and work of one of the most influential civil rights activists of our time.


A bicultural family - father, mother, daughter - snuggling close together with flowers around themMarvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family

by Carrie Lara, illustrations by Christine Battuz

Marvelous Maravilloso  follows a young girl who finds joy in the colors of the world all around her. Her vantage point is particularly special because she is from a bicultural family and is able to appreciate the differences between her parents as well as her own unique and beautiful color. As she finds her own identity and explores what this means for her, she comes to appreciate how all families are uniquely beautiful.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A boy standing in front of a chalkboard, smiling, with a book in his handsHave You Thanked an Inventor Today?

by Patrice McLaurin, illustrations by Dian Wang

Have You Thanked an Inventor Today?  takes its reader on a unique journey into the often-overlooked contributions of African American inventors and highlights their lasting impact on our daily lives. This book follows the day of a little boy and demonstrates with each page how Black inventors have greatly enriched our nation's landscape.


SMya, smiling and twisting some of her hair around her fingerhrinkage

by Krystaelynne Sanders Diggs, illustrations by Máté Lampert

When Mya found out that her hair could be styled in many different ways, she knew it was magical. Join her on a fantastic journey to discover the secret power of Shrinkage! This book is loaded with stunning imagery about how anyone can style their locks however they want — whether it's curls or straightened.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

An older man and woman sitting togetherInvincible: Fathers and Mothers of Black America

by Wade Hudson, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

This lyrical picture book explores the birth of Black America, focusing on the little-known men and women who fought for justice and for an America where freedom truly rang for all.

In a poetic narrative of the origins of Black America, learn about the men and women who had a profound effect on the history of the nation. Black America was built by brave pioneers — men and women taken from Africa who suffered and struggled to build a country, a culture, and institutions. Emphasizing that freedom didn't ring for all when the United States gained its independence from Great Britain, the author shows the slow process by which Black Americans fought for justice over the course of many generations. Ending with a call to consciousness and to action, Invincible  is a powerful, informative, and inspiring account of a history that deserves to be better known.


A boy smiling radiantlyBlack Boy Joy

by B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin A. Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters

Black boy joy is . . . 

Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice — and your rhymes — during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody's watching.

And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Sparkle Moore smiling calmly, surrounded by a wig, a hairbrush, and a mirrorSparkle

by Lakita Wilson

Twelve-year-old Sparkle Moore is destined to be a star. But at the onset of middle school, Sparkle begins to lose her hair — first her lashes, then her eyebrows — and then small, circular bald spots start to appear on various sections of her head. It's hard enough having to go to school and hide her diagnosis of alopecia from her friends, all while they are trying out for big roles in the school play, but Sparkle quickly has to deal with weird medications, itchy wigs, and lost opportunities that her mom has wrangled, including a big shampoo commercial.

Despite everything that she might do to hide what's happening, and with all her work keeping her friends together, when Sparkle's secrets start coming to the surface, she has to come to terms with the changes in her life and show her classmates and her family what she can do with or without her hair.


Lawrence, concentrating hard, with a chess set in front of himNot an Easy Win

Chrystal D. Giles

Nothing has gone right for twelve-year-old Lawrence since his pop went away, but after getting expelled from school for fighting, he discovers the world of chess — and things begin to change.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Kevin, from April 1968, facing Gibran, from September 1995All You Have to Do

by Autumn Allen

In All You Have to Do,  two young Black men attend prestigious schools nearly thirty years apart, and yet both navigate similar forms of insidious racism. In April 1968, in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, Kevin joins a protest that shuts down his Ivy League campus . . . In September 1995, amid controversy over the Million Man March, Gibran challenges the "see no color" hypocrisy of his distinguished New England prep school . . . 

As the two students whose lives overlap in powerful ways risk losing the opportunities that their parents worked hard to provide, they move closer to discovering who they want to be instead of accepting as fact who society and family tell them they are.


A big crowd of young women wearing their hair in various waysInheritance: A Visual Poem

by Elizabeth Acevedo, illustrations by Andrea Pippins

They tell me to "fix" my hair.
And by fix, they mean straighten, they mean whiten;
but how do you fix this shipwrecked
history of hair?

In her most famous spoken-word poem, Elizabeth Acevedo, author of the novel-in-verse The Poet X,  embraces all the complexities of Black hair and Afro-Latinidad — the history, pain, pride, and powerful love of the inheritance.


Books in Spanish

A fountain pen writing on a heartCartas de amor de 0 a 10

de Susie Morgenstern (por los grados 6–8)

Ernest tiene diez años: diez años de aburrimiento y soledad, si no fuera por su querida abuela y por la bondadosa Herminia. Hasta que un día llega a clase una nueva compañera, Victoria. Con ella llegan las novedades, llega el amor, un poco de locura y mucha emoción. Con la ayuda de Victoria, Ernest romperá finalmente su silencio escribiendo una carta que cambiará su vida para siempre. 


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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