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January 2022 Selections


The Stars Will Still Shine

by Cynthia Rylant, illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke

This comforting book is one that children and parents will want to return to when outside conflicts seem overwhelming. Rejoicing in the goodness of daily life, Cynthia Rylant's gentle verse becomes more powerful with each reading. Like a prayer, this is soothing at bedtime and is a meaningful gift for anyone facing a crisis or starting anew.


Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth/Aquí estamos: notas para vivir en el planeta tierra

by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers offers a rare personal look inside his own hopes and wishes for his child — and in doing so gives children and parents everywhere a gently sweet and humorous missive about our world and those who call it home.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A Year of Everyday Wonders

by Cheryl B. Klein, illustrations by Qin Leng

With each new year come countless little wonders. From the highs — first snowfall, first new umbrella — to the lows — first missed bus, first lost umbrella — every year older means another cycle of everyday experiences. In their clever, playful, observant picture book, Cheryl B. Klein and Qin Leng explore many truths of childhood through a calendar year of small moments that, all together, comprise what it is to be a kid.


The Heart of Mi Familia

by Carrie Lara, illustrations by Christine Battuz

Follow a young girl as she works with her abuela  and her grandma to create a wonderful birthday present for her brother that celebrates her multicultural family and honors both sides and generations of her family.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World

by Marilyn Singer, illustrations by Susan L. Roth

Happy New Year . . . in July!

In many places around the globe, the new year starts on January 1. But not everywhere! This versatile collection of engaging original poems showcases New Year celebrations throughout the year and around the world.


Return to Sender/Devolver al remitente

by Julia Alvarez

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn't sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life? Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty that they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Omar Rising

by Aisha Saeed

Omar knows that his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a game changer, providing him — the son of a servant — with an opportunity to improve his station in life. He can't wait to experience all that the school has to offer, but when he arrives, his hopes are dashed. First-year scholarship students aren't allowed to join clubs or teams — and not only that, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. With the help of his tight-knit new group of friends — and with the threat of expulsion looming over him — he sets out to do what seems impossible: Change a rigged system.


The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas/Cuentos sagrados de América

by Maria Garcia Esperón, illustrations by Amanda Mijangos, translation by David Bowles

Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged. The answers lay in their sacred stories.


High School (Grades 9–12)

The Firekeeper's Daughter

by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi's hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses that the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.


The Crossroads/La encrucijada

by Alexandra Diaz

After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can't be that bad. Except that it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles even with the idea of calling this strange place "home." His real home is with his parents, abuela,  and the rest of the family, not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself — a boy from Guatemala.

When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen.


Books in Spanish

Daniela y las chicas pirata/Daniela and the Pirate Girls (ages 5–9)

de Susana Isern, ilustraciones de Gómez

En esta nueva aventura, Daniela y sus compañeros se encuentran incapaces de salvar el dia... ¡Porque otros piratas se les adelantaron! Cuando la noticia de las Pirañas Intrépidas, un grupo de chicas piratas, llega a sus oídos, ¡Daniela zarpa para encontrarlas!


El fabuloso mundo de las letras (El Barco de Vapor Roja) (ages 10–12)

de Jordi Sierra i Fabra

Virgilio odiaba leer. Pero un día no tuvo más remedio que hacerlo. Por supuesto, le obligaron del colegio. No había vuelta de hoja. Y, para colmo, tuvo que conocer al escritor. ¡Cómo iba a saber que ese día seria el principio de su nueva vida! Hay libros que son la entrada a un mundo fantástico. Solo hay que saber encontrarlos.


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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