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January 2023 Selections


Squirrel's New Year's Resolution

by Pat Miller, illustrations by Kathi Ember

Squirrel knows that New Year's Day is a great day for making resolutions! But what does it mean to make a resolution, anyway? As Squirrel visits friends around the forest, she learns about New Year's resolutions and helps her friends to get started on theirs. If only she can think of a resolution of her very own . . . 


Con Pollo: A Bilingual Playtime Adventure

by Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Lopez, illustrations by Andrea Campos

Meet Pollo, a friendly little chicken who just wants to play all day! Pollo makes any activity more fun. Why just go to the beach when you could go to la playa con Pollo? Do you want to play soccer or play fútbol con Pollo? Whatever you decide to do, you're in for a busy, adventuresome day with your new friend Pollo!


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Flight School

by Lita Judge

Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn't built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! Even if he needs a little help with the technical parts, this penguin is ready to live on the wind.


All Are Welcome

by Alexandra Penfold, illustrations by Suzanne Kaufman

Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated. Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school where everyone is welcomed with open arms . . . a school where students from all backgrounds learn from each other and celebrate each other's traditions . . . a school that shows the world as we will make it to be.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)


by Katherine Applegate, illustrations by Charles Santoso

Odder spends her days off the coast of central California, practicing her underwater acrobatics and spinning the quirky stories for which she is known. She is a fearless daredevil, curious to a fault. But when Odder comes face-to-face with a hungry great white shark, her life takes a dramatic turn — one that will challenge everything she believes about herself and about the humans who hope to save her.


The Ogress and the Orphans

by Kelly Barnhill

Stone-in-the-Glen has fallen on hard times. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises that he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town's problems are. Then one day, a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor's suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know that this can't be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen. But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress's goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

The Last Cuentista

by Donna Barba Higuera

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children — among them Petra and her family — have been chosen to journey to a new planet. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past and, with them, any hope for our future. Can she make the stories live again?


Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa

by Julian Randall

Pilar Violeta "Purp" Ramirez's world is changing. Her Chicago neighborhood is gentrifying, and her chores have doubled since her sister, Lorena, left for college. The only constant is Abuela and Mami's code of silence around her cousin Natasha — who vanished in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship.

When Pilar hears that Lorena’s professor studies such disappearances, she wants to dig deeper into her family's mystery. After snooping around the professor's empty office, she discovers a folder with her cousin’s name on it . . . and gets sucked into the blank page within.

She lands on a mythical island, Zafa, where her cousin is being held captive. Pilar will have to go toe-to-toe with El Cuco if she has any hope of freeing Natasha and getting back home.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens

by Luvvie Ajayi Jones

The world can make you feel powerless to ask for what you need. Add the fact that, often, people might make you feel like your way of showing up is TOO MUCH.

BE TOO MUCH and use it for good. That is what it means to be a troublemaker. This book gives you the permission you might need to be the troublemaker you are or wish to be. As a Rising Troublemaker, you need to know that the beautiful, audacious life you want is on the other side of doing the things that will scare you. This book will help you face and fight your fear and start living that life ASAP.


On the Hook

by Francisco X. Stork

Hector has always minded his own business. He is the chess team champion, helps the family with his job at the grocery, and teaches his little sister to shoot hoops.

Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he's going to kill him. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector's death is hanging over his head every time he leaves the house.


Books in Spanish

Hasta que alguien me escuche:
Una historia sobre las fronteras, la familia y la misión de una niña
(ages 6–10)

de Estela Juárez con Lissette Norman
traducción de Cecilia Molinari
ilustraciones de Teresa Martínez

Cuando la mamá de Estela Juárez está deportada a México, Estela sabe que tiene que hablar por su familia. Contada en las propias palabras de Estela, Hasta que alguien me escuche  es una historia real sobre una niña que encuentra su voz y la usa para generar cambios.


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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