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July 2023 Selections


Max looking up at the moon and thinking of his grandpaMax and the Tag-Along Moon

by Floyd Cooper

Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa's house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. Max watches as the moon tags along. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, he worries that it didn't follow him home after all. Where did the moon go — and what about Grandpa's promise?


Llewellyn sitting in the middle of the woods with three jars into which he tucks his feelingsOut of a Jar

by Deborah Marcero 

Llewellyn does not like to feel afraid or sad, angry, lonely, or embarrassed. So he comes up with a brilliant plan: he tucks each of his feelings into jars and hides them away where they won't bother him anymore. But when he gets into trouble in class, Llewellyn finds that he needs to put away excitement, too. And when joy is quickly followed by disappointment, he decides to get rid of joy as well. After a while, Llewellyn walks around not feeling much of anything at all. And what happens when his emotions refuse to be bottled up any longer?


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A happy little girl smiling at the readerSomething Beautiful

by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illustrations by Chris K. Soentpiet

Can a city be beautiful if there is trash in the streets and graffiti on the walls? A little girl finds out when her teacher writes the word "beautiful" on the blackboard and the girl decides to look for beauty in her neighborhood.

There's the "beautiful" fried fish sandwich at Miss Delphine's diner, Mr. Lee's "beautiful" fruit store, and the "beautiful" smooth stone that Old Mr. Sims always carries. The girl soon understands that "beautiful" means "when you have it, your heart is happy."


A girl in a tropical setting surrounded by pineapples, birds, and flowersMagic: Once Upon a Faraway Land

by Mirelle Ortega

Growing up on a pineapple farm in Mexico, a girl discovers the true meaning of the word "magic" in this truly magical picture book about change and transformation of all kinds — what we can't control, such as natural disasters and loss, and what we can. Magic can transform dirt into pineapples, seeds into trees, wool into blankets, words into stories, blank pages into pictures, and stories into books.


Intermediate (grades 3–5)

A crowded cityscape of concrete bridges, skyscrapers, and highwaysConcrete from the Ground Up

by Larissa Theule, illustrations by Steve Light

From a lowly mixture of stone, sand, water, and cement have sprung sidewalks, streets, and skyscrapers, sturdy lighthouses and magnificent palaces, long bridges and massive dams. In ancient building practices, in modern engineering, and in the architecture of the future, humble concrete plays a mighty role in the creation of the human-made world. Brimming with facts and spiced with clever running narrative in the form of repartee-filled speech bubbles, Concrete from the Ground Up  is as intimate and entertaining as it is informative and visually sweeping.


A young Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, who later became an archbishop, looking toward heavenTelegrams to Heaven: The Childhood of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero

by René Colato Laínez, illustrations by Pixote Hunt

Telegrams to Heaven  recounts the moving childhood of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, who from an early age discovers the candor, light, and power of the word, which he uses to pray and to write poetry, sending telegrams to heaven from his heart. Renowned Salvadoran writer René Colato Laínez has written a touching story about the great Salvadoran prophet who dreamed from his childhood of being a priest, becoming not only a priest but also a bishop, an archbishop, and the great orator of his country. His word remains for the Salvadoran people and the world a prayer, a poem, a sweet telegram that he continues to send in the name of his people to the heart of heaven.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Trev, in adjacent images, using his hands for boxing and for creating artHands 

by Torrey Maldonado

Trev would do anything to protect his mom and sisters, especially from his stepdad. But his stepdad's return stresses Trev — because when he left, he threatened Trev's mom. Rather than live scared, Trev takes matters into his own hands, literally. He starts learning to box to handle his stepdad. But everyone isn't a fan of his plan because Trev is a talented artist, and his hands could actually help him build a better future. And everyone's letting him know. But their advice for some distant future feels useless in his reality right now. Ultimately, Trev knows that his future is in his hands, and his hands are his own, and he has to choose how to use them.


Khosru, also called Daniel, sitting on the roof of his house as a colorful tornado swirls behind himEverything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story)

by Daniel Nayeri

"A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee," Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family's history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel's story of how they became refugees — starting with his mother's vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane to anywhere. "Anywhere" becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy and then finally asylum in the United States. Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore.


High School (Grades 9–12)

Shelbi and Andy looking intently into each other's eyesChaos Theory

by Nic Stone

Scars exist to remind us of what we have survived.

Since Shelbi enrolled at Windward Academy as a senior and won't be there very long, she hasn't bothered making friends. What her classmates don't know about her can't be used to
                                                                      hurt her — you know, like it did at her last school.
Andy Criddle is not okay. At all.
He's had far too much to drink.
Again. Which is bad.
And things are about to get worse.

When Shelbi sees Andy at his lowest, she can relate. So she doesn't resist reaching out. And there's no doubt that their connection has them both seeing stars . . . but the closer they get, the more the past threatens to pull their universes apart.


Raquel looking determined as she rides in a subway car in the BronxBurn Down, Rise Up

by Vincent Tirado

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police look only for the white kids. But when the cousin of her crush Charlize goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention — especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.

Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York's past. If the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart — or die trying.


Books in Spanish

A magnificent but wounded dragon against a flame-filled skyEl despertar de los dragones (Reyes y hechiceros — libro 1) (ages 12–18)

de Morgan Rice

Kyra, de 15 años, sueña con convertirse en un afamado guerrero al igual que su padre, aunque es la única chica en una fortaleza de hombres. Mientras batalla para entender sus habilidades especiales, su misterioso poder interior, se da cuenta que es diferente a los demás. Pero le han escondido un secreto acerca de su nacimiento y la profecía que la envuelve, dejándola sin saber quién es realmente.

Cuando Kyra cumple la edad y el señor local viene para llevársela, su padre quiere casarla para salvarla. Pero Kyra se niega y emprende un viaje por su cuenta hacia un peligroso bosque donde encuentra a un dragón herido; desatando una serie de eventos que cambiarán al reino para siempre.


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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