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May 2023 Selections


Mr. Tortoise celebrating his birthday with a cake and friends Walrus and ChameleonHow Old Is Mr. Tortoise?

by Dev Petty, illustrations by Ruth Chan

It's Mr. Tortoise's birthday, and he can't wait to eat cake with his friends. But there's a hitch! Mr. Tortoise can't remember how old he is, so his friends don't know how many candles to put on the cake. And they won't stop (or slice) until they figure out the mystery.

After the partygoers work through a variety of possibilities, they find their way to the answer with a simple bit of addition.


A hand holding a magnifying lens to get a better look at a mitigIt's a Mitig!

by Bridget George

It's a Mitig!  guides young readers through the forest and introduces them to Ojibwe words that describe the natural world.

From sunup to sundown, encounter an amik playing with sticks and swimming in the river, a prickly gaag hiding in the bushes, and a big, bark-covered mitig. Using rhyme to help readers predict the Ojibwe pronunciation, It's a Mitig!  makes learning new words fun.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Wong Geng Yeo, later artist Tyrus Wong, with his father on the prow of an ocean-going shipPaper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

by Julie Leung, illustrations by Chris Sasaki

Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo. He traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Not papers for drawing — which he loved to do — but immigration papers to start a new life. Once in America, Tyrus seized every opportunity to make art, eventually enrolling at an art institute in Los Angeles. Working as a janitor at night, he twirled his mop like a paintbrush in his hands. Eventually, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime — and using sparse brushstrokes and soft watercolors, Tyrus created the iconic backgrounds of the movie Bambi.


Jo Jo Makoons Azure standing confidently next to her cat MimiJo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

by Dawn Quigley, illustrations by Tara Audibert

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently from anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend, Mimi (who is a cat), she is worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends any more . . . 


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

Olympic champion Sammy Lee preparing for a platform dive in front of an arena of thousandsSixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

by Paula Yoo, illustrations by Dom Lee

The inspirational true story of Sammy Lee, a Korean American who overcame discrimination to realize both his father's desire that he become a doctor and his own dream of becoming an Olympic champion diver.


Five meerkats standing up and talking about what they want on their pizzaHow Do Meercats Order Pizza? Wild Facts about Animals and the Scientists Who Study Them

by Brooke Barker

Did you know that crows never forget a face? Or that jaguars have a favorite cologne? Have you ever wondered how to pet a yeti crab? Or whether dogs can tell whether you are smiling? And just what is a burrowing bettong?

Meet these weird, wonderful animals and the equally weird and wonderful scientists who study them. From crafting fake poop to slurping up bugs with a straw, there is nothing that these amazing humans won't do to help us learn more about the animals around us. Packed with fascinating facts, this hilarious book from the best-selling creator of Sad Animal Facts  reveals secrets such as why roosters crow and how meerkats make decisions as a group — and how humans can better understand the wild creatures with which we share the planet.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Mei, imagining herself as Auntie Po, next to the giant Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue OxThe Legend of Auntie Po

by Shing Yin Khor

Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan — reinvented as Po Pan Yik (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po  is about who gets to own a myth and about immigrant families and communities holding onto rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in the United States.


Charlie and Violet on bicycles surrounded by mythical monsters and brujasCharlie Hernández and the League of Shadows

by Ryan Calejo

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. Thanks to his abuela's stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls that have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie has always been a pragmatist.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations, he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings that he has spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life.


High School (Grades 9–12)

June Chu sitting on the roof of a car with a violin in the back seat, a cornfield in the backgroundBoys I Know

by Anna Gracia

Boys I Know  is a raw and realistic look into the lives of teen girls, examining the complex overlap between teen sexuality and Asian American identity. It is a sharp and unflinchingly honest journey of self-discovery.

June Chu has always been the "just good enough" girl. But not good enough to meet her mother's unrelenting expectations. While June's mother insists that she follow in her (perfect) sister's footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship, June doesn't see the point in trying too hard. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys "official."

But after her methodically planned scheme explodes, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who is not allergic to the word "girlfriend."

As the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June must decide on whose terms she is going to live her life — even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.


The pre-Columbian Creator Twins -- Feathered Serpent and Dark Heart of Sky -- facing each otherFeathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico

by David Bowles

The stories in Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky  trace the history of the world from its beginnings in the dreams of the dual god Ometeotl to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and the fall of the great city Tenochtitlan. In the course of that history, we learn about the Creator Twins — Feathered Serpent and Dark Heart of Sky — and how they built the world on a leviathan's back; of the shape-shifting nahualli;  and the aluxes,  elfish beings known to help out the occasional wanderer. And, finally, we read Aztec tales about the arrival of the blonde strangers from across the sea — the strangers who seek to upend the rule of Motecuhzoma and destroy the very stories that we are reading.


Books in Spanish

The face of Margarita superimposed over an image of the dove of peaceAire encantado: Dos culturas, dos alas: una memorial (nivel de secundaria)

de Margarita Engle 

Margarita es una niña de dos mundos. Su corazón esta en Cuba, la isla tropical de su mamá. Pero la mayor parte del tiempo, vive en Los Ángeles, sola en la bulliciosa ciudad, soñando con los veranos, en los que puede montarse en un avión y viajar por el aire encantado a su amada isla.

Entonces estalla una revolución en Cuba. Margarita teme por su familia lejana. Cuando la hostilidad entre Cuba y Estados Unidos se desata en la invasión de Bahía de Cochinos, los mundos de Margarita chocan de la peor manera posible. ¿Como es posible que los dos países que ella quiere se odien tanto mutuamente? ¿Y podrá volver a visitar su hermosa isla de nuevo?


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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