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September 2023 Selections


A young girl holding two Chinese lanterns with the moon in the night sky behind herThanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

by Grace Lin

This simple and satisfying story follows a Chinese American family as they celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Each member of the family lends a hand as they prepare a moonlit picnic with mooncakes, pomelos, cups of tea, and colorful lanterns. And everyone sends thanks and a secret wish up to the moon.


Six smiling children standing in a circle and touching a big globe of the worldWe Are All Connected

by Gabi Garcia, illustrations by Natalia Jimenez Osorio

We all live on one blue dot spinning in space. We are all a part of one human race.

We have hopes and dreams and love in our hearts. We are stronger together than we are apart.

We Are All Connected  reminds us that it is up to all of us to care for each other and the earth. When we celebrate differences, stand up for each other, and work together, the world is a better place.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Three smiling crayons -- green, blue, and black -- standing near a tape dispenserThe Crayons Go Back to School

by Drew Daywalt, illustrations by Oliver Jeffers

The crayons are getting ready to go back to school, and each crayon has a subject that they are looking forward to the most. They are also ready to meet new friends . . . and let loose during their very favorite time of day: art class! A humorous, small hardcover back-to-school story from everyone's favorite school supplies.


A young boy looking sadly out the back window of a car that has luggage strapped to the roof as his parents driveStill Dreaming

by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez, illustrations by Magdalena Mora

Faced with the prospect of being separated from each other, a young boy and his family make the difficult decision to leave their home and begin a journey filled with uncertainty. On the road, they meet other people like them: Families with deep roots tied to the land. Others who helped to build the railroads. Shop owners and factory workers. Each with similar hopes and dreams.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

The 12-year-old Nic Blake, with a cute little pet hellhound on her shoulder, near her two friendsNic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy

by Angie Thomas

All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launches Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool that she has never heard of . . . to save her father from imprisonment for a crime that she refuses to believe he committed.


Knox Wei-Evans, dressed in a dragon suit, sitting on the sidewalk with two of his classmates and their bicycles nearbyNew from Here

by Kelly Yang

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox Wei-Evans's mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California, where they think they will be safe. Suddenly, Knox has two days to prepare for an international move — and to prepare for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work.

At his new school in California, Knox struggles with being the new kid. His classmates think that because he's from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom just got fired and is panicking over the loss of health insurance, and Dad doesn't even know when he'll see them again since the flights have been canceled. And everyone struggles with Knox's blurting-things-out problem.

As racism skyrockets during COVID-19, Knox tries to stand up to hate while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you are feared; can you protect if you are new? And how do you keep a family together when you are oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness.


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Sisters Lulu and Serena walking, surrounded by multicolored origami birds flying around themCarry Me Home

by Janet Fox

Twelve-year-old Lulu and her youngest sister, Serena, have a secret. As Daddy always says, "It's best if we keep it to ourselves," so they have. But hiding your past is one thing. Hiding where you live — and that your Daddy has gone missing — is harder. 

At first, Lulu isn't worried. Daddy has gone away once before and he came back. But as the days add up with no sign of Daddy, Lulu struggles to take care of the responsibilities that they used to manage as a family.

Lulu knows that all it takes is one slip-up for their secret to come spilling out, for Lulu and Serena to be separated, and for the good things that have been happening in school to be lost.

But family is all around us, and Lulu must learn to trust her new friends and community to save those she loves and to finally find her true home.


Pequeña, a teenage girl, looks back anxiously as she and her two friends escape from Guatemala to the U.S.We Are Not from Here

by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Pulga has his dreams. Chico has his grief. Pequeña has her pride. And these three teens have one another. But the town that they have grown up in is dangerous. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows that they have no choice but to run — from their country, from their families, from their beloved home. Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life. In this striking portrait of lives torn apart, the plight of migrants at the U.S. southern border is brought to light through poignant, vivid storytelling. It is an epic journey of danger, resilience, heartache, and hope.


High School (Grades 9–12)

A frustrated-looking Christine surrounded by a cat, a cup, flowers, and an airplane¡Ay, Mija! My Bilingual Summer in Mexico (A Graphic Novel)

by Christine Suggs

Sixteen-year-old Christine takes their first solo trip to Mexico to spend with family. At first, Christine struggles to connect with family that they don't yet share a language with. Seeing the places where their mom grew up — the school she went to, the café where she had her first date with their father — Christine becomes more and more aware of the generational differences in their family.

Soon Christine settles into life in Mexico, eating pan dulce, drawing what they see, and growing more comfortable with Spanish. But when Mom joins their trip, Christine's two worlds collide. They feel homesick for Texas, struggle against traditions, and miss being able to speak to their mom without translating. Eventually, through exploring the impacts of colonialism in both Mexico and themselves, they find their place in their family and start to feel comfortable with their mixed identity.


Celine and Brad wearing backpacks while on a survival course in the woodsHighly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

by Talia Hibbert

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He's a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy theory–obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption — yet she's still not cool enough for the popular kids' table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that's how Celine sees it.)

These days, there is nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she's surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?


Books in Spanish

Emma Tenayuca and her grandfather looking out over a field where Mexican American workers are shelling pecans¡No es justo! La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia (para edades 5–8)

de Carmen Tafolla y Sharyll Tenayuca, ilustraciones de Terry Ybáñez

Una representación vívida de las unjusticias con las que se encuentra una joven mexicano-americana en San Antonio en las décadas de 1920 y 1930, este libro cuenta la historia verdadera de Emma Tenayuca. Emma aprende a preocuparse por la probreza y el hambre durante una época cuando muchos mexicano-americanos morían de inanición y trabajaban horas excesivamente largas por sueldos exiguos en las fábricas de pacana. A través de percepción perspicaz, un buen corazón y acción personal, Emma empieza a involucrarse y al final, a los 21 años, lleva a 12.000 trabajadores a tomar acción por la primera vez en la historia de la lucha mexicano-americana por la justicia. El relato de Emma Tenayuca sirve de modelo para tanto los jóvenes como los adultos sobre el valor, la compasión y el papel que puede desempeñar quienquiera en hacer más justo el mundo.


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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