Michelle's Picks

Michelle works as a bookseller in the Kids Department and wherever else she’s needed. She’s a NC native, NCSU grad, and former semiconductor engineer who’s most content when she’s devouring the latest in middle grade and young adult fiction. Michelle loves writing short fiction, novels, and nonfiction for tweens and teens, as well as blogging/tweeting about books and writing along with several other children’s authors at The Winged Pen. It’s always a good day when she’s putting great books in excited young readers’ hands.

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The Poet X Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - March 6th, 2018

Unputdownable! 15yo Xiomara longs for the simple relationship she had with her mother before she became a curvy Afro-Latina, turning neighborhood boys’ heads despite wanting to be invisible to them. Burdened by her immigrant Catholic mother’s excessive devoutness, there’s no room for Xiomara to question her faith or wonder how she feels about Aman, a boy who encourages her interest in writing poetry & dubs her Poet X. Gutsy, yet vulnerable Xiomara finds her voice & tells her powerful truth in this stirring free verse story about becoming comfortable with oneself, finding your inner power, and learning how to wield it. Acevedo makes every word count. Her lovely metaphors adds dramatic dimension to the roller coaster ride of emotions. 

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years Cover Image
By Stacy McAnulty, David Litchfield (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250108081
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt & Company - October 24th, 2017

Earth, whose favorite thing to do is spin, finally gets to tell us her story. Fun and lovely illustrations accompany Earth's tale of what's been going on for the past 4.54 billions years!

Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished Cover Image
By Camille Andros, Brianne Farley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544785830
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - March 14th, 2017

Charlotte is a serious scientist who has all the right equipment: protective glasses, a lab coat, a clipboard, and a magnifying glass. What she doesn’t have is space. She has so many brothers and sisters that she is too squished to work on her experiments! Can science solve her problem? Charlotte is a funny little bunny, and this introduction to the scientific method will inspire curious kids. Fun reading for ages 4+!

In Your Hands Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481462938
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2017

A young mother shares her dreams for her newborn son. It starts with tender kisses and snuggles, but takes on an urgency when she expresses fears about her son's safety and opportunities as he grows into a black man. NC author Weatherford's tender words along with Caldecott Honor winner Pinkey's luminous artwork makes this a wonderful gift.

Rock Star #1 (Jada Jones #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780448487519
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Workshop - September 19th, 2017

Not only does rock enthusiast Jada “rock” science, but she “rocks” friendships too!

Fun, fast-paced, easy-to-read story about finding ways to fit in. Jada is the friend we all want while growing up. And she loves science!


This Is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770914
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 24th, 2017

Gold-star father Khizr Khan breaks The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Amendments down for us in bite-sized chunks, highlighting what makes them each so important.


Great reference for home and school libraries to help young patriots understand the privilege of being American and the tremendous foresight Our Nation's founders used in creating the documents that define our country, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Perfect for ages 10+.


The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312659301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - January 4th, 2011

A wondrous coming-of-age novel about an 11-year-old girl and her grandfather studying nature's bounty together. Though it's set in 1899, it has a timeless feel. Lovely for reading together and a Newbery honor book. Great for ages 8+.

Refugee Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545880831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - July 25th, 2017

Three gutsy protagonist, three continents, three different time periods. Refugee tells the struggles of those who have and who continue to flee areas where oppression, hunger, and violence reign for the chance to have the life so many of us take for granted. An enlightening book that brings a heartfelt perspective to the immigration issues being faced in today's world. For ages 10+.


Fun intro to science fiction. Easy to read in one delicious gulp. Great for reluctant readers, ages 8+.


Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears Cover Image
ISBN: 9780440412427
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - November 9th, 1999

Nine-year old Soft Rain’s inspiring story illuminates an important part of our American history, one that should not be forgotten–the Cherokee Trail of Tears. The author’s voice is perfect for helping young readers, ages 8+, understand the impact of being torn from your family and forced to relocate.

When You Reach Me (Yearling Newbery) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375850868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - December 28th, 2010

Sixth-grade Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes. Whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Every notes brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Mystery and science fiction, this Newbery-award winner has it all! One of my favorite books of all time for ages 8+.

Wish Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250144058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish Farrar Straus Giroux - August 29th, 2017

A scrawny stray dog shows 11-year-old Charlie Reese there's more than one way to make our dreams and wishes come true. Heart-achingly sweet story set in North Carolina's Blue Ridge mountains, perfect for dog lovers ages 8+.

The Ethan I Was Before Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062433381
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - January 24th, 2017

There's a gray area between lying and storytelling. But sometimes we lie for very good reasons. A beautifully-written mystery about loss and grief that reminds us the world takes things away from us, but it also brings us second chances and new friends. Great for ages 9+.

Dear Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101939499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - October 17th, 2017

Black Yale-bound graduating senior Justyce McAllister’s life takes on a new harsh reality when he’s roughed up by a policeman while innocently helping a friend. Justyce, feeling powerless to escape systemic racism, writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Are Dr. King’s teachings still relevant? Like The Hate U Give, this story thoughtfully encourages dialogue about the challenges of racial issues in America. A must-read for ages 13+. 

Long Way Down Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481438254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - October 24th, 2017

Fifteen-year-old Will’s older brother Shawn was just murdered. Will hops on an elevator bent on revenge, but on each floor a new passenger gets on, a passenger who is in some way connected to Shawn. 7 floors with 6 visitors, BRILLIANT free-verse story. Every word precisely chosen to grab your heart and mess with your head. A book to be shared and talked about for ages 13+.

Nyxia (Nyxia Triad) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399556791
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2017

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune. For ages 13+.

The Sun Is Also a Star Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553496680
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - November 1st, 2016

This love story foiled by deportation reminds us of the difficulties that children of immigrants face and the importance of living your dreams instead of the dreams others have for you. As with Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything, this story is a love letter to the universe, the oceans, atomic matter, chaos, and all that exists in between. For ages 14+.