May 2022: tee
tee is our Children's Department's resident YA specialist who can almost always be identified by their loud leggings and dorky t-shirts. They're passionate about 80s pop, rescue dogs, sushi, and queer books. If they spot you carrying a book they enjoyed, they will likely verbally assault you with enthusiasm. Don't be frightened, they mean it with love.
From tee: So, you're an adult. Don't worry, it's not your fault. I won't hold it against you (well, maybe a little bit). Just because you're a grown-up doesn't mean you can't read kids’ books. Here are ten books written for younger audiences that I think adults should read too!
Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed (Little Brown). Dang. This book right here is powerful. Follow Safiya as she investigates the murder of a young boy that no one seems to miss while grappling with a growing white supremacist sect within her Chicago high school. Interspersed with news articles and interviews, this novel deals with important issues that I have yet to see addressed in teen fiction.
A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (Margaret Ferguson Books). Sometimes you just want a sweet story about three orphans trying to trick a family into adopting them. William, Edmund, and Anna are a bookish bunch trying to navigate life as evacuee children in the English countryside during World War II. This novel is the epitome of heartwarming. The perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Little Brown). A delightful middle grade fantasy filled with high-stakes competition, quirky characters, and a richly imagined world. This is the perfect book to break you out of a reading slump!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer+Bray). I almost didn't include this because it seems obvious, but I think it's often overlooked because it's so obvious? Everyone's heard of it, everyone knows it's great, but have you actually read it? I have—three times—and it unfortunately seems to become more and more relevant with each reading.
The List of Unspeakable Fears by J. Kasper Kramer (Atheneum). When I saw there was a middle grade book with Typhoid Mary coming out, I knew I had to read it. What I didn't expect was to learn about was the PS General Slocum, a steamboat that caught fire in New York City's East River, killing nearly all the inhabitants of Little Germany. This touching and mysterious ghost story deals with grief, anxiety, perseverance in a mature but accessible way.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinnelli (Ember). I first read this book for school in eighth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Edwards, read it aloud to us a little bit every day while we ate goldfish crackers and decompressed after our math and science classes. I have since read it three more times, and each time it evokes the calm of curling up with some goldfish crackers, the joy of dancing in the rain, and the self-love of one of the sweetest novels I've ever read.
The Tea Dragon Society by K. O'Neill (Oni Press). Picture it: You're out on the patio with a beverage of your choice (mine is coffee with a generous helping of International Delight Cold Stone sweet cream coffee creamer), surrounded by plants, with a warm dog at your feet and K. O'Neil's gorgeous book in front of you. This was the perfectly cozy environment when I first read this delightful graphic novel and it is exactly the vibe that this book evokes.
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (Salaam Reads/S&S). This is what I love in historical fiction:
- a historical event I previously knew nothing about (bonus points if it takes place somewhere I also know nothing about)
- characters that are so detailed and dynamic that they feel like people I know telling me about their lives
- and just enough information to get me curious so I then research the historical moment further
That's precisely what I got from The Weight of Our Sky! Learn about the Malaysian race riots—known simply as the 13 May Incident—through the perspective of Melati, a sixteen-year-old Malay girl struggling with OCD.
Housecat Trouble by Mason Dickerson (Random House). Funny, adorable, and heartwarming. This charming graphic novel tells the story of Buster, a timid housecat, tasked with ridding his home of the demons that are causing his human's depression. This is the perfect book for whenever you need a quick pick-me-up and I look forward to Buster's upcoming adventures.
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Henry Holt). A deeply moving mystery following Daunis Firekeeper as she investigates a mysterious drug that is plaguing her Ojibwe community. It grapples with the idea of which crimes are investigated and its victims mourned versus which ones are ignored. Teens and grown-ups alike have a lot to learn from this one, there's a reason it won all the awards.
This powerful, gripping thriller from a New York Times bestselling author shows the insidious nature of racism, the terrible costs of unearthing hidden truths—and the undeniable power of hope.
Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist.
A heartwarming story about three siblings, evacuated from London to live in the countryside, looking for a permanent home--and a new meaning for family.
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world--but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.
8 starred reviews · Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best · William C. Morris Award Winner · National Book Award Longlist · Printz Honor Book · Coretta Scott King Honor Book · #1 New York Times Bestseller!
"Absolutely riveting!" —Jason Reynolds
The War That Saved My Life meets Coraline in this “deliciously creepy” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) middle grade historical novel following an anxious young girl learning to face her fears—and her ghosts—against the backdrop of the typhoid epidemic.
Essie O’Neill is afraid of everything.
ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A modern-day classic from Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli, this beloved celebration of individuality is now an original movie on Disney+!
And don't miss the author's highly anticipated new novel, Dead Wednesday!
Available for the first time in paperback, The Tea Dragon Society is the two-time Eisner Award-winning gentle fantasy that follows the story of a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
Winner of the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids
Winner of the 2018
A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding, “stunning” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) debut.
Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old.
When a scaredy-housecat is home alone for the first time, he and his furry friends are forced to face monsters and their fears on a quest to save the day. This middle-grade graphic novel series is filled with silly jokes, adventure, and a whole lot of fun.
One house, three cats, and a lot of trouble!
A PRINTZ MEDAL WINNER!
A MORRIS AWARD WINNER!
AN AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH LITERATURE AWARD YA HONOR BOOK!
A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB YA PICK
An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground.
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