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Great Books for Kids

Kids2

Every kids' life should be filled with great books

Great Books for Kids is Cuyahoga County Public Library's annual list of the best books for kids of all ages. We think these books would make great holiday gifts, but they are also available to borrow from our collection.

Titles are organized in age-appropriate groupings from books to read to babies to titles for teens. Click the arrow buttons to expand and reveal each list. Use the Print List buttons to print any list.

  • A Is for Anemone

    by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd

    Ages 0-2

    Vibrant and colorful illustrations by Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers bring the natural wonder of the Pacific Northwest to life.

    Request

    Birds

    by Ruth A. Musgrave

    Ages 0 - 2

    This bird-centric board book pairs bright photographs with simple text. Bonus bird facts for older kids (or parents) are also included.

    Request

    Cat’s First Baby

    by Natalie Nelson

    Ages 0 - 2

    The relatable and silly story is told through the cat's eyes as it compares itself to the baby.

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    Families Grow

    by Dan Saks; illustrated by Brooke Smart

    Ages 0 - 2

    A perfect book for expectant families to introduce the topic to their little ones.

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    Give Me a Snickle!

    by Alisha Sevigny

    Ages 0 - 2

    A book filled with sweet photographs of babies and fun word play.

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    Hi-Five Farm!

    by Ross Burach

    Ages 0 - 2

    Perfect for fans of the Book-O-Masks, this interactive book helps young readers practice their high-five skills.

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    How to Dress a Dinosaur

    by Robin Currie; illustrated by Alycia Pace

    Ages 0 - 2

    A clever mom finds a unique way to help her child get dressed and ready when he decides to become a dinosaur!

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    I'm Still Up!

    by Antoinette Portis

    Ages 0 - 2

    A recognizable depiction of a young child’s nighttime routine when they think they aren't sleepy.

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    On Baba's Back

    by Marianne Dubuc

    Ages 0 - 2

    A celebration of a baby’s growing independence.

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    Who Dug This Hole?

    by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Loris Lora

    Ages 0 - 2

    This colorfully illustrated lift-the-flap book gives a peek inside holes and burrows dug by wild animals.

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    Wonderful Babies

    by Emily Winfield Martin

    Ages 0 - 2

    A gentle introduction to emotions with simple text and sweet illustrations of babies.

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    Woodland Dance!

    by Sandra Boynton

    Ages 0 - 2

    Woodland creatures hear a fox's bugle call and celebrate the night with a moonlit dance.

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    Bathe the Cat

    by Alice McGinty; illustrated by David Roberts

    Ages 3 - 5

    Grandma is on her way and the family needs to get through the to-do list ASAP!

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    The Blur

    by Minh Lê; illustrated by Dan Santat

    Ages 3 - 5

    Time flies when you are the parents of a baby with superhero powers!

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    Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem / La canción del cambio

    by Amanda Gorman; illustrated by Loren Long

    Ages 3 - 5

    Poet Amanda Gorman creates a powerful and lyrical book that shines when read aloud.

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    Fluffy McWhiskers: Cuteness Explosion

    by Stephen W. Martin; illustrated by Dan Tavis

    Ages 3 - 5

    This book will have you rolling on the floor laughing and exploding with cuteness overload.

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    Group Hug

    by Jean Reidy; illustrated by Joey Chou

    Ages 3 - 5

    This sweet picture book is a great read alike for fans of the book Bear Came Along.

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    I Say Please and Thank You

    by Rachel Isadora & Robie Rogge; illustrated by Rachel Isadora

    Ages 3 - 5

    Discover a child-friendly introduction to etiquette.

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    I'm Hungry! / Tengo Hambre!

    by Angela Dominguez

    Ages 3 - 5

    This bright and colorful bilingual picture book reminds us how good friends take care of each other.

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    It Fell from the Sky

    by Terry Fan & Eric Fan

    Ages 3 - 5

    A garden full of insects is awestruck by a glass marble that lands in the grass

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    Kunoichi Bunny

    Sara Cassidy; illustrated by Brayden Sato

    Ages 3 - 5

    This wordless picture book is a great companion for the classic favorite Knuffle Bunny.

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    Math Play!

    Linda Dauksas & Jeanne White

    Ages 3 - 5

    Children will be so absorbed in the fun-filled activities that they won’t even know they’re learning!

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    The Me I Choose to Be

    Natasha Tarpley; illustrated by Regis & Kahran Bethencourt

    Ages 3 - 5

    The photos in this book take the reader through the many possibilities they could be, from joyful to a superhero.

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    Soomi's Sweater / Sumiui sae seuweteo

    Susie Oh

    Ages 3 - 5

    Soomi learns the importance of patience after ripping a sweater.

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    Thankful

    Elaine Vickers; illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

    Ages 3 - 5

    This quiet book is a perfect bedtime story for snuggling up and reading together.

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  • The Bug Club

    by Elise Gravel

    Ages 6-7

    Readers will be enthralled by this book’s cartoon graphics and fun facts about bugs.

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    Cornbread & Poppy

    by Matthew Cordell

    Ages 6 - 7

    Cornbread and Poppy are two mouse friends who could not be more opposite when it comes to planning ahead!

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    Drive It! Fix It!

    by Larry Dane Brimner; illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

    Ages 6 - 7

    This book will inspire and build confidence for early readers.

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    Even Robots Aren't Perfect!

    by Jan Thomas

    Ages 6 - 7

    Red and Blue Robot have the perfect friendship—or do they?

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    The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale

    by Charly Palmer

    Ages 6 - 7

    With striking artwork and a story of neighborhood friendships and pickup basketball games, this tall tale is a fun story.

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    My Big Book of Outdoors

    by Tim Hopgood

    Ages 6 - 7

    A celebration of the joy of the outdoors throughout the seasons.

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    Negative Cat

    by Sophie Blackall

    Ages 6 - 7

    Negative Cat isn't quite the cuddly pet this family expected.

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    Photo Ark ABC: An Animal Alphabet in Poetry and Pictures

    by Debbie Levy; photographs by Joel Sartore

    Ages 6 - 7

    Striking wildlife photography meets varying poetry styles in this unique alphabet/animal conservation book.

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    Pill Bug Does Not Need Anybody

    by Jonathan Fenske

    Ages 6 - 7

    In this hilarious early reader, the illustrations and simple text will help the newest of readers gain confidence.

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    The Shape of Home

    by Rashin Kheiriyeh

    Ages 6 - 7

    This book is a great introduction to geography and culture inclusivity.

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    Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister?

    by Chitra Soundar; illustrated by Jen Khatun

    Ages 6 - 7

    Sona Sharma’s life is changing with the impending arrival of her new baby brother or sister.

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    XO, Exoplanet

    by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Jorge Lacera

    Ages 6 - 7

    This is a great book for children who love the solar system.

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    The Year We Learned to Fly / El año en que aprendimos a volar

    by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by Rafael López

    Ages 6 - 7

    A beautifully illustrated story of a young girl and her brother learning from their grandmother how to fly.

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    The Aquanaut

    by Dan Santat

    Ages 8 - 9

    A band of sea creatures seek out Aqualand while looking for a place safer than the ocean to call home.

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    Because of You, John Lewis: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

    by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Keith Henry Brown

    Ages 8 - 9

    Young Tybre Faw discovers a hero in Congressman John Lewis.

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    Fairy Tale Science: Explore 25 Classic Tales Through Hands-on Experiments

    by Sarah Albee; illustrated by Bill Robinson

    Ages 8 - 9

    Fairy Tales and science mix in this enchanting, witty book.

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    Just Harriet

    by Elana K. Arnold; illustrated by Dung Ho

    Ages 8 - 9

    Utterly charming and an excellent read-aloud for the whole family.

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    Just Right Jillian

    by Nicole D. Collier

    Ages 8 - 9

    For Jillian, coming out of her shell is easier said than done.

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    Kapaemahu

    by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson; illustrated by Daniel Sousa

    Ages 8 - 9

    This book offers a more complete history behind the Hawaiian legend of The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu.

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    Kicks

    by Van G. Garrett; illustrated by Reggie Brown

    Ages 8 - 9

    Award-winning poet Van G. Garrett creates a melody that speaks to the joyfulness of a new pair of kicks.

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    Love in the Library

    by Maggie Tokuda-Hall; illustrated by Yas Imamura

    Ages 8 - 9

    This age-appropriate picture book explains the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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    Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play Among Figures of Speech

    by Ted Kooser & Connie Wanek; illustrated by Richard Jones

    Ages 8 - 9

    Whimsical poems with personifications, metaphors and the like are framed by the four natural elements.

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    Pink: A Women's March Story

    by Virginia Zimmerman; illustrated by Mary N. DePalma

    Ages 8 - 9

    Grandma is knitting pink hats for the entire family—even dad and big brother are going to the Women's March of 2017!

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    Rescuing Titanic: A True Story of Quiet Bravery in the North Atlantic

    by Flora Delargy

    Ages 8 - 9

    A beautifully illustrated depiction of the night the Titanic sank.

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    We Can: Portraits of Power

    by Tyler Gordon

    Ages 8 - 9

    Talented teen artist Tyler Gordon has painted portraits of icons who inspired him and put them together in this wonderful book.

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  • African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

    by Tracey Baptiste; illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson

    Ages 10-11

    The interweaving of facts and brief on 10 leaders and thinkers historically important in building Africa can be read in small chunks for busy readers.

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    Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds

    by Samira Ahmed

    Ages 10 - 11

    When Amira's little brother Hamza breaks the ancient Box of the Moon during a rare blood blue moon eclipse, a piece of the moon hurtles towards earth.

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    Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

    by Kwame Mbalia

    Ages 10 - 11

    Seventeen authors share short stories that show the reader the joy in the life of each boy featured.

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    Deep Dive into Deep Sea: Exploring the Most Mysterious Levels of the Ocean

    by Tim Flannery; illustrated by Sam Caldwell

    Ages 10 - 11

    Browsable look at the deepest parts of the ocean and the creatures that live there.

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    Fast Pitch

    by Nic Stone

    Ages 10 - 11

    Shenice Lockwood dreams of leading her all-black girls’ softball team to the U12 softball regional championships—but her great-uncle throws her a curveball.

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    The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza

    by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Shawn Harris

    Ages 10 - 11

    The moon is being eaten by an army of rats! There’s no other choice than to activate Project 47—a cat fit for space travel.

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    How to Train Your Dad

    by Gary Paulsen

    Ages 10 - 11

    Carl is determined to change his father’s embarrassing Dumpster-diving, bargain-hunting ways and make him into a normal, fly below-the-radar dad.

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    Maizy Chen's Last Chance

    by Lisa Yee

    Ages 10 - 11

    A great family read-together, the novel becomes a mix of present-day happenings and a look back at the history that shaped a family.

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    On This Day: A History of the World in 366 Days

    by Andrea Mills, Meghaa Gupta, Upamanyu Das, Zaina Budaly & Amanda Wyatt

    Ages 10 - 11

    Find out what happened on every day of the year through history.

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    Paws: Gabby Gets It Together

    by Nathan Fairbairn; illustrated by Michele Assarasakorn

    Ages 10 - 11

    Three friends who aren’t allowed to have dogs at home start a dog walking business.

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    Playing the Cards You're Dealt

    by Varian Johnson

    Ages 10 - 11

    Fifth grader Anthony, better known as Ant, has his sights set on winning the neighborhood’s annual Spades tournament.

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    The Shadow Prince

    by David Anthony Durham

    Ages 10 - 11

    For kids obsessed with gods and goddess stories, this book will introduce them to the Egyptian cast of characters.

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    Stuntboy, in the Meantime

    by Jason Reynolds; illustrated by Raúl the Third

    Ages 10 - 11

    Portico learns imaginative new stunts to handle his frets, a bully and his arguing parents in his castle apartment building.

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    Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis

    by Susan Hood with Greg Dawson

    Ages 12 - 13

    This nonfiction novel-in-verse shares one family’s story, discovered by a grandchild doing a report for school on what it was like when grandma was 13.

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    The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes

    edited by Rick Riordan

    Ages 12 - 13

    The authors from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint offer 10 stories featuring new and old characters.

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    Daughter of the Deep / La última descendiente

    by Rick Riordan; illustrated by Lavanya Naidu

    Ages 12 - 13

    After Ana Dakkar’s elite high school is destroyed by a rival school, she is stunned to learn her summer reading, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, is more fact than fiction.

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    Hardcourt: Stories from 75 Years of the National Basketball Association

    by Fred Bowen; illustrated by James E. Ransome

    Ages 12 - 13

    Celebrate 75 years of the National Basketball Association with the story of its origin, highlights from major events and more.

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    It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit

    by Justin A. Reynolds

    Ages 12 - 13

    What starts as a genius way to get out of doing chores all summer turns into Eddie stuck at home doing laundry in his bathing suit.

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    The Many Meanings of Meilan

    by Andrea Wang

    Ages 12 - 13

    Newbery Honor-winning Wang’s use of different Chinese characters helps show all the pieces that make Meilan who she is.

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    Pony

    by R.J. Palacio

    Ages 12 - 13

    Set in 1860s Ohio, Silas Bird is guided by the mysterious Pony on an unforgettable journey that will change his life.

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    Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs

    by Pam Muñoz Ryan

    Ages 12 - 13

    Soon-to-be-crowned Mexican princess Solimar must protect weak butterflies who in turn give her the gift of prophecy—but not without a price.

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    Stowaway

    by John David Anderson

    Ages 12 - 13

    Fans of Star Wars, in particular Han Solo, will enjoy this space-pirate adventure.

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    Swim Team

    by Johnnie Christmas

    Ages 12 - 13

    When Bree moves to a new town, she is placed into Swim 101—without knowing how to swim.

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    Welcome to Dweeb Club

    by Betsy Uhrig

    Ages 12 - 13

    A humorous read that’s perfect for fans of Gordon Korman.

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    Yummy: A History of Desserts

    by Victoria Grace Elliot

    Ages 12 - 13

    Drawn in the style of Manga, this graphic novel includes the origins, names and evolutions of desserts from ice cream to macarons.

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  • And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems

    by Erica Martin

    Age 14-15

    This powerful collection of history-in-verse explores timely themes of the Civil Rights Movement.

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    Big Boned

    by Jo Watson

    Ages 14 - 15

    This poignant coming-of-age title explores body positivity, first love and what it means to grow new roots in a one-size-fits-all world.

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    Braincomix

    by Jean-François Marmion; illustrated by Monsieur B

    Ages 14 - 15

    An anthropomorphized human brain takes the reader on a journey through the goings on of the most complex structure in the universe.

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    A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix

    by C.B. Lee

    Ages 14 - 15

    Xiang is trying to prove herself to her mother with the help of Anh, a mysterious girl who has spent her life on the sea.

    Request

    Disability Visibility: 17 First-Person Stories for Today: Adapted for Young Adults

    edited by Alice Wong

    Ages 14 - 15

    Life’s challenges, experiences and joys are examined in 17 first-person essays.

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    The Ghosts of Rose Hill

    by R.M. Romero

    Ages 14 - 15

    While tending to a local Jewish cemetery, Ilana Lopez meets a ghost who draws her into the city’s magical spirit world.

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    Girl on Fire

    by Alicia Keys & Andrew Weiner; illustrated by Brittney Williams

    Ages 14 - 15

    A coming-of-age novel about a girl who discovers she has powers and must figure out how to use them.

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    Kings of B'More

    by R. Eric Thomas

    Ages 14 - 15

    Before his best friend Linus moves away, 16-year-old Harrison vows to give him a day of adventure.

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    The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

    by Sonora Reyes

    Ages 14 - 15

    Yamilet struggles with how much of herself she can reveal to her peers, even a new friend she finds absolutely charming.

    Request

    A Short, Hopeful Guide to Climate Change

    by Oisín McGann

    Ages 14 - 15

    This pithy guide explaining our planet’s bleak state (in a hopeful way) is perfect for budding environmentalists and young activists.

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    Skin of the Sea

    by Natasha Bowen

    Ages 14 - 15

    A beautifully told tale of Black mermaids, interspersed with African mythology, romance, and revenge.

    Request

    Sunny G's Series of Rash Decisions

    by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

    Ages 14 - 15

    Sunny doesn’t make rash decisions, but after losing his older brother, he decides to take Goldy's notebook and fill it with rash decisions.

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    All My Rage

    by Sabaa Tahir

    Ages 16 - 18

    When Sal’s mom dies, Sal goes to extreme measures to save his family’s motel and his alcoholic dad, but will his friendship survive his lies?

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    Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again

    by Shakirah Bourne & Dana Alison Levy

    Ages 16 - 18

    This compilation of essays and true stories provides perspective and opportunities for reflection.

    Request

    How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

    by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

    Ages 16 - 18

    This beautifully written romance follows Moon Fuentez through an incredible journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

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    If This Gets Out

    by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich

    Ages 16 - 18

    As the band embarks on a whirlwind European tour, the pressure of fame begins to take a toll on its members.

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    Loveless

    by Alice Oseman

    Ages 16 - 18

    A cute book about love by the author of the popular Heartstopper book series which is now a Netflix show.

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    Margot Mertz Takes It Down

    by Carrie McCrossen & Ian McWethy

    Ages 16 - 18

    Mertz Cleans Your Filth, LLC is dedicated to clearing the internet presence for students and teachers alike—but it’s not always so simple.

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    Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American

    by Laura Gao; illustrated by Weiwei Xu

    Ages 16 - 18

    Debut author/illustrator Laura Gao explores her childhood immigration from Wuhan, China to Texas.

    Request

    No Filter and Other Lies

    by Crystal Maldonado

    Ages 16 - 18

    What is 16-year-old Kat to do when one of the connections she makes as a fake person on social media leads to real feelings?

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    Private Label

    by Kelly Yang

    Ages 16 - 18

    Serene Li dreamed of being a fashion designer like her mom, but when her mom is diagnosed with cancer, she takes over a fashion empire and tries to find her father.

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    Queen of the Tiles

    by Hanna Alkaf

    Ages 16 - 18

    After noticing cryptic posts on her friend Trina’s Instagram, Najwa Bakri works to find out who’s behind her friend’s mysterious death.

    Request

    Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space

    edited by Zoraida Córdova

    Ages 16 - 18

    An engaging, unique and inclusive collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories.

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    Squad

    by Maggie Tokuda-Hall; illustrated by Lisa Sterle

    Ages 16 - 18

    When Becca transfers schools, she’s shocked to find herself in the popular girls’ pack—and even more so by how they spend their full moons.

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    TJ Powar Has Something to Prove

    by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

    Ages 16 - 18

    When TJ becomes the subject of a viral "expectation vs. reality" meme, she questions whether people understand how much effort goes into maintaining her "natural" look.

    Request

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Great Toys for Kids

These librarian-approved toys make great holiday gifts. All of the toys on this list are also available to borrow. Click the image or toy title to learn more about each toy. Toys can be requested and delivered to the branch of your choice for pickup.

SumBlox - Basic

Ages: 3 Years and Up

Category: Math

Pretend Places-Star Diner

Ages: 3 Years and Up

Category: Pretend Play

Ride-On Push and Ride Squirrel

Ages: 1 Year and Up

Category: Active Play

Science Exploration - Light & Sight

Ages: 4 Years and Up

Category: Science and Technology

Magna Tiles-Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Ages: 3 Years and Up

Category: Blocks and Building

Logic Puzzle- Jack and the Beanstalk

Ages: 4 Years and Up

Category: Learning Skills

Giddy Up & Gallop Press and Go

Ages: 1 Year and Up

Category: Baby and Toddler

Pretend Play Kitchen-Washer-Dryer

Ages: 2 Years and Up

Category: Pretend Play

Double-sided Jigsaw Puzzle - Dinosaur Dig

Ages: 6 Years and Up

Category: Puzzles

Little Splashers Tub Time Fun II

Ages: 18 Months and Up

Category: Baby and Toddler

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