Tag Archives: serious book

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

All of the angst of a child born into slavery and yearning for freedom is poured into Kadir Nelson‘s artwork of Henry, a real person who mailed himself to freedom in a wooden crate. Ellen Levine‘s story weaves fact and … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Love that art, Picture books | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Small As An Elephant

Jack and his mom are camping in Acadia National Park–at least that’s what he thought they were doing. Except when he wakes up the next day, she’s gone. She doesn’t answer her cell phone and the local bartender says he … Continue reading

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Journey to Jo’burg: A South African Story

Set in apartheid South Africa, Journey to Jo’burg chronicles the journey of Naledi and Tiro, brother and sister, as they make their way to Johannesburg from their village. The 200 kilometer trip is dangerous for children who have never been … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, historical, social issues | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Inside Out & Back Again

National Book Award winner Thanhha Lai’s beautiful book, Inside Out & Back Again, is Hà’s poetic lament through the Vietnam War, escaping her country and starting life in Alabama as a sponsored refugee family while not knowing the fate of … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, historical, Poetry, social issues, strong characters | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Between Shades of Gray

When fifteen-year-old Lina’s family is exiled from Lithuania by the Soviets, they are forced to travel to remote regions, including Siberia, to work and endure under extreme hunger, cold and inadequate shelter.  Maintaining hope is difficult when Lina doesn’t understand … Continue reading

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Pearl Verses the World

Miss Bruff wants us to write poems. I am. Miss Bruff wants poems that rhyme. Mine don’t. Rhyme is okay sometimes, but my poems don’t rhyme and neither do I. At school, Pearl is in a group of one and … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, Poetry, social issues | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Hush, one of Jacqueline Woodson’s novels for teens, is a beautifully written, realistic book about Evie, who used to be Toswiah from Denver before the whole family had to move because her dad testified against fellow cops in a murder … Continue reading

Posted in Character-driven, Teen/Young Adult | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Chalk Box Kid

When Gregory moves to a new house surrounded by concrete, he has to share a bedroom with his uncle and go to a new school where it’s hard to make a good start.  After a special guest speaker comes to … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter Books, Character-driven | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye

The dedication page says “for my sad friends.”  This beautiful classic book by Lucille Clifton and illustrated by Ann Grifalconi fully serves those children who are grieving the loss of someone near and dear.  Everett Anderson goes through the the … Continue reading

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Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts is about Jenna Vaughn, a high school senior who wants to forget everything about her outcast days as Jennifer Harris, except Cameron Quick.  Her one childhood ally was suddenly gone one day in grade five–she thought he … Continue reading

Posted in Teen/Young Adult, Voice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment