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Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage BlackwoodFantasy. All of the adult sorceresses at Miss Ellicott's School for Magical Maidens have disappeared, leaving talented student Chantel searching for a way to get them back -- oh, and also protect the city from invading Marauders. Loaded with clever humor and starring a take-charge black heroine, this quirky magic-school adventure is not to be missed.
Ashes to Asheville by Sarah DooleyFiction. After Mama Lacy dies, 12-year-old Fella's grandmother takes her away from her older sister Zany and their Mama Shannon, but that doesn't stop the sisters from running off together to scatter Mama Lacy's ashes in their former hometown of Asheville, N.C. If you like quirky, bittersweet family stories, you'll want to ride along on this road trip (and you might also want to try Sally Pla's The Someday Birds).
Amina's Voice by Hena KhanFiction. Sixth grade may be a tough year for Amina: her best friend Soojin is changing in ways that Amina doesn’t understand, and her Pakistani-American parents have entered her in a Quran recitation competition even though her real talent is singing. You'll be rooting for Amina as she finds her confidence in this warm-hearted and authentic book that's just right for fans of Sherri Winston's The Sweetest Sound.
The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson LevineFantasy. Prickly 15-year-old Peregrine has always believed that her people, the Latki, are better than their Bamarre servants -- until a magical visitor delivers some shocking news that forces Perry to face who she really is and decide what she's willing to fight for. You don't need to have read The Two Princesses of Bamarre to savor the fairy-tale feel of this page-turning prequel.
Bronze and Sunflower by Cao WenxuanHistorical Fiction. In 1960s China, orphaned city girl Sunflower is adopted by a loving, loyal, and desperately poor family of country farmers, and even though their son Bronze doesn't talk, he and Sunflower form an unbreakable bond. Written by a popular Chinese author, Bronze and Sunflower offers a moving, poetic glimpse into a particular time and place.
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell FreedmanNonfiction. How far would you go to stand up for what's right? Siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl put their very lives on the line as members of the White Rose, an anti-Nazi student resistance group in 1940s Germany. Filled with quotes and photos, this account of their bravery is both haunting and inspiring. For another look at daring young people during World War II, try Phillip Hoose's The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan MealerMemoir. Bottle caps, a broken bike, old tractor parts, and some library books about electrical engineering: with these tools, inventive 14-year-old William Kamkwamba began building the windmill that would power irrigation in his tiny farming village of Masitala, Malawi, and help them survive a deadly drought. Holding special appeal for young scientists, this gritty yet hopeful memoir may encourage you to create change in your own community.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan BuckleyMemoir. The youngest person to complete the Selma-to-Montgomery March in 1965 Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was one of many students who willingly risked jail time and brutal beatings in order to participate in the American Civil Rights Movement. Written in an easy, matter-of-fact style, this award-winning book provides vivid insight into the past and perspective on the present.
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy MontgomeryNonfiction. Dr. Temple Grandin is an animal scientist, a bestselling author, a college professor, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people...and she has autism. This captivating authorized biography tells the story of her struggles and accomplishments, including her groundbreaking work for humane treatment of livestock. It also features a foreword by Temple herself, plus a special section of "Temple's Advice for Kids on the Spectrum."
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