Today I recommend: The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez.
The First Rule of Punk is an awesome fictional novel about a Mexican punk rocker middle schooler, Malu. Malu is moving to Chicago with her mother who loves Mexican heritage, far away from Malu’s father who owns a small record shop. She does not have any friends, until she tries to start up a band with some classmates for the school talent show. Will Malu’s band be good enough to get into the talent show, and will she make friends? Read this novel to find out more.
I loved this book! It is different from other books I have read. This one is about being who you are, the importance of heritage, being a tough punk rocker and staying strong. My favorite character was Ellie, the band’s guitarist. She was very confident and smart, and was not afraid to speak up for what is right, always making petitions and helping others. I really enjoyed this novel, and I hope that you will too.
-Elizabeth N, Teen Blogger
You can find The First Rule of Punk in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PEREZ, and during the 2018-2019 school year on our Battle of the Books shelf.
Polly Diamond and the Magic Book by Alice Kuipers is the story of a young girl, Polly, who discovers magic and has many misadventures. Polly loves to write stories and begins to put them in a special book. She soon discovers that everything she writes about will appear in real life. Certainly, all of Polly’s dreams will come true. Come to the library to check out a copy of this book to see if all of Polly’s dreams are as magical as they seem.
You can find Polly Diamond and the Magic Book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KUIPERS.
GHOST – Jason Reynolds
Ghost is a young adult novel by Jason Reynolds which follows seventh-grader Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw as he joins a track team and struggles to deal with his past and his present. Ever since his father went to jail, Castle Cranshaw’s life suddenly switched directions. He was behind in school, always in trouble, and didn’t have the money for essential needs. One day, when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race-and wins- the Olympic medalist track coach sees that he has something: crazy natural talent. Only with the dreams of playing ball, he unexpectedly joined the track team. Ghost doesn’t only get bullied in school for not having good clothes, but also on his track team (Defenders). Mainly because he doesn’t have running shoes. He then steals a pair of shiny sliver running shoes to shut down all the bullies. Eventually, coach finds out and plans to tell Ghost’s mother. Until he started begging not to. All the trouble-making, all the stealing, and all the bullying comes down to this one point in Ghost’s life. The first track meet of the season. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Ghost by Jason Reynolds originally published on August 30, 2016, is one of the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Ghost is also the first book in Jason Reynolds’s explosive Track series about a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first-to each other, and to themselves. I would recommend this book to readers that are searching for a thriller, as well as meaningful book in their lives.
Another poignant, engaging, exciting novel that combines middle school, sports, and life lessons from Coretta Scott King Honor author Jason Reynolds – commonsensemedia.org
~Vishnu S., Teen Blogger
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J REYNOLDS.
Pashmina is a graphic novel about a high-school aged girl in America named Priyanka. Her mother immigrated from India to America before Priyanka was born. Priyanka asks her mother many questions about her family and India and why she left, but her mother always tries to change the subject. Priyanka’s “uncle” usually spends time with Priyanka, but now he has a baby to take with so Priyanka feels lonely. In her mother’s old suitcase, she finds a beautiful Pashmina that takes her to a fantasy India. In the real world, Priyanka wants to visit India, but her mother says no.
This graphic novel was beautifully drawn. I really enjoyed reading it. In the reality parts of the book, it is in black and white. But when she wears the Pashmina, Priyanka is transported to a fantasy India with loads of colors. I thought this was really interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a graphic novel full of culture, with a really great story.
-Elizabeth, Teen blogger
You can find Pashmina in the Juvenile Graphic Novel Section at J GRAPHIC CHANANI.
Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully’s prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
This book was the winner of the 2018 John Newbery Medal, which is awarded by the Association of Library Service to Children to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children during the year. What I loved most about this book was how unique each character was – each one was struggling with feeling different and struggling with their own personal fears but each one also had their own strengths. I really loved all of the little stories that Virgil’s grandmother Lola told him to try and cheer him up, and the illustrations of Virgil’s guinea pig Gulliver at the beginning of chapters added charm to the whole book. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this book – I especially recommend it to those who like stories of friendship and self-acceptance and for people who like stories where the characters learn to stand up to bullies!
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KELLY.
The Vanderbeeker family have been happily living in their Harlem brownstone apartment unit their landlord refuses to renew their lease. Now, they have five days before Christmas to convince him to let them stay. Each of the five siblings craft a different strategy to change his mind.
Brave is a humorous graphic novel about a middle school boy named Jensen. Everyday, Jensen must brave the difficult math class, bullies who follow him around, and getting along with his art club friends. On top of that, he deals with trying to find a partner for English class, and helping out his frantic friends who are in the newspaper team. Everyday, Jensen needs to be brave to survive the craziness at school.
I absolutely loved this graphic novel so much. It was humorous and the cartoonish art style is amazing! Every once in awhile, Jensen day-dreamed about being a hero, whether he was an astronaut, or stopping a zombie apocalypse from eating everyone at school. My favorite character was Jenny, the lead student of the newspaper team. She was hard working and dedicated to being in the newspaper team. When she was mad, she was “the wrath of the angels/apocalypse Jenny” and was drawn with fire in her eyes. (She was very mad at times.) The world of Brave and its characters overlapped with the book Awkward. However, Jensen was a background character in Awkward. As you can see, I loved this book and recommend this to everyone because it is a fun, quick read.
~Elizabeth, Teen Blogger
You can find Brave in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J CHMAKOVA.
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.
This lovely graphic novel follows teenager Priyanka as she deals with her curiosity about her mother’s past in India. The way that Chanani uses color makes for a striking read; the everyday scenes are depicted in sharp black and white with bright colors saved for the fantastical world that only exists when Priyanka puts on the pashmina. Priyanka grows throughout the graphic novel as she discovers more about her mother’s past and about India. This is a good tale of self-discovery.
You can find Pashmina in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHANANI.
Today I recommend: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova.
In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different – math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen’s always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real life problems?
Set in the same school as Chmakova’s Awkward this graphic novel focuses on Jensen whose struggles to get through difficult classes, as well as feelings of being left out and being bullied, are so easy to relate to. This story tackles some tough subjects such as bullying, dress codes, and failing classes with humor that makes the story fly by without treating them too lightly. This is a great option for readers who enjoyed Awkward but is also great as a standalone graphic novel. Read-alikes for this series are: Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.
Today I recommend: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.
After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.
The bright colors and the expressive characters make for a playful and fun graphic novel that tackles the stress of starting at a new school, and learning how to get along with people who have different interests. If you love the characters you can check out, Brave which follows the school newspaper club and one of the art students from this graphic novel! This is a great option for readers who have already fallen in love with graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.
As an awesome bonus the artist/author added pages at the end of the book that show how she goes about making the story and pages for the comics. This is a neat look into the process of creating a graphic novel.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.