Extra, extra read all about it– There are SO MANY great reading resources set up for summer reading, it is hard to know where to start. Your local library is always a good place to begin, some offer prizes at the end of the summer for those kids who meet their reading goals to keep them motivated through the season. There is also a great reading challenge set up by Brightly where kids are encouraged to choose a book from various suggested categories like reading a book set in a different country or reading a book about activism. SocialJusticeBooks has an extensive list of anti-bias books broken out into age groups as well as book reviews, videos, and a large resource center as well as their summer 2021 reading list, posted through the Kid Lit Collective. For kids ages 8 and up (but basically aimed for the Middle Reader ages) The Washington Post’s KidPost has a summer book club broken out by weeks of the summer break with books nominated by kids for kids. And this is only the tiniest of samplings of what is out there. The most important thing is to keep kids reading!
Each year, we here at ETM publish the recommended reading lists of the year’s Notable Children’s Books compiled by the Association of Library Service to Children. Each list is broken out by age groups. According to ALSC policy, the current year’s Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children’s Books list.
YOUNGER (Preschool-grade 2)
Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball. By Jen Bryant. Illus. by Frank Morrison. Abrams (9781419741081).
In the midst of the Black Civil Rights movement, NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor made an impact on and off the basketball court in Jim Crow 1950s and 1960s.
All Because You Matter. By Tami Charles. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Orchard (9781338574852).
In a beautiful ode to generations of Black sacrifice, happiness, and love, a family tells the story that brought a young boy into being and emphasizes his inherent worth.
The Bear in My Family. By Maya Tatsukawa. Illus. by the author. Dial (9780525555827).
Living with a loud, messy, and bossy bear seems impossible, but it turns out they can be the best part of the family. (Geisel Honor Book)
Black Is a Rainbow Color. By Angela Joy. Illus. by Ekua Holmes. Roaring Brook (9781626726314).
Black is a color, but it is also much more. In this stunning anthem, a girl meditates on the meaning of “black,” especially Black as identity, community, history, and rich cultural tradition.
The Camping Trip. By Jennifer K. Mann. Illus. by the author. Candlewick (9781536207361).
Ernestine goes on her first overnight camping trip. Hiking is tiring and swimming in the lake is scary, but Ernestine faces her fears and overcomes homesickness with her cousin’s help.
Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family. By Nelly Buchet. Illus. by Andrea Zuill. Schwartz & Wade (9781984848994).
Told through humorous illustrations and only the words “cat” and “dog,” two pets reluctantly accept a third pet into their family through their owners’ marriage.
The Cat Man of Aleppo. By Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha. Illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Putnam (9781984813787).
War-torn Aleppo is given hope from Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel’s humanitarian efforts to care for the deserted cats in the city. (Caldecott Honor Book)
Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals. By Katy S. Duffield. Illus. By Mike Orodán. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane (9781534465794).
This nonfiction picture book explores the variety of accommodations built around the world so that animals can safely access areas encroached upon by humans.
Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built. By Angela Burke Kunkel. Illus. by Paola Escobar. Schwartz & Wade (9781984892638).
José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbageman in Bogotá, Colombia, collects books along his route and creates a library for children to read and borrow in his neighborhood on Saturdays.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away. By Meg Medina. Illus. by Sonia Sánchez. Candlewick (9781536207040).
In a tender picture book that acknowledges loss and the power of friendship, two best friends spend one last afternoon playing together in their families’ apartments before Evelyn moves away. (simultaneously published in Spanish and English)
Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story. By Nikki Tate. Illus. by Katie Kath. Holiday (9780823436637).
In parallel narratives, a girl and her mother work hard to achieve success in non-traditional roles as the girl tries out for the baseball team and the mother gets to work on a construction project.
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera. By Candace Fleming. Illus. by Eric Rohmann. Holiday/Neal Porter (9780823442850).
The life cycle of a worker honeybee, including the many roles she plays within her colony, unfold alongside detailed, closeup illustrations. (Sibert Medal Book)
I Am Every Good Thing. By Derrick Barnes. Illus. by Gordon C. James. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen (9780525518778).
This first-person affirmation celebrates Black boys and validates their right to be proud of themselves and deserving of respect, love, and joy.
I Talk Like a River. By Jordan Scott. Illus. by Sydney Smith. Holiday/Neal Porter (9780823445592).
A young person with a stutter feels isolated. His father helps him understand that his speech moves like the ebb and flow of the river, giving him a new understanding of his way of speaking.
If You Take Away the Otter. By Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illus. by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick (9780763689346).
What happens to an entire habitat when a single element is depleted by hunters? Through striking illustrations, the role of sea otters over time in the Pacific Coast of North America is explored in detail.
Julián at the Wedding. By Jessica Love. Illus. by the author. Candlewick (9781536212389).
Julian’s artistic flare for fashion and innovation save the day at a wedding when his friend, Marisol ruins her dress. This celebration of individuality and love welcomes all.
Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures. By Tricia Springstubb. Illus. by Elaheh Taherian. Candlewick (9781536203066).
When neighbors Khalil and Mr. Hagerty search for buried treasure in the yard and garden one hot day, they find nothing. The next day, the friends secretly hide something for the other to find.
Lift. By Minh Lê. Illus. by Dan Santat. Little, Brown (9781368036924).
Iris loves to push the elevator buttons. When she takes a discarded button home, she discovers it opens doors to new worlds that she shares with her brother.
Me & Mama. By Cozbi A. Cabrera. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Denene Millner (9781534454217).
Lyrical prose and captivating paintings chronicle a day in the life of a mother and daughter and celebrate their special bond. (Caldecott Honor Book)
The Most Beautiful Thing. By Kao Kalia Yang. Illus. by Khoa Le. Carolrhoda/Lerner (9781541561915).
In a story infused with familial love and respect, a Hmong girl reflects on childhood with her grandmother. Kalia helps care for her, and over the years, her grandmother offers her reassurance, stories, and love.
Nana Akua Goes to School. By Tricia Elam Walker. Illus. by April Harrison. Schwartz & Wade (9780525581130).
Zura’s grandmother is her favorite person, but she’s concerned that on Grandparent’s Day her classmates will not understand and laugh at the Adinkra marks on her Grandmother’s face. Nana Akua paves the way for understanding when she shares the stories of her culture.
‘Ohana Means Family. By Ilima Loomis. Illus. by Kenard Pak. Holiday/Neal Porter (9780823443260).
Told in the cadence of “The House that Jack Built,” we follow the growing process on a taro root farm through the lens of Hawaiian culture, concluding with the Hawaiian ohana sharing a pot of poi.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. By Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Illus. by Oge Mora. Schwartz & Wade (9781524768287).
Mary Walker was born into slavery in 1848. After a lifetime of hard work, and as the remaining survivor of her family, she realizes a goal of learning to read at 116 years of age.
One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey. By Henry Cole. Illus. by the author. Scholastic (9781338359978).
This wordless picture book follows the ‘lives’ of a paper lunch bag and the boy who carries it to school. Black and white illustrations, where the bag is the only spot of color, make for a wonderful story flow.
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us. By Lauren Castillo. Illus. by the author. Knopf (9781524766719).
A friendship of two animals is challenged when a storm separates them and Hedgehog must find his friend Mutty with the help of compassionate forest creatures.
Outside In. By Deborah Underwood. Illus. by Cindy Derby. HMH (9781328866820).
This picture book explores the ever-present lure of the outdoors as it appears at our windows and tempts us with sounds and fragrances, even as we spend most of our time inside. (Caldecott Honor Book)
Overground Railroad. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illus. by James E. Ransome. Holiday (9780823438730).
Told in verse and set during the Great Migration, a family journeying north experiences changing societal differences that are mirrored in the changing landscape outside the train’s window.
A Polar Bear in the Snow. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Shawn Harris. Candlewick (9781536203967).
A polar bear slowly emerges from the pages of this book. He’s on the move, but where is he going? Minimal words over mostly monochromatic illustrations make a beautiful, compelling story.
Prairie Days. By Patricia MacLachlan. Illus. By Micha Archer. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry (9781442441910).
An ode to the amazing sights only the prairie can provide, this simple, quiet story is an accurate reflection of life outside the city limits.
Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. By Doreen Rappaport. Illus. by Eric Velasquez. Little, Brown (9781484747179).
From her lace collars to her incredible work ethic, this picture book biography chronicles the hard work and dedication of RBG to become a Supreme Court Justice.
Salma the Syrian Chef. By Danny Ramadan. Illus. by Anna Bron. Annick (9781773213750).
Salma misses her mother’s smile and laughter and hopes making her favorite Syrian dish will bring back her smile. When preparing the dish doesn’t go as planned, Salma’s community comes together to help finish the dish and celebrate her success.
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog. By David LaRochelle. Illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick. (9781536204278)
In a laugh-out-loud story that keeps instructing readers to “see the cat,” Max the Dog must interact with the text to prove to the narrator and a cast of zany characters that he is indeed canine. (Geisel Award Book)
Snail Crossing. By Corey R. Tabor. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray (9780062878007).
The reciprocal story of a snail and some helpful ants as they attempt to cross a busy street.
Southwest Sunrise. By Nikki Grimes. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Bloomsbury (9781547600823).
Unhappy about moving from New York City to New Mexico, a young boy explores his new home and marvels at the beauty of the desert landscape.
Sugar in Milk. By Thrity Umrigar. Illus. by Khoa Le. Running Press Kids (9780762495191).
This clever picture book reaches back to an Ancient Persian legend to help a young immigrant girl the courage to make friends in her new country.
Swashby and the Sea. By Beth Ferry. Illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. HMH (9780544707375).
Swashby has retired to a quiet life by his beloved sea. When a girl and her granny move in nearby, his lifestyle changes–for better.
Telephone Tales. By Gianni Rodari. Illus. by Valerio Vidali. Tr. by Antony Shugaar. Enchanted Lion (9781592702848).
In this classic from Italy, a travelling salesman calls his daughter nightly to share a whimsical story. Sixty-seven playful tales humorously recount ice cream palaces, educational candy, and roads paved with chocolate. (Batchelder Award Book)
The Three Billy Goats Buenos. By Susan Middleton Elya. Illus. by Miguel Ordóñez. Putnam (9780399547393).
This twisted fairytale skillfully weaves Spanish vocabulary into an empathetic retelling of a classic.
Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! By Kelly Starling Lyons. Illus. by Nina Mata. Harper. (9780062951090)
With the help of a new friend, Ty beats the temptation to give up and masters the use of his brand-new scooter. (Geisel Honor Book)
¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat. By Raúl Gonzalez. Illus. by the author. HMH/Versify. (9781328557049).
Little Lobo and his sidekick Bernabé fetch lunch for Toro y sus amigos ahead of the Lucha Libre 5000 amid a vibrant community of food truck vendors. (Belpré Youth Illustrator Award Book)
A Way with Wild Things. By Larissa Theule. Illus. by Sara Palacios. Bloomsbury (9781681190396).
Shy Poppy loves nature and prefers it to people. But when she spots a dragonfly at a party, people notice it and her too.
We Are Water Protectors. By Carole Lindstrom. Illus. by Michaela Goade. Roaring Brook (9781250203557).
An indigenous girl explains why water is sacred and that the “Black Snake” (pipelines) will destroy the earth. She takes up a rallying cry with her people to defend water and the planet. (Caldecott Medal Book)
What About Worms!? By Ryan T. Higgins. Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion. (9781368045735).
Tiger is big, brave, and not afraid of anything—except worms; and the worms are just as afraid of him…until they come across a book and learn more about tigers! (Geisel Honor Book)
Where’s Baby? By Anne Hunter. Illus. by the author. Tundra. (9780735264984).
Can you find baby fox? Readers will enjoy following father’s journey as he looks over, under, around, and into things, discovering all sorts of other animals, until he finally gets a hint from mother fox. (Geisel Honor Book)
MIDDLE (Grades 3-5)
Becoming Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson & Kwame Alexander. Illus. by Dawud Anyabwile. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson (9780316498166).
In alternating verse and prose narratives, Cassius Clay and his friend Lucky create a portrait of the confident child determined to become a boxing champion during the Jim Crow era.
Black Brother, Black Brother. By Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown (9780316493802).
Dark-skinned Donte experiences more racism than his lighter-skinned brother at their private middle school. He finds empowerment through fencing at the local Boys and Girls Club and faces off with a racist bully.
The Blackbird Girls. By Anne Blankman. Viking (9781984837356).
As a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, two girls set aside prejudices when they are forced to live together away from home and family.
Catherine’s War. By Julia Billet. Illus. by Claire Fauvel. Tr. by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Harper/HarperAlley (9780062915603).
This graphic novel tells the story of Rachel, a Jewish girl forced to change her identity during World War II. As Catherine, she uses a camera to document her experiences, vividly capturing moments of terror, exhilaration, and joy. (Batchelder Honor Book)
Echo Mountain. By Lauren Wolk. Dutton (9780525555568).
Having lost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie’s family moves to the mountain. When her father is left comatose after a tragic accident, they embrace neighbors and nature in order to survive and revive him.
Efrén Divided. By Ernesto Cisneros. Harper/Quill Tree (9780062881687).
When his mother is deported to Mexico, seventh grader Efrén is the only one who can cross the border to bring his mother home. (Belpré Children’s Author Award Book)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington. By Janae Marks. Illus. by Mirelle Ortega. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen (9780062875853).
Zoe Washington shows her bravery and determination through a summer bakery internship, a fight with her best friend, and a new relationship with her wrongfully incarcerated father.
King and the Dragonflies. By Kacen Callender. Scholastic (9781338129335).
King is sure that his brother, Khalid, has been reincarnated as a dragonfly, as he comes to terms with his brother’s death, questioning both his and his best friend Sandy’s sexuality.
Letters from Cuba. By Ruth Behar. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen (9780525516477)
In a series of letters, young Jewish refugee Esther describes life in 1930s Cuba as she helps her father earn money by sewing dresses so their family can join them and escape persecution in Poland.
Lupe Wong Won’t Dance. By Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido (9781646140039).
When a dance threatens her chance to meet pitching idol and fellow Mexinese/Chinacan, Fu Li Hernandez, Lupe takes up the cause against square dancing in gym, which proves both challenging and enlightening. (Belpré Children’s Author Honor Book)
Mañanaland. By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic (9781338157864).
Max loves fútbol, although his hopes of joining a team are replaced by working with his Dad and eventually discovering that his family are secret guardians who take on refugees and deliver them to “Mananaland.”
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices. Ed. by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed. Illus. by Sara Alfageeh. Abrams/Amulet (9781419740831).
An Own Voices collection of Eid celebrations throughout the Muslim world.
The Only Black Girls in Town. By Brandy Colbert. Little, Brown (9780316456388).
Alberta is sure she will be friends with the new girl Edie, but realizes they are from two different worlds. Alberta struggles to voice how her family and race dynamics make her feel but the two girls come together to discover a collection of hidden journals that reveal a secret to the past.
Prairie Lotus. By Linda Sue Park. HMH (9781328781505).
Hanna, a biracial Chinese American, and her White father move to the Dakota Territory in the 1880’s to start over after her mother’s death. Hanna struggles to find her own strengths and voice within an unwelcoming community.
Santiago’s Road Home. By Alexandra Diaz. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman (9781534446236).
Santiago overcomes many dangerous obstacles to cross the border from Mexico into the United States only to be detained by ICE. While Santiago is used to going it alone, the brutal conditions of the youth detention center are not what he expected to find in the United States.
Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello. By Monica Brown. Illus. by Elisa Chavarri. Lee & Low/Children’s Book Press. (9780892394234).
This bilingual biography traces the life of Julio C. Tello, from a curious, young boy to an accomplished archaeologist who elevated Peru’s indigenous history. (Belpré Youth Illustrator Honor Book)
Show Me a Sign. By Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic (9781338255812).
Based in the actual Deaf community that existed on Martha’s Vineyard during the 1800’s, Mary lives a singularly typical life. Never considering the deafness she is born with to be a disability until a prejudiced scientist arrives, Mary finds herself the focus of a study against her will.
Three Keys (A Front Desk Novel). By Kelly Yang. Scholastic (9781338591385).
Mia Tang and her family work to save the hotel they recently bought in the face of a looming immigration law that could send them back to China if passed and threatens the safety of Mia’s friends.
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez. By Adrianna Cuevas. Farrar (9780374313609)
When animals begin disappearing and Abuela starts acting suspicious, Nestor must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save his town from a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals. (Belpré Children’s Author Honor Book)
We Dream of Space. By Erin Entrada Kelly. Illus. by the author and Celia Krampien. Greenwillow (9780062747303).
In the days before the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the Thomas siblings navigate the dangerous space of middle school and the fractured constellation of their family. (Newbery Honor Book)
What Stars Are Made Of. By Sarah Allen. Farrar (9780374313197).
Libby, a young girl with Turner Syndrome who is fascinated by science, sets out to win a science contest and support her pregnant sister’s family with the prize money.
When Stars Are Scattered. By Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed. Illus. by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy. Dial (9780525553915).
Omar, along with his younger brother Hassan, recounts the stories of growing up as orphan refugees at a displacement camp in Kenya.
When You Trap a Tiger. By Tae Keller. Random (9781524715700).
Lily bargains with a magical tiger to return stolen stories in order to save her sick grandmother. (Newbery Medal Book)
Wink. By Rob Harrell. Illus. by the author. Dial (9781984815149).
The humorous journey of a cancer stricken middle schooler, Ross, as he navigates middle school.
A Wish in the Dark. By Christina Soontornvat. Candlewick (9781536204940).
Pong, born in a prison, longs to be free and escapes. Nok, the disgraced warden’s daughter, looks to capture Pong again. Both discover how the world unfairly brings light only for the rich. (Newbery Honor Book)
Your Place in the Universe. By Jason Chin. Illus. by the author. Holiday/Neal Porter (9780823446230).
Exploration of scale, size, and distance from an eight-year-old child to the widest reaches of the observable universe.
OLDER (Grade 6-8)
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. By Christina Soontornvat. Illus. Candlewick (9781536209457)
With superb narrative nonfiction writing, Soontornvat skillfully describes the dramatic real-life rescue of the Thai Boys’ soccer team in 2018. (Newbery Honor Book & Sibert Honor Book)
Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir. By Robin Ha. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray (9780062685100).
Ha shares her experience of a surprise move from South Korea to Alabama with her single mom. Feeling out of place in her new stepfamily and high school, she acclimates with the help of a comic-making class.
Before the Ever After. By Jacqueline Woodson. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen (9780399545436).
In this novel in verse, 12-year-old ZJ leans on his community for support as his football-star father experiences alarming medical symptoms and dramatic changes as a result of the sport (later revealed to be CTE).
Brother’s Keeper. By Julie Lee. Holiday (9780823444946).
Sora and her family flee Communist North Korea during the Korean War in 1950. When the family becomes separated, Sora fights for her brother’s survival as they travel south.
Dragon Hoops. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by the author. First Second (9781626720794).
This graphic novel intertwines the history of basketball with the triumphs and tribulations of the athletes on the champion team at the high school where Yang teaches.
Elatsoe. By Darcie Little Badger. Illus. by Rovina Cai. Levine Querido (9781646140053).
When her cousin is killed, Ellie must delve into the town’s evil past and use her Lipan Apache family’s ability to call spirits back to life in order to identify and bring the murderer to justice.
Fighting Words. By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Dial (9781984815682).
Sisters Della and Suki rely on each other to move forward after years of abuse from their mother’s boyfriend. They find their own voices beyond the trauma through resilience and bond of sisterhood. (Newbery Honor Book)
Go with the Flow. By Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann. Illus. by Lily Williams. First Second (9781250143174).
A group of high school friends band together for a revolution to de-stigmatize menstruation. The red color palette is the perfect choice to accompany this much needed ‘period manifesto’.
How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure. By John Rocco. Illus. by the author. Crown (9780525647423).
This ambitious nonfiction book chronicles one of the most exciting and miraculous accomplishments in American history–the 1969 lunar landing. (Sibert Honor Book)
Land of the Cranes. By Aida Salazar. Scholastic (9781338343809).
Despite being detained in a cruel and inhuman deportation camp with her pregnant mother and separated from her deported papi, Betita survives by remembering she will return home like a crane in the Aztec legends her papi told her.
The Magic Fish. By Trung Le Nguyen. Illus. by the author. Random/RH Graphic (9780593125298)
In this graphic novel, Tiến and his mother struggle to communicate, but find a way to tell their truths through the telling of fairy tales, both old and new.
Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation. By Candy J. Cooper and Marc Aronson. Bloomsbury (9781547602322).
This striking account of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis shows how systemic racism disproportionately impacts the health of marginalized citizens.
Raybearer. By Jordan Ifueko. Abrams/Amulet (9781419739828).
At Tarisai’s birth her mother makes a wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey — kill the emperor’s son. Tarisai must learn to resist the command when she becomes part of the prince’s council and his best friend.
Snapdragon. By Kat Leyh. Illus. by the author. First Second (9781250171122).
Snap’s town has a witch. At least that’s the rumor. Full of acceptance, love, and relatable characters, Snapdragon shows the connection between loving yourself and magic.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning. By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Little, Brown (9780316453691).
An exploration of racism in the United States through the past 400 hundred years is presented with humanity and wit.
Superman Smashes the Klan. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Gurihiru. DC (9781779504210).
Superman helps a young Chinese American, Roberta Lee, fight racism in Metropolis while dealing with his own issues with assimilation.
This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II. By Andrew Fukuda. Tor Teen (9781250192387).
Pen pals for 10 years, Japanese American Alex Maki and French Jewish girl Charlie Lévy share a coming-of-age story and fantastical romance amidst historically accurate – and heartbreaking – injustice.
Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Michele Wood. Candlewick (9780763691561).
The true story of Henry “Box” Brown, who shipped himself to freedom in a box, is told in 51 emotionally intense poems that have implications for the present day. (Newbery Honor Book)
Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. By Suzanne Slade. Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Abrams (9781419734113).
The biography of Pulitzer-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks reveals her childhood dreams and inspirations, her challenges with race, gender, and poverty, and her desires to share stories through poetry. (Sibert Honor Book)
A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart. By Zetta Elliott. Illus. by Noa Denmon. Farrar (9780374307417).
This powerful poem captures a Black child’s wide range of emotions over the passage of a year—from joy to sorrow and anger when he learns of a shooting, and, subsequently, to hope and love. (Caldecott Honor Book)
2021 Notable Children’s Books Committee
Sada Mozer, Chair, Los Angeles Public Library, California
Alexandra Bell, Bloomington Public Library, Illinois
Tammie Benham, Southeast Kansas Library System, Pittsburg, Kansas
Beatrice Canales, Alamo Colleges – San Antonio College, Texas
Christine Chai, Los Angeles Public Library, California
Anna R. Healy, East Hampton Library, East Hampton, New York
Sharon Levin, Redwood City, California
Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas, Denton
Madeline Tyner, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Bettina Wesloh, Baltimore County Public Library, Maryland
Laura Wilson, Pekin Public Library, Illinois
Kari Wall, Administrative Assistant, Raymond Library, Oakdale, Connecticut