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      Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

      by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

      Dec 2020

      Young Adults Plus

      Think you know what rural America is like? Discover a plurality of perspectives in this enlightening anthology of stories that turns preconceptions on their head.

      Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”–themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it…

      For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors—diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status—explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed—and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.

      The House by the Lake: The True Story of a House, Its History, and the Four Families Who Made It Home

      by Thomas Harding

      Dec 2020

      Nonfiction Early Elementary

      In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding traveled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been a holiday home for her and her family, but in the 1930s, she had been forced to flee to England as the Nazis swept to power. Nearly twenty years later, the house was government property and soon to be demolished. It was Harding’s legacy, one that had been loved, abandoned, fought over?a house his grandmother had desired until her death. Could it be saved? And should it?

      When Harding began to make inquiries, he unearthed secrets that had lain hidden for decades about the lives of the five families who had lived there: a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widow and her children, and a Stasi informant. The house had been the site of domestic bliss and of contentment, but also of terrible grief and tragedy. As its story began to take shape, Harding realized that there was a chance to save it, but in doing so, he would have to resolve his own family’s feelings towards their former homeland?and a hatred handed down through the generations.

      Evelyn Del Rey se muda (Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away)

      by Meg Medina

      Dec 2020

      Primary Spanish

      Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special.

      The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood.

      Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy

      by Reid Forgrave

      Dec 2020

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      “I just can’t live with this pain anymore,” were among the final words in the diary of Zac Easter, a young man from small-town Iowa. In December 2015, Zac decided to take his own life rather than continue his losing battle against the traumatic brain injuries he had sustained as a no-holds-barred high school football player. In this deeply reported and powerfully moving true story, award-winning sportswriter Reid Forgrave speaks to Zac’s family, friends, and coaches; he explores Zac’s tightly knit, football-obsessed Midwestern community; he interviews cutting-edge brain scientists, psychologists, and sports historians; and he takes a deep dive into the triumphs and sins of the sports entertainment industry.

      Forgrave shows us how football mirrors America, from the fighting spirit it has helped inscribe in our national character to the problematic side effects of traditional notions of manhood that it affirms. But, above all, this is a story of how one young man’s obsession with football led him and many of those entrusted with his care to ignore the warning signs of CTE until it was too late. What do Zac’s life and death mean for a society addicted to a sport that can be thrilling and character forming but also dangerous and sometimes tragic for those who play it?

      Furia

      by Yamile Saied Mendez

      Dec 2020

      Sports High

      In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

      At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

      On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

      But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

      The Teachers March!: How Selma's Teachers Changed History

      by Sandra Neil Wallace

      Dec 2020

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Demonstrating the power of protest and standing up for a just cause, here is an exciting tribute to the educators who participated in the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March, featuring evocative illustrations and eyewitness testimonies.

      Reverend F.D. Reese was a leader of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. As a teacher and principal, he recognized that his colleagues were viewed with great respect in the city. Could he convince them to risk their jobs—and perhaps their lives—by organizing a teachers-only march to the county courthouse to demand their right to vote? On January 22, 1965, the black teachers left their classrooms and did just that, with Reverend Reese leading the way. Noted nonfiction authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace conducted the last interviews with Reverend Reese before his death in 2018 and interviewed several teachers and their family members in order to tell this important story.

      Elatsoe

      by Darcie Little Badger

      Dec 2020

      PG High Plus

      Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.

      There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.

      Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

      Dating Makes Perfect

      by Pintip Dunn

      Dec 2020

      Paperbacks High

      The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

      Until now.

      In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of dating practice.

      In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must date in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course — and on dates they organize based on their favorite rom-coms. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, dreamy, and infuriating.

      Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. Her parents love him, so naturally he’s the perfect person for her to pretend date.

      If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

      The Efficient, Inventive (Often Annoying) Melvil Dewey

      by Alexis O'Neill

      Dec 2020

      Biography Elementary Plus

      Melvil Dewey’s love of organization and words drove him to develop and implement his Dewey Decimal system, leaving a significant and lasting impact in libraries across the country.

      When Melvil Dewey realized every library organized their books differently, he wondered if he could invent a system all libraries could use to organize them efficiently. A rat-a-tat speaker, Melvil was a persistent (and noisy) advocate for free public libraries. And while he made enemies along the way as he pushed for changes—like his battle to establish the first library school with women as students, through it all he was EFFICIENT, INVENTIVE, and often ANNOYING as he made big changes in the world of public libraries—changes still found in the libraries of today!

      Wishes and Wellingtons

      by Julie Berry

      Dec 2020

      Fantasy/Science Fiction Elementary Plus

      Maeve Merritt detests the rigid rules at her London boarding school for "upright young ladies." When punishment forces her to sort through the trash, she finds a sardine tin that houses a foul-tempered djinni who has no intention of submitting to a schoolgirl as his master.

      Soon an orphan boy, a mysterious man in ginger whiskers, a disgruntled school worker, and a take-no-prisoners business tycoon are in hot pursuit of Maeve and her magical discovery. It'll take all of her quick thinking and sass to set matters right. Maeve Merritt is one feisty heroine you won't soon forget.

      Maurice and His Dictionary: A True Story

      by Cary Fagan

      Dec 2020

      Graphic Novels Elementary Plus

      This is the story of one refugee family’s harrowing journey, based on author Cary Fagan’s own family history. The graphic novel follows a young Jewish boy, Maurice, and his family as they flee their home in Belgium during the Second World War. They travel by train to Paris, through Spain to Portugal, and finally across the ocean to Jamaica, where they settle in an internment camp.

      All the while, Maurice is intent on continuing his education and growing up to be a lawyer. He overcomes obstacles to find a professor to study with, works toward a high school diploma while in the camp, and is ultimately accepted to university in Canada. His English dictionary becomes a beloved tool and beacon of hope through the danger and turmoil of the family’s migration.

      Moments of lightness and humor balance the darkness in this powerful story of one refugee family’s courage and resilience, and of the dictionary that came to represent their freedom.

      The Brushmaker’s Daughter

      by Kathy Kacer

      Dec 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      It is 1939 in Berlin, Germany, and twelve-year-old Lillian and her Papa are on the run from Nazi soldiers. Because they are Jewish, they are in danger of being arrested and put in prison. Lillian's father is blind and it seems no one is willing to help them, until they meet Otto Weidt. Mr. Weidt runs a factory that makes brushes for the Nazi army, and his secret is that he employs blind Jewish workers. Lillian learns that Otto Weidt is determined to keep her, Papa, and all the Jewish workers safe. But will he be able to? The Brushmaker's Daughter is inspired by a true story.
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