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      In the Half Room

      by Carson Ellis

      Feb 2021

      Kindergarten Plus

      The light of the half moon
      Shines down on the half room…


      The half room is full of half things. A half chair, a half cat, even half shoes—all just as nice as whole things. When half a knock comes on half a door, who in the world could it be? With inventive flair, Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis explores halves and wholes in an ingenious and thought-provoking picture book. Ink and gouache illustrations featuring wry detail and velvety textures conjure a dreamlike mood while leaving space for imagining. A celebration of the surreal and the serendipitous and the beauty of the two together, this brilliant picture book will have readers seeing halves with whole new eyes.

      So You Want to Be an Owl

      by Jane Porter

      Feb 2021

      Nonfiction Early Elementary

      Welcome to Owl School! Professor Olaf Owl is here to tell you everything you need to know about being an owl, from hunting to camouflage to seeing in the dark. Study hard, and soon you’ll be a first-rate member of Team Owl! This engaging nonfiction picture book is full of vibrant, humorous illustrations and owl lessons that will have readers eagerly practicing their hoots, toe swivels, and alertness (even if they can’t grow feathers).

      Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality

      by Larry Dane Brimner

      Feb 2021

      Biography Middle Plus

      When Mildred and Richard Loving are arrested, jailed, and exiled from their home simply because of their mixed-race marriage, they must challenge the courts and the country in order to secure their civil rights.

      Richard Perry Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving wanted to live out their married life near family in Virginia. However, the state refused to let them—because Richard was white and Mildred was black. After being arrested and charged with a crime, the Lovings were forced to leave their home—until they turned to the legal system. In one of the country’s most prominent legal battles, Loving v. Virginia, the Lovings secured their future when the court struck down all state laws prohibiting mixed marriage. Acclaimed author Larry Dane Brimner’s thorough research and detailed reconstruction of the Loving v. Virginia case memorializes the emotional journey towards marriage equality in this critical addition to his award-winning oeuvre of social justice titles.

      Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men

      by Sandra Neil Wallace

      Feb 2021

      Nonfiction High Plus

      Scipio Africanus Jones-a self-taught attorney who was born enslaved—leads a momentous series of court cases to save twelve black men who’d been unjustly sentenced to death.

      In October 1919, a group of black sharecroppers met at a church in an Arkansas village to organize a union. Bullets rained down on the meeting from outside. Many were killed by a white mob, and others were rounded up and arrested. Twelve of the sharecroppers were hastily tried and sentenced to death. Up stepped Scipio Africanus Jones, a self-taught lawyer who’d been born enslaved. Could he save the men’s lives and set them free? Through their in-depth research and consultation with legal experts, award-winning nonfiction authors Sandra and Rich Wallace examine the complex proceedings and an unsung African American early civil rights hero.

      Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

      by Nikki Grimes

      Feb 2021

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      For centuries, accomplished women have fallen out of historical records. The same is true for gifted women poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

      In this poetry collection, bestselling and Children’s Literature Legacy Award–winning author Nikki Grimes uses “The Golden Shovel” method to create wholly original poems based on the works of these groundbreaking women. With powerful language and rich imagery, this collection shows readers of all ages the struggles and victories, the pain and joy experienced by women across generations.

      Each poem is paired with unique art from African-American women illustrators to create a thought-provoking book with timely themes for today’s readers.

      The Sacrifice of Darkness

      by Roxane Gay

      Feb 2021

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver, and Rebecca Kirby adapt Gay’s New York Times bestselling short story “We Are the Sacrifice of Darkness” as a full length graphic novel, expanding and further developing the unforgettable world where the sun no longer shines.

      “When I was a young girl, my husband’s father flew an air machine into the sun. Since then, the days have been dark, the nights bright.”

      Follow one woman’s powerful journey through this new landscape as she discovers love, family, and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. As she challenges notions of identity, guilt, and survival she’ll find that no matter the darkness, there remains sources of hope that can pierce the veil.

      Lincoln Clears a Path: Abraham Lincoln's Agricultural Legacy

      by Peggy Thomas

      Feb 2021

      Biography Elementary Plus

      Throughout his life, Abraham Lincoln tried to make life easier for others. Then during the darkest days of the Civil War, when everyone needed hope, President Lincoln cleared a path for all Americans to a better future.

      As a boy, Abraham Lincoln helped his family break through the wilderness and struggle on a frontier farm. When Lincoln was a young man, friends made it easier for him to get a better education and become a lawyer, so as a politician he paved the way for better schools and roads. President Lincoln cleared a path to better farming, improved transportation, accessible education, and most importantly, freedom. Author Peggy Thomas uncovers Abraham Lincoln’s passion for agriculture and his country while illustrator Stacy Innerst cleverly provides a clear look as President Lincoln strives for positive change.

      The Pig War: How a Porcine Tragedy Taught England and America to Share

      by Emma Bland Smith

      Feb 2021

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      In 1859, the British and Americans coexist on the small island of San Juan, located off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. They are on fairly good terms—until one fateful morning when an innocent hog owned by a British man has the misfortune to eat some potatoes on an American farmer’s land. In a moment of rash anger, Lyman Cutlar shoots Charles Griffin’s pig, inadvertently almost bringing the two nations to war. Tensions flare, armies gather, cannons are rolled out…all because of a pig! Emma Bland Smith’s humorous text and Alison Jay’s folksy illustrations combine in this whimsical nonfiction picture book that models the principles of peaceful conflict resolution.

      Gold Rush Girl (Audiobook)

      by Avi

      Feb 2021

      Audiobook Middle12 Plus

      Victoria Blaisdell longs for independence and adventure, and she yearns to accompany her father as he sails west in search of real gold! But it is 1848, and Tory isn’t even allowed to go to school, much less travel all the way from Rhode Island to California. Determined to take control of her own destiny, Tory stows away on the ship. Though San Francisco is frenzied and full of wild and dangerous men, Tory finds freedom and friendship there. Until one day, when Father is in the gold fields, her younger brother, Jacob, is kidnapped. And so Tory is spurred on a treacherous search for him in Rotten Row, a part of San Francisco Bay crowded with hundreds of abandoned ships. Beloved storyteller Avi is at the top of his form as he ushers us back to an extraordinary time of hope and risk, brought to life by a heroine readers will cheer for. Spot-on details and high suspense make this a vivid, absorbing historical adventure.

      Gargantis (Audiobook)

      by Thomas Taylor

      Feb 2021

      Audiobook Elementary12 Plus

      There’s a storm brewing over Eerie-on-Sea, and the fisherfolk say a monster is the cause. Someone has woken the ancient Gargantis, who sleeps in the watery caves beneath this spooky seaside town where legends have a habit of coming to life. It seems the Gargantis is looking for something: a treasure stolen from her underwater lair. And it just might be in the Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, in the care of one Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder.

      With the help of the daring Violet Parma, ever-reliable Herbie will do his best to figure out what the Gargantis wants and who stole her treasure in the first place. In a town full of suspicious, secretive characters, it could be anyone!

      In One Ear and Out the Other: Antonia Brico and Her Amazingly Musical Life

      by Diane Worthey

      Feb 2021

      Arts Elementary Plus

      When men told her that women couldn’t become conductors, Antonia Brico wasn’t listening.

      In a time when women were told they couldn't become conductors, Antonia Brico didn’t listen to discouraging words. Those words went in one ear and out the other.

      The second title in Penny Candy’s Amazing Women Series of nonfiction picture books, In One Ear and Out the Other: The Amazingly Musical Life of Antonia Brico tells the story of one woman’s fight to gain recognition as a conductor in an era when men dominated classical music. The first woman to guest-conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Antonia Brico never secured a permanent conducting job with a major symphony—but her contributions paved the way for the many women conductors to follow. A true visionary in the long fight for equal opportunities for women.

      Duck Days

      by Sara Leach

      Feb 2021

      Independent Readers

      The third title in the collection that began with USBBY Outstanding International Book Slug Days. Lauren, a third-grade student who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, takes on the challenges of sharing her best friend and persevering when a classmate mocks her bicycle’s training wheels.

      Irma is Lauren’s best friend. Irma knows all the strategies Lauren uses when her Autism Spectrum Disorder makes it hard to “go with the flow.” Lauren helps Irma learn English words and understand unfamiliar customs. So why does Irma suddenly want to introduce Lauren to her mountain-biking, litter-dropping neighbor Jonas? Why is Irma calling Jonas her friend?

      As if sharing Irma weren’t bad enough, Lauren also has an alarming new problem at school. Their teacher has announced a mountain biking day when the students will learn to ride their bikes on an obstacle course. But Lauren still uses training wheels. She just can’t face the teasing she will get when her classmates see them. She isn’t brave like Irma. She can’t go with the flow like Dad. How can she possibly face this challenge?
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