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      The Topeka School

      by Ben Lerner

      Dec 2019

      Adult Crossover High Plus

      Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting “lost boys” to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart—who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father’s patient—into the social scene, to disastrous effect.

      Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane’s reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan’s marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.

      The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier

      by Ian Urbina

      Dec 2019

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation. Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways—drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

      “Appendix: Reining in the Outlaw Ocean.” Notes. Further reading. Black-and-white photographs.

      Hi, I'm Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell

      by Robert Burleigh

      Dec 2019

      Arts Elementary Plus

      Norman Rockwell is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late twentieth century. This beautifully illustrated, first-person narrative explores Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. Norman Rockwell is not only a great American artist, but he also successfully chronicled two generations of American life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

      Further information about Norman Rockwell, with photograph. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Time line. List of paintings represented in book. Reproductions of five Rockwell paintings with commentary. Suggestions for additional sources. Quotes. Full-color illustrations were rendered in watercolor, gouache, and pencil.

      Bernard Pepperlin

      by Cara Hoffman

      Dec 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      The drowsy Dormouse has been stuck inside a perpetual Sunday afternoon with the Hatter and the March Hare for what seems like forever. But when a girl in a blue dress crashes the Hatter’s tea party, the Dormouse feels more awake than he has in a long time. He wishes he could follow her and be a part of her adventure.

      As luck would have it, a surprising twist of fate sends the Dormouse on an adventure of his own, where he must not—cannot—fall asleep. For he is destined to save a magical world outside Wonderland, and it will take all his courage (and a few new friends) to do it.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

      by Celia C. Pérez

      Dec 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

      Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn’t love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn’t know they needed: sisterhood.

      Birdwatching tips. Information about crystals. Cookie recipe. Writing tips. Instructions for DIY badges. Author’s note. Bibliography.

      Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War

      by Duncan Tonatiuh

      Dec 2019

      Biography Elementary Plus

      José de la Luz Sáenz believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization.

      Author’s note. Source for quotations. Time lines. Select bibliography. Glossary. Photograph of José de la Luz Saenz. Index. Full-color illustrations were hand drawn, then collaged digitally.

      Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America

      by Steve Sheinkin

      Dec 2019

      Biography Middle Plus

      Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first official women-only air race across the US. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations of young women; Marvel Crosson, who built a plane with her own hands before she even learned how to fly; Louise Thaden, who bravely shattered jaw-dropping altitude records; and Elinor Smith, who made headlines at age seventeen when she flew under the Brooklyn Bridge.

      Source notes. Works cited. Index. Black-and-white illustrations and photographs.

      The Tornado

      by Jake Burt

      Dec 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

      Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, recreating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village Green Elementary has ever seen. Since third grade, Parker has tormented Bell, who’s spent two long years devising a finely tuned system that keeps him out of Parker’s way. Sure, it means that Bell can’t get a drink when he wants to, can’t play with his best friend on the playground, and can’t tell his parents about his day, but at least he’s safe.

      Until Daelynn Gower touches down in his classroom like a tornado. Bell’s not sure why the new girl, with her rainbow hair, wild clothes, and strange habits, is drawn to him, but he knows one thing—she means trouble. It’s bad enough that she disrupts Bell’s secret system, but when Daelynn becomes the bully’s new target, Bell is forced to make an impossible decision: Finally stand up to Parker—or join him.

      The Long Ride

      by Marina Budhos

      Dec 2019

      Advanced Readers

      Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other. Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to “mix up the black and white kids.” Their parents don’t want them to be experiments. Francesca’s send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her.

      While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy—but it’s a relationship that can exist only at school.

      Author’s note.

      Corals: Secrets of Their Reef-Making Colonies

      by Rebecca Stefoff

      Dec 2019

      Series Nonfiction
      Science Grades 3-5

      Huge coral reefs can stretch across oceans for miles! But take a closer look, and you'll see that each coral is actually a tiny, simple animal. Discover how both hard and soft corals build colonies. Then learn about the threats to corals and their reefs and how people can protect them.

      Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together

      by Clare Hodgson Meeker

      Dec 2019

      Series Nonfiction
      Science Grades 6-8

      This heartwarming true story chronicles what happened after a mother gorilla failed to bond with her newborn baby at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. The dedicated staff worked tirelessly to care for the baby and find innovative ways for mother and baby to build a relationship. The efforts were ultimately successful, and baby Yola became part of a family group.

      Some Places More Than Others

      by Renée Watson

      Dec 2019

      City Elementary

      All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes's home. But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family.

      This is a powerful story about family, the places that make us who we are, and how we find ways to connect to our history across time and distance.
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