Caitlyn's Recommendation: A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga
This heartfelt sci-fi pick brings a rover to life. Resilience, also known as Res, was developed in a lab by "Hazmats" (what he calls humans). He starts to develop emotions and feelings as the Hazmats put him through tests. Res feels particularly close to Rania and Xander, two scientists who spend long hours in the lab handling most of his coding and tests. A student, Sophie, writes letters to Res to tell him about the love/hate relationship that she has towards him and gives a window into her life, which reveals that she is Rania's daughter. When Res is sent off to Mars and put to the test, his feelings get the better of him and he starts to fear for his survival and return to earth. I cared more about Res than I ever thought I could care about a robot. This book is good for grades 4 and up.
Kristy's Recommendation: The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat
This graphic memoir focuses on 7th grader Christina’s tryout for the cheerleading squad in her Texas town. But it is also about so much more— she touches on friendships evolving, that old middle school identity crisis, her experience as a Thai-American in a place where she didn’t always feel welcome or understood, and her relationship with her family. It’s funny and engaging and will really resonate with kids. Give to fans of Shannon Hale’s graphic memoir series “Real Friends” and Raina Telgemeier's books. Great for grades 4 and up.
Felicia's Recommendation: The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
11 year old Tien still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents. It's some of the only instances where he does not struggle trying to communicate with his parents. Not only is that tough as a kid, but it's even harder when his parents are having their own struggles with learning English. The artwork is absolutely beautiful in this graphic novel, which weaves Vietnamese fairytales throughout Tien's own story. Recommended for grades 6 and up.