Check out these exciting easy and fiction titles published in January. Everything here is realistic, including historical fiction, mysteries, and adventure. Happy reading!
ELEMENTARY PICTURE BOOKS
The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome. 9781442421134. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 1-3.
A young slave girl comes in from a hard day on the plantation to discover that her brother has run away. While the family misses him, they also secretly hope that he made it North and that he is free.
Crunch and Crack, Oink and Whack! : An Onomatopoeia Story by Brian P. Cleary (ill. by Pablo Pino). 9781467787994. Lerner. 2019. Gr K-3.
It’s Onomatopoeia Day at Clip-Clop Elementary School, and Mrs. Garcia’s class is doing it annual hunt for sounds in and around the school.
Dress Like a Girl by Patricia Toht (ill. by Lorian Tu-Dean). 9780062798923. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Six girls at a slumber party stretch what it means to “dress like a girl”. Using clothing to dress up, they pretend to do a variety of activities and careers, such as astronaut, doctor, artist, and explorer.
Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (ill. by Shane W. Evans). 9780525552314. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-3.
A young black girl has the habit of reaching her hands into the air to celebrate everyday moments. When she gets older, she joins a protest march where she lifts her arms with others in strength and unity.
How to Give Your Cat a Bath : In Five Easy Steps by Nicola Winstanley & John Martz. 9780735263543. Random House. 2019. Gr PK-2.
A young cat owner thinks bathing her cat will be a snap—just five easy steps!—but the cat has its own ideas, and they don’t include water!
Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley. 9780062846792. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This book was inspired by Mary Edwards Walker, a real-life doctor from the 19th century. She insisted on wearing pants and was arrested many times for doing so.
Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham (ill. by John Holyfield). 9780399546686. Penguin. 2019. Gr K-3.
A young boy who loves elephants is thrilled when Miss Fancy, an elephant, retires from the circus and is moved into a nearby park. But this is before the civil rights movement, and the park is for only for white people. He hopes to get the help of his church and the City Council in order to meet Miss Fancy.
The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati. 9781419731686. Abrams. 2019. Gr 1-3.
A young girl climbs seven stories to reach her own apartment, imagining all the exciting stories that could be behind each door she passes. When she reaches her own apartment, her parents have a surprise even wilder than all the stories she imagined.
The Pinata That the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha R. Vamos (ill. by Sebastia Serra). 9781580897969. Charlesbridge. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Using the format of “The House that Jack Built,” a farm girl creates a piñata of papier mâché with the help of a boy and the animals on the farm. It includes a glossary of Spanish words, and a step-by-step guide to building your own pinata.
Sea Bear : A Journey for Survival by Lindsay Moore. 9780062791283. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr PK-3.
A polar bear waits for the ice to break up, but when summer ends, the bear realizes she traveled a great distance to find food, and must travel equally far to find land again. The book pairs scientific facts with prose to highlight the plight of polar bears, and includes backmatter about Arctic animals, climate change, and sea ice.
Skyscraper by Jorey Hurley. 9781481470018. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr PK-2.
Discover all the vehicles needed to build a skyscraper from the ground up.
Sleepover at the Museum by Karen LeFrak (ill. by David Bues). 9781524771416. Random House. 2019. Gr PK-2.
Mason’s birthday party is being held at the museum, where he and his friends go on a scavenger hunt before settling down to sleep in Mason’s favorite room. But deciding which is his favorite is proving to be more difficult than he thought.
Squirrel’s Family Tree by Beth Ferry (ill. by A.N. Kang). 9781338187366. Scholastic. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Acorns are an important food for squirrels, but squirrels are important for oak trees, too. Hidden in small caches in the ground for use in the winter, not all acorns are found. They germinate, grow into oak trees, which provide homes and food for more squirrels.
Under My Hijab by Hena Khan (ill. by Aaliya Jaleel). 9781620147924. Lee & Low Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Not all women cover their hair the same way. A girl describes the preferences of the women in her family, and thinks about how she might want to wear her hijab someday.
What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack & April Harrison. 9780375836152. Random House. 2019. Gr K-3.
During the Depression, three young sisters get one baby doll for Christmas and must find a way to share.
ELEMENTARY CHAPTER BOOKS
The Friendship War by Andrew Clements. 9780399557590. Random House. 2019. Gr 4-6.
When Grace takes boxes of old buttons from a building her grandfather bought, she starts a fad at school that draws her closer to one friend, but further from another.
Lizzy Legend by Matthew Ross Smith. 9781534420243. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 3-6.
Lizzy loves basketball, and when she is given one magical wish, she asks to be able to sink every shot she makes. Her BFF helps her get an audition with the coach of the Philadelphia Bells. Though now famous as Lizzy Legend, Lizzy works hard even when things get tough.
Meena Meets Her Match by Karla Manternach. 9781534428171. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 4-6.
An energetic and creative girl who loves color, Meena finds her world becoming a bit gray when her BFF stops hanging out with her. She also has been feeling a bit down and not quite well for a while, and when her doctor diagnoses her with epilepsy, Meena must find the color in her new world.
Mighty Meg and the Magical Ring (Mighty Meg, Book 1) by Sammy Griffin (ill. by Micah Player). 9781499808322. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 1-3.
For her eighth birthday, Meg is given a ring—and wakes up with superpowers the next day. Not only that, but her normal town is no longer quite so normal, and Meg must use her new powers to keep everybody safe.
One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko. 9781524718886. Random House. 2019. Gr 3-5.
Ten-year-old Liam and his sisters, third-grader Dakota and second-grader Izzy, who has Down syndrome, want to raise money to take their dog, Cupcake, to the vet due to Cupcake peeing in their apartment. They know that if their landlord finds out, Cupcake might have to go to a new home, and the three are not going to let that happen.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. 9781250196705. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Twelve-year-old Coyote and her father, Rodeo, live an itinerant life as they travel the U.S. in an old school bus. Along the way, she hears that the park near her old home in Washington State is getting demolished—the park where she and her now-deceased mother and sisters buried a memory box. Coyote needs to trick her father to travel back to Washington from Florida, picking up travelers along the way.
The Unteachables by Gordon Korman. 9780062563880. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Told in their alternating voices, the teacher and students in room 117 find their lives changed over the course of a school year.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FICTION
A Circle of Elephants by Eric Dinerstein. 9781368016582. Hachette. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Nandu and the Royal Elephant Breeding Center’s bull elephant, Hira Prasad, develop a special relationship as they work together to maintain balance in the Borderlands of 1970s Nepal. With drought, earthquakes, and the rumor of poachers nearby, Nandu and his tusker vow to keep all the other animals safe.
The End of the World and Beyond by Avi. 9781616205652. Workman. 2019. Gr 5-8.
After being convicted of a minor crime in 1724 England, twelve-year-old Oliver Pitts is transported to the New World as an indentured servant on a plantation under the brutal watch of the owner, Fitzhugh. Once there, Oliver befriends a slave boy named Bara and the two plot their escape—Bara to a colony of free blacks living in the swamp, and Oliver to find his sister, Charity, who was herself taken and sold into servitude. They run, but must learn to survive both the swamp and their pursuers.
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams. 9781481465809. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 5-9.
Genesis keeps a list of all the things she hates about herself—she’s up to ninety-six—the last of which is her very dark skin. Her gambling-addict father has once again lost their rent money, so Genesis moves in with her grandmother who claims that none of this would’ve happened if her mother had married a light-skinned man. At school, Genesis tries out for the talent show, but is ashamed of her dark skin, so she tries a number of skin-lightening techniques to no avail. She is now faced with either getting that list to 100 and beyond, or learning to love the skin she has.
Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin. 9780670014965. Penguin. 2019. Gr 7-12.
In 1940, fifteen-year-old Lillia and her family escape Warsaw after the disappearance of her mother. They head to Shanghai, which was under Japanese control, yet still relatively safe for Jewish refugees. But once in China, Lillia and her family struggle to live in a country they don’t understand. Coming from a family of circus performers, Lillia finds solace in making puppets, but soon realizes she will need to do whatever it takes to help feed her family.
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong USA by Brenda Woods. 9781524737092. Random House. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Twelve-year-old Gabriel gains new perspective when he becomes friends with Meriwether, an African American World War II hero who has recently returned to the unwelcoming Jim Crow South.
HIGH SCHOOL FICTION
29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz. 9781488038822. Harlequin. 2019. Gr 7-12.
After doing poorly on a test and skipping out on one of her dates to spend time with friends, Jisu is sent to a private school in San Francisco where she finds comfort in taking photographs for her social media account.
96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy & Ava Dash. 9780316477789. Hachette. 2019. Gr 10-12.
Raya Liston feels trapped by a future already mapped out for her. Then she is offered an opportunity to spend the summer before college in an ashram near the Himalayas with her cousin Anandi. While in India, Raya hopes to center herself, but never expected to fall in love—with the people, the country, and with a boy who teaches her the ninety-six words for love in Sanskrit.
Dreams on Fire by Annette Daniels Taylor. 9781538382486. Enslow. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Attending a prestigious private prep school is like a dream come true for Shanequa. She tries to keep the truth about her drug addicted mother and incarcerated father a secret from her new classmates, but when the truth comes out, Shanequa’s reaction could change her life forever.
Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson. 9781335629791. Harlequin. 2019. Gr 9-12.
A year after her brother confessed to killing his best friend, Calvin, Brooke and her family have become outcasts, and Brooke no longer sees a future for herself as a figure skater. One day she picks up Heath, Calvin’s younger brother, who is stranded by the roadside. They feel a connection because both have essentially lost brothers, but have to keep their growing relationship a secret. When Brooke discovers more facts about Calvin’s death, she must decide whether to keep it quiet, or to cause more pain to both families.
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills. 9781250179630.Macmillan. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Sophie loves living in her small town with her small group of friends. This year her high school band will be marching in the Rose Parade. As president of the band’s fundraising committee, she hopes to convince local-girl-turned-country-star Megan Pleasant to return home and give a benefit to raise money. The problem: Megan has vowed never to come back to her hometown. Adding to Sophie’s worries is a new boy, August; she’s infatuated with him but he keeps her at a distance.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe. 9780062824110. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr 8-12.
When Norris, a Black French Canadian, starts his junior year at an Austin, Texas, high school, he views his fellow students as cliches from “a bad 90s teen movie.”
Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard. 9781534402447. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Eden receives an email from her best friend, Bonnie, telling Eden that she’s run off with her boyfriend. The boyfriend turns out to be their twenty-nine-year-old music teacher Mr. Cohn, who’s been having sex with Bonnie for months. Eden, faced with questions from police, parents, and her friends, won’t betray Bonnie’s secret despite her growing doubts about who her supposedly “perfect” best friend really is. Then, as things begin to fall apart, Eden reflects on family, love, and what it means to be perfect.
Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden. 9781681198071. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 9-12.
In 1880s Savannah, a sixteen-year-old black woman named Essie, the daughter of a prostitute, grows up in a brothel and struggles to find meaning in post-Reconstruction America. Then she meets Dorcas Vashon, a wealthy, cultured black woman from Washington, D.C., who makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse: to assist Dorcas, be transformed into a high-society woman, and rename herself Victoria. Ashamed of her past, Essie agrees but begins to wonder how much of her previous life she should really leave behind.
Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson. 9780399547614. Penguin. 2019. Gr 7-12.
After his family is kidnapped, Abdi is forced to become a child soldier for Al Shabaab. Since his older brother is also part of the jihadist group, they trust him, but they don’t know that he is also a spy for the Americans. He trains with the group, witnesses atrocities, and beginning to wonder if he’s becoming like them. Eventually he escapes, but he still must reckon with his past.
The Lonely Dead by April Henry. 9781250157577. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Adele can see the dead and even talk to them, though she refuses to admit it. When she finds her friend Tori in a shallow grave—and has no alibi—she becomes the prime suspect in Tori’s murder. She must work with Tori’s ghost to find the real killer, before the killer finds her.
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan. 9781338227017. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 10-12.
Rukhsana’s conservative Muslim parents want her to attend the University of Washington and marry a young Muslim man. But Rukhsana has two secrets, that she applied to Caltech, and that she is a lesbian. When her mother catches Rukhsana kissing her girlfriend, her parents angrily send her to live with family in Bangladesh, exposed to harsh tradition, arranged marriages, and intolerance. While there, Rukhsana connects with parts of herself long hidden, and finds the courage to take control of her own future.
The Me I Meant to Be by Sophie Jordan. 9781328977069. HMH. 2019. Gr 9-12.
When Flor breaks up with her boyfriend Zach, her best friend, Willa has no intention of letting herself fall for her handsome and newly available next-door neighbor. And Flor has no intention of falling for her hot, know-it-all tutor. But the girls learn that sometimes love happens even when you don’t mean for it to.
No One Here Is Lonely by Sara Everett. 9780553538687. Random House. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Eden has just lost the two closest people in her life. She and her BFF Lacey have grown apart, and her boyfriend Will in an accident. Before he died, Will had set up an account with a company that uploads voices and emails in order to create a digital version of the person. Eden finds that this new Will is the only “person” to whom she can confide her secrets and her sorrows. But when life moves on and Oliver comes into her life, will she be willing or able to give up Will?
Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry. 9781250193858. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Jesse is heir to the family land, but his grandmother has left the decision as to whether or not Jesse is mature enough to take possession in the hands of a three-person tribunal. One of the people he needs to impress is former childhood friend-turned-enemy Scarlett, a girl who Jesse hurt years earlier. Scarlett, desperate to escape an abusive family, wants to go to the University of Kentucky, and needs Jesse’s help to get there. As they reconnect, the two discover secrets about each other, share their burdens, and discover what happened that drove them apart. Through it all, the two begin to fall in love.
Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon. 9781481497763. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein, eighteen, wonders if seventeen-year-old Peter Rosenthal-Porter, gifted pianist, best friend, and secret crush, will love her back after receiving her kidney.
A Sky for Us Alone by Kristin Russell. 9780062697028. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr 9-12.
In grim southern Appalachia, the Prater family controls everything from the mines to the opioid trade, even the law—which is why they got away with killing Harlowe’s brother. Harlowe fears his future has only loss, until he meets Tennessee, a girl with her own bad cards to deal with, but one who makes him look forward with hope. However, before they can forge their own path, they will uncover darker secrets about their town and the people they thought they knew the best.
Spin by Lamar Giles. 9781338219210. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 7-12.
DJ ParSec, a local music legend, is found murdered over her turntables. Two girls find her, Kya—her pre-fame best friend—and current groupie Fuse. The investigation soon slows down as the police lose interest, so Kya and Fuse, despite their intense hatred of one another, join together to figure out who killed their friend.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. 9781524714727. Random House. 2019. Gr 9-12.
While true-crime aficionado Ellery and her twin brother are staying with their grandmother in a Vermont community known for murder, a new friend goes missing and Ellery may be next. Determined to protect herself and get to the bottom of things, Ellery uses his knowledge of true-crimes to seek out the answers to the secrets everyone in town seems to be keeping.
ADULT CROSSOVER FICTION
The Current by Tim Johnston. 9781616206772. Workman. 2019. Gr 11-Adult.
Two young women and their car are pulled out of an icy river in the middle of winter. One is dead; the other alive but nearly frozen. Police discover that this was no accident. Ten years before, a similar event happened and another young woman died. Does the killer live among them? And are the two cases connected?
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. 9781492666868. Sourcebooks. 2019. Gr 10-Adult.
A fictional biography of Hedy Lamar’s life as spy, movie star, and inventor.
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal. 9781524799717. Penguin. 2019. Gr 11-Adult.
This retelling of Pride and Prejudice is set in modern Pakistan.