Check out these exciting easy and fiction titles published in February. Everything here is realistic, including historical fiction, mysteries, and adventure. Happy reading!
ELEMENTARY PICTURE BOOKS
Bird Watch by Christie Matheson. 9780062393401. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr K-3.
The author takes readers on a counting and bird-watching expedition. After a checklist of birds that might be spotted, the author comments on where birds might be hiding and what to observe. A serene adventure and nature study.
Fast Enough : Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride by Joel Christian Gill. 9781549303142. Lion Forge. 2019. Gr 1-4.
This fictional biography African American motorcyclist Bessie Stringfield combines an account of her childhood with historical facts about her life as an adult. As a child, Bessie fought to prove herself, eventually becoming the first black woman to journey across the U.S. on a motorcycle, even through areas thought unsafe for African Americans in the 1930s and 1940s.
A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey (ill. by Mike Song). 9781452167916. Chronicle Books. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Henry would like to find a friend at school, but for a boy on the autism spectrum, making friends can be difficult. His efforts are sometimes misinterpreted, or things just go wrong—but Henry keeps trying, and in the end he finds a friend he can play with.
Gittel’s Journey : An Ellis Island Story by Leslea Newman (ill. by Amy June Bates). 9781419727474. Abrams. 2019. Gr 2-5.
Nine-year-old Gittel and her mother attempt to emigrate to America and join their family in New York. But when her mother is stopped by the health inspector, Gittle must travel to America alone with a slip of paper listing a relative’s New York address. When she reaches Ellis Island, she learns that the ink on the paper has run and she doesn’t know how to find her family.
I Didn’t Stand Up by Lucy Falcone (ill. by Jacqueline Hudon). 9781988347066. Firefly. 2019. Gr 1-4.
This originally anti-Nazi poem has been set in a school playground and recast with an anti-bullying theme—and an uplifting ending.
In the Quiet, Noisy Woods by Michael J. Rosen (ill. by Annie Won). 9781524766658. Doubleday. 2019. Gr PK-1.
As they explore away from their pack, two wolf pups find out that the quiet forest is really quite noisy. Readers will learn the sounds made by various woodland animals and birds as they make their way back home, and are introduced to the meaning of onomatopoeia.
My Mommy Medicine by Edwidge Danticat (ill. by Shannon Wright). 9781250140913. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr PK-1.
A young girl describes “mommy medicine” as her mother’s own brand of TLC, a blend of sympathy, caring, and playfulness.
A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith & Brooke Kerrigan. 9781459816145. Orca. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Every Saturday Lou visits Grandad and Pops. Each of them has their own favorite activities to celebrate her visit, and they love spending time together. But when Pops falls and needs to use a wheelchair, he acts quiet and sad. Grandad and Lou will have to come up with a plan to make Pops feel better and happier
Pup 681 : A Sea Otter Rescue Story by Jean Reidy (ill. by Ashley Crowley). 9781250114501. Macmillan. 2019. Gr PK-2.
A sea otter pup washes up on shore and a rescuer takes her in for rehabilitation. Though it faces challenges without her sea otter family, the pup thrives with the help of her rescuer.
Remarkably You by Pat Zietlow Miller (ill. by Patrice Barton). 9780062427588. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This picture book encourages children to recognize their own talents and personalities.
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds. 9780545865036. Scholastic. 2019. Gr PK-3.
How can one voice make a difference? One voice can right a wrong, plant an idea, or provide comfort. One voice can plant words like seeds that bloom and make a difference in the world.
What a Cold Needs by Barbara Bottner (ill. by Chris Sheban). 9780823441723. Neal Porter Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
A young girl is suffering from a bad cold and can’t wait for it to go away. But what can speed a cold on its way? Warm socks, a soft puppy, music, a nap, and more can help the days go more quickly.
ELEMENTARY CHAPTER BOOKS & FICTION
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. 9781524738112. Nancy Paulsen Books. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Runaway sisters Viji and Rukku quickly learn how vulnerable they are when they arrive in Chennai, India. They find shelter on an abandoned bridge along with two boys, Muthi and Arul, and form their own small family. But then sickness hits and Viji must decide on getting help from strangers even if it means losing their unique family.
Girl with Brush and Canvas : Georgia O’Keeffe, American Artist by Carolyn Meyer. 9781629799346. Calkins Creek. 2019. Gr 4-6.
This fictional biography of the artist Georgia O’Keeffe follows her from the age of 12 to 42.
Lety Out Loud by Angela Cervantes. 9781338159349. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Lety volunteers at an animal shelter and wants the job of writing profiles for the animals. With English as her second language, she completes an ELL class to improve her skills. Hunter wants the job, too, and doesn’t work well with others, so he devises a competition to see who can write better and thus become the shelter’s sole scribe—firmly believing he can win. In order to adopt the dog she’s drawn to and get the job, she works hard to overcome her language challenges.
The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson. 9781338216301. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Nate and his mother have escaped from an abusive relationship and are now living in a run-down cottage in a forest, where they feel safe. But when Nate’s mom leaves to get groceries and doesn’t come back, Nate is afraid. Does he have the courage to survive on his own?
Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger. 9780525644125. Random House. 2019. Gr 3-6.
Ms. Graham’s class is expected to use their journals during the year. She encourages her class to work for change in their community. On their own, some of her students, doing a project on homelessness, decide to spend a night outside under a bridge—and the teacher is blamed. Their story is told through journal entries, graphic novel form, scripts, free verse, and letters.
Right As Rain by Lindsey Stoddard. 9780062652942. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Rain’s family moved in order to make a fresh start after her brother’s death, for which Rain blames herself. She struggles to fit into her Latinx neighborhood and diverse school, but as she begins making friends, she begins to forgive herself. Even as she watches her family fall apart from grief, Rain joins the school’s track team and learns to cope through running; and as the anniversary of her brother’s death approaches, Rain is scheduled to run in her first track meet.
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly. 9781524770235. Delacorte. 2019. Gr 4-6.
When Iris, the only deaf student in her class, learns about the whale Blue 55, she feels a connection with it. The whale can’t communicate with other whales because its songs are on a different frequency, and she has trouble communicating with her hearing classmates. She is determined to find a way to reach out to the whale.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FICTION
Best Babysitters Ever (Book 1) by Caroline Cala. 9781328850898. HMH. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Mayhem ensues in their sleepy California beach town when three best friends, motivated by unlimited snacks, no parents, and earning money for an epic seventh-grade party, find an old copy of “The Babysitters Club” and decide to start their own babysitting business.
How I Became a Spy : A Mystery of WWII London by Deborah Hopkinson. 9780399557064. Knopf. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Bertie did not plan to become a spy in WWII London. He didn’t expect to become friends with a headstrong American girl and a Jewish boy. But when he finds a coded notebook belonging to a missing woman, the three of them must decipher the notebook before a double agent can pass along the important information to the Nazis.
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar. 9781338283372. Arthur A. Levine Books. 2019. Gr 4-8.
Celi Rivera is anxious about her approaching period, and that her mother wants to hold a traditional Mexican moon ceremony to celebrate the occasion, a party she promises she will not attend. Meanwhile, her best friend explores what it means to be gender fluid, which prompts the boy Celi has a crush on to make mean comments, which in turn forces Celi to make some rash decisions.
Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt. 9780544790858. HMH. 2019. Gr 4-8.
One morning, Carter answers the door to find a real English butler on the doorstep, who once worked for Carter’s grandfather. His family could use the help as his mother struggles to raise four children, his father is deployed to Germany and likely never coming back, and the whole family struggles with his brother’s untimely death. While Carter adjusts to the butler, from learning proper decorum and the Queen’s English to the game of cricket, Carter learns that the compassionate man can also help heal his broken feelings.
Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. 9780374309053. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Ruby has a troubled home life and has no intention of making new friends in her Vermont school or neighborhood. But Syrian refugee, Ahmad Saleem, decides Ruby is his new best friend. Likewise, she meets an old recluse in a ramshackle house down the street, and the two quickly become her friends. Despite the problems she has, her new friends teach her not to be ashamed.
Searching for Lottie by Susan L. Ross. 9780823441662. Holiday House. 2019. Gr 5-7.
Charlie is a gifted violinist, just like her namesake and great aunt Charlotte, who had disappeared during the 1938 Anschluss. Now a school assignment sends Charlie searching for information about what happened to her great aunt.
The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo. 9781534420991. Aladdin. 2019. Gr 4-8.
Alastair and his sister Aggie are African grey parrots born in the back room of a pet store. The owner doesn’t know much about raising birds, but Fritz, a boy who works part-time in the shop, loves the bird and hopes to buy Aggie. Bertie is a lonely widow looking for something to care for. But Alistair dreams of escaping with his sister to a world of trees and blue skies and freedom. Alistair, Fritz, and Bertie (through letters to her husband) take turns telling the story.
Spy Runner by Eugene Yelchin. 9781250120816. Henry Holt & Co. 2019. Gr 4-7.
At the height of the anti-communism movement after WWII, a Russian boarder rents Jake’s MIA father’s attic office. Jake is determined to find out about the Russian, as all Americans are instructed to remain vigilant and look for threats to national security, even if it means investigating close to home.
Stolen Girl by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. 9781338233049. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 5-8.
When Nadia arrives in Canada in 1950 with Marusia, the woman she calls mother, she is glad to finally be out of the displaced persons camp where she has lived for five years. She is troubled by confused memories of World War II; she speaks Ukrainian, but seems to remember living with a German Nazi family who called her by a different name. As she tries to settle into her new community, she is haunted by doubts. Who is she, and where was she stolen from?
A Story about Cancer (With a Happy Ending) by India Desjardins & Marianne Ferrer. 9781786039774. Quarto. 2019. Gr 5-8.
A fifteen-year-old girl with leukemia walks towards a hospital waiting room where doctors are going to tell her how long she has to live. On the way, the girl reflects on the events that led to that moment, including the horrible treatment and her fear of death. The title is a spoiler; the girl gets good news.
To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer. 9780525553236. Penguin. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. This novel is told entirely through emails.
HIGH SCHOOL FICTION
The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason. 9781616959876. Soho Teen. 2019. Gr 9-12.
When Harley finds her boyfriend Mike and her younger sister Audrey kissing at a party, she is furious and leaves them both there. When Mike attempts to drive Audrey home while drunk, they crash and Audrey ends up in a coma. She struggles with her guilty feelings and her anger at Mike’s drinking problem. When Rat, a childhood friend, returns home from rehab, she doesn’t want anything to do with him at first. But as Audrey slowly heals, Harley sees how Rat is working to improve his life—and he might help her out as well.
Awake in the World by Jason Gurley. 9781250141835. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Zach sees no point in applying for college, sure that he’ll end up with the same dead-end life as his brother and deceased father. Vanessa wants to get into Cornell, like her hero Carl Sagan. First drawn together, they find themselves being pulled apart by circumstances they can’t control.
The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena. 9780374308445. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2019. Gr 9-12.
The new girl and the bad boy struggle with dreams, reputations, and family problems to come together in this dramatic romance.
Between Before & After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. 9780310767381. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Molly’s mother Elaine became an orphan after World War I and now struggles with depression. Molly worries about her parents’ divorce, trying to make her mother happy, and taking care of her little brother. After Uncle Stephen, a Catholic school teacher, prays for a boy whose tumor then disappears, Molly begins looking into her mother’s past and finds secrets that destroy or save her family.
The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes. 9780062679628. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Thea doesn’t know exactly what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to join the Black Coats, a vigilantly group that exacts justice on men who’ve hurt females. But her desire to avenge the murder of her cousin, Natalie, is a driving force that propels her forward despite her reservations. As she works with the group, she begins to realize there’s more to the Black Coats than she initially imagined. And Thea must decide how far she’s willing to go to get justice for Natalie.
Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks. 9781626723641. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
She could’ve been rich if Miriam’s grandfather, co-creator of the hit comic series Tomorrow-Men, hadn’t sold his share of the company to his partner back in 1960. Now she’s worried about how she’ll pay for college. To complicate matters, a new, attractive boy shows up in town who just so happens to be the grandson of the man who “stole” Miriam’s future, and is now heir to the Tomorrow-Men fortune. Long-held bitterness notwithstanding, Miriam is disappointed to find herself falling for the handsome boy.
A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel. 9781492667247. Sourcebooks. 2019. Gr 10-12.
Just before her senior year, Hannah is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital after a game of truth or dare goes wrong. Believing that she is not a danger to herself or others, Hannah tries to stave off boredom while waiting for her commitment to end. During that time, she gets a roommate, Lucy, and sees in her a new project. But Lucy, despite her own baggage, might just be the right person to confront the secrets Hannah has been avoiding, and the truth behind why Hannah is confined in the first place.
The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons. 9781250175793. Tor Teen. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Brynn is desperate to get out of her run-down neighborhood and improve her standing in the world. She cons the rich kids at her high school in order to raise enough money to get to college. Brynn is recruited to a shadowy academy, which she learns is a breeding ground for elite con artists. She meets friends, including the ultra-hot Caleb. As she gets deeper into running a con against the son of a senator, Brynn and her friends get caught up in a larger conspiracy that could have real life-or-death consequences.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott & Mikki Daughtry. 9781534437333. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Stella and Will both have cystic fibrosis. Stella has to stay away from anything and anyone that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Will has an antibiotic-resistant bacteria and just wants to go out and see the world instead of the inside of hospitals. To be safe, they need to stay six feet away from each other, but as Stella and Will start to fall in love, safety measures begin to feel like a punishment and they reexamine the risks they’re willing to take to live.
Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield. 9781541526112. Carolrhoda. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Best friends and sisters Lo and Rita live with a traveling circus, working as trapeze artists. The high-wires are one thing, but real danger comes as secrets emerge that threaten to unravel the tight-knit community. Compounding matters, Lo finds love with a boy outside the circus, which is a very serious offense. As the sisters face up to a family member’s betrayal, they begin to question the life and traditions of circus folk.
Immoral Code by Lillian Clark. 9780525580461. Knopf. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Bellamy is accepted into MIT but gets no financial because her father, who abandoned her and her mom, is a CEO in Silicon Valley. Her friend Nari is a talented hacker. With three other friends, they plan to skim enough from her father’s company to finance her college education. Their planning, the diversion, and the crime itself offers plenty of action, as they struggle with the moral complexity of their deeds.
The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg. 9781338215502. Arthur A Levine Books. 2019. Gr 10-12.
During a June in Mesa, Arizona, high school classmates Max and Jordan agree to work an aging food truck together that once belonged to Jordan’s now deceased father. The two develop an undeniable attraction to each other, but must also contend with their own secrets and fears, not to mention the homophobia and racism around them.
Nick and June Were Here by Shalanda Stanley. 9780399556586. Knopf. 2019. Gr 7-12.
June has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which she has asked her boyfriend Nick to keep. Nick steals cars to help support his aunt. When June ends up in the hospital and Nick is arrested and might end up in prison, they decide to run away in order to stay together.
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. 9781250175458. Flatiron Books. 2019. Gr 11-Adult.
In 1930s colonial Malaysia, Ji Lin, a young dance-hall girl and apprentice dress maker, discovers a severed finger that a young servant boy is desperately seeking. The boy, eleven-year-old Ren, is seeking the finger of his dead master and knows he has forty-nine days to bury it with the man or his soul will wander the Earth as a ghost. As the two repeatedly cross paths, strange occurrences begin to happen, from unexplained deaths to reports of men turning into tigers.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. 9780062498564. Balzer + Bray. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Aspiring rapper Bri, the daughter of an underground hip hop legend, feels she has a lot to prove. Based on her family’s poverty, hunger, and her label as a hoodlum at school, Bri writes her first song expressing her anger and frustration, which immediately goes viral and earns her scorn and controversy. But when faced with eviction, Bri knows she must make it big, even if it means becoming the very thing that’s given her notoriety.
Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice. 9781338298505. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Emily was close to her best friend, Lizzie, who died a year ago, and she is still grieving. Lizzie’s family are grieving so much that they use Lizzie’s younger sister, Chloe, to lure and kidnap Emily, forcing her to dress, talk, and act like Lizzie. They threaten to go after Emily’s family if she does not become the replacement for their daughter—and Emily is caught between fear for herself and her family, and concern for Chloe.
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner. 9781524720209. Crown Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Josie and Delia host a midnight creature feature show on public-access every Friday night. As the end of their senior year approaches, they know things are about to change. Josie can get a TV internship at a big university, but that would mean leaving Delia and their show. For Delia, the campy horror movies are her only connection to a father who left her years ago. The girls hear of a convention in Florida where the famed host Jack Devine will be in attendance, who might be able to help get their show a bigger audience. Delia also learns that her father might be in Florida.
Second in Command by Sandi Van. 9781538382622. West 44 Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Leo plans to become an Eagle Scout and then a police officer. With his mother deployed and his father working all the time, Leo is left to care for his siblings. When his younger brother gets in trouble with the law, Leo is torn between supporting his brother and standing up for justice.
The Sisterhood by A.J. Grainger. 9781481429061. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
While searching for her missing sister, sixteen-year-old Lil nearly runs into Seven, a girl trying to escape flames that tore through the compound of the Sisterhood of the Light—and something worse.
Some Girls Bind by Rory James. 9781538382547. West 44 Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
A young teen binds their chest and wears baggy clothes—and worries that they won’t be accepted if they come out as non-binary.
Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan. 9781547600083. Bloomsbury. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Frustrated by the way women are treated—even at their progressive New York City high school–two best friends start a Women’s Rights Club, post their essays and poems online, and watch it go viral, attracting positive support as well as trolls.
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan. 9781681194820. Bloomsbury. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Bobby struggles under the weight of his responsibilities: caring for his terminally ill mother, watching out for little brothers, schoolwork, and a maybe-girlfriend. Then his mother asks him to do something for her—something huge that will ease his burdens. But can he help her end her life?
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf. 9781534426085. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
During the 1969 Chinese-Malay race riots in Kuala Lumpur, Melati works her way back to her mother, dealing with violence and prejudice. She also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, which tells her that a djinn will flood her images of her mother’s horrific death if she doesn’t perform certain rituals to keep the djinn satisfied.
What Every Girl Should Know : Margaret Sanger’s Journey by J. Albert Mann. 9781534419322. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
This historical and biographical novel follows the childhood and formative years of Margaret Sanger. Margaret didn’t like helping her mother in the house, and she hated the thought that her future was limited to teaching or being a mother. She encountered many hardships as she became an advocate for women’s rights and founded Planned Parenthood.
What We Buried by Kate Boorman. 9781250191670. Henry Holt & Co. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Liv and her eighteen-year-old brother Jory have always resented each other. The only thing they share is a dislike of their dramatic mother and alcoholic father. Liv decides to sue their parents for emancipation, but their parents mysteriously disappear. Now the siblings are forced to work together to find them. Their overnight road trip through Nevada turns dangerously surreal, and they discover family secrets that force them to relive their pasts and find common ground.