The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Having left Vietnam as a young child and experiencing American life as an immigrant, author/illustrator Thi Bui knew that her parents had endured a great deal to give her a better life. But she also had so many questions about them, and when her first child was born she decided to find answers. This moving graphic novel is the result of that search.
Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
Nothing matters more to Vidya than going to college and escaping a future as a housewife. But In British-occupied India during WWII, this is an ambitious plan for a teenage girl-- one that becomes almost impossible when her father is attacked during a protest and she has to go live with relatives who have different ideas about a woman’s role in the family. Then Vidya meets Raman, who shares her love for learning and respects her as an equal, but who she can only meet in secret.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
You’ve probably watched or heard of Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show. But you may not know that the South African comedian lived through extreme poverty and hunger, and grew up in a society so racially divided that he sometimes had to pretend he didn’t know his own parents when out in public with them because his mother was black, his father was white, and that meant their relationship and his birth were illegal. Despite these hardships, Noah developed a sharp wit and an ability to communicate with all types of people.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
In the enchanted world of Orleans where generations have been cursed with hideous chalky gray skin, the Belles’ powers of transformation are highly prized. They can make anyone beautiful -- using mind control to physically restructure features into aesthetically pleasing shapes. Camellia Beauregard was born with this gift and is desperate for the Queen to choose her as the favorite Belle, the one who will live in the royal palace and style the royal family. But she soon learns how quickly the Belles’ powers can be used in horrific and dangerous ways.
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
This is the true story of two high school students from Oakland, Ca. whose brief encounter on a city bus results in life-threatening injuries for one and hate crime charges for the other. Sasha is agender -- meaning they don’t consider themselves male or female-- and is a top student at a private school. Richard is poor, has lost family members to gun violence and is working hard to graduate. When Richard’s friends dare him to play a prank by lighting Sasha’s skirt on fire while they nap on the bus, both are left with terrible consequences.
Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
Finley’s teammates call him the White Rabbit -- ‘white’ because he’s the only white player on his high school basketball team -- and ‘rabbit’ because he doesn’t talk much, unless it’s to his girlfriend Erin, who’s a better ball player than he is. It’s not that he doesn’t have anything to say; it’s just that some things are better left buried in the past. So he’s surprised when his coach asks him to make the mysterious new kid his personal project. Russ, a basketball phenom from L.A., is weirdly obsessed with space travel, and has some pretty dark secrets, too.