Our Favorite YA Vampire Stories

We gave you dragons and fairies and mermaids, but as we get closer to Spooky season we’re going a bit more paranormal and less mythological. And with the new release of Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, which revisits her original novel from 2005 from a different perspective, we decided to deep dive into tales of vampires. This list includes some of our favorite vampire stories, two of which are still on order! Physical copies can be reserved for Curbside Pickup – please see our instructions. 

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair—the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks—Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (The original novel which inspired this post.)

Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.

Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife — between desire and danger.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book/audiobook.

Crave by Tracy Wolff

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla audiobook

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With a Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley. 

Accessible as a physical book

The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig

The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.

Accessible as a physical book.

Ready, Steady, Listen Up–Again!: More New CD Audiobooks at APL

So, we’ve established that some of us are a bit old-school and still love to pop the odd CD into the player rather than queuing up listens on phones, iPods, or various car streaming systems. (Don’t remember? Have a look at this post). And that’s OK. Fortunately, the Abbot Library caters to both techies and Luddites alike. If you’re one of the former, you can revel in the exceptional content on offer on hoopla and Overdrive/Libby. But if you’d like to check out the latest audiobooks in physical format, look no further than this collection in the library catalog, place a hold, and grab your choice using our popular curbside pickup service!

If you’re a fan of all things British, we’ve got historical fiction, literary fiction, and an autobiography on tap for you. Hilary Mantel’s last volume in her Tudor trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, brings her fictional exploration of Thomas Cromwell’s turbulent life to a close after nearly a  decade. You’ll not want to miss it, and if you haven’t yet read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (or need a refresher), they’re ready for you, too. If you’re an Austenite, you’ll be delighted by Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society, in which a group of unlikely fans unite forces to save a vital piece of literary history (and in the process save each other–click here for a review). Or you can do one better than tea with the Queen: have a listen to the fascinating memoir Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

Another historical novel by Lisa Wingate (author of Before We Were Yours) will take you to the post-bellum South alongside three women of vastly different experiences and positions in pre-Civil War society–an heiress to a plantation, her unacknowledged half sister, and a slave. Check out The Book of Lost Friends to find out more. 

And if you want a thriller by a tried-and-true master of the genre, you’ll not go wrong with Harlan Coben’s The Boy from the Woods, in which a lone forest dweller assists with an investigation into a girl’s disappearance, or John Sandford’s Masked Prey, which weaves an absorbing tale from incidents of cyberstalking among Washington’s elite.

Firm favorites Emily Giffin and Diane Chamberlain each make an appearance as well, so be sure to have a look!

And for you techies, all but one of these offerings is available in audio format on Overdrive/Libby (The Boy from the Woods can be borrowed as an ebook).

Happy listening!

Check Out These New Library Books!

Here are some new books you can check out, including a couple of physical copies you can reserve for Curbside Pickup! Please read the full details of Abbot Public Library’s Curbside PIckup Service here.

Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier may come to mind while reading this book. Engaging writer Sarah Morgan offers a new novel about Flora the florist whose whirlwind romance becomes difficult when meeting the family and friends of Jack Parker and the secrets emerging surrounding his late wife. Check out the ebook on Overdrive or the audiobook on hoopla.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird : a Novel by Josie Silver

Lydia Bird tragically loses her partner, Freddie Hunter, in a car accident. In an effort to cope with her grief through medicine, she experiences lucid dreams about her continued life with Freddie while living her other life by day. Josie Silver’s book is beautifully written with richly developed characters. 

Check it out in print or ebook format. 

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen, author of the enjoyable Royal Spyness Mysteries and Molly Murphy Mysteries has written some historical fiction as well, including The Victory Garden. Set in England in the early 1900s during World War I, Emily Bryce falls for a pilot who is recuperating. He is sent back into battle in France and Emily joins the Women’s Land Army and leaves home. This novel depicts a time of turbulent change during this tragic war.

Reserve the physical copy now for Curbside Pickup!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

July is National Ice Cream Month. And no wonder, with how hot the summer can be! If you want to practice social distancing away from those long lines at the ice cream stores, here are some ebooks to help you make, enjoy, and celebrate this tasty summertime treat! 

Get the scoop on how to make ice cream in Charity Ferreira and Lou Seibert Pappas’s ebook with 25 recipes for homemade ice creams and frozen desserts. The A to Z Ice Cream: Making Ice Cream at Home for Total Beginners by Lisa Bond is another great way to start learning how to make this popular frozen dessert, as well as facts about ice cream you can share with friends and family! Find 51 recipes in Nicole Weston’s How to Make Ice Cream, including classics such as coffee and chocolate, as well as original flavors like goat cheese and honey, maple bacon, and more! Or learn from master chef Louis P. De Gouy in The Ice Cream Book, which includes over 400 recipes. We guarantee you will find The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever in our hoopla collection! If you care about cows so much you don’t eat dairy products, try Vegan A La Mode by Hannah Kaminsky, with 100+ recipes made from almond, coconut, and other dairy alternatives. 

Once you have your frozen dessert in hand, enjoy while reading an ice cream-themed adult mystery or romance! Jen and Sherry try to solve the Chunky Raspberry Fudge Murder in Penelope Manzone’s cozy mystery. Listen to Lexy Baker and her grandmother, Nans, solve a mystery in Leighann Dobbs’s audiobook, Ice Cream Murder. For A Deadly Inside Scoop, Abby Collette’s wintertime mystery features a recent MBA grad who took over her family’s ice cream business and found the body of a man with an old feud with her family.

If you want something more romantic, Eileen Dreyer’s The Ice Cream Man features Jenny Lake investigating an ice cream man who may be selling something else from his ice cream truck. You could also travel back in time to Grace Thompson’s Ice Cream in Winter, about a woman trying to run a struggling ice cream shop in the winter of 1940. Or take a contemporary road trip in Tiffany Carby’s romance, $(mint)en Chocolate Chip, in which a successful blogger takes a road trip to find the best ice cream spots.

What goes well with ice cream? Dogs! In Drawing with Mark: Happy Tails & We All Scream for Ice Cream, children will learn about popular flavors of the frozen dessert, and they will be taught how to draw an ice cream cone and truck! They’ll also learn how to take care of and draw puppies and kittens. If you want to see doggos enjoying their own frozen treats, take a look at the photos in Diana Lundin’s Dogs vs. Ice Cream! Splat the Cat and Stick Dog also have something to scream or dream about ice cream in the children’s books by Rob Scotton and Tom Watson.

Check out the rest of hoopla’s ice cream-themed items, which include recipe books, fiction, music, and other entertaining items for all ages!

Middle Grade Historical Fiction

From the Revolutionary War in America, to 1841 Japan, to Nazi Germany, these historical fiction stories are a great way to be introduced to different time periods and explore what life was like way back when.

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world… Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America… Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe… All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and hoopla audiobook

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate, become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives there for some time and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the emperor to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla ebook.

A Trip In Time – YA Historical Fiction

A great way to learn about history is to read stories set during times past. From 1955 Virginia to 18th century Europe, the books listed below will take you on a trip exploring people’s yesterdays.

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, and hoopla audiobook

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War—as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and Overdrive audiobook.

Flygirl by Sheryl Smith

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot, and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots—and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla audiobook.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this year long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, hoopla ebook, and hoopla audiobook.

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell

In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, hoopla ebook, and hoopla audiobook.

Reading on the High Seas: Maritime Books For World Ocean Month!

In honor of National Ocean Month, check out these books from different genres featuring an ocean theme! Included are mysteries, historical fiction, historical nonfiction, and a classic in fiction you may recognize! Check them out for free on Overdrive with your library card.

Mysteries

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

In this novel of psychological suspense, journalist Lo Blackwood is embarking on a luxury cruise ship on assignment. The cruise ship Aurora is sailing its maiden voyage to the Norwegian Fjords. Suffering from the tramatic aftershock of recently being the victim of a home invasion, Blackwood witnesses a murder on board ship.

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

Number eight of the enjoyable Royal Spyness cozy mystery series set in the 1930s, Queen of Hearts features Lady Georgiana Rannoch who, despite being of Rannoch Castle in Scotland, lives in gentile poverty and often finds herself embroiled in mysteries, aided by love interest and detective Darcy O’Mara. In Queen of Hearts, Georgiana’s actress mother takes her on a transatlantic cruise to New York so her mother can obtain a divorce and marry yet another lover. The first book in the series is Her Royal Spyness. The latest book will come out in August 2020; The Last Mrs. Summers. Rhys Bowen has been a recipient of the Agatha Award.

Fiction

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1952. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for Literature. In this story, an older fisherman named Santiago has been not catching fish of late. His young friend, Manolin, wants to go out fishing with him but his parents said to fish with a more successful fisherman. One day Santiago takes his boat out into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba and finally catches a great marlin, and a terrific battle ensues.

History

Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

As well as writing In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, Philbrick writes the history of the pilgrims arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts aboard the ship the Mayflower, and their relationship with the Wampanoag people. There is the first Thanksgiving, where the pilgrims and the Wampanoag join together to celebrate, and also the tragic King Philip’s War, which marked the eventual conflict between the indigenous people and the pilgrims. This historical account is brought to life by Nathanial Philbrick’s skillful writing.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken is the heroic story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II veteran. Written by the brilliant writer Lauren Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit). When Zamperini in his Army Air Forces bomber flies over the Pacific Ocean, his plane crashes into the water and he is stranded at sea. When he finally gets to land on the coast of Japan, he becomes a prisoner of war. 

Historical Fiction

The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light between Oceans is a historical fiction novel set in the early 1900s. Tom Sherbourne became a lighthouse keeper in Australia after serving in World War I. Marrying Isabel Graysmark, he unhappily tried to conceive a child with her, only to suffer miscarriages and a stillbirth. Then a small boat washes to shore carrying a deceased man and a surviving baby. Isabel is blissfully happy to think of having a baby at last and wants to keep the child as their own. Tom agrees until they find out about the baby’s biological mother still grieving for the child and her husband, who she thinks are dead. The novel was adapted into a film and released in 2016.

The Pull of the Stars: An LGBT Novel in the Time of a Pandemic

Start placing your holds now for this highly reviewed story of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love in a maternity ward in 1918 Dublin.

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders — Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumored Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

This title is coming soon to Libby & Overdrive! Begin placing your holds now; you don’t want to miss out!

Historical Fiction Reviews and NextReads Newsletters

Travel to another time and place with these historical fiction books! You can check these ebooks and audiobooks out with your library card on hoopla or Overdrive/the Libby app.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes created the hit PBS series, Downton Abbey, and won many awards for his screenplays. His novel Belgravia has been filmed for a mini-series. The story begins in 1815 Belgravia, London. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, events occur at the famous ball given by the Duchess of Richmond that will follow the characters with their secrets to unfold twenty-five years later. 

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Set in early twentieth century Boston, Diamant tells the story of a Jewish girl, Addie Baum growing up with her three sisters and Russian immigrant parents. They live through the 1918 Influenza epidemic. Addie works toward her dream of going to college and becoming a career woman. She enters the work force as a newspaper typist. Diamant began her career as a journalist and is a Massachusetts author.

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Award-winning author Colm Toibin delivers an engaging story of Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey’s experiences having to move to Brooklyn on her own to find a job and then being torn between the life she has found there and returning home to her family. Colm Toibin’s wonderful writing depicts life in the 1950s, Eilis living in a boarding house, attending dances, studying at Brooklyn College, her aching homesickness and the people and events that shape the person she becomes.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese is an American physician and winner of a National Humanities Medal. Born in Ethiopia he emigrated with his family to the United States and did his fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine during the AIDS epidemic. His novel begins in 1947. Twin brothers, Marion and Shiva were born from a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. Their mother died in childbirth and the father abandons them. The twins grew up cared for by two doctors. The Ethiopian Civil War began and the ill fated love Marion and Shiva shared for the same woman drove them apart. Marion continues his medical training and becomes a surgeon in New York where he becomes reunited with his estranged father and brother. 

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Set in Jane Austen’s time, Chevalier brings to life the world of Lyme Regis where Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpot search the rocky beaches for fossils. Mary Anning’s amazing discoveries had a significant impact on the scientific community.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates tells the story of Hiram Walker who was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia in the mid 1800s. His father was the owner of the plantation. Hiram realizes he has an extraordinary photographic memory except he can’t remember his mother who was sold as a slave when he was young. He then recognizes his mother in a vision as a water dancer when he has a near death experience. Hiram wants to escape slavery and embarks on a journey into the Underground and a fight for freedom. Coates began his career as a journalist and is a National Book Award winner for Between the World and Me.


You can sign up to receive booklist newsletters via email from NextReads through NOBLE. Choose from a variety of genres, including historical fiction, to find your next great read, and search for ebook and audiobook formats to download through Overdrive/the Libby app and hoopla.

You can also search for reading recommendations through NoveList (see our NoveList post for more information on this resource) or contact the Reference staff at mar@noblenet.org.

Identity, Community, and Struggle: Books For Kids On Big Issues

Race relations and protests are difficult topics to explain to children. Books detailing the momentous events of the 1960s can be the vehicle to help those discussions. The following award-winning books use historical background and distinctive viewpoints to aid understanding of significant events and news. Here are four children’s books at different reading levels that explore identity, racism, protest, and justice.

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, an audiobook for ages 5-9

A fence divides both racial sides of an unnamed small town. Both girls, Clover and Annie, wonder about this and take the halting steps towards friendship despite adult rules. The story ends with both girls and their friends sitting on the top of the fence together. A moving and thoughtful story of children making choices and changes.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, historical fiction for ages 10+

Three sisters are sent from their Brooklyn home with their grandmother to spend a month with their estranged mother in 1968 Oakland. During that month, their mother places them in a Black Panther day camp, and the girls absorb ideas of identity, black community, and revolution in their distinctly individual ways. The themes of the times are quietly explored, as well as family issues. 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis, historical fiction for ages 10+

This book is both funny when describing the sibling antics in the loving Watson family, and very serious and moving about the infamous church bombing that they encounter in Birmingham on a visit to their grandmother. Told from the viewpoint of 10-year-old brother Kenny, the family journey brings sudden hatred and violence in juxtaposition to family dynamics.

Let the Children March written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a historical fiction picture book for ages 6+

The inspiring and shivery events of the Children’s Crusade of 1963 are described through the eyes of two siblings who participate in this moving story of resistance and courage. Children had volunteered to march in protest against segregation laws in the south, and were then arrested and jailed. This story brings out the fear and hatred they encounter, and the effects that their march had in the broader Civil Rights Movement.