For the ninth time, The Georgia Center for the Book has compiled a list of books that all young Georgians should read.
This year’s list features work that has some connection to Georgia and includes picture books, chapter books and a graphic novel.
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The illustrators and authors featured in this list will be honored at an awards ceremony held Aug. 16 in the Decatur Library.
Find out more about these literary works for young readers below.
“Can I Touch Your Hair?” by Irene Latham and Charles Waters (Carolrhoda Books)
Charles is black, and Irene is white. The two are hardly friends, but they have to work together on their fifth grade poetry project. The authors use this imaginary scenario to talk about race through topics like hair, hobbies and family dinners, according to the book’s publisher. This poem-filled picture book also features illustrations by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.
“The Hidden Figures” illustrated by Laura Freeman (Harper Collins)
Artist Laura Freeman lives in Atlanta and has illustrated more than 20 children’s books, according to her website. Her new book, out January this year, is based on the New York Times bestselling book and Academy Award-nominated film about four African-American women who helped NASA get men into space, according to its publisher.
“Festival of Colors” by Surishtha & Kabir Sehgal (Beach Lane Books)
Atlanta-based Surishtha Sehgal teamed up with her son, Kabir, who is a bestselling author and Grammy award winner, according to his website. In “Festival of Colors” the two introduce Holi – the Indian Festival of Colors – which takes place in spring. Surishtha is also the founder of Campus Community Partnership Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes education focused on social responsibility.
“Ellie, Engineer” by Jackson Pearce (Bloomsbury)
Ellie doesn’t know what to make for her best friend Kit’s birthday, according to Bloomsbury. Ellie overhears that Kit’s mom is getting Kit the present she always wanted — a dog! So, Ellie plans to make a doghouse, but she has to enlist the help of the boys and girls from her neighborhood, who all may need a little help getting along with each other. This chapter book was written by an Atlanta-based author and includes Ellie’s sketches and a how-two guide to tools.
“Aru Shah and the End of Time” by Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
Aru Shah’s classmates suspect that she has a problem with stretching the truth, according to the book’s description on the Georgia-based author’s webiste. They don’t believe her story that the Lamp of Bharata in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture is cursed. Hoping to catch her in a lie, they dare her to prove her claim. But, Aru wasn’t lying about the lamp. Lighting the lamp causes her classmates to become frozen in time and releases a powerful demon. The end of the world is near, and it’s up to Aru to stop it.
“Pride Wars: The Spinner Prince” by Matt Laney (Houghton)
Written by a dad, a martial artist and a church minister who has “a thing for big cats,” “Pride Wars” is about Prince Leo of Singara, a fictional land ruled by highly-evolved cats with opposable thumbs, according to the book’s promotion website. As Leo tries to prove his worthiness to rule, enemies rise up from both outside and inside his kingdom. On top of that, he’s cursed with “spinning”— a superpower that causes one to spin fiction. Since the Singa race values “science over stories,” they have outlawed fiction. How can Leo hide his curse, defeat his enemies and claim his throne?
“Black Panther” illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)
Artist Brian Stelfreeze became famous for his covers for DC’s “Shadow of the Bat” in the 1990s, according to a report by SyfyWire. Stelfreeze also illustrates for Marvel’s “Black Panther” comic book series, which was revived in 2016. The first part of this series, called “A Nation Under Our Feet,” is about upheaval in Wakanda, a wealthy African country with advanced technology, and its conflicted ruler, T’Challa, according to Marvel.
“Dear Martin” by Nic Stone (Crown Books)
Written by an Atlanta-born author, “Dear Martin” is about a boy named Justyce McAllister, a picture-perfect student who came from rough neighborhood and plans to attend an Ivy League school, according to the author’s website. McAllister starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He wonders if Dr. King’s teachings will hold up in modern times.
“A Taxonomy of Love” by Rachael Allen (Abrams)
Atlanta-based author Rachael Allen “is a mad scientist by day and YA (young adult) writer by night,” she writes on her blog. Her book is about Spencer, an aspiring scientist with Tourette syndrome who befriends a girl named Hope, according to the publisher. The two become close friends, but their relationship changes as they grow older. Spencer tries to make sense of it all using taxonomy, but he realizes that life isn’t all that simple.
“Leah on the Offbeat” by Becky Albertalli (Balzer & Bray)
Author Becky Albertalli was born and raised in Georgia and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, according to her website. She is also the author of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” which was adapted for the film, “Love, Simon.” Her new book is about Leah Burke, a high schooler who doesn’t know how to tell her friends she’s bisexual, according to HarperCollins. Her friend group is also falling apart, and it’s hard for Burke to stay on beat when the people she loves are fighting — especially when she discovers that she might love one of them