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Garden City School Library: RICBA 2023 Nominees

2023 Nominees

All book summaries courtesy of Follett. If the title of a book is blue, you can click on it to watch a book trailer. Please note that not all books are suitable for all readers.

Cover ArtThe 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones; Renée Watson; Nikkolas Smith (Illustrator)

This book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived. And how the people planted dreams and hope, willed themselves to keep living. The people learned new words for love, for friend, for family, for joy, for grow, for home. Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity. (Picture book)


Cover ArtThe Adventure Is Now by Jess Redman

A fun-filled and action-packed novel. Sometimes it's hard to be Milton P. Greene. He says all the wrong things, his family is falling apart, and everyone at school avoids him because of the very embarrassing Bird Brain Incident. Milton's parents ship him off to the remote Lone Island for the summer where his uncle Evan is an environmentalist researcher. The island is full of "spectaculous" species, and Milton realizes this is his chance to become the brave and brilliant naturalist he's always wanted to be--and even meet some fellow explorers! But as it turns out, the future of the Lone Island is in peril, and the only thing that can save it is a field guide full of cryptic clues. If Milton and his new friends are going to protect the island, they'll have to trust each other, discover new truths, and embark on a wild and wondrous adventure all their own. (Fantasy)




Cover ArtAllergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd; Michelle Mee Nutter (Illustrator)

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She's severely allergic to anything with fur! Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? (Graphic novel)





Cover ArtBea Is for Blended by Lindsey Stoddard

Bea and her mom have always been a two-person team. But now her mom is marrying Wendell, and their team is growing by three boys, two dogs, and a cat. Finding her place in her new blended family may be tough, but when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they'd been promised, she learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight--and that for the girls to get what they deserve, they're going to need a squad behind them! (Realistic fiction)





Cover ArtChunky by Yehudi Mercado (Illustrator)

According to his doctors, Hudi needs to lose weight. His parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot. As the only Mexican and Jewish kid in his neighborhood, Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had. Baseball doesn't go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi's parents keep trying to find the right sport for Hudi, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love--comedy. When Hudi's dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself or will this friendship strike out? (Graphic novel)



Cover ArtKatie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable; Stephanie Yue (Illustrator)

Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp--something that's way out of Katie and her mom's budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way to earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life get interesting. Madeline has 217 cats (!) and they're not exactly . . . normal cats. Also, why is Madeline always out EXACTLY when the city's most notorious villain commits crimes? Some heroes have capes . . . Katie has cats! (Graphic novel)




Cover ArtThe Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Bell has spent his whole life--all eleven years of it--on Mars. But he's still just a regular kid--he loves cats and any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don't they have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It's up to Bell to uncover the truth and save his family...and possibly unite an entire planet.(Science fiction)





Cover ArtMaya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing; Christine Almeda (Illustrator)

Maya's nervous about fifth grade. She tries to keep calm by reminding herself she knows what to expect. But then she learns thator the first time since kindergarten, her best friends Jada and MJ are placed in a different class without her. Just when too much seems to be changing, she finds a robot named Ralph in the back of Mr. Mac's convenience store closet. Once she uses her science skills to get him up and running, a whole new world of connection opens up as Ralph becomes a member of her family and Maya begins to step into her power. (Realistic fiction)




Cover ArtThe People's Painter by Cynthia Levinson; Evan Turk (Illustrator)

"The first thing I can remember," Ben said, "I drew." Growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees--and, after seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers' rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too. When Ben and the rest of his family make their way to America, Ben brings both his sharp artistic eye and his desire to fight for what's right. As he grows, he speaks for justice through his art--by disarming classmates who bully him because he's Jewish, by defying his teachers' insistence that he paint beautiful landscapes rather than true stories, by urging the US government to pass Depression-era laws to help people find food and jobs -- a true painter for the people. (Biography picture book)


Cover ArtPlaying the Cards You're Dealt by Varian Johnson

SECRETS ARE ALWAYS A GAMBLE. Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin is finally old enough to play in the spades tournament every Joplin Man before him seems to have won. So while Ant's friends are stressing about fifth grade homework and girls, Ant only has one thing on his mind: how he'll measure up to his father's expectations at the card table. When Ant's best friend gets grounded, he's forced to find another spades partner. Shirley, the new girl in his class, isn't exactly who he has in mind. She talks a whole lot of trash. But she's smart and tough and pretty, and knows every card trick in the book so Ant decides to join forces with Shirley -- and keep his plans a secret. Only it turns out secrets are another Joplin Man tradition. And his father is hiding one so big it may tear their family apart... (Realistic fiction)




Cover ArtSaving American Beach by Heidi Tyline King; Ekua Holmes (Illustrator)

MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the segregated South she couldn't just go to any beach--most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Here MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to become a widely acclaimed opera singer. But her first love would always be American Beach. After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home. (Biography picture book)


Cover ArtSaving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen; Jeet Zdung (Illustrator)

When curious and tenacious Chang discovers a bear bile farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals--by becoming a conservationist! After teaching herself survival skills, documenting each rainforest plant and animal she sees in her field notebook, and disproving the critics who think she isn't old enough or strong enough, Chang is finally accepted as a rescue center volunteer. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she's tasked with returning Sorya--the sun bear she raised from infancy--back into the wild. Despite being a different species, Sorya is Chang's best friend. And letting a friend go is never easy . . . even when it's the right thing to do. (Graphic novel)


Cover ArtShark Summer by Ira Marcks

"Shark Summer is bursting with vibrant, expressive art....The characters are distinct and relatable...It's a lovely read!"--Molly Knox Ostertag, author of the Witch Boy series "Eloquently chronicled in Marcks's When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha's Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle "Blue Streak" Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever. After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island's own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface. (Graphic Novel)



Cover ArtShe Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisolm by Katheryn Russell-Brown; Eric Velasquez (Illustrator)

In 1964, Shirley Chisholm took her voice and leadership to politics, becoming the first Black woman elected to the New York State Assembly, and the first Black woman elected to Congress. Then in 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidency of the United States. Shirley Chisholm, a woman of many firsts, was an unforgettable political trailblazer, a candidate of the people, and 'catalyst of change' who opened the door for women in the political arena and for the first Black president of the United States. (Biography picture book)




Cover ArtSimon B. Rhymin' by Dwayne Reed

Eleven-year-old Simon Barnes dreams of becoming a world-famous rapper that everyone calls Notorious D.O.G. But for now, he's just a Chicago fifth grader who's small for his age and afraid to use his voice. Simon prefers to lay low at school and at home, even though he's constantly spitting rhymes in his head. But when his new teacher assigns the class an oral presentation on something that affects their community, Simon must face his fears. Will Simon gain the confidence to rap his way to an A and prove that one kid can make a difference in his 'hood? (Realistic fiction)




Cover ArtSona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? by Chitra Soundar; Jen Khatun (Illustrator)

Sona Sharma's house is full of three generations of people who joke often and argue sometimes. Relatives come over unannounced, the phone rings frequently, and friends drop by all the time. Then one day Amma tells Sona that she is going to have a baby. Is that good? Sona isn't so sure. She doesn't want to share her room or her things with a new baby, not to mention the attention of Amma, Appa, Thatha, and Paatti. But when she learns there will be a baby-naming ceremony, she's determined to find the best name for her new brother or sister--one as nice as her own, a Hindi word for "gold." (Realistic fiction)




Cover ArtUnsettled by Reem Faruqi

When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in. Her accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts. And in the water Nurah doesn't want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother--who is going through struggles of his own. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal. Slowly Nurah the confidence and courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place in America.(Realistic/Novel in Verse)




Cover ArtUnspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford; Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

Author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community. News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. (Nonfiction picture book)




Cover ArtWillodeen by Katherine Applegate

Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as "screechers." The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature. Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why. When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she's determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears. A timely tale about our fragile earth, and one girl's fierce determination to make a difference. (Fantasy)


Thanks to Carolyn Steward of Gladstone Street School and Sharon Webster of RILINK for their help creating this page.