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RI Middle School Book Award Nominees 2021
Books nominated for the Rhode Island Middle School Book Award (RIMSBA) must have been published within the past two years and be of interest to students in grades 6-8. Read at least 3 books from this list to qualify for voting in March 2021. RIMSBA official Website
RIMSBA 2021 Nominees
It is June 6, 1944, D-Day, and Dee Carpenter (true name Dietrich Zimmermann), an underage private in the United States Army, is headed for Omaha Beach, seeking revenge for his uncle, who was arrested by Nazis when Dee was a little boy; meanwhile, Samira Zidano, an eleven-year old French-Algerian girl is looking for the French resistance, desperate to deliver the message that the invasion is about to begin, and get their help in freeing her mother--this is the most important day of the twentieth century, and both children want to fight, and survive.
The Bridge Home by
Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.
The Darkdeep by
Everyone in Timbers knows Still Cove is off-limits, with its creepy Beast sightings and equally terrifying legends. But when a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over a cliff and into Still Cove's icy waters, friends Tyler and Emma--and even Opal Walsh, who usually runs with the popular kids--rush to his rescue . . . and discover a mysterious island hiding in the murky, swirling mists below. Though the island appears uninhabited, the kids can't shake a feeling that something about it is definitely not right.
Twelve-year-old Clea wants to do her homework, follow instructions, pay attention in school, and play chess on the school team, but somehow she cannot focus on whatever is in front of her, and the other kids at school are starting to notice and make fun of her; when her worried parents take her to be tested she finds out that she has ADHD (only without the hyperactivity)--and with help from the psychiatrist who seems to really understand her she is determined to learn how to focus.
Told through journal entries, twelve-year-old Danny and his best friend Slick recount how their friendship begins and when they discover Slick's true identity and ultimate fate.
Genesis Begins Again by
Also Newbury Honor and winner of John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award. Thirteen-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.
I Can Make This Promise by
All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn't have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic--a box full of letters signed "Love, Edith," and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?
Ice Wolves by
Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives. So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Family or not, Rayna is Anders's only true friend. She's nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away. To rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.
Maybe He Just Likes You by
When boys in her class start hugging seventh-grader Mila and making her feel uncomfortable, she does not want to tell her friends or mother until she reaches her breaking point. Yet, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others--and herself.
The Next Great Paulie Fink by
Led by new student Caitlyn, seventh-graders at a tiny rural school in Vermont create a reality-show inspired competition to determine who will replace the school's legendary class clown, Paulie Fink.
Other Words for Home by
A Newbery Honor Book. Jude never thought she'd be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven't quite prepared her for starting school in the US --and her new label of 'Middle Eastern,' an identity she's never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises--there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude just might try out for.
Redwood and Ponytail by
Told in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ways they did not anticipate.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
Winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award. In order to heal after his mother's death, thirteen-year-old Sal learns to reach into time and space to retrieve things--and people--from other universes.
Elizabeth, eleven, spends Christmas break at Winterhouse hotel under strange circumstances, where she discovers that she has magic, and her love of puzzles helps her solve a mystery.
We're Not from Here by
After a year on Mars, a young boy and his family migrate to the planet Choom, but the inhabitants of Choom, the Zhuri, who look like giant mosquitoes, don't really like humans and it up to the boy and his family to change their minds if they hope to survive.
2021 RIMSBA Nominees Graphic Novels
Apocalypse Taco by
Twins Axl and Ivan, with Sid as their driver, make a late-night fast-food run for a high school theater crew but return to discover that aliens have made copies of everything. Now the group will have to use their wits, their truck, and even their windshield scraper to escape! But they may be too late.
New Kid by
Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
RIMSBA 2021 Nonfiction
Killer Style by
The clothes we wear every day keep us comfortable, protect us from the elements, and express our unique style--but could fashion also be fatal? As it turns out, history is full of fashions that have harmed or even killed people. From silhouette-cinching corsets and combustible combs to lethal hair dyes and flammable flannel, this nonfiction book looks back at the times people have suffered pain, injury, and worse, all in the name of style.
Rising Water by
The incredible true story of the twelve boys trapped with their coach in a flooded cave in Thailand and their inspiring rescue.
What should I Read Next?
Thanks to Alyssa Taft, teen librarian at Cranston Public Library, for creating this chart!