Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
RIMSBA 2022 Nominees Fiction
Click on the titles to watch book trailer videos.
Black Brother, Black Brother by
Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbing him "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey. When he's bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, "King" Alan, he's suspended from school and arrested. Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden's help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what.
The invasion begins--but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout--overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom--and release toxic pollens. They bloom--and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom--everywhere, unstoppable. Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies--and yet not to these plants. What's their secret? Can they somehow be the key to beating back this invasion? They'd better figure it out fast, because it's starting to rain again....
The Canyon's Edge by
One year after a random shooting changed their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them find peace. Nora longs for things to go back to normal, like they were when her mother was still alive, while her father keeps them isolated in fear of other people. But when they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips across their path, sweeping away Nora's father and all of their supplies. Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone in the desert, facing dehydration, venomous scorpions, deadly snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her dreams for the past year.
City Spies by
Sara Martinez is facing years in the juvenile detention system for hacking into the foster care computer system to prove that her foster parents are crooks. But then she gets a second chance when a mysterious man offers her a chance to join a group of MI6 affiliated spies.
Dress Coded by
Molly Frost is FED UP... Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top. Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn't, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit. Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F. Because it's impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips. Because girls' bodies are not a distraction. Because middle school is hard enough. And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what's right, and they're not backing down.
Efrén Divided by
Efrén Nava's Amá is his Superwoman--or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he's American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn't return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México. Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.
Fighting Words by
Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom's boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della's own wolf--her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della's world turns so far upside down, it feels like it's shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she's been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it's time to be loud.
A High Five for Glenn Burke by
When sixth grader Silas Wade does a school presentation on former Major Leaguer Glenn Burke, it's more than just a report about the irrepressible inventor of the high five. Burke was a gay baseball player in the 1970s--and for Silas, the presentation is his own first baby step toward revealing a truth about himself he's tired of hiding. Soon he tells his best friend, Zoey, but the longer he keeps his secret from his baseball teammates, the more he suspects they know something's up--especially when he stages one big cover-up with terrible consequences.
Once upon an Eid by
Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy.
The Only Black Girls in Town by
Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only Black girl in town for years. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black--and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her. Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie's attic, they team up to figure out exactly who's behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.
Song for a Whale by
Twelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris's plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales.
Every thirteen years in the town of Eden Eld, three thirteen-year-olds disappear. Eleanor has just moved to the quiet, prosperous Eden Eld. When she awakes to discover an ancient grandfather clock that she's never seen before outside her new room, she's sure her eyes must be playing tricks on her. But then she spots a large bird, staring at her as she boards the school bus. And a black dog with glowing red eyes follows her around town. No one else can see them except for her new friends, Pip and Otto. The only other clue they have about these supernatural disturbances is a book of fairytales. It tells tales of the mysterious Mr. January, who struck a cursed deal with the town's founders. Every thirteenth Halloween, he will take three of their children, who are never heard from again. It's up to our trio to break the curse--because Eden Eld's thirteen years are up.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by
Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend Eddie when they were in a bus accident together. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm in Alabama, where he's being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie's notebook. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature's hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky.
A Wish in the Dark by
A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. All light in Chattana is created by one man -- the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, but when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. Worst of all, Pong's prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free. Nok, the prison warden's perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family's good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear.
Zenobia July by
Zenobia July, an excellent coder and hacker, investigates a mystery while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and presenting her true gender for the first time.
Thank you to Mrs. Beth Grabbert, librarian, Bain Middle School and Sharon Webster, Member Services Librarian, RILINK, for their work on putting the resources together for this page.
Please note that not all books are suitable for all readers.
RIMSBA 2022 Nominees Graphic Novels
Snap's town has a witch. At least, that's the rumor. In reality, Jacks is just a Crocs-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells the skeletons of roadkill online. It's creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it's kind of cool, too. Snap needs a favor from this old woman, though, so she begins helping Jacks with her strange work. Snap gets to know her and realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic--and an unlikely connection to Snap's family's past.
Superman Smashes the Klan by
When Dr. Lee moves his family to Metropolis, his son Tommy adjusts to the new neighborhood while daugher Roberta feels out of place, so when the evil Klan of the Fiery Cross begins a string of terrorist attacks on the city, Superman fights them, and Roberta and Superman soon learn to embrace their own unique features that set them apart.
Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran -- a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there's nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?
When Stars Are Scattered by
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
RIMSBA 2022 Nominees Nonfiction
Could Dr. Frankenstein's machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It's not brains.) This fascinating encyclopedia of monsters delves into the history and science behind eight legendary creatures, from Bigfoot and the kraken to zombies and more. Find out each monster's origin story and the real-world history that informed it, and then explore the science of each creature in fun and surprising ways.
When Stars Are Scattered by
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. (Graphic novel)
How do I find these books?!
Many of these books will be available at the Bain school library. You can also get these books through Destiny Discover, the Cranston Public Library, and the Cranston Public Library eZone.
Destiny Discover login:
Username- CRA + student ID (cra12345)
Password- student ID (12345)
Books nominated for the Rhode Island Middle School Book Award 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 2022.
RIMSBA official Website