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Death: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about death?

Death can be a difficult conversation with our little ones, but it’s definitely an important one. You never know when a loved one or pet might pass away, and helping them be familiar with the concept can help them cope if someone in their life does die. These books are a great help to start that conversation and create some special, safe moments learning about life and death together with your child.

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The Hunger Games
Written by Suzanne Collins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-18

Now in paperback, the book no one can stop talking about . . .In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain
Written by Garth Stein
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM FOX 2000 STARRING MILO VENTIMIGLIA, AMANDA SEYFRIED, AND KEVIN COSTNERMEET THE DOG WHO WILL SHOW THE WORLD HOW TO BE HUMANThe New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein–a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope–a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.”Splendid.” –People”The perfect book for anyone who knows that compassion isn’t only for humans, and that the relationship between two souls who are meant for each other never really comes to an end. Every now and then I’m lucky enough to read a novel I can’t stop thinking about: this is one of them.” –Jodi Picoult “It’s impossible not to love Enzo.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune “This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human. I loved this book.” –Sara Gruen

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Big Little Lies
Written by Liane Moriarty
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

DON’T MISS SEASON 2 OF THE GOLDEN GLOBE AND EMMY AWARD-WINNING HBO(R) SERIES STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON, NICOLE KIDMAN, SHAILENE WOODLEY, LAURA DERN, ZOË KRAVITZ, AND MERYL STREEPFrom the author of Nine Perfect Strangers, Apples Never Fall, and The Husband’s Secret comes the #1 New York Times bestselling novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.

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A Time to Kill
Written by John Grisham
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

John Grisham has become, in less than three years, America’s most popular author. While The Firm first put him on bestseller lists across the country, and The Pelican Brief and The Client confirmed his status as the master of the legal thriller, it was A Time to Kill that launched his writing career. Originally published in a small print-run in 1989, and for years unavailable in hardcover, Doubleday is proud to publish a new trade hardcover edition of this gripping courtroom drama. Near the rural town of Clanton, Mississippi, little Tonya Hailey is brutally raped, beaten, and left for dead by two drunken and remorseless men. The rapists are almost immediately caught in a road side bar, where they have been bragging of their exploits. When the men appear in court days later, Tonya’s father Carl bursts out of the courthouse basement, and executes them with an assault rifle. Murder or executions? Justice or revenge? Carl trusts his life to only one man in town - local criminal lawyer Jake Brigance, who dreams of famous cases, headlines, and the big time. Jake is about to face the fight of his life, and he knows it. Not only is he up against Rufus Buckley - a tough, ambitious district attorney who realizes that a murder conviction could help him gain higher office - but he has a much bigger problem: the rapists are white, the judge is white - and Carl is black. This is a trial sure to change forever the lives of everyone involved. A Time to Kill is a riveting novel that challenges everything we think we know about justice and equality.

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The Raven Boys
Written by Maggie Stiefvater
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 13-18

An all-new series from the masterful, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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  • Hamlet - This edition of Hamlet is part of the groundbreaking Cambridge School Shakespeare series established by Rex Gibson. Remaining faithful to the series’ active approach it treats the play as a script to be acted, explored and enjoyed. As well as the complete script of the play, you will find a variety of classroom-tested activities, an eight-page colour section and a selection of notes including information on characters, performance, history and language.

  • Looking for Alaska - Miles Pudge Halter befriends some fellow boarding-school students and falls in love with Alaska Young, the razor-sharp, self-destructive nucleus of the group. When tragedy strikes, Pudge discovers the value of unconditional love. Speak

  • Noggin - 2014 National Book Award Finalist A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021) Travis Coates has a good head…on someone else’s shoulders. A touching, hilarious, and wholly original coming-of-age story from John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz and Morris Award-winning Where Things Come Back. Listen–Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.Now he’s alive again.Simple as that. The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars. Oh well, you only live twice.

  • Romeo and Juliet - The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare’s timeless story of star-crossed lovers. One of the Bard’s most popular plays, this is both the quintessential story of young love and a cautionary tale of the tragedy that can occur when the forces of passion and familial pride are at odds. This title in the Signet Classics Shakespeare series includes: - An overview of Shakespeare’s life, world, and theater- A special introduction to the play by the editor, J.A. Bryant, Jr.- The source from which Shakespeare derived Romeo and Juliet, Arthur Brooke’s The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet- Dramatic criticism from Samuel Johnson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Michael Goldman, and others- A comprehensive stage and screen history of notable actors, directors, and productions of Romeo and Juliet- Text, notes, and commentaries printed in the clearest, most readable format- Recommended readings

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Fox: A Circle of Life Story
Written by Isabel Thomas & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

From the author and illustrator behind the acclaimed Moth, a scientific look at the circle of life. In the frost-covered forest of early spring, fox is on a mission to find food for her three cubs. As they grow, she teaches them how to survive in the wild. Until one day, fox dies. Her body goes back to earth and grass and air, nourishing the world around her and bringing the forest to life. Death is not just an end, it’s also a beginning. With gorgeous illustrations and lyrical, kid-friendly text, Fox: A Circle of Life Story answers the big scientific question: What happens when animals die? A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2021A Booklist Editors’ Choice Pick

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Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own–Old Dan and Little Ann–he’s ecstatic. It’s true that times are tough, but together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters–now friends–and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man’s best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel.”

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The Crossover (Graphic Novel)
Written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

New York Times bestseller ∙ Newbery Medal Winner ∙ Coretta Scott King Honor Award ∙ 2015 YALSA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults ∙ 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers ∙ Publishers Weekly Best Book ∙ School Library Journal Best Book ∙ Kirkus Best Book

“A beautifully measured novel of life and line.”—The New York Times Book Review

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

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Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

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The Rag Coat
Written & illustrated by Lauren A. Mills
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl’s special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.

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  • It's the End of the World as I Know It - Derrick is sure that doomsday is coming, and he’s prepping to survive–whether his friends believe him or not–in this middle grade novel for readers of Gary Schmidt, Gordon Korman, and Jack Gantos Ever since his mother was killed in the line of duty in Iraq, Derrick has been absolutely certain that the apocalypse is coming. And he’s prepared: he’s got plenty of canned goods, he’s fully outfitted with HAZMAT suits, and he’s building himself a sturdy fallout shelter. When his neighbor Misty insists on helping with the shelter, Derrick doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. Misty’s just had a kidney transplant, and her reaction to her brush with death is the opposite of Derrick’s: where Derrick wants to hide, Misty wants to see and do everything. But as confident as Misty is, Derrick’s doomsday fears just keep getting worse. And Derrick’s promised apocalypse day begins with a very strange disaster, Derrick and Misty have to figure out a way to survive–especially when the end of the world as they know it looks nothing like they expected.

  • Ida, Always - Mr. Staccato -

    A beautiful, calming book about two bears that spend their days together at the zoo, loving life and their friendship. Things change one day, however, when Gus learns that Ida is sick and not going to get better. This book introduces a difficult topic and the pain that is often associated with losing a loved one, but it makes you feel like everything is going to turn out alright.

  • The Remember Balloons - A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book! What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together. But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

  • Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You - B is for Bookworm -

    This one brings the tears...such a meaningful, beautiful, loving book that is a perfect reminder of love from someone who has passed on or even just lives far away. The illustrations are sweet, and the text talks about all of the things around you that are reminders of love from someone who can't be near.

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Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
Written by Judy Goldman & illustrated by Rene King Moreno and Judy Goldman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A family celebrates Día de Muertos, a holiday for remembering those who have passed. When the monarch butterflies return to her Mexican countryside, Lupita knows that Día de Muertos, “the Day of the Dead,” is near. She and her favorite uncle watch the butterflies flutter in the trees. When a butterfly lands on Lupita’s hand, her uncle reminds her that she should never hurt a monarch because they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Lupita and her family get ready for the holiday. When the first of November arrives, the family will go to the cemetery to honor the memories of their loved ones. But this year is different—Lupita’s uncle cannot join them. Now, Lupita learns the true meaning of the celebration.

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Charlotte's Web
Written by E.B. White & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web was published. It’s gone on to become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White’s own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything. We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo’s foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic. Charlotte’s Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig. How all this comes about is Mr. White’s story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language. The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White’s marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.

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The Rabbit Listened
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

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Finding François: A Story about the Healing Power of Friendship
Written & illustrated by Gus Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For fans of Philip and Erin Stead and I Walk with Vanessa comes a tender, gently adventurous gem, with a reassuring message about the power of friends to soothe aches big and small.

Alice wanted a sister, or even a brother, but what she needed was a friend. And when she found him . . . she found so much more.

In this exquisite, gently funny, and reassuring tale, the lucky and lovely friendship between Alice and François spans the length of the River Seine and the loss of a loved one. Award-winning author and artist Gus Gordon captures the highs and lows of being little, and tenderly shepherds kids through the tough parts of childhood. With charm and compassion, Finding François acknowledges the grief children feel, revels in life’s fantastic possibilities, and celebrates the affirming, healing power of friendship.

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Big Cat, Little Cat
Written & illustrated by Elisha Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A 2018 Caldecott Honor book There was a cat who lived alone. Until the day a new cat came . . . And so a story of friendship begins, following the two cats through their days, months, and years until one day, the older cat has to go. And he doesn’t come back. This is a poignant story, told in measured text and bold black-and-white illustrations about the act of moving on.

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  • Día de los Muertos - At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

  • The Heart and the Bottle - There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

  • A Stopwatch from Grampa - “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch,” a small child says. “I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” Grampa used to time everything. A race to the end of the street and back: 24 seconds. Eating bubblegum ice cream: 1 minute, 58 seconds. But now, Grampa’s gone. “There are no more Grampa minutes, Grampa seconds,” the child says. “Time just stops.” As the seasons come and go, the stopwatch becomes a cherished symbol of remembrance, and the child uses it to carry on Grampa’s favorite pastimes and traditions. Loretta Garbutt uses subtlety and sensitivity to explore the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in this moving picture book story of loss. It features a gender-neutral main character (no first name or pronouns are given) making the story universally relatable. This is a perfect choice for fostering discussions with children about their emotions, particularly the feeling of loss. It also offers a poignant representation of an intergenerational relationship between a grandfather and grandchild. Carmen Mok’s expressive and thoughtful illustrations employ a limited color palette to convey the character’s emotional trajectory. There are curriculum applications here in social-emotional development as well as character education lessons in caring and resilience.

  • Saturdays Are For Stella - George loves Saturdays. That’s because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel! Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs. Then one day Stella is gone, and George is ready to cancel Saturdays. But when a new addition to the family arrives, George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma―while making new ones too.

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The Hate U Give
Written by Angie Thomas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 14-18

8 starred reviews - Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best - William C. Morris Award Winner - National Book Award Longlist - Printz Honor Book - Coretta Scott King Honor Book - #1 New York Times Bestseller!Absolutely riveting! –Jason ReynoldsStunning. –John GreenThis story is necessary. This story is important. –Kirkus (starred review)Heartbreakingly topical. –Publishers Weekly (starred review)A marvel of verisimilitude. –Booklist (starred review)A powerful, in-your-face novel. –Horn Book (starred review)Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does–or does not–say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.Want more of Garden Heights? Catch Maverick and Seven’s story in Concrete Rose, Angie Thomas’s powerful prequel to The Hate U Give.

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Long Way Down
Written by Jason Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 14-18

A Newbery Honor Book A Coretta Scott King Honor Book A Printz Honor Book A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner for Young Adult Literature Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award An Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2017 A Vulture Best YA Book of 2017 A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017 An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds–the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother. A cannon. A strap. A piece. A biscuit. A burner. A heater. A chopper. A gat. A hammer A tool for RULE Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES. And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.

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Undivided (Bound for Schools & Libraries)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 13-17

Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the “New York Times” bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman that “Horn Book Magazine “calls ambitious, insightful, and devastating a fitting conclusion to a provocative series. Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future. But more trouble is brewing. Starkey s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future. Everything culminates in an action-packed, heart-wrenching conclusion guaranteed to chill readers to the bone (“Kirkus Reviews”).”

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The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden
Written by Heather Smith & illustrated by Rachel Wada and Heather Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When the tsunami destroyed Makio’s village, Makio lost his father…and his voice. The entire village is silenced by grief, and the young child’s anger at the ocean grows. Then one day his neighbor, Mr. Hirota, begins a mysterious project—building a phone booth in his garden. At first Makio is puzzled; the phone isn’t connected to anything. It just sits there, unable to ring. But as more and more villagers are drawn to the phone booth, its purpose becomes clear to Makio: the disconnected phone is connecting people to their lost loved ones. Makio calls to the sea to return what it has taken from him and ultimately finds his voice and solace in a phone that carries words on the wind.

Inspired by the true story of the wind phone in Otsuchi, Japan, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

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Holes in the Sky
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Miss Eula is back! In this heartwarming companion to Chicken Sunday, young Trisha is devastated when her grandmother passes away, but finds joy in bonds with a new friend, her new California neighborhood–and the invincible Miss Eula. There will never be anyone like her grandmother, Patricia Polacco thinks, when her grandmother passes away. But when she and her family move to California–in the middle of a drought–she meets a new friend, the irrepressible Stewart, and his amazing grandmother, Miss Eula, who not only takes Trisha under her wing, but, with Trisha and Stewart, steps up to lead their entire extraordinarily diverse neighborhood to help a hurting neighbor–and her once lush garden–survive the drought. Trisha’s grandmother’s old saying about the stars being Holes in the Sky turns out to be Miss Eula’s, too, convincing Trisha that she has miraculously discovered another unforgettable grandmother.

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  • The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya - A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

  • The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker - Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly out of the sea and the houses shine like jewels. He is a coffin maker and widower, spending his quiet days creating the final resting places of Allora’s people. Then one afternoon a magical bird flutters into his garden, and Alberto, lonely inside, welcomes it into his home. And when a kindhearted boy named Tito follows the bird into Alberto’s kitchen, a door in the old man’s heart cracks open. Tito is lonely too–but he’s also scared and searching for a place to hide. Fleeing from danger, he just wants to feel safe for once in his life. Can the boy and the old man learn the power of friendship and escape the shadows of their pasts? With a tender bond that calls to mind The Girl Who Drank the Moon, charming characters reminiscent of The Penderwicks, and the whimsy of A Snicker of Magic, this is a novel to curl up with, an extraordinary work of magical realism that makes the world feel like a warmer and happier place. Complete with dazzling interior illustrations, a gem from start to finish.

  • Cancer Hates Kisses - Mothers are superheroes when they’re battling cancer, and this empowering picture book gives them an honest yet spirited way to share the difficult experience with their kids. Author Jessica Reid Sliwerski was diagnosed with breast cancer four months after giving birth to her daughter. And through all the stages of treatment—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, losing her hair—she thought about how hard it would be to talk to your child about cancer while coping with it. She wrote this picture book to give other parents and their children an encouraging tool for having those conversations—a lovingly upbeat book that is also refreshingly authentic and straightforward. With its simple text and heartwarming illustrations, Cancer Hates Kisses is relatable to any type of cancer.

  • The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish - One hilarious Harlem family is on a mission to find the perfect way to celebrate their Papa’s fortieth birthday while discovering more about their mysterious grandparents in this heartfelt romp and latest installment to the New York Times best-selling series, perfect for fans of the Penderwicks. It’s summer on 141st Street, and the Vanderbeekers are looking forward to Papa’s surprise fortieth birthday party. But then Papa must leave town to help his best friend and the Vanderbeeker children are surprised to find their maternal grandparents on their doorstep. Grandma is very critical of everything they do. Meanwhile, they find themselves learning more about their papa’s father than ever before, and wishing they could have known him a bit better. Can they learn more about the grandfather they lost and come to appreciate the grandparents they still have while making sure their papa has the best birthday ever?

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Grandad's Island
Written & illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With subtlety and grace, Benji Davies paints a poignant and ultimately uplifting picture of loss. At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad’s house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn’t in any of the usual places. He’s in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in color where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad’s house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it’s always been – except that Grandad isn’t there anymore. Sure to provide comfort to young children struggling to understand loss, Benji Davies’s tale is a sensitive and beautiful reminder that our loved ones live on in our memories long after they’re gone.

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The Boy and the Gorilla
Written by Jackie Azúa Kramer & illustrated by Cindy Derby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This profoundly moving tale about a grieving boy and an imaginary gorilla makes real the power of talking about loss. On the day of his mother’s funeral, a young boy conjures the very visitor he needs to see: a gorilla. Wise and gentle, the gorilla stays on to answer the heart-heavy questions the boy hesitates to ask his father: Where did his mother go? Will she come back home? Will we all die? Yet with the gorilla’s friendship, the boy slowly begins to discover moments of comfort in tending flowers, playing catch, and climbing trees. Most of all, the gorilla knows that it helps to simply talk about the loss–especially with those who share your grief and who may feel alone, too. Author Jackie Azúa Kramer’s quietly thoughtful text and illustrator Cindy Derby’s beautiful impressionistic artwork depict how this tender relationship leads the boy to open up to his father and find a path forward. Told entirely in dialogue, this direct and deeply affecting picture book will inspire conversations about grief, empathy, and healing beyond the final hope-filled scene.

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The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare
Written & illustrated by Zillah Bethell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Auden Dare is color blind and lives in a world where water is scarce and families must live on a weekly, allocated supply.When Auden’s uncle, the scientist Dr. Bloom, suddenly dies,he leaves a note to Auden and to his classmate Vivi Rookmini. Together, the notes lead them to Paragon—a robot. As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon try to uncover Paragon’spurpose and put together the clues Dr. Bloom left behind,they find out that Dr. Bloom’s death was anything butinnocent, that powerful people are searching for Paragon—and that it’s up to Auden and Vivi to stop them.

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Pixie Pushes On
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A young girl learns bittersweet life lessons on the family farm after her sister gets polio, in this poignant and funny novel set in the heartland in the 1940s. Pixie’s defenses are up, and it’s no wonder. She’s been uprooted, the chickens seem to have it in for her, and now her beloved sister, Charlotte, has been stricken with polio and whisked away into quarantine. So it’s not surprising Pixie lashes out. But her habit of making snap judgements–and giving her classmates nicknames like “Rotten Ricky” and “Big-Mouth Berta”–hasn’t won her any friends. At least life on the farm is getting better with the delivery of its newest resident–a runt baby lamb. Raising Buster takes patience and understanding–and this slowing down helps Pixie put things in better perspective. So too does paying attention to her neighbors, and finding that with the war on she’s not the only one missing someone. As Pixie pushes past her own pain to become a bigger person, she’s finally able to make friends; and to laugh about the fact that it is in places where she least expected it. “Pixie is full of heart! A laugh-out-loud book that also wades into poignant life lessons. A must read!”–Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of Fish in a Tree “Pixie has bad luck–and is bad luck if you ask her. But she also has grit and gumption, so when her bad luck doesn’t let go, she opens her eyes and her heart wider. Her world changes when she changes how she looks at her world. I loved Pixie and her story–a story filled with humor, hope, and everyday heroes.”–Lynn Plourde, author of Maxi’s Secrets

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Seven Clues to Home
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

An endearing story of love and grief as one girl follows the clues in a scavenger hunt left behind by her best friend, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Nine, Ten. WHEN YOU’VE LOST WHAT MATTERS MOST, HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR WAY BACK HOME? Joy Fonseca is dreading her 13th birthday, dreading being reminded again about her best friend Lukas’s senseless death on this day, one year ago – and dreading the fact he may have heard what she accidentally blurted to him the night before. Or maybe she’s more worried he didn’t hear. Either way, she’s decided: she’s going to finally open the first clue to their annual birthday scavenger hunt Lukas left for her the morning he died, hoping the rest of the clues are still out there. If they are, they might lead Joy to whatever last words Lukas wrote, and toward understanding how to grab onto the future that is meant to be hers. I truly loved it! Baskin and Polisner seamlessly unfold one touching relationship after another in this gorgeous story about everlasting friendship. This tender tale is indelibly etched on my heart. –Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle Polisner and Baskin’s brief tale of two quite distant friends magically manages to bridge an uncrossable gap. Seven Clues to Home is both a charming mystery and a real meditation on the complexities of the young heart in love. –Tony Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Firegirl and The Great Jeff I read this whole book with a lump in my throat. A perfect gem. –Wendy Mass, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Bob

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  • My Nana's Garden - A lyrical, stunningly illustrated book about love, loss, and the healing power of nature My nana’s garden is tangled with weeds. “Wildflowers,” says Nana, “food for the bees.” A little girl visits her grandmother in summer and winter, and together they explore the wonders of her garden. Until, one day, Nana isn’t there anymore. But as winter gives way to spring, the girl learns that life goes on, and so does the memory of those we love.

  • Patron Saints of Nothing - A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST Brilliant, honest, and equal parts heartbreaking and soul-healing. –Laurie Halse Anderson, author of SHOUT A singular voice in the world of literature. –Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder. Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth – and the part he played in it. As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

  • The Secret Garden on 81st Street - The Secret Garden with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this full-color graphic novel moves Mary Lennox to a New York City brownstone, where she and her very first group of friends restore an abandoned rooftop garden…and her uncle’s heart. Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and “friends.” When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret…her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow. This title will be simultaneously available in paperback.

  • The Katha Chest - Reminiscent of Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow’s Mommy’s Khimar, this beautifully woven tale about the bonds of love, culture, and memory follows a young girl learning about her family history through her grandmother’s katha chest. Asiya loves to visit Nanu’s house where she can rummage through Nanu’s katha chest filled with quilts. There are stories in each of the quilts that her Nanu has collected through the years, all about the bold and brave women in Asiya’s family. Among all of the games and exciting things at Nanu’s house, Asiya thinks these hidden histories are the grandest treasure.

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A Comb of Wishes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Set against the backdrop of Caribbean folklore, Lisa Stringfellow’s spellbinding middle grade debut tells of a grieving girl and a vengeful mermaid and will enchant readers who loved Kacen Callender’s Hurricane Child or Christian McKay Heidicker’s Scary Stories for Young Foxes. Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she’s already lost, Kela can’t help but bring home her very own found treasure. Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish.But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price…Don’t miss the novel that Newbery-winning author Kelly Barnhill calls “one of the most promising works of fiction in a long time”!

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The Whole Sky
Written & illustrated by Heather Henson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

When a devastating sickness spreads through a thoroughbred farm community, a young horse whisperer is determined to find out why all the foals are dying in this tightly woven, tender coming-of-age novel from award-winning author Heather Henson. Twelve-year-old Sky and her father are horse whisperers—their preternatural tenderness and understanding of horses, and Sky’s uncanny ability to actually understand what they’re saying, become their livelihood during the foaling season at multimillion dollar horse farms. They’re sought after by the most prestigious farms in the country to keep pregnant horses calm and stress-free until they give birth. But this spring, something awful is happening…foal after foal is a stillborn, and no one knows why. And worse for Sky, who lost her mother only months earlier, her most beloved horse is about to have her first foal. In agony, Sky takes it upon herself to figure out what the vets are missing, and stop it before even more foals are lost.

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A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Written by Leslie Connor & illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award-winning author Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle.

It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.

Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming―and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.

Wasn’t one rescue enough?

Lydia is not a dog person―and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult―and she does not mean to keep secrets―but there are things she’s not telling…

Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…

And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…

And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past―but at what cost?

Award-winning author Leslie Connor crafts a story that sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. This uplifting story about recovery features strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

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The Shape of Thunder
Written by Jasmine Warga
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

An extraordinary new novel from Jasmine Warga, Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home, about loss and healing–and how friendship can be magical. Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year. Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did. On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever–and stop him. In spite of herself, Cora wants to believe. And so the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may actually be the key to saving themselves. The Shape of Thunder is a deeply moving story, told with exceptional grace, about friendship and loss–and how believing in impossible things can help us heal.

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What a Beautiful Morning
Written by Katie Kath
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Every morning is beautiful when Noah visits his Grandparents. When Grandpa and Noah wake up, they take off singing and hardly stop: walking the dog, splashing through puddles, and eating French toast with cinnamon. But one summer Grandpa seems to have forgotten how to do the things they love. Does he even know who Noah is? Grandma steps in energetically, filling in as best she can. But it is Noah who finds the way back to something he can share with Grandpa. Something musical. Something that makes the morning beautiful again. This is a story about how love helps us find even what we think is lost.

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