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Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids: RIMSBA 2023 Nominees

RIMSBA 2023 Nominees

Rhode Island Middle School Book Award Logo
The Insiders
Last Gate of the Emperor
Black Boy Joy
Turtle Boy
Ophie's Ghosts
The Elephant in the Room
Linked
Hide and Seeker
Too Bright to See
This Book Is Anti-Racist
Another Kind
Brave Like That
The Blackbird Girls
Amari and the Night Brothers
Alone
Starfish
Rez Dogs
The Legend of Auntie Po
The Shape of Thunder
Amazing Treasures

RIMSBA 2023 Nominees with descriptions and titles

Too Bright to See

A Newbery Honor Book . Winner of the Stonewall Book Award . A National Book Award Finalist "A gentle, glowing wonder, full of love and understanding." -The New York Times Book Review Cover may vary. It's the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug's best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn't particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there's something more important to worry about- A ghost is haunting Bug's eerie old house in rural Vermont...and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they're trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light--Bug is transgender.

The Shape of Thunder

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.

Rez Dogs

****Four starred reviews!****   From the U.S.'s foremost Indigenous children's author comes a middle grade verse novel set during the COVID-19 pandemic, about a Wabanaki girl's quarantine on her grandparents' reservation and the local dog that becomes her best friend Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She's there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There's a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration.   Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe: She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. She doesn't go outside to play with friends, she helps her grandparents use video chat, and she listens to and learns from their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian's family knows that he'll protect them too.   Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, this novel about the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the ways Malian's community has cared for one another through plagues of the past, and how they keep caring for one another today.

Starfish

A Printz Honor winner! Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this poignant debut novel-in-verse. Cover may vary. Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she's been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules-like "no making waves," "avoid eating in public," and "don't move so fast that your body jiggles." And she's found her safe space-her swimming pool-where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It's also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie's weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life--by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Alone

Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town. When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She's alone--left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned. With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten. As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie's most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie's stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?

Amari and the Night Brothers

New York Times bestseller! Artemis Fowl meets Men in Black in this exhilarating debut middle grade fantasy, the first in a trilogy filled with #blackgirlmagic. Perfect for fans of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, the Percy Jackson series, and Nevermoor. Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she's certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton--if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real. Now she must compete for a spot against kids who've known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can't seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny--especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed "illegal." With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she's an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn't stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton. Plus don't miss the thrilling sequel, Amari and the Great Game!

The Blackbird Girls

Like Ruta Sepetys for middle grade, Anne Blankman pens a poignant and timeless story of friendship that twines together moments in underexplored history. NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER A SYDNEY TAYLOR MIDDLE GRADE HONOR BOOK Like Ruta Sepetys for middle grade, Anne Blankman pens a poignant and timeless story of friendship that twines together moments in underexplored history. On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother's secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they've wished for- a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend's life? Would you risk your own? Told in alternating perspectives among three girls--Valentina and Oksana in 1986 and Rifka in 1941--this story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match for the power of true friendship.

Brave Like That

Find yourself. Find your place. Find your brave. This uplifting tale, which award-winning author Leslie Connor dubbed "a perfectly paced journey of the heart" is perfect for fans of Lisa Graff and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  Cyrus Olson's dad is a hero--Northfield's former football star and now one of their finest firefighters. Everyone expects Cyrus to follow in his dad's record-breaking footsteps, and he wishes they were right--except he's never been brave like that. But this year, with the help of a stray dog, a few new friends, a little bit of rhythm, and a lot of nerve, he may just discover that actually...he is. Lauded as "remarkable" by the New York Times Book Review, Lindsey Stoddard's heartfelt stories continue to garner critical acclaim, and her latest novel will have fans new and old rooting for Cyrus and Parker's special bond and the courage it helps them both to find.

The Insiders

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * An ALA Rainbow Book List Top 10 Title for Young Readers Three kids who don't belong. A room that shouldn't exist. A year that will change everything. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Meg Medina, this debut middle grade novel from award-winning author Mark Oshiro is a hopeful and heartfelt coming-of-age story for anyone who's ever felt like they didn't fit in. San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn't mean feeling different. At Héctor's new school, he couldn't feel more alone. Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor's closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he's stumbled into a room that shouldn't be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country--and opens the door to a life-changing year full of friendship, adventure, and just a little bit of magic. "Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, but always full of heart, The Insiders carves out a space for us all to be our true selves." --Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Another Kind

Six kids search for a new place to call home in this middle grade graphic novel debut by comic creators Cait May and Trevor Bream, for fans of Marvel's Runaways and The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag. Another Kind is not your average monster story. Tucked away in a government facility nicknamed the Playroom, six not-quite-human kids learn to control their strange and unpredictable abilities. Life is good--or safe, at least--hidden from the prying eyes of a judgmental world. That is, until a security breach forces them out of their home and into the path of the Collector, a mysterious being with leech-like powers. Can the group band together to thwart the Collector's devious plan, or will they wind up the newest addition to his collection

This Book Is Anti-Racist

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Recommended by Oprah's Book Club, ESSENCE, We Need Diverse Books, ellentube, Brit + Co, PureWow, Teen Vogue, Time, New York, USA TODAY, and TODAY.com Also available: This Book Is Anti-Racist Journal, a guided journal with more than 50 activities to support your anti-racism journey Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation. "In a racist society, it's not enough to be non-racist--we must be ANTI-RACIST." --Angela Davis Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing, and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each lesson builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. An activity at the end of every chapter gets you thinking and helps you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper. Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses--using gender neutral words to honor everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy. After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity, and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be "civilized" to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws. Find hope in stories of strength, love, joy, and revolution that are part of our history, too, with such figures as the former slave Toussaint Louverture, who led a rebellion against white planters that eventually led to Haiti's independence, and Yuri Kochiyama, who, after spending time in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII, dedicated her life to supporting political prisoners and advocating reparations for those wrongfully interned. Learn language and phrases to interrupt and disrupt racism. So, when you hear a microaggression or racial slur, you'll know how to act next time. This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society--including the young person who doesn't know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn't stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators. With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism and xenophobia to create a community (large and small) that truly honors everyone.

Rhode Island Middle School Book Award Logo

Hide and Seeker

One of our most iconic childhood games receives a creepy twist as it becomes the gateway to a nightmare world.I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it?Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend.Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was . . . different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee's welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong.One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.

Linked

An unforgettable novel from the New York Times bestselling Gordon Korman. Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it's woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika. Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing? Because Michael was the first person to see it, he's the first suspect. Because Link is one of the most popular guys in school, everyone's looking to him to figure it out. And because Dana's the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone's treating her more like an outsider than ever. The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face-not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past. With Linked, Gordon Korman, the author of the acclaimed novel Restart, poses a mystery for all readers where the who did it? isn't nearly as important as the why?

The Elephant in the Room

From the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s comes a heartfelt story about "the importance of compassion and bravery when facing life's challenges" (Kirkus) for fans of The One and Only Ivan and Front Desk. It's been almost a year since Sila's mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places. A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humor that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s. "I couldn't stop reading--I had to find out what would happen. An unusual and lovely real-life fairy tale." --Linda Sue Park, New York Times Bestselling author of A Long Walk to Water"A gorgeous and emotional novel. I loved every page." --Cynthia Kadohata, Newbery Medal-winning author of Kira-Kira

Ophie's Ghosts

Winner, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts. Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works. Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.

Turtle Boy

SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD WINNER   A boy who has spent his life living inside a shell discovers the importance of taking chance in this "winner" (Booklist, starred review) of a friendship story that's perfect for fans of Wonder. Seventh grade is not going well for Will Levine. Kids at school bully him because of his funny-looking chin. And for his bar mitzvah community service project, he's forced to go to the hospital to visit RJ, an older boy struggling with an incurable disease. At first, the boys don't get along, but then RJ shares his bucket list with Will. Among the things he wants to do: ride a roller coaster; go to a school dance; swim in the ocean. To Will, happiness is hanging out in his room, alone, preferably with the turtles he collects. But as RJ's disease worsens, Will realizes he needs to tackle the bucket list on his new friend's behalf before it's too late. It seems like an impossible mission, way outside Will's comfort zone. But as he completes each task with RJ's guidance, Will learns that life is too short to live in a shell. "Everyone deserves a friend like Will Levine." --Lynne Kelly, author of Song for a Whale

Black Boy Joy

THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. FIVE STARRED REVIEWS Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors-including Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and Kwame Mbalia! ?"Pick up Black Boy Joy for a heavy dose of happiness." -Booklist,starred review Black boy joy is... Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit. Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race. Finding your voice-and your rhymes-during tough times. Flying on your skateboard like nobody's watching. And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood. Contributors include- B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Dj li Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters

Last Gate of the Emperor

From Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel David Makonnen comes an Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire. Sci-fi and fantasy combine in this epic journey to the stars. Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime -- a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family... and his only friends. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb's Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared's uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them. Together with Besa and the Ibis -- a game rival turned reluctant ally -- Yared must search for his uncle... and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

The Legend of Auntie Po

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST   Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885. Cover may vary.   Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch. Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in the United States.

Amazing Treasures

Explore history, culture, geology, and the environment through treasures ancient and modern! Discover 100+ of the world's most extraordinary man-made and natural treasures, objects and places. Giant gemstones, precious artworks, architectural wonders, intriguing ruins, moon rocks, and more! Treasures both natural and man-made make an appearance in a tour which stretches across thousands of years and all around the globe. Discover sunken wrecks loaded with pirate gold, the abandoned tombs of the world's most powerful rulers, and even meteorites - treasures from outer space! A central foldout map reveals the locations of all the treasures featured in the book, while award-winning author David Long also addresses contemporary topics such as our threatened natural wonders and the ownership of cultural treasures. The perfect book for any curious explorer or treasure-hunter aged 7+ Part of the Our Amazing World series, which also includes Amazing Islands. Two more titles are to come in 2021 and 2022: Amazing Rivers and Amazing Animals.