Maine Student Book Awards 2021-2022

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander (CloudLibrary) (Request)

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. Readers will learn about Cassius’ family and neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky, and how, after a thief stole his bike, Cassius began training as an amateur boxer at age twelve. Before long, he won his first Golden Gloves bout and began his transformation into the unrivaled Muhammad Ali.


The girl and the ghost by Hanna Alkaf (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side–and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.


Once Upon an Eid edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed (Request)

Featuring contributions by such established genre authors as Hena Khan, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Ashley Franklin, a collection of short stories celebrates Muslim culture and the joyful holiday traditions of Eid.


The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Request)

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.


The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman (Request)

Twelve-year-old Claire struggles to cope while her eighteen-year-old brother, Andy, is treated for drug addiction and her family prepares to sell her beloved horses, but finally accepts that change can be good.


Alone in the Woods by Rebecca Behrens (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Rising eighth-graders Jocelyn and Alex, former best friends forced together on a family vacation, must cooperate to survive when they get lost in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Told in two voices.


A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner (CloudLibrary)(Request)

After researching Glenn Burke, the first major league baseball player to come out as gay, sixth-grader Silas Wade slowly comes out to his best friend Zoey, then his coach, with unexpected consequences.


The blackbird girls by Anne Blankman (CloudLibrary)(Request)

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.


The canyon’s edge by Dusti Bowling (CloudLibrary)(Request)

A year after the death of her mother in a restaurant shooting, Nora is left struggling to stay alive when a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.


Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood (CloudLibrary)(Request)

A collection of poems by women of color, written for today’s generation of young activists, reflects the passion of the fight for social justice while tackling subjects ranging from discrimination and empathy to acceptance and speaking out.


King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (CloudLibrary)(Request)

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.


Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros (CloudLibrary)(Request)

While his father works two jobs, seventh-grader Efren Nava must take care of his twin siblings, kindergartners Max and Mia, after their mother is deported to Mexico. Includes glossary of Spanish words.


Kodi by Jared Cullum (Request)

Katya and her Meema are spending another summer at their cottage in Alaska, when a chance accident leaves Katya face-to-face with the biggest creature she’s ever seen… an enormous kodiak bear with a gentle heart and a knack for fishing. But when Katya must suddenly return home to Seattle, the two are torn apart, leaving Kodi to do whatever it takes to reunite with his fragile human friend.


The Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton (CloudLibrary)

When their owner is injured in a pet-triggered accident, the mostly good dog Butterbean rallies her fellow pets to devise a plan of self-care by stealing a mysterious stranger’s supplies in case they become homeless.


96 Miles by J. L. Esplin (CloudLibrary)(Request)

During a massive blackout in rural Nevada, two brothers struggle to survive without their self-reliance-obsessed dad and without enough water cross the desert for help.


My wild life by Suzi Eszterhas (Request)

Suzi Eszterhas knew that she wanted to be a wildlife photographer from the time she was a small child. She got her first camera when she was six and proceeded to take pictures of her cats in her backyard, pretending that they were lions on the savanna or tigers in the jungle. In this book, Suzi will talk about her dream, and about how it isn’t like what she thought it would be when she was a kid – ie, it’s not glamorous and it’s a lot of hard work, but still entirely worth it!


Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Fed up with sexist dress codes and unfair conduct standards at a school where girls’ bodies are considered a distraction, Molly starts a podcast to protest the school’s disciplinary inequality before her small rebellion swells into a full-blown empowerment revolution.


Rick by Alex Gino (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Privately struggling with his best friend’s bullying personality and his father’s jokes about hot girls, a middle school student joins his new school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where other kids of diverse gender identities help him find understanding and a sense of himself.


Wink by Rob Harrell (CloudLibrary)(Request)

After being diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, twelve-year-old Ross discovers how music, art, and true friends can help him survive both treatment and middle school.


The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Humor and heart shine in this middle-grade fantasy about a girl who attends a boarding school to learn how to use music to create magic.


Primer by Jennifer Muro & Thomas Krajewski (Request)

While living with her latest set of foster parents, Ashley Rayburn mistakenly applies some found body paints which give her a wide range of special powers, but soon the military discovers what happened to their secret weapon and this puts Ashley and her newfound family and friends in danger.


Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (CloudLibrary)(Request)

A protest against cameras in classrooms brings a group of middle-grade students together. Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone hacks into them and posts embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Dominica and her best friends are determined to find out who is doing it.


Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang (CloudLibrary)

When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.


What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado (CloudLibrary)

Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement.


From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Avid baker Zoe Washington receives a letter on her twelfth birthday from her biological father, who is in prison for a terrible crime.


Glitch by Laura Martin (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Regan Fitz and Elliot Mason have been enemies since they started training to become Glitchers–people who travel through time to preserve important historical events. But everything changes when they find a letter from Regan’s future self, warning them about an impending disaster that threatens them and everyone they know. Will they be able to set aside their past in order to save the future?


Jinxed by Amy McCulloch (CloudLibrary)(Request)

After fourteen-year-old Lacey Chu repairs a highly advanced smartphone/robotic pet companion, or baku, called Jinx, the baku gets her into her dream school, Profectus, where she is exposed to dangerous secrets.


The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Handsome Ebenezer Tweezer has lived comfortably for nearly 512 years by feeding the magical beast in his mansion’s attic whatever it wants, but when the beast demands a child, they are not prepared for Bethany.


No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Levi and Kat are about to discover a very dark side to their neighborhood. Nothing ever seems out of place in the safe, suburban town of Cowslip Grove. Lawns are neatly mowed, sidewalks are tidy, and the sounds of ice cream trucks fill the air. But now… kids have been going missing, except no one even realizes it, because no one remembers them. Not their friends. Not their teachers. Not even their families. But Levi and Kat do remember, and suddenly only they can see why everyone is in terrible danger when the night air rolls in. Now it is up to Levi and Kat to fight it and save the missing kids before it swallows the town whole.


History Smashers: The Mayflower. by Kate Messner (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.


Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Welcome, readers, to the imaginative brain of Omar! You might not know me yet, but once you open the pages of this book you’ll laugh so hard that snot will come out of your nose (plus you might meet a dragon and a zombie, what more could you want?). My parents decided it would be a good idea to move house AND move me to a new school at the same time. As if I didn’t have a hard enough time staying out of trouble at home, now I’ve also got to try and make new friends. What’s worse, the class bully seems to think I’m the perfect target.


When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal offamily and daily life in a refugee camp.


Bloom by Kenneth Oppel (CloudLibrary)(Request)

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….


Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (CloudLibrary)(Request)

In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves.


A Game of Fox & Squirrels by Jenn Reese (CloudLibrary)

After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year-old Samantha Littlefield and her older sister, Caitlin, are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they’ve never met. Sam wants nothing more than to go back to the way thing were…before she spoke up. When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game called A Game of Fox & Squirrels, Sam falls in love with the animal characters, especially the charming trickster fox, Ashander. Then one day Ashander shows up in Sam’s Room and offers her an adventure and a promise: Find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires. But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn’t prepared for, and her new home feels more welcoming than she’d ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. If she makes the wrong move, she’ll lose far more than just a game.


Ashlords by Scott Reintgen (CloudLibrary)

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds (CloudLibrary)(Request)

A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.


Rise Up!: The Art of Protest by Jo Rippon (CloudLibrary)

“RISE UP! encourages young people to engage in peaceful protest and stand up for freedom. Photographs of protest posters from the last one hundred years celebrate the ongoing fight for gender equality, civil rights, LGBT rights, refugee and immigrant rights, peace, and the environment. Includes a chapter on youth protest. Developed in collaboration with Amnesty International”– Provided by publisher.


All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Boy’s Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat (CloudLibrary)(Request)

Combines firsthand interviews with scientific and cultural insights in a middle grade account of the 2018 Thai cave rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team and the critical, sophisticated engineering operation that saved the lives of 13 young people.