Maine Student Book Awards 2022-2023

For last years book list, click here.

Amari and the night brothers by B.B. Alston (CloudLibrary) (Request)

Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor Black girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.


Willodeen by Katherine Applegate (Request)

When the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, dwindles and no one knows why, Willodeen, armed with a magical birthday gift, speaks up for the animals she loves and vows to uncover this mystery.


Imaginary by Lee Bacon (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Eleven-year-old Zach knows he is too old to have an imaginary playmate, but between grieving for the loss of his father and coping with bullying at school the only place he seems to find joy is in his fantasy world with his best friend Shovel.


Obie is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar (Request)

Diving into a new swim team, transgender tween Obie is determined to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water—to his coach, his bullies and his biggest competition: himself.


The magical imperfect by Chris Baron (Request)

When Etan, who doesn’t speak, and Malia, who is also known as “the Creature” due to her acute eczema, become friends, Etan must convince his family and hers that he might have a cure for her condition.


Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling (Request) (CloudLibrary)

When her hero, a girl known as the Desert Aviator, crashes during her livestream, 12-year-old Jolene, armed with a hand-drawn map and a stolen cell phone, races against time across the treacherous Arizona desert to save her.


Danny Chung sums it up by Maisie Chan (Request)(Cloudlibrary)

When his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England, an eleven-year-old aspiring comic book artist has to share his bedroom with Nai Nai, who does not speak English, but they soon share a bond through math and art.


Down to Earth by Betty Culley (Request)

A homeschooled aspiring geologist investigates a meteorite that falls onto his family’s field before superstitious locals begin attributing the space rock to a regional drought. A first middle grade novel by the author of Three Things I Know Are True.


The shadow prince by David Anthony Durham (Request)

In this middle grade solarpunk novel set in an alternate Egyptian universe, twelve-year-old Ash must compete and survive to become the shadow–and protector–of the prince.


Nightingale by Deva Fagan (Request)(CloudLibrary)

After twelve-year-old Lark, determined to escape her squalid life, steals a magical sword from the Royal Museum, she reluctantly becomes the next Nightingale, destined to vanquish an ancient evil.


Starfish by Lisa Fipps (Request)

Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, twelve-year-old Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself, with the help of some wonderful new allies.


Carry me home by Janet Fox (Request)

When their father goes missing, 12-year-old Lulu and her younger sister must take care of themselves until they learn that trusting new friends and the community will help them find their true home.


Alone by Megan E. Freeman (Request)

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?


All you knead is love by Tanya Guerrero (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Banished from her abusive home for a summer with her estranged grandmother in Barcelona, twelve-year-old Alba feels hope and love while exploring a newly discovered passion for bread baking.


The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by ikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Stymied by her unfinished family tree assignment for school, a young girl seeks Grandma’s counsel and learns about her ancestors, the consequences of slavery, and the history of Black resistance in the United States.


The last cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera (Request)(CloudLibrary)

“Habâia una vez…There lived a girl named Petra Peäna, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra’s world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children–among them Petra and her family–have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet–and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinisterCollective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard–or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, anyhope for our future. Can she make them live again?”–.


The way of the hive : a honey bee’s story by Jay Hosler (Request)

Nyuki is a brand-new honeybee; and she has a lot of questions. Like When does a bee go through metamorphosis? Why does a queen bee sometimes leave her hive? And where does all this honey come from, anyway? Follow Nyuki on a lifelong journey as she annoys her sisters, avoids predators, and learns to trust her inner voice as she masters the way of the hive.


Stella by McCall Hoyle (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Stella used to be a bomb-sniffing dog, but after a terrible accident, she goes to live on a small family farm to recover from her fear of loud noises. Stella has every reason to love her new family, especially the young human named Chloe who smells like chocolate chip cookies, newly cut grass, the pages of books, and something else, a strange chemical she can’t quite identify. Chloe has epilepsy, and a chemical inside her body surges just before she has a seizure. Stella’s nose makes the connection. But how can she warn Esperanza without her thinking it’s just Stella’s usual anxiety? How can she convince her new family that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Chloe’s life?


Strong as fire, fierce as flame by Supriya Kelkar (Request)

In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in–and certain death on her husband’s funeral pyre–only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people.


When the world was ours by Liz Kessler (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Torn apart by the historical events leading up to World War II, three friends from 1936 Vienna are scattered to different countries as darkness spreads throughout Europe, impacting their families and their bonds with each other.


How to change everything : the young human’s guide to protecting the planet and each other by Naomi Klein (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Young people are not just part of the climate change movement. They are leading the way. Will you be one of them? Forget everything you think you know about climate change. This book explains why the planet desperately needs our help and how you can use your power to change the world through climate activism.


Deadman’s Castle by Iain Lawrence (Request)

Twelve-year-old Igor yearns for a normal life, but since he was five and his father witnessed a crime, his family has been on the run from the sinister figure he calls The Lizard Man.


Six crimson cranes by Elizabeth Lim (Request)(CloudLibrary)

After unleashing forbidden magic, being banished by her stepmother and unable to speak or her brothers will die, Shiori’anma must find a way to save them with the help of a paper bird, a mercurial dragon and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry.


This is our rainbow Edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby (Request)

Featuring contributions from Eric Bell, Katherine Locke and A.J. Sass, this first LGBTQA+ anthology for middle-grade readers presents stories of queer fantasy, historical and contemporary stories for every letter of the acronym.


School of phantoms by Kory Merritt (Request)(CloudLibrary)

This follow-up to No Place for Monsters finds Levi and Kat trapped in the school overnight by freak weather and discovering that a cold-hearted new evil has emerged that they must stop before it eats the entire school.


The girl from the sea by Molly Knox Ostertag (Request)

“Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl. Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore. But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.”


Garlic and the vampires by Bree Paulsen (Request)

Garlic must believe in herself to confront a bloodthirsty vampire who has moved into a nearby castle, in this humorous and heartwarming story that reminds readers that strangers are not always as scary as they seem.


Time villains by Victor Piñeiro (Request)(CloudLibrary)

When a homework assignment and a magic table summon real and fictional people from history, including the bloodthirsty pirate Blackbeard, sixth-grader Javi, his brawny younger sister Brady, and his brainy best friend Wiki join forces to save the world.


The strangest thing in the sea by Rachel Poliquin (Request)

Children can dive into the deepest depths of the sea where they’ll meet 12 strange and little-known sea animals, in this question-and-answer approach that encourages scientific inquiry.


One small hop by Madelyn Rosenberg (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Ahab Goldstein is a seventh-grader living in an United States (specifically Maine) where the environment has turned toxic, and the corrupt Environmental Police Force is in control, limiting access to natural resources like gas and water, issuing fines, and transporting “fragile” species (pretty much all of them) to the Center for Species Rehabilitation in New Arcadia (a dubious refuge at best); so when Ahab and his friends find a real live bullfrog on an island in the toxic harbor, possibly the last one in America, they are faced with a choice–turn it over (NO!), leave it alone, or bike to Canada to find it a mate.


Dungeon academy : No humans allowed by Madeleine Roux (Request)(CloudLibrary)

A human girl disguised as a Minotaur, Zelli sets out on an adventure to uncover her past with the help of two other misfits, and together they’ll fight a Necromancer determined to rid their world of love and life.


Chickenology : the ultimate encyclopedia by Barbara Sandri, Francesco Giubbilini, Camilla Pintonato (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens! This beloved barnyard bird is full of surprises. Did you know some chickens are so small they can perch in the palm of your hand, and others have feathers that look like a beard? Chickens can learn to count up to four and have excellent hearing&;many even like to listen to music! Chickenology takes young readers on a fascinating and informative tour of chickens. Discover the incredible variety of chickens with different origins, breeds, and feather patterns; delve into chicken anatomy and evolution; and even learn the basics of chicken care. With a playful tone and irresistibly charming illustrations by rising star Camilla Pintonato, this lively visual encyclopedia presents chickens in all of their feathered glory.


The million dollar race by Matthew Ross Smith (Request)(CloudLibrary)

This novel follows a speedy kid from an unconventional family who will do whatever it takes to win an international track contest.


Leonard (my life as a cat) by Carlie Sorosiak (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Rescued by a young girl when a space mission gone wrong strands him on the planet Earth in the form of a cat, Leonard endeavors to make his way back home while his young friend introduces him to the beautiful, confusing world of humans.


The Kate in between by Claire Swinarski (Request)(CloduLibrary)

Twelve-year-old Kate becomes the face of an anti-bullying movement after a heroic act goes viral, but her world is turned upside-down when the truth about her involvement is revealed.


Erik vs. everything by Christina Uss (Request)(CloudLibrary)

While staying with his rough-and-tumble cousins and older sister Brunhilde in Minnesota, Erik Sheepflattener, whose inner Viking motto is Avoid Stuff, must learn to speak up for himself when Brunhilde tries to conquer all of his fears.


Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable (Requested)(CloudLibrary)

Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp–something that’s way out of Katie and her mom’s budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life get interesting. First, Madeline has 217 cats (!) and they’re not exactly…normal cats. Also, why is Madeline always out EXACTLY when the city’s most notorious villain commits crimes?! Is it possible that Katie’s upstairs neighbor is really a super villain? Can Katie wrangle a whole lot of wayward cats, save a best friendship (why is Beth barely writing back? And who’s this boy she keeps talking about?!), AND crack the biggest story in the city’s history? Some heroes have capes… Katie has cats!


The Ash House by Angharad Walker (Request)(CloudLibrary)

When Eleven-year-old Sol arrives at the Ash House, desperate for a cure for his complex pain syndrome, he finds a community of strange children long abandoned by their mysterious Headmaster. The longer Sol spends on the mysterious grounds, the more he begins to forget who he is, the more the other children begin to distrust him, and the worse his pain becomes. But can he hold onto reality long enough to find an escape? And better yet, can he convince the others?


Last gamer standing by Katie Zhao (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Ready Player One meets the action of battle royale video games in this middle-grade sci-fi perfect for fans of Fortnite.