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The Undercover Book List

by Colleen Nelson
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: friendship, self-esteem & self-reliance, school & education, books & libraries

Governor General’s Award Finalist Colleen Nelson’s tale of identity, unlikely friends, and a secret book club, now available in a new paperback format.

Between her father’s posting overseas and her best friend Sienna’s move to the other side of the country, seventh grade is looking lonely for Jane MacDonald. But Sienna has left her with one …

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The Power of the Pearl Earrings

text by Linda Trinh, illustrated by Clayton Nguyen
edition: Paperback
  • age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
tagged: peer pressure, self-esteem & self-reliance, asian american

A charming early chapter book series that explores Vietnamese culture and identity through the eyes of the Nguyen siblings, with elements of the supernatural, spirituality, and social justice woven in.

 

I touch my earrings and feel a rush of wind. I can almost hear Grandma Nội’s laughter through them. 

 

Spontaneous and energetic Liz, the middle N …

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Suck It In and Smile

by Laurence Beaudoin-Masse, translated by Shelley Tanaka
edition: Paperback
  • age: 12 to 17
  • Grade: 7 to 12
tagged: self-esteem & self-reliance, eating disorders & body image, computers & digital media

A funny, touching look at the life of a social media influencer who starts to question the #goals life she has created for herself.

Every day, Ellie motivates her hundreds of thousands of followers to become the best versions of themselves by posting videos of exercise routines and high-protein breakfast recipes. Far from the shy teenager that she w …

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Walking in Two Worlds

by Wab Kinew
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12
tagged: diversity & multicultural, self-esteem & self-reliance

An Indigenous teen girl is caught between two worlds, both real and virtual, in the YA fantasy debut from bestselling Indigenous author Wab Kinew. Perfect for fans of Ready Player One and the Otherworld series.

In the real world, Bugz is a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and reserve life. But in the vi …

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The Wolf Suit

by Sid Sharp
edition: Hardcover
  • age: 6 to 11
  • Grade: 1 to 6
tagged: humorous, fairy tales, folklore, legends & mythology, self-esteem & self-reliance

A lonely sheep thinks he can protect himself in the scary forest with the ultimate disguise: a Wolf Suit. A hilarious and touching debut graphic novel about the pressures of conformity and conquering fear by finding community.

*A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Bellwether Riggwelter is, once again, out of blackberries. This time, rather …

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Fly

by Alison Hughes
edition: Hardcover
  • age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9
tagged: stories in verse

A novel in free verse about a middle schooler who discovers he's not the only one grappling with the imperfections of the world.

In this powerful novel in free verse, Felix Landon Yarrow (F.L.Y., or “Fly”), a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, is captivated by the noble, chivalrous ideals of knighthood. So when he fears that a school vil …

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The Boy Who Saw the Colour of Air

by Abdo Wazen, translated by Nouha Homad
edition: Paperback
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: special needs, diversity & multicultural, school & education

Growing up in a small Lebanese village, Bassim's blindness limits his engagement with the materials taught in his schools. Despite his family's love and support, his opportunities seem limited. At thirteen years old, Bassim leaves his village to join the Institute for the Blind in a Beirut suburb. There, he comes alive. He learns Braille and discov …

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Union

by Sara Cassidy
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
tagged: self-esteem & self-reliance, sexual abuse, novels in verse, contemporary, dating & sex

Tuck navigates new love, past trauma and standing up for what's right in this novel in verse.

Grace has caught my eye
I stare and stare
at this girl I’ve missed
since we were five

Abuse at the hands of his mother's boyfriend has left fifteen-year-old Tuck broken and untrusting. But then he falls hard for his childhood friend Grace and starts to …

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