2021 Staff Picks: Grades 6-8

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Staff favorites from 2021 for kids in grades 6-8.

  • Glitter Gets Everywhere

    2021 by Clark, Yvette

    I loved this story about loss and grief, and more. It is a sweet story, and it spends part of the time in England, which is, honestly, one of the very best places to be. Recommended by Meleesa.

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  • Home Is Not a Country

    2021 by Elhillo, Safia

    I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written and thought-provoking novel-in-verse about family, identity, and belonging. I highly recommend it to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Starfish

    2021 by Fipps, Lisa

    I really enjoyed reading this book. As a woman who has struggled all her life with weight issues, it was good to read about someone who finally stood up for herself. Recommended by Sue.

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  • Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai

    2021 by Florence, Debbi Michiko

    Jenna breaks up with her boyfriend, Elliot. The two were inseparable, and now Jenna needs to navigate life in middle school. She needs to reconnect with friends and rebuild her competitive edge. Jenna starts hanging out at a wacky, fun local diner which helps her discover who she is and what she wants. You go, Jenna! Recommended by Cathy.

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  • Six Crimson Cranes

    2021 by Lim, Elizabeth

    For fans of fairy tales, folklore, and magic, this is un-put-down-able. There’s an exiled princess, a talkative dragon, six enchanted cranes, and some romance, mystery, and adventure. We loved spending time with these characters and their story. Recommended by Sharon and Rummanah.

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  • A Ph̉ơ Love Story

    2021 by Le, Loan

    I have much affection for this debut YA novel. With humor, sensitivity, and wonderfully refreshing characters, it’s a lovely spin on the hating-to-dating plotline. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Once Upon a Broken Heart

    2021 by Garber, Stephanie

    It’s rare nowadays that I read a book in one sitting, but I also love, as do many teen patrons, a good love story. Add some magic, derring-do, and delicious angst, and I was lost in the bright and fluffy (with a side of sharp knives, dripping blood, and breaking hearts) world of Stephanie Garber. Recommended by Grace.

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  • Too Bright to See

    2021 by Lukoff, Kyle

    A beautifully written book about an 11-year-old questioning her gender, and her gradual realization of her true gender identity. It's also a ghost story! Recommended by Mary Michell.

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  • Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story)

    2020 by Nayeri, Daniel

    Part autobiography, part fable, part low-brow comedy comfort food. I loved every second of this gorgeous book. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author, which adds layers to the already brilliant text. It’s so good, I was genuinely sad when it was over. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • Better Than the Movies

    2021 by Painter, Lynn

    I loved this romantic comedy and stayed up way too late to finish it. I adored Liz and Wes and their chemistry. I can confidently shelve this book with my favorite romances next to the To All the Boys I Loved Before series and When Dimple Met Rishi. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Awakening of Malcolm X: A Novel

    2021 by Shabazz, Ilyasah

    This is a fictionalized account of the early years of a great political leader, narrated by his younger self. It gave me wonderful insight into what motivated and inspired Malcolm X. Since the author is his daughter, I trust that many details are accurate, even though the work is fictionalized. Recommended by Mary Michell.

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  • Katie the Catsitter

    2021 by Venable, Colleen A. F.

    This one has been a big hit with my cat-loving kiddo, but it is sure to please any Raina Telgemeier or Victoria Jamieson fan. The start of a great series. Recommended by Becca.

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