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Children's Books--Content Area Themes and Topics

Bronx Stories

Never Look Back (eBook)

"Pheus is an Afro-Dominican, bachata-singing teen whose Bronx world is upended when he meets Eury, a Puerto Rican girl visiting New York after she is forced from her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria." --Horn Book Magazine

Review Citation and Link: DOBBS, C. L. (2021). Never Look Back. Horn Book Magazine, 97(1), 116.

Intended Grade: 7-12

Awards: Pura Belpré Honor Book

I Can Write the World

"Eight-year-old Ava Murray is determined to become a journalist and write about the world, but first, she will start in the place she knows and loves best, her neighborhood in the Bronx, New York." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: I Can Write the World. (2019). Kirkus Reviews, 87(14), N.PAG.

Intended Grade: PK-2

Sonia Sotomayor

"Winter chronicles the life of the first Latina Supreme Court justice, from her childhood in the Bronx to her historic nomination." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: Landrum, M. (2010). Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/La juez que creció en el Bronx. School Library Journal, 56(1), 94.

Intended Grade: 1-8

New Kid

"Craft's engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious Riverdale Academy Day School (RAD)." --Horn Book Magazine

Review Citation and Link: GALL, P. (2020). New Kid. Horn Book Magazine, 96(4), 38–39.

Intended Grade: 4-8

Awards: Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Author Award

Boogie Boogie, Y'all

"Esperanza establishes a groovy rhythm in this celebration of art and music, set in the Bronx." --Publishers Weekly

Review Citation and Link: Boogie Boogie, Y’All. (2021). Publishers Weekly, 268(28), 67.

Intended Grade: PK-5

A Box Full of Kittens

"Ruthie yearns to be a superhero. So when her parents ask her to keep Aunt Juanita company right before her baby is due to arrive, Ruthie flies down the street of her Puerto Rican neighborhood in the Bronx." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link:Hersh, M. (2008). A Box Full of Kittens. School Library Journal, 54(5), 69.

Intended Grade: PK-2

The Night Library

"On the eve of his eighth birthday, a reluctant reader's parents gift him with a book. Disappointed, he falls asleep until awakened by a lion purring outside his window." --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: Weisman, K. (2019). The Night Library. Booklist, 115(13), 61.

Intended Grade: K-2

The Education of Margot Sanchez

"A Puerto Rican teenager spends the summer working in her father's South Bronx supermarket, where she experiences myriad unfortunate developments." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Rivera, L. (2016). The Education of Margot Sanchez. Kirkus Reviews, 84(22), 1.

Intended Grade: 7-12

Becoming Maria

"A groundbreaking Latina educator, TV personality, and award-winning children’s book author shares a poignantly written memoir about growing up in the South Bronx." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: Diaz, S. (2015). Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. School Library Journal, 61(9), 186–187.

Intended Grade: 7-12

Juliet Takes a Breath

"Bronx native Juliet Palante lands her dream internship in Portland, Oregon, the summer after her freshman year of college." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Juliet Takes a Breath. (2019). Kirkus Reviews, 87(17), N.PAG.

Intended Grade: 7-12

Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle

"Ana Maria Reyes doesn't live in a castle, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her three sisters and both parents in Washington Heights, New York City." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: Molinar, C. (2018). Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle. School Library Journal, 64(10), 64.

Intended Grade: 4-8


We Are Water Protectors

"The book is written to give voice not just to the people in the struggle to protect their sacred sites and water, but to the animals, great and small, that depend on a clean ecosystem. The stunning hues of green and blue water are contrasted by an array of exuberant colors." --Language Arts

Review Citation and Link: We Are Water Protectors. (2021). Language Arts98(5), 291–291. National Council of Teachers of English.

Awards: Randolph Caldecott Medal


"A young fellow in a bright yellow slicker has a great play day planned despite gray skies. In fact, it’s even better after a down­ pour creates puddles and rivers in the gutters for the newspaper boat he has made." --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: McDermott, J. (2015). Float. Booklist111(19/20), 116.

Video Read Aloud:

Yo Se Que el Rio Me Ama (eBook)

"In sweeping lyrical prose--in both English and Spanish--a little girl describes her special relationship with the river she loves, which loves her in return. The river keeps the little girl's smiling reflection, sings her name in the rushing waters and cools her down when she jumps in to swim. The little girl is careful to only leave behind what truly belongs in the river's waters." --Kurkis Reviews

Review Citation and Link: I Know the River Loves Me/Yo Sé Que El Río Me Ama. (2009). Kirkus Reviews77(16), 879.

Video read aloud:


"Two children, accompanied by their father, wave as their mother sets off to travel 300 miles down the Hudson River on her solitary adventure. In the evenings, the woman writes and draws in her sketchbook, detailing her exploits after setting up camp for the night. Caldecott Honor Book creator Cooper offers short descriptive paragraphs that encapsulate the striking beauty and harrowing challenges she encounters. 'The moon climbs up among the stars. She is alone, but not. The river stays beside her, mumbling to her and to itself all through the night.'” --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: Owen, Maryann. 2019. “River.” Booklist 116 (1): 109.

Video read aloud:

I Talk Like a River

"In this lyrical and empowering picture book, Canadian poet Scott tells a story based on his own experiences as a boy who stuttered. In simple, evocative language, he captures the isolation, social devastation, and self-doubt of a child who feels incapable of communicating his thoughts and offers an affirming way to think about difference." --Horn Book Magazine

Review Citation and Link: Toth, L. (2020). I Talk like a River. Horn Book Magazine96(6), 82–83.

Video Read Aloud:

Awards: Schneider Family Book Award

A River

"A sinuous river journey of engaging scenes is presented within a textured cover.  Readers follow the silver boat from city to sea." --English

Review Citation and Link: Marshall, B. (2016). River. English 4--11, 57, 24.

Along the Tapajós

"Brother and sister risk the dangers of a flood and animals to rescue their pet tortoise. Siblings Cauã and Inaê live on the banks of Brazil's Tapajós River, one of the biggest in the Amazon rainforest. Like many other children, they wake up, travel via boat to school, and come back home. However, each year, when the rains begin and the river rises enough to cover whole houses, the entire town packs up and travels down the river to a safer location, leaving only their houses behind. Spreads with furious rain, similar to Daniel Miyares' Float (2015), signal overpowering change to the town." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Along the Tapajós. (2019). Kirkus Reviews87(15)

Mela and the Elephant (eBook)

"Phumiruk takes readers to the country of her birth in an instructive contemporary fable about kindness, set in a village in Northern Thailand. A girl named Mela sets off to explore the nearby banks of the Ping River, refusing to bring along her younger brother. "What will you give me if I take you?" she asks, but he has nothing. The decision comes back to bite her after she's swept away by the current and winds up far from home." --Publishers Weekly

Review Citation and Link: Mela and the Elephant. (2018). Publishers Weekly265(4), 84.


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Within each classification number (e.g. PZ7) works are organized by the author’s last name.

Classification Number Contents
PZ 7 Fiction by authors whose first works were published between 1870 and 2014
PZ 7.1 Fiction by authors whose first works are published in 2015 and beyond
Other PZ Class. Numbers Contents
PZ 5  Collections of works by different authors
PZ 7.5  Novels in verse
PZ 8    Traditional fairy tales
​PZ 8.1  Folklore and legends
PZ 8.2  Fables
PZ 8.3  Nursery rhymes and stories in rhyme
Higher PZ numbers  Juvenile fiction in languages other than English


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