Top 10 Titles 2022

Abe, Frank, Tamiko Nimura, Ross Ishikawa, and Matt Sasaki.  We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance at Wartime Incarceration.  May 2021. Chin Music Press. $19.99. Paperback. 160 pages. 9781634059763. Young Adult.  The collective history of three Japanese Americans who refused to accept the American government’s charge of sabotage and treason as the reason for imprisonment in the internment camps set up by the American government.  This is a graphic biography.


De la Peña, Matt and Christian Robinson.   Milo Imagines the World.  February 2021, G. P. Putman’s Sons Books, Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.  $18.99.  Hardback.  40 pages.  ISBM 978529066319. Children’s Picture Book. 

As young Milo and his older sister take their weekly train ride, Milo draws pictures of the people he sees and the worlds he imagines they live in based on what they wear and how they look.  It isn’t until Milo sees a boy in a suit headed for the same place that he and his sister are heading that he starts to rethink the assumptions he’s made based on appearance, for they are all headed for a correctional facility to visit someone.  For Milo and his older sister, it’s their mom. This revelation helps the reader understand that you can’t judge a person by what they look like and what they wear.

Flake, Sharon G.  The Life I’m In (The Skin I’m #2). January 2021.  Scholastic Press.  $18.99.  Hardback.  336 pages. 9781338573176.  Young Adult.   In this sister story to the1998 The Skin I’m In, author Sharon Flake looks at the shattered world of Maleeka Madison’s tormentor Charlese “Char” Jones, whose older sister places her on a Greyhound bus to their grandparents in Alabama because of Char’s out of control behavior.  Before the end of the trip, Char exits the bus and becomes a runaway which leads her into the hands of human traffickers.

Free Minds Writers.  They Called Me 299-359: Poetry by the Incarcerated Youth of Free Minds.  November 2020.  Shout Mouse Press.  $14.99.  Paperback.  120 pages.  9781950807154.  Young Adult.  The Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop members are a group of incarcerated youth in Washington, DC who compiled and edited this anthology of poetry and essays that serve as the authors’ personal testimonies to their experiences of incarceration, challenge, and growth.

Kpadea, Emolie, Japan Spells, Damarco Taylor, and Rob Gibson. And Justice for Who? November 2020.  Shout Mouse Press.  $11.99. Paperback.  38 pages.  9781950807093. Picture Book for Older Readers.  When a Black Lives Matter protest ends in police violence, friends Cody and Nene do not share the same opinion.  Nene has an uncle and is in defense of the police while Cody is not.  Their opposition pulls the friends farther apart until the day they share a startling experience that mends their rift and leads them to a better understanding.


Lewis, John, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell.  Run:  Book One.  August 2021.  ComicArts, an imprint of Abrams and Good Trouble Productions.  $24.99.  Hardback.  160 pages.  9781419730696. Young Adult. 

In this follow-up series to Representative John Lewis’s life story, Run, Book One looks at the dramatic transitions and struggles Representative Lewis went through after participating in the March on Selma and the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, during the Civil Rights Movement.  Many of the lessons shared from the representative’s life align with today’s struggles. This is a graphic biography.

Man, Chella and Ashley Lukashevsky.  Continuum (A Pocket Change Collective).  June 2021.  Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.  $8.99.  Paperback.  64 pages.  9780593223482.  Young Adult. Chella Man uses his experiences as a deaf, genderqueer, transgender, Jewish youth of color to encourage others to embrace their identity and cultivate a sense of self-acceptance as they grow in strength to advocate for themselves. This is an illustrated informational text.

Mickelson, Marcia Argueta.  Where I Belong.  September 2021.  Carolrhoda Lab.  Hardback.  264 pages.  $18.99.  9781541597976.  Young Adult.  Seventeen-year-old Millie Vargas lives with her mom who immigrated to Texas from Guatemala when Millie was an infant.  Unlike the negative imagery portrayed in news and social, Millie defies stereotypes and will be graduating high school with a full academic scholarship to a local 4-year college.  Her problem arises when her mother’s employer wants to exploit her success for political purposes.

Rouse, Victorya. Finding Refuge:  Real Life Immigration Stories From Young People. September 2021. Zest Books. $14.99. Paperback. 264 pages. 9781541581609. Young Adult.  Victorya Rouse is an ESL teacher in Spokane, Washington.  In this anthology, she shares the immigration stories of former students, from a variety of global cultures, who were in her high school ESL class.  Many came fled war-torn countries and sought relief from political and religious persecution, and gang and drug violence.

Velasquez, Elisabet. When We Make It.  September 2021.  Dial, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.  $19.99.  Hardback. 384 pages  9780593324486. Young Adult.  Set in 1996 this story-in-verse of 13-year-old Sarai, who is a first-generation Puerto Rican, is set in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood.  Sarai is in eighth grade and trying very hard to navigate successfully through the poverty, family trauma, misogyny, and housing insecurity of a neighborhood embedded with drug abuse, police brutality, and gentrification, in hopes of securing her family’s hope of securing the American dream.