Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis

by Alexis Coe

Zest Books

Nominated by: Svale

In 1892, 19-year-old Alice Mitchell cut the throat of her lover, 17-year-old Freda Ward. Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis tells the story of the murder that captured the attention of a nation. Using letters and transcripts, Alexis Coe weaves the description of the murder with the reality of what being gay during the time period meant.

Michelle Lockwood, Blogs Like a Girl

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters

by Laurie Ann Thompson

Beyond Words Pub Co

Nominated by: Pat Zietlow Miller

Perhaps you have felt that drive. You know, the one in which you want to do something. Perhaps you saw something on the news that has made you to want to spur into action or perhaps you see a need in your hometown that you think you can fill. However, you are at a lost as to where to begin. Enter Be a Changemaker. Thompson guides readers through the thought process from researching your ideas to money matters and working with the media.
One of the most appealing features of this book is the layout—clear, concise and easy to follow. Readers are able to pick up this book from where they are in the process of their idea and hit the ground running. At the end are resources to help you take things further. Sprinkled throughout the book are real-life examples to help add credence to the title.

Stephanie Charlefour, Love. Life. Read.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

by Susan Kuklin

Candlewick Press

Nominated by: Jackie Parker

“I told my mom that I wanted to see me as a man in a heterosexual relationship. I wanted to be referred to as a he. I wanted to live my life as the man of the house, masculine. I know there are butch lesbians, and all that stuff, but I didn’t want to be that. I just wanted to be a normal man” Jessy, page 11.
Beyond Magenta takes readers through a series of snapshots of young adults on the transgender spectrum. Through Kuklin’s photographs and their own words, readers are invited into their lives to learn about how they come to identify themselves today. Each story is heartfelt and authentic, allowing readers a glimpse into their lives. Because these are real teens speaking out about themselves—their journey, their hopes, their dreams, how they truly feel—it will help open the eyes of all those who pick it. Whether that person finds themselves agreeing with what is said or perhaps understand someone they know a little better, this book is groundbreaking and far reaching.

Stephanie Charlefour, Love. Life. Read.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

by Maya Van Wagenen

Dutton Juvenile

Nominated by: Melissa Fox

“Popularity is more than books. It’s not clothes, hair or even possessions. When we let go of these labels, we see how flimsy and relative they actually are. Real popularity is kindness and acceptance. It is about who you are, and how you treat others” page 254.

Maya sets out to follow Betty Cornell’s advice from Teen-Age Popularity Guide during her eighth grade school year. Each month she follows a different set of advice from Cornell’s book, everything from dieting and posture to attitude. This memoir is often times hilarious, filled with trials and triumphs as Maya applies 1950s advice to her modern life in the twenty-first century. Highly readable and enjoyable, this book resonates well with anyone who has felt left out and wishes they could feel different.
I really enjoyed this title—I found the writing engaging and without pretense. The author was not afraid to mention her failures or times when her classmates said or did some things that are less than desirable. Considering Maya is only fifteen years old, I believe it adds to the authentic voice—it does not read nor feel like someone trying to write from the perspective of a young adult. The tone is heartfelt, wry and gut-wrenchingly honest, and it adds such a bright spot in young adult memoirs.

Stephanie Charlefour, Love. Life. Read

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

by Candace Fleming

Schwartz and Wade Books

Nominated by: Compass Book Ratings

The tragedy of the last royal family of Russia was not just that they fell from power, but that they had been so deeply out of touch with the conditions of their people that they did not understand the causes of the revolution happening under their feet. Fascinating and well-written, the story alternates between the sheltered and incredibly lavish life of the clueless royal family and the desperately impoverished average Russian peasants. Letters, diary entries, photographs, and other historical evidence are interspersed throughout the story, giving it compelling depth and evoking sympathy on both sides.

Karen Ball, Mrs. B’s Favorites

The Freedom Summer Murders

by Don Mitchell


Nominated by: Tara

Three men believed they were doing what was right–helping African Americans register to vote for the first time in our country’s history. The year was 1964 and this measure was not something their white neighbors believed they should be doing. Enter the Klu Klux Klan. Kidnapped, tortured and murder, these deaths sparked an even greater fire to the Civil Rights Movement.

Mitchell brings to life the three men’s stories, through quotes from family and friend, allowing the reader to know the men who fully believed that everyone was equal, no matter their skin color or where they grew up. The accounts of the night are supported by primary sources, well documented in the Endnotes. Throughout the book are pictures, that help give a visual account of what these men, their families and friends, saw during the 1964. Following the trial, Mitchell gives us synopsis of some of the individuals apart of the Freedom Summer Murders. Teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents and friends alike can use this book to open up the dialogue of how we treat others, especially those in higher positions.

Stephanie Charlefour, Love. Life. Read.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

by Steve Sheinkin

Roaring Brook Press

Nominated by: Danyelle

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
by Steve Sheinkin

Two explosions. And in an instant, two ships, the 1200-foot pier, a locomotive and its ammunition boxcars were gone. On July 17, 1944, these explosions at the segregated Port Chicago Naval Base in San Francisco Bay killed 320 men–202 of whom were black–and injured 390 others. Citing unsafe work conditions, 50 men refused to return to their work of loading ammunition and were subsequently charged with mutiny. Trial transcripts, reports, first-hand accounts, and photos are woven into this gripping narrative, imbuing it with power and emotion. A master storyteller, Sheinkin transports readers through history as he recounts a story of segregation, discrimination, and injustice–a story that belongs not just to those 50 men, but to all of us.

Danyelle Leach, Bookshelves in the Cul-de-Sac