VA READS Book Lists

VA READS Picture Book Selections 2023-2024

Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow ISBN: 978-1534462984 Abdul loves storytelling but he struggles to write his stories on paper.  A special visitor teachers him that it’s ok to make mistakes.

Amu Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang ISBN: 978-1534497351 Amy Wu does her best to make her new classmate feel welcome.

Berry Song by Michaela Goade ISBN: 978-0316494175 Featuring informative back matter, this picture book follows a Tlingit grandmother and granddaughter as they gather berries like their ancestors before them. (A 2023 Caldecott Honor Book)

Everyone Loves Lunchtime but Zia by Jenny Liao ISBN: 978-0593425428 Zia dreads lunchtime but during her birthday week she has a different Catonese dish each day along with the meaning of the meal and she realizes her food might just bring her good fortune after all.

King Sejong Invents an Alphabet by Carol Kim ISBN:  978-0807541616 The true story of Korean King Sejong who created an alphabet for his people.

Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang ISBN: 978-0823446148 In her class of English language learners, Luli creates community and breaks the ice by sharing a pot of tea, a ritual common across many cultures.

Me and Muhammad Ali by Jabari Asim  ISBN: 978-1524739881 Langston loves to chant his poetry like his idol Muhammad Ali.  He’s excited for his visit but is stopped at the door of the event because it is for students of the high school only.  Inspired by an event that happened to the author’s mother.

My Fade is Fresh by Shauntay Grant ISBN: 978-0593387085 A young girl speaks up for herself and ensures she walks out of the barbershop rocking the fabulous hair style she chose.

Rosas’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee ISBN: 978-0593375495  Jae learns that making friends is the same no matter where you go as you learn your new community and a simple act of kindness can be passed along to others. 

What’s Your Name? by Bethanie Deeney Murguia  ISBN: 978-1536218565  Names hold power and connect us to others.  They help create who we are and what makes us uniquely special.




VA READS Middle-Grade Selections 2023-2024

Battle for the Park: Futureland, Book 1 by H.D. Hunter. ISBN: 978-0593479421 (available in paperback Nov. 7th) When an extraordinary flying theme park arrives above Atlanta, one boy must stop a sinister force from stealing the park's tech and taking over the world

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega. ISBN: 9781250259622 (available in paperback)
Tired of getting her hair straightened at the salon, Dominican American Marlene goes to her aunt for affirmation and hair care tips. This graphic novel challenges societal beauty standards while celebrating naturally curly hair. (The 2023 Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner)

The Last Beekeeper by Pablo Cartaya. ISBN: 978-0063006553  (available in paperback Sept. 5thFacing a world dually altered by climate change and those who profit from it, Yolanda Cicerón will have to fight to save the last known beehive from extinction.

The Marvellers by Dhionelle Clayton. ISBN: 978-1250174949 (available in paperback Aug. 29th)  Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds.  Things heat up when a known criminal escapes and some people blame Ella.

Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi. ISBN: 978-1419761171 (available in paperback) Marya’s eighth birthday is coming up in a week, and all she wants is an over-the-top birthday party just like the ones Alexa, her rich neighbor, always throws so she claims she’s having a special party too. 

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao by Wendy Wang-Long Shang ISBN: 978-1338678857 Evan, who feels he doesn’t belong finds a unique way to make himself part of the annual Civil War celebration at school but when he isn’t welcomed, he must decide how he will react. 

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas.  ISBN: 978-0063056763 (available in paperback) Bree is starting school with a dreaded swimming class, Swim 101.  Befriended by a neighbor who teaches her to swim, she navigates making and keeping friends.

Thirst by Varsha Bajaj ISBN: 978-0593354391(available in paperback ) MInni fights for her belief that water should be for everyone, but not everyone agrees.

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat ISBN: 978-1338741261 (available in paperback) The only two kids of color in the whole school are going to try out for the cheerleading squad.  But will they make it through the audition in front of the whole school?

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron. ISBN: 978-1547609772  (available in paperback Oct. 10th) The original Vanquishers wiped out the last horde of vampires decades ago.  But Boog’s parents still take precautions, especially so when a student goes missing.

VA READS YA Book Selections 2023-2024 

Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester ISBN: 978-0358536864 Disabled teen Verónica loves the water and wants to try out to play a mermaid at the local theme park, but her parents are hiding a secret that could change everything she knows about her own body. 

Destination Unknown by Bill Konigsberg ISBN: 978-1338618051 It’s 1987, and Micah is a quiet gay boy in New York City who meets C.J. and tries to navigate life and life in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles ISBN: 978-1338752014 Jay works at a world-famous resort that caters to the rich and famous. When people start disappearing and resort guests stop leaving, Jay and his friends have to decide what kind of future they are willing to fight for.

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed ISBN: 978-0316282642 Safiya finds a murdered boy in the woods, and as she starts digging into the background of Jawad Ali, she discovers that his death might be due to hate for his Muslim beliefs.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston ISBN: 978-1250244451 Chloe’s archnemesis, Shara, kissed her a month before graduation and then disappeared. On the hunt for why, Chloe discovers that she’s not the only one Shara kissed…and that Shara has left clues behind for all of them to find.

M Is for Monster by Talia Dutton ISBN: 978-1419762208 Maura Ai died six months ago, but her older sister Frances was determined to bring her back. Now Frances has succeeded, but the person who comes back is not Maura.

Magical Boy, Volume 1 by The Kao ISBN: 978-1338775532 Max is a trans boy who comes from a long line of magical girls. When his powers start presenting, complete with a transformation into a frilly dress, he has to learn how to make his powers his own in order to save the world.

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao ISBN: 978-0063067769 Laura spent her early years in Wuhan, China, but after moving to Texas, her hometown seems as though it could not be farther away…until the COVID-19 pandemic starts.

Promise Boys by Nick Brooks ISBN: 978-1250866974 When the prominent principal of an all-boys DC charter school is found murdered, three students are the prime suspects, and everyone from fellow students, teachers, and the media has an opinion. When the boys team up to find the truth before they get locked up unjustly, their own lives may be in danger.

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson ISBN: 978-0063086166 Métis-Canadian teen Lou is reeling from her former best friend’s sudden return to town when she gets a letter from her incarcerated father and has to decide whether to meet with him.

We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBride ISBN: 978-1250780386 Whimsy is being treated for depression when she meets Faerry, a boy who moves onto her street. The forest at the end of their street holds magic and secrets that just might answer questions that have terrified both teens for years.

Previous Years

2021-2022 Picture books / Middle Grade books

2020 Winners

2019 Winners