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5 Must Read YA Titles This Fall

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book 1 by David Robertson

     

 

Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.

Technically a middle grade novel, the Barren Grounds will interest older students who are already fans of the genre,  or of David Robertson.

Aimed at Ages 10-14.

DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and was nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

 

One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by Anuradha Rao

   

One Earth profiles Black, Indigenous and People of Color who live and work as environmental defenders. Through their individual stories, the book shows that the intersection of environment and ethnicity is an asset to achieving environmental goals. The twenty short biographies introduce readers to diverse activists from all around the world, who are of many ages and ethnicities. From saving ancient trees on the West Coast of Canada, to protecting the Irrawaddy dolphins of India, to uncovering racial inequalities in the food system in the United States, these environmental heroes are celebrated by author and biologist Anuradha Rao, who outlines how they went from being kids who cared about the environment to community leaders in their field. One Earth is full of environmental role models waiting to be found.

One Earth is suitable for ages Ages 13 – 18

ANURADHA RAO is a conservation biologist, writer and facilitator born and raised in the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and currently based in unceded Coast Salish territories.

 

 

Crossing the Farak River, Michelle Aung Thin

 

Fourteen-year-old Hasina is forced to flee everything she knows in this gripping account of the crisis in Myanmar.

For Hasina and her younger brother Araf, the constant threat of Sit Tat, the Myanmar Army, is a way of life in Rakhine province—just uttering the name is enough to send chills down their spines. As Rohingyas, they know that when they hear the wop wop wop of their helicopters there is one thing to do—run, and don’t stop. So when soldiers invade their village one night, and Hasina awakes to her aunt’s fearful voice, followed by smoke, and then a scream, run is what they do.

Crossing the Farak River is for ages 12 and up.

MICHELLE AUNG THIN was born in Burma, now Myanmar, in 1962, the year of the military coup, and left with her parents when she was an infant. She grew up in Canada, and now calls Australia home, where she teaches at RMIT University in Melbourne.

 

 

You Don’t Have to Die in the End, by Anita Daher

 

Tough themes are explored with skill in this coming of age story from Anita Daher.

Eugenia Grimm is a tough girl living in a tough town at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She drinks and fights and pushes against expectations. She is also hurting. After her father died by suicide on her eight birthday her older brothers drifted away and her mother up and left when she turned 14.

Eugenia has not made the best choices. After a last-straw violent incident and faced with the possibility of incarceration, she is sentenced to time at an Intensive Support and Supervision Program located at a remote mountain ranch. There, she begins to make connections, explore difficult truths, and might even turn things around-until a series of events pull her into a dark spiral she may not have the strength to resist.

You Don’t Have to Die in the End is for ages 14-18.

 

ANITA DAHER has been entrenched in the book publishing industry since 1995 writing middle grade and teen novels, including Wonder Horse, Two Foot Punch and Racing for Diamonds. In 2007 she received the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Author. Her most recent novel, Forgetting How to Breathe, was shortlisted for the 2019 IODE Violet Downey Award.

 

A Song Below Water: A Novel By Bethany C. Morrow

 

 

Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers — a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

Song Below Water is suitable for ages 13 – 18

 

Bethany C. Morrow is the author of the adult novel Mem (Unnamed Press) and the editor of the young adult anthology Take the Mic (Arthur A. Levine Books). A Song Below Water is her debut standalone young adult novel.