DISCUSSION GUIDE: In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington
Ages 8 – 12
On Sale
Now!

From the author of the critically acclaimed novel For Black Girls Like MeMariama J. Lockington, comes a coming-of-age story surrounding the losses that threaten to break us and the friendships that make us whole again.

Thirteen-year-old Andi feels stranded after the loss of her mother, the artist who swept color onto Andi’s blank canvas. When she is accepted to a music camp, Andi finds herself struggling to play her trumpet like she used to before her whole world changed. Meanwhile, Zora, a returning camper, is exhausted trying to please her parents, who are determined to make her a flute prodigy, even though she secretly has a dancer’s heart.

At Harmony Music Camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their loss, insecurities, and hopes for the future. And as they struggle to figure out who they really are, they may just come to realize who they really need: each other.

In the Key of Us is a lyrical ode to music camp, the rush of first love, and the power of one life-changing summer.


Praise for In the Key of Us:

★ “Alternating the two perspectives with verse interstitials, Lockington (For Black Girls Like Me) weaves an exploration of mental health, self-harm, and microaggressions with a love letter to music, the importance of representation, and the work of sticking up for the person one dreams of becoming.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

★ “Told in Andi’s and Zora’s alternating perspectives, the well-paced coming-of-age narrative is sprinkled with contemporary references that bolster its authenticity as it sensitively explores topics such as racism and self-harm and offers a touching portrayal of young queer love…Vivid writing and relatable characters make this a worthwhile read.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Lockington elevates what is already an insightful middle-grade romance to a moving portrayal of two girls working toward themselves and each other, carrying the weight of other people’s expectations and the pain of past traumas… An authentic look at how identity and relationships transform under shifting middle grade dynamics, this is a must-have for fans of Paula Chase and Frances O’Roark Dowell.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review

Read more praise for IN THE KEY OF US here →

Enter for your chance to win our Grishaverse Summer Reading sweepstakes!


Explore the Grishaverse this summer!

Get ready for an unforgettable summer adventure! With a second season of Netflix’s hit original series Shadow and Bone coming soon and the 10th Anniversary of the publication of Shadow and Bone approaching, now is the perfect time to revisit this bestselling series and introduce a new generation of readers to the Grishaverse.

Enter for your chance to win a classroom set of Shadow and Bone
to share with your students before summer break begins!

All teachers who enter will also receive an invitation for their classroom to join a nationwide virtual Back to School celebration with New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo this Fall! Plus, we’ll share teacher’s guides full of discussion questions and lesson plan ideas to incorporate Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows into your classroom curriculum next year. 

Find more Grishaverse educator resources & learn about a new Darkling graphic novel here →

Activity Kit: I Am Golden by Eva Chen; illustrated by Sophie Diao

I Am Golden by Eva Chen; illustrated by Sophie Diao
Ages 3-6
On Sale March 22, 2022


This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Sophie Diao is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children.

What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty?

We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold.

Learn more about I AM GOLDEN here→

Educator Guide: The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta
Ages 14-18
On Sale Now!

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.

With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

Learn more about The Lost Dreamer here →

Discussion Guide: THE SECOND CHANCE OF BENJAMIN WATERFALLS by James Bird

The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird
Ages 10 -14
On Sale 04/19/2022

A middle-grade novel by James Bird about a boy sent to his Ojibwe family to straighten out his life.

Benjamin Waterfalls comes from a broken home, and the quickest fix he’s found for his life is to fill that emptiness with stuff he steals and then sells. But he’s been caught one too many times, and when he appears before a tough judge, his mother proposes sending him to “boot camp” at the Ojibwe reservation where they used to live.

Soon he is on his way to Grand Portage, Minnesota, to live with his father – the man Benny hasn’t seen in years. Not only is “boot camp” not what he expects, but his rehabilitation seems to be in the hands of the tribal leader’s daughter, who wears a mask. Why? Finding the answer to this and so many other questions prove tougher than any military-style boot camp. Will answers be enough for Benny to turn his life around and embrace his second chance?


Praise for The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls:

“The bravado and feigned indifference in Benny’s voice is spot-on for a kid hiding the pain of his father’s abandonment, and the times he lets himself contemplate how truly awful it felt to be left behind are heartbreakingly realistic. ….It’s a hard lesson, but it’s grounded in love, and readers will be happy to see Benny and his father get their second chances.” — BCCB

“Bird’s strengths include his multidimensional characters (each of whom has flaws that they struggle to overcome) as well as the vivid descriptions of Grand Portage, Minnesota, home of the Gitchi Onigaming Ojibwe. 
Of equal importance is the more understated message that Indigenous ways of knowing and approaches to problems can be extremely effective, despite the dominant culture’s insistence on discounting them. … Benny’s progress is heartening and sure to encourage readers.”— Booklist

Earth Day Resource Center

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) with these books! Keep reading to discover an entire collection of books that will inspire your young readers to become environmentally conscious.


Oceans of Possibilities

Are you participating in the Oceans of Possibilities Collaborative Summer Library Program? Add these books to your shelves today!

View our full collection of environmental books here →