WILLIAM’S WINTER NAP
By Linda Ashman
The author, who lives in Chapel Hill with her family, writes a heartwarming tale of a little boy who goes to sleep one winter night only to hear a knock at the door from a chipmunk who needs a place to sleep – the first in a long line of hibernating animals to join William in bed. Young children will enjoy this wintertime story that teaches the importance of kindness.
THE UNICORN IN THE BARN
By Jacqueline Ogburn
For years, the locals at Chinaberry Creek have spoken about a fabled white deer that roams the grounds. Then, a young boy sees it and realizes that the “deer” is actually a unicorn. Middle school students will be enamored with this touching tale by Durham author Jacqueline Ogburn about how the ordinary can become extraordinary.
SAM THE MAN & THE RUTABAGA PLAN
By Frances O’Roark Dowell
In this second installment of the series by the Durham-based author, protagonist Sam gets stuck with the rutabaga as his science project focus. At first, the vegetable is unappealing, but Sam quickly grows attached. This series is perfect for elementary school students.
CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED
By Camille Andros
The Chatham-based author, who has a bachelor’s in health science and works as an EMT, writes to inspire young girls to enter the STEM field. Charlotte, a female rabbit, is a serious scientist who has too many ideas for experiments and not enough space to conduct them in a house packed with her many brothers and sisters. To solve her problem, she gets innovative!
By Susie Wilde and Peg Gignoux in collaboration with children from Smith Middle School and Rogers Road Community Center
The title of this book reflects both the mission of PORCH – a nonprofit organization that aims to alleviate local hunger – and the moral of its story, in which a girl and her seed unite a divided garden. The book was written in collaboration with children in the community and teaches how one small seed can spread a larger message.
THE HOLE STORY
By Daniel Wallace
The UNC English professor and established author tells the whimsical story of a hole and its journey to find its place in the world. Young children and young-at-heart adults alike will enjoy this book about self-acceptance and the importance of embracing the cosmos. Proceeds from the book benefit Book Harvest, a Durham nonprofit dedicated to putting plenty of books in the hands of young people, regardless of their family’s income.
JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL
By Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach; art by Keith Knight
Illustrated by Carrboro-based artist Keith Knight, “Jake the Fake Keeps it Real” takes an age-old theme – “stay true to yourself ” – and reinvents it through the eyes of Jake, who believes he has faked his way into a unique performing arts school. Middle-schoolers will learn how to keep it real through a series of twists and turns.
LET’S PRETEND WE NEVER MET
By Melissa Walker
The Chapel Hill native, who has dabbled in children’s books before, makes her first foray into tales meant for middle schoolers. The book, about a sixth-grader who moved to Pennsylvania in the middle of the school year, expresses all the emotions that adolescent girls experience as they navigate friendships, the need to fit in and how to do the right thing.
ONCE AND FOR ALL
By Sarah Dessen
The Chapel Hill-based author’s latest book is ideal for teenagers going through their first heartbreak. Louna, the main character who has always played it safe, works for her mother’s wedding planning company the summer before she goes to college. She meets a young boy with whom she develops an unlikely friendship and realizes that true love looks nothing like what she expected.
CECIL AND THE BIG WAVE
By Adam W. Jones
The Chapel Hill resident tackles the subject of bullying through Cecil, the smallest ant at his park, who struggles with other ants that are making fun of him. To get away, he hides in a cave at the beach where he meets his Uncle Juba, who teaches him how to feel good about himself and not to worry about what others think.
LORD OF MONSTERS
By John Claude Bemis
The second book in this Hillsborough author’s “Out of Abaton” series draws from the fairy tales he read as a child as well as the swampy lands where he grew up on the North Carolina coast. Expect talking foxes, cats and gnomes, as well as a horde of monsters. Perfect for young readers eager for adventure.
JIMMY FOR THE CITY
By Derek Rhodes
The Durham Academy and Duke University alumnus writes an inspiring tale about a 14-year-old boy who runs for city council. “It’s the book I always wanted [growing up],” Derek says. There are a number of kid-to-president stories, but not many that center around local government.