2012 Ann Arbor/Ypsi Reads Youth Reading List
by Andrew Clements
When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.
• How to Speak Dolphin in Three Easy Lessons
by Dan Greenburg
When Zack goes to Florida to visit Mel & Shirley's Wonderful World of Dolphins, he is surprised to discover that he can understand and speak to dolphins, which enables him to solve a kidnapping.
• Word After Word After Word
by Patricia MacLachlan
Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.
• Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
by Sarah Elizabeth Miller
At age 21, partially-blind, lonely but spirited Annie Sullivan travels from Massachusetts to Alabama to try to teach 6 year-old Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age 2, self-discipline and communication skills.
• Moses Goes to a Concert
by Isaac Millman
When a class of deaf children attends an orchestral concert, their teacher gives them balloons to hold to help them "feel the music". Moses and his classmates are thrilled to pick up the vibrations. Afterward, they visit with the orchestra's deaf percussionist, who, intriguingly, performs in stocking feet so she, too, can feel the beat.
• Koko’s Kitten
by Francine Patterson
The real life experience of Koko, a gorilla in California who uses sign language, with a young kitten whom she loved and grieved over when it died.
• My Name is Yoon
by Helen Recorvits
Disliking her name as written in English, Korean-born Yoon, or "shining wisdom," refers to herself as "cat," "bird," and "cupcake," as a way to feel more comfortable in her new school and new country.
• Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig
In a moment of fright Sylvester the donkey asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock but then can not hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again.
• My Name is Sangoel
by Karen Lynn Williams
As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem.
• Show Way
by Jacqueline Woodson
The making of "Show ways," or quilts which once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author's family.
by M.T. Anderson
This satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. Teen narrator Titus never questions his world, in which corporations dominate the information stream, and kids learn to employ the feed more efficiently in School. But everything changes when he and his pals travel to the moon for spring break.
• Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers
by Gary Blackwood
This fascinating look at history's most mysterious messages is packed with ciphers and puzzles to decode. Here are the encrypted notes of Spartan warriors, the brilliant code-crackers of Elizabeth I, secret messages of the American Revolution, spy books of the Civil War, the famous Enigma Machine, and the Navajo code talkers. As computers change the way we communicate, codes today are more intriguing than ever.
by Zizou Corder
In the near future, a boy with the ability to speak the language of cats sets out from London to seek his kidnapped parents and finds himself on a Paris-bound circus ship learning to train lions.
• Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper
11-year-old Melody has a photographic memory, and she’s the smartest kid in her whole school - but no one knows it. Melody can’t talk, walk. or write – she has cerebral palsy, and most people (her teachers and doctors included) don’t think she’s capable of learning. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever.
• Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
She can whisper to horses and communicate with birds, but the crown princess Ani has a difficult time finding her place in the royal family and measuring up to her imperial mother.
by Chris Lynch
In a future where electronic surveillance has taken the place of love, a veterinarian is putting computer chips in animals to control them, and those creatures choose young Zane, who understands their speech, to release captives and bring them to a technology-free safety zone.
• Blue Jasmine
by Kashmira Sheth
Moving from India to Iowa City means 12-year-old Seema must leave her close-knit extended family and try to make new friends while struggling to learn English and puzzling through American customs.
by Cynthia Lord
Catherine's younger brother, David, is autistic. She wants so badly for him to be "normal" that she makes up rules for him. While Catherine is struggling with her feelings about David, she meets Jason, a wheelchair-bound young man who communicates by pointing at word cards in a notebook. Catherine loves to draw and notices that Jason needs a larger and more colorful vocabulary. She makes him some new words, and their friendship begins.
• Heart of a Samurai
by Margi Preus
A Japanese teenager in mid-19th century is shipwrecked and meets American whalers. The Japanese consider Americans barbarians, and Americans consider the Japanese savages. He is brought back to the U.S. to live with the whaling captain.
by Wendelin Van Draanen
A cast of quirky characters and a series of misunderstandings, miscommunication and missed opportunities add up to a story about two teens who learn to look beyond the surface of people, both figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be with.