Yesterday our team of children's and teen book selectors at the Free Library of Philadelphia offered our holiday books gift picks for children. Today, here are our picks for middle school and high school students as well as our 2018 One Book, One Philadelphia children's and middle grade featured selections. We are lucky to have many talented authors in the state of Pennsylvania, including many who live close to Philadelphia. In the spirit of shopping locally this season, here are some of our favorite books by local authors to give as gifts.
Recommendations for Middle and High Schoolers (Grades 6–12)
Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Aided by a computer-savvy bad boy, Anastasia Phoenix struggles to find her missing sister, whom she alone believes to be alive. Haunted by the loss of her parents, our heroine finds herself in the middle of an ever-deepening conspiracy. This is perfect for fans of a complex globe-trotting thriller/mystery in which nothing and no one are as they appear to be.
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King
Although this book was published back in 2014, it has scary parallels to current events. High school graduation is approaching for Glory, and she feels completely lost. A night of pre-graduation fun with her best friend leads to Glory gaining the ability to see the future—and a dark future it is, in which a man in a red baseball cap stirs up nationalist fervor and women find themselves losing their rights (scary, right?). Anyone fascinated by The Handmaid's Tale or other feminist novels will be … delighted isn't the right word, but definitely the right audience for this spellbinder.
Spliced by Jon McGoran
If you could splice animal genes into your own, would you? Jimi's best friend Del is obsessed with becoming a Chimera (someone who mixes her own DNA with animal DNA), but lawmakers have made it illegal, because of course something could go wrong when you mess with DNA. When Del goes missing, Jimi's search for her friend takes her into unsavory places with some truly harrowing situations. This is a great gift read for someone who loves a science-fiction thriller that can't be put down.
One Book, One Philadelphia Youth Selections
The Free Library is also thrilled to promote our 2018 One Book, One Philadelphia children's and middle grade featured selections, both by award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson.
This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration – children's selection
Millions of African American families relocated from the South in search of better opportunities during the Great Migration. The story of one family's journey north during this time starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree that, little does she know, will be passed down for three generations.
Brown Girl Dreaming – middle-grade selection
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway at home in each place. The accessible and emotionally charged poems in Brown Girl Dreaming create a memoir of growing up as an African American girl in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and gaining awareness of the Civil Rights movement.