Books for Younger Readers

julius-caesarWho Was Julius Caesar? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2014)

From the Publisher:

He came. He saw. He conquered. Julius Caesar was a force to be reckoned with as a savvy politician, an impressive orator, and a brave soldier. Born in Rome in 100 BC, he quickly climbed the ladder of Roman politics, making allies—and enemies—along the way. His victories in battle awarded him the support of the people, but flush from power, he named himself dictator for life. The good times, however, would not last much longer. On the Ides of March, Caesar was brutally assassinated by a group of senators determined to end his tyranny, bringing his reign to an end. Includes more than eighty black-and-white illustrations.

genghis-khanWho Was Genghis Khan? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2014)

From the Publisher:

Named Temujin at birth by his nomadic family in early Mongolia, the great Genghis Khan used his skill and cunning to create the Mongol Empire and conquer almost the entire continent of Asia. As ruler of the largest empire in human history, he was as respected as he was feared. Learn more about the man and the legend in Who Was Genghis Khan? Includes more than eight black-and-white illustrations.

51fcenxp82l-_sx347_bo1204203200_Who Was Jacques Cousteau? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2015)

From the Publisher:

Jacques Cousteau is the most famous and beloved name in the world of deep-sea exploration. Cousteau discovered his passion in 1938, when he first used a pair of goggles to dive off the coast of France. During his time as a French naval officer, he carried out many deep-sea experiments and improved upon early diving equipment. Soon, Cousteau began filming his underwater excursions and offering the world a glimpse below the surface. The documentary television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau made the man, his work, and his red cap famous throughout the world. Includes more than eighty black-and-white illustrations.

9780448484082-us-300Where Is Mount Everest? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2015)

From the Publisher:

As the recent deaths of sixteen Sherpas underscore, climbing Mount Everest remains a daunting challenge. Located in the Himalayas, Everest is the highest mountain in the world at a whopping 29,029 feet. In this compelling narrative, Nico Medina guides readers through the mountain’s ancient beginnings, first human settlers, historic climbs, and the modern commercialization of mountain-climbing. With stories of expeditions gone wrong and miraculously successful summit climbs, this is a thrilling addition to the Where Is…? series! Includes black-and-white illustrations and a full-color fold-out map.

Where Is Alcatraz? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2016)

From the Publisher:

The island of Alcatraz has always been a place that’s fascinated visitors, from the Native American tribes who believed it was home to evil spirits to the Spanish explorers who discovered the island. In modern times, it was a federal prison for only 29 years, but now draws over a million visitors each year. Learn the history of America’s most famous prison, from its initial construction as a fort in the 1800s, to its most famous residents such as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. Where Is Alcatraz? also chronicles some of the most exciting escape attempts—even one that involved chipping through stone with spoons and constructing rafts out of raincoats!

Where Is the Great Barrier Reef? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2016)

From the Publisher:

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, is the world’s largest coral reef system. Stretching more than 1,400 miles, it provides a home to a wide diversity of creatures. Designated a World Heritage Site, the reef is suffering from the effects of climate change but this fascinating book shows this spectacular part of our planet.

Books for Older Readers

Arrested Development Mad Libs (with Kendra Levin) (Price Stern Sloan, 2015)

From the Publisher:

There was money in that banana stand! Arrested Development Mad Libs includes 21 original stories inspired by all the memorable moments, characters, and lines from the cult TV series. At only $4.99 our book makes a great gift for all your Arrested Development-obsessed friends who have watched the DVDs so many times they have every hilarious line memorized.

The Straight Road to Kylie (Simon Pulse, 2007)

From the Publisher:

Life is fabulous for Jonathan Parish. He’s seventeen, out and proud, and ready to party through senior year with his posse of best girlfriends. But the year starts off with the wrong kind of bang when Jonathan—in an inebriated lapse of judgment—sleeps with a friend of his…a girl friend! When word gets around that hot-but-previously-unavailable Jonathan might be on the market, the school’s It girl approaches him with a proposal: pretend to be her boyfriend, and achieve popularity like he’s never known. But popularity isn’t what Jonathan wants. And suddenly, going back into the closet becomes Jonathan’s only way to get what he’s after—a trip to see Kylie Minogue.


“I can’t get this book outta my head.”

—Rachel Cohn, bestselling author of Gingerbread and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

“I have no intention of reading [it], but as it’s a paperback it collects nicely the condensation from the cold glass of water on my night stand.”

Neil Patrick Harris, A-list queen

“[C]ommunicates some of Kylie’s own joie de vivre and hidden sadness, like a glass of tears heaped to the brim and perfectly still, a frozen river. Jonathan is a great addition to the gallery of American teens mouthing off, a Holden Caulfield for our time and place.”

—Kevin Killian (via, author of Action Kylie and Tweaky Village

“Best friends, booze, bodaciousness and bitch-slaps are the name of the game in this hilarious, full-on twist on the mistaken-identities conundrum….Averaging at least a half-dozen yuks per page, Medina’s first offering packs slick, Gossip-Girl-Goes-to-Orlando language stylings with realistic yet over-the-top situations that should have teen readers—gay or straight—doing the locomotion for more.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Jonathan is fabulously self-aware, and his running commentary about his emotional state, dance music, fashion, and Target shoppers is canny and hilarious. His voice is campy without descending into stereotype, and his honesty and insecurities deepen this portrait. His energetic narration carries the plot briskly along, and the mood is giddy but thoughtful…. Medina’s ear for dialogue, colloquialisms, and accents is flawless…. [A] well-written, thought-provoking, and welcome twist on the coming-out story.”

School Library Journal, Johnanna Lewis

“The ups and downs of high school are realistically portrayed in this fun, funny and heartfelt first novel. Not only are the characters as engaging and quirky as real teens, but the situations and arguments they get themselves into ring true as well. While this novel does raise its readers’ awareness of the kinds of problems gay teens can face, its tone never shifts into a darker realm of reality….This book is not to be missed.”

Children’s Literature, Kathleen Foucart

“[A] smart, savvy coming-of-age story, not only about doing what’s right, but about staying true to the person you really are.”

Orlando Sentinel

Fat Hoochie Prom Queen (Simon Pulse, 2008)

From the Publisher:

What does it take to be the queen?

Margarita “Madge” Diaz is fat, foxy, and fabulous. She loves herself, and is adored by almost everyone else…except queen bee/student-body president Bridget Benson. These two girls have a history that’s uglier than a drag queen after last call. During a heated argument, they decide there’s only one way to end their rivalry: be named prom queen and the other backs off—for good.

Of course, everything looks different in the sober light of morning, but pride is at stake and the race is on. Madge is committed to doing whatever it takes to secure the title, but so is Bridget. And everyone’s got something to hide.

Welcome to Winter Park High School, where the dirt’s not just gonna fly…it’s gonna go into freakin’ orbit.


“It is often hard to remember that the two are high school students, as the duo ride around in chauffeured cars, hang out at gay clubs, and generally go through their days unsupervised. But their main issues—dating, friendships, and petty dramas—are common to many teenagers.”

KLIATT, Amanda MacGregor

“Medina sets the story at the same high school as his first novel, The Straight Road to Kylie, and Margarita even visits that book’s protagonist at college, a trip which ends with her passed out drunk on a football field, next to a box of Krispy Kremes (‘The first thing I tasted when I came to was glaze on my lips’)…. [R]eaders will get a kick out of Margarita.”

Publishers Weekly

“Blissfully the book does not end with Madge losing weight. She succeeds without ever having to apologize for her plus-size pants. The characters use alcohol, drugs, and the F-word with a frequency not unrealistic among high school students, but the…book’s chaos is part of its charm…. [T]his worthwhile purchase is a romp of a read that will fly off YA shelves.”

VOYA, Daisy Porter

Go Ahead, Ask Me (with Billy Merrell) (Simon Pulse, 2009)

From the Publisher:

Would you rather be a stereotypically beautiful class-A moron or a Nobel Prize winner with a gimp arm?

Your best friend’s significant other hits on you—and not in a cute, in-front-of-your-best-friend sort of way. What to do? Blow them off? Flirt back? Play it cool, then fill your friend in?

Would you rather marry the love of your life and have no friends, or never marry and have friends for life?

Whether you’re hanging out with your besties or getting closer to your crush, these five hundred questions are sure to spark convos, truths, laughs, and buried secrets. Start from the front, the back, or flip to any page to find out who you—and your friends—really are.


“An extended version of the old ‘Coke or Pepsi?’ games, this small paperback provides 500 questions meant to ‘spark convos’ with your ‘besties.’ The questions range from the rather routine…to the nearly offensive… Included are some truly thought-provoking questions … and some sublimely silly…. [M]any of the questions are far more appropriate for college students or other young adults.”

Children’s Literature, Sharon Oliver

“Teens will appreciate that the book doesn’t shy from edgy material; parents maybe not.”

Publishers Weekly

“The authors promise discomfort in the spirit of good fun….These questions may bring out a laugh or a juicy secret, but…someone will leave the party in tears.”

Kirkus Reviews

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