University School Librarian Recommends Books

On the hunt for good reading material? We asked University School’s Shelly McCollum to share some new favorites that are flying off her shelves.

Early Childhood

Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illus. by Matthew Cordell

Preschoolers LOVE this book, which is subtitled “to be read as though you have the worst cold ever.” Every time a young boy calls for Mom when he’s sick, it comes out as “Bob.” Cue the giggles.

Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza

With the help of her abuela, a young girl dons a Luchadora mask and a cape and proves that both girls and boys can be superheroes.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illus. by Gordon C. James

This award-winning, joyfully poetic story celebrates the confidence and pride that a young boy feels after visiting the barber for a fresh haircut. Great for elementary kids, too.

K – 2nd Grade

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Kids will love the silly fun of this great graphic novel, the first book of the Narwhal and Jelly series.

The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter

This picture book biography touches on themes of perseverance, effort, and creativity. The illustrations are beautiful!

3rd – 5th Grade

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

This lovely story is narrated by Red, an oak tree who has stood watch over a neighborhood for many years. A fabulous book to read with your kids; they will laugh, wonder, and ask plenty of questions.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

What happens when your forever best friend starts acting differently and hanging out with a new group of girls? This popular graphic novel explores the ups and downs of friendship.

6th – 8th Grade

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Middle school kids are loving this adventure-filled historical novel which tells three separate stories of children and their families. A Jewish boy flees Germany in 1930. A Cuban girl embarks for the U.S. in 1994. And in 2015, a boy in Syria leaves his home searching for safety and peace. Could there be a connection?

The Time Museum by Matthew Loux

Students can’t get enough of this fun graphic novel, which uses time travel to entertain and educate at the same time.

High School

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr struggles with her identity as she navigates between two worlds before her life is shattered when she witnesses a friend’s shooting death by a police officer. Powerful.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Written by a local author, this book seamlessly tells the stories of two teenagers living nearly 100 years apart – one in the present and the other just before the Tulsa Race Riot. Teens have a hard time putting it down.

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson

Aliens have arrived and shared their technology with humans. The world is more beautiful, work is efficient and effortless, and most diseases can now be cured – but is the Earth really better off? This is a challenging but worthwhile read that is simultaneously funny, dark, and hopeful.

Categories: Books and Literacy