RI Middle School Book Awards

2024 RIMSBA Nominees

African Icons By Tracey Baptiste

Learn all about ten figures from African history who shaped the world we live in today. From Aesop to Queen Idia, this collection of biographies spanning a whole continent and over a thousand years of history will bring readers new knowledge about people who lived long ago. Nonfiction

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin

This is a story of the life of a black teen and his family during 2020 told in ten sentences, three hundred words written by Jason Reynolds and printed on the inspiring artwork of Jason Griffin. The book weaves through a family living in quarantine and the real worry of Covid, living through the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and finding inspiration and hope through family and everyday living. Realistic Fiction

Air by Monica Roe

In this action packed novel, Emmie is trying to raise money for a better wheelchair so she can participate in WCMX (Wheelchair motocross). A mishap at school throws her plans into disarray, but seeing a chance to get some media attention for what she really wants, Emmie has to take charge and show the town who she is and what she can do. Realistic Fiction

Alias Anna by Susan Hood and Greg Dawson

In this true novel in verse, Jewish sisters Zhanna (Anna) and Frina Arshanskaya were forced to leave their home in the Ukraine by the Nazis during WWII. On the long, cold march, the girls escaped and created new identities to help them stay hidden in plain sight. The girls’ musical talents on the piano aid in their survival to outplay their pursuers while hiding in plain sight during the Holocaust. Memoir (Novel-in-Verse)

The Black Slide by J.W. Ocker

A world of pain awaits the kids who enter the Black Slide, which Griffin Birch knows from experience. He's determined to avoid the mysterious new piece of playground equipment, but when his classmates start disappearing, he might be the only one who can save them from eternal torment. Horror

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias

Ash, a gender-fluid seventh-grader is struggling with how to choose and disclose just one gender and presentation after starting a new school, while Daniel, a talented photographer, grapples with his strong emotionality and sensitivity. Alternating narratives tell their story as the pair team up to save a dog– but complications arise when they develop romantic feelings for each other, and Ash questions whether Daniel will still like them if he knows they aren’t always a girl. Realistic Fiction

Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury

Drew is a middle school crime solver who takes on the case of discovering who the school cyber bully is. Meanwhile, she has ups and downs with family and friends and realizes that the most important things in life are the people you surround yourself with. Mystery

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

Marco is small and smart. His best friend, Isaac, is a talented basketball player who struggles with academics. The two support each other and choose kindness and perseverance as they navigate their different middle school journeys. When Marco tries out for basketball, despite having never played before, in order to impress his dad, Isaac coaches him. Will their friendship and hard work be enough to keep Marco and Isaac from falling short? Realistic Fiction

Freestyle by Gale Galligan

Cory and his dance crew have one last dance competition before going to separate high schools next year. When Cory starts asking for perfection and his grades start slipping, his parents ground him and get him a tutor, Sunna who Cory learns can do some awesome yo-yo tricks. Cory has to figure out how to balance school, his crew, and new friend Sunna. Realistic Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega

Marlene has a hard time going to the salon with her mom every weekend to straighten her "unpresentable" curly hair. With her aunt's help, she learns to embrace the curl, care for her hair, and discovers that all hair is good hair. Realistic Fiction (Graphic Novel)

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith

Manuel knows he should be able to handle school using grounding methods he learned from his therapist, but he still struggles to return to the place where he witnessed gun violence and turns to photography to help himself cope. When he teams up with classmates for a group project which takes him to Sebastian’s cattle farm outside of town, the calm of the farm and the friendships he builds help him enter a new era of resilience, creativity and belonging. Realistic Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

They’re five Spanish Speaking kids who all happen to have to complete morning community service hours and have nothing in common except that they’ve all been sent to the principal’s office. Through questioning about a mysterious event that happened when they tried to help someone in need, they’ll learn whether the school can really see them for who they are…or if they’re just invisible. Realistic Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango

Seventh-grader Iveliz is struggling with her mental health. Despite her best efforts she keeps getting in trouble at school, in trouble with her friends, and her abuela doesn't approve of the doctors and medicine she needs to feel better. Frustrated and in pain, Iveliz turns to her journal, the only place she can truly speak for herself. Realistic Fiction (Novel-in-Verse)

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll

When Addie, an autistic 11 year old, begins learning about the witch trials that took place in her small Scottish village hundreds of years ago, she immediately notices the parallels between the treatment of the so-called witches in the past and the way autistic and other disabled or "different" people are treated today. She decides that her town should build a memorial to the people who were killed, but not everyone thinks this history is worth remembering. Can Addie find her voice, and stand up for herself and all the people her town would rather forget? Realistic Fiction

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee

Eleven year old, Maizy Chen, leaves LA with her mother to spend the summer in Last Chance, Minnesota where her grandparents, who own the only Chinese restaurant in town, live. Maizy expects to be bored, but instead, while listening to her grandfather’s stories, she learns about her family’s fascinating history and tries to solve the mystery of who is vandalizing the restaurant. Realistic/Historical Fiction

A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks

After her dad loses his job and the family moves into a tiny apartment Joy has to share a bedroom with her sister, can hear her parents arguing, and there is no money for her piano lessons. After a new friend introduces her to a secret room, the Hideout, things start looking up until Joy finds a message from an unknown kid in the building and starts messaging back. When her messages are no longer returned, Joy worries. While trying to earn money for her lessons and worrying about her parents, Joy tries to find the mysterious message writer before it's too late. Realistic Fiction

Thirst by Varsha Bajaj

Minni and her family live in the poorest part of Mumbai India where access to water is limited and life is challenging. When her brother is sent away for his safety after witnessing the water mafia in action and her mother becomes sick, Minni’s life becomes even more difficult. Can a 12 year old girl, who believes water is for everyone, make a difference? Realistic Fiction

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

Christina and her best friend Megan can’t wait to try out for cheerleading and join the school’s most popular girls on the team. When the stress of the competition begins to test their friendship and self confidence, they’ll need to figure out how to stay true to themselves. Memoir (Graphic Novel)

Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout

Jake Wind is more than just weird- he’s a shapeshifter who may actually be an alien. When sinkholes filled with strange goo start appearing in town and people start acting really weird Jake may have to use his powers to save the whole town. Wacky and action packed! Science Fiction

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

When threatened with the possibility of losing their magic, Thorn, Valley, and Seven must complete the impossible task or be turned into toads forever! These three who were thrown together as Spares, must work together to save themselves and ultimately their town. Fantasy

For more information about the award, please visit RI Middle School Book Award Home Page


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