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Pick a Decade, Get a Book


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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When I was a kid, my favorite way of learning about history was through books. (You know what? To this day I prefer getting my history knowledge from books...and Wikipedia). I guess it’s because in my mind, I wasn’t learning anything, I was just reading. And yet, when I finished the book, I suddenly had this vision of some moment in the past; that moment had outlines, shadows, movement, and color. Suddenly, I understood something about history I hadn’t before.

Maybe it’s like when parents blend broccoli into mac and cheese sauce—keeping the vegetable out of sight—but with great historical books, you get to experience history as a story, not a lesson. Whether your young reader is a history nerd or history-allergic, they’re sure to love these exciting, adventurous, historical books. All they have to do is pick a decade they’re curious about, and we'll give them a book they'll love!

K Is In Trouble

K Is in Trouble isn’t exactly a historical graphic novel, it’s inspired by the works of Franz Kafka. Some of Kafka’s most popular works were published between 1910 and 1920. Also, the vibes are historic, and will perhaps spark an interest in the past for curious readers.

K is nice, polite, and always does as he’s told. K is also always, always in trouble.

No matter what he does or says, it seems there is someone ready to blame him for everything. K is in trouble for going to school. K is in trouble for staying home. K is in trouble for running an errand, getting sick, or just being thirsty. K gets into trouble with imperious crows, persnickety station agents, bombastic teachers, his own classmates…even one nice fresh carp.

Whether it’s his easily annoyed parents or prickly pedestrians on the street, K gets on everyone’s bad side…and he didn’t even do anything wrong!

Gary Clement takes a unique approach to the absurdities of childhood in this hilarious series opener that reinforces a timeless message: Most adults know less than a talking beetle.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean

This graphic novel gives readers a sense of what the 1920s was like for trail-blazing women while also introducing them to the soaring ambitions of aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart developed a love of flying at a very young age. What began as a simple joy became something much deeper—a commitment to open doors for all women. As Amelia built a name for herself in the field of aviation—breaking numerous records along the way—she inspired future trailblazers to soar to new heights.

With an introduction by astronaut pioneer Eileen Collins, Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean focuses on Amelia’s triumphant crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. Panel by panel, it offers a glimpse of her relentless ambition and tireless will to promote women’s rights. Above all, it leaves us with a sense of her deep-rooted desire to touch the sky.


This inspiring and true story about how real people weathered the Great Depression will prove to readers that history can be exciting, while also revealing how important figures of the past overcame extreme challenges.

From the sweeping consequences of the stock market crash to the riveting stories of individuals and communities caught up in a real American dystopia, discover how the country we live in today was built in response to a time when people from all walks of life fell victim to poverty, insecurity, and fear.

Meet fascinating historical characters like Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, Dorothea Lange, Walter White, and Mary McLeod Bethune. See what life was like for regular Americans as the country went from the highs of the Roaring Twenties to the lows of the Great Depression, before bouncing back again during World War II. Explore pivotal scenes such as the creation of the New Deal, life in the Dust Bowl, the sit-down strikes in Michigan, the Scottsboro case, and the rise of Father Coughlin.

Packed with photographs and firsthand accounts, and written with a keen understanding of the upheaval of the 1930s, Crash shares the incredible story of how America survived—and, ultimately, thrived.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War

The 1940s overflows with monumental, challenging, and world-changing historic moments. So, it was hard to choose the perfect book for this decade, but I chose Gaijin because it’s about a history that isn’t always discussed enough. (Also, the cinematic illustrations are breathtaking and will draw any reader in).

With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly realizes that his home in San Francisco is no longer a welcoming one after Pearl Harbor is attacked. And once he’s sent to an internment camp, he learns that being half white at the camp is just as difficult as being half Japanese on the streets of an American city during WWII. Koji’s story, based on true events, is brought to life by Matt Faulkner’s cinematic illustrations that reveal Koji struggling to find his place in a tumultuous world-one where he is a prisoner of war in his own country.

Suspect Red

This exciting and moving book about friendship and suspicion will give young readers a glimpse of what Cold War America was like. Photos, news clippings, and other multimedia material make this an immersive read!

It’s 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation.

Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard’s father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard’s age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.
Richard is quickly drawn to Vlad’s confidence, musical sensibilities, and passion for literature, which Richard shares. But as the nation’s paranoia spirals out of control, Richard longs to prove himself a patriot, and blurred lines between friend and foe could lead to a betrayal that destroys lives.

Punctuated with photos, news headlines, ads, and quotes from the era, this suspenseful and relatable novel by award-winning New York Times best-selling author L.M. Elliott breathes new life into a troubling chapter of our history.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X: The Fatal Friendship

Readers will be introduced to the remarkable relationship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, two of the most important and inspiring trailblazers of the 1960s.

Freshly adapted for young readers, this in-depth portrait showcases the complex bond between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, revealing how Malcolm helped mold Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali and influenced his rise as an international symbol of Black pride and Black independence. Yet when Malcolm was expelled from the Nation of Islam for criticizing the conduct of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, Ali turned his back on Malcolm, a choice that some believe tragically contributed to the minister's assassination in February 1965.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X is the story of how Ali redefined what it means to be a Black athlete in America, informed by Malcolm's leadership. An extraordinary portrait of love, friendship, and power as well as deceit and betrayal, here is a window into the public and private lives of two national icons, and the tumultuous period in the American Civil Rights Movement that they helped to shape.

Clouds over California

This book may be a work of fiction, but it will immerse readers into the exciting and turbulent world of 1970s Los Angeles.

Stevie’s life is fluctuating rapidly. She's starting over in a brand new middle school. Quiet and observant, it's hard for her to make friends. Plus, her mind is too occupied. The tension in her home is building as her parents' arguments are becoming more frequent. To top it all off, Stevie's older cousin Naomi is coming to live with the family in an attempt to keep her from a "bad" crowd—The Black Panthers.

Stevie agrees to keep Naomi's secrets. She's the cool big cousin, after all, and Stevie can't help but notice the happy, positive effect the Black Panthers are having on Naomi's confidence and identity—just like how Mom is making decisions for herself, even when Dad disapproves.

Stevie feels herself beginning to change as well. But one thing remains the same: she loves both of her parents, and she loves them together. Can her family stay in one piece despite the world shifting around them?

Bridge to Bat City

Based on a real thing—the bats of Austin—this immersive, music-filled story will give your little readers all the 1980s cultural and musical references they need to know!

After losing her mother, thirteen-year-old Opal moves in with her uncle Roscoe on the family farm. There, Opal bonds with Uncle Roscoe over music and befriends a group of orphaned, music-loving bats. But just as the farm is starting to feel like home, the bats’ cave is destroyed by a big mining company with its sights set on the farmland next.

If Opal and the bats can fit in anywhere, it’s the nearby city of Austin, home to their favorite music and a host of wonderfully eccentric characters. But with people afraid of the bats and determined to get rid of them, it’ll take a whole lot of courage to prove that this is where the bats—and Opal—belong.


This moving book will introduce readers to some of the events, tensions, and values that led America into the 21st century with a heartfelt and exciting story.

12-year-old Jordan feels like he can't live up to the example his older sister set, or his parent's expectations. When he returns home from school one day hoping to hide his suspension, Los Angeles has reached a turning point. In the wake of the acquittal of the police officers filmed beating Rodney King, as well as the shooting of a young black teen, Latasha Harlins by a Korean store owner, the country is at the precipice of confronting its racist past and present.

As tensions escalate, Jordan's father leaves to check on the family store, spurring Jordan and his friends to embark on a dangerous journey to come to his aide, and come to terms with the racism within and affecting their community.

Pick a decade!

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