All over Seattle, fourth and fifth graders are forming teams and starting to turn pages for the 2022 Global Reading Challenge, which launched earlier in November with the announcement of this year’s books. Now in its 27th year, the Global Reading Challenge is a reading incentive collaboration between the Library and Seattle Public Schools. Fourth and fifth graders of all reading abilities read the books together and team up for trivia competitions related to the books in 2022.
But let’s get to the books! The 2022 Global Reading Challenge lineup includes eight wonderful titles that represent a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. As Ms. Louisa explains in this year’s Global Reading Challenge video, they represent “all different kinds of books about all different kinds of kids all around the world.”
Below, find a bit about each book and why it was selected. We’ve included links to the books in our catalog, so you can easily check them out with your Library card, or with your Library Link account (which allows all Seattle Public Schools students to check out e-books and e-audiobooks with your student ID number). We have lots of digital copies of each book available.
Global Reading Challenge books will also be distributed at participating Seattle Public Schools, so check in with your school librarian or teacher. And many of the are also available at Library locations in the “uncatalogued” section – meaning you don’t need to officially check them out. Just take a copy home, and bring it back when you’re done!
The 2022 Global Reading Challenge books
Red Panda & Moon Bear, by Jarod Roselló
Red Panda and Moon Bear have hoodies that give them Superhero powers. They’ve sworn to defeat evil and protect their neighborhood, and this graphic novel is full of their hilarious and hair-raising adventures!
Why did we pick it? We loved the humor, the heart and the seamlessly bilingual dialogue. Author Jarod Roselló draws heavily from his own Cubano-American experience in his writing, and the story sings off the page.
Leaving Lymon, by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lymon makes a journey from Mississippi to Milwaukee in 1942. Circumstances divide him from his loving grandparents and he must find his own path to happiness and home. This book is even more engrossing than last year’s spectacular Finding Langston, by the same author.
Why did we pick it? We loved Finding Langston last year, and this book is a surprise – Lymon was the bully who tormented Langston, and we weren’t expecting to like him in his own book. Lesa Cline-Ransome has done something really special here, in that she lets us see how the trauma in Lymon’s life influences his actions and what happens next. Lesa brings her own family’s recollection of the Great Migration of the 1930s and 40s to her storytelling and it adds an amazing depth to her work.
I Can Make This Promise, by Christine Day
When Edie discovers a mysterious box of letters and photos in the attic, she suddenly realizes that her parents might know more about her mother’s Native heritage than they have ever shared with her. What is the mystery that surrounds her mother’s adoption? Who is the Edith in the photos?
Why did we pick it? We are so honored to be able to select a book by local author Christine Day (Upper Skagit). This book is set in the Seattle area, draws on Christine’s Native heritage and tackles some really complex topics that center on adoption. While there’s a lot to think about in this book, we also just loved Edie as a character and wanted to know what would happen next.
Epic Athletes: LeBron James, by Dan Wetzel
Maybe you know LeBron James as the King of Basketball, but do you know how he got there? This biography tells the story of his early life and how LeBron became both the superstar and the community leader that he is today.
Why did we pick it? LeBron James is a really fantastic human being, in addition to being an unbelievable basketball player. This biography talks a lot about his family’s struggles with homelessness when he was a child and about how that has led LeBron to give back to his community. It also does a great job covering LeBron’s career in a way that both sports fans and sports skeptics can enjoy.
Measuring Up, by Lily LaMotte
Cici just moved to Seattle from Taiwan, and oh, how she misses her A-ma. Can she compete for a prize in a cooking competition and bring her grandmother to visit without failing her classes? Will her skills measure up?
Why did we pick it? This is also a spectacular debut book by a local author! We loved that it is set in Seattle, that it portrays a current immigrant experience, and that it tackles tricky subjects: from the micro-aggressions of people not knowing where your home country is to the cultural change of what school means to parents in America vs. in Taiwan. Lily LaMotte learned to cook some of her A-ma’s favorites, too, and this graphic novel is fun, full of cooking intrigue, and a nail biter to the end.
Hockey Night in Kenya, by Danson Mutinda and Eric Walters
Kenyan orphan Kitoo has just discovered the fascinating new sport of hockey in a book and his best friend Nigosi is determined to help him experience it for himself. This is for all those new Kraken fans out there!
Why did we pick it? It is often hard to find a beginning chapter book that has a really strong story to it, and that is where this book shines. Not only does it take the reader to Kenya, it highlights people who are living their dreams, even when those dreams seem unbelievable — like a hockey team in Kenya, where they have never seen frozen lakes. Eric and Danson’s families founded the orphanage in Kenya where this story takes place, and Danson currently runs it.
Spirit Hunters, by Ellen Oh
Harper Raine is in a new town, and strange things are happening in her house. In addition, she has no memory of the accident that left her in the hospital. Looking for a book that might scare your hair off? Pick this one up.
Why did we pick it? Some of us like to read scary books, and this one is terrifying! Ellen Oh also does a tremendous job weaving traditional Korean beliefs from her heritage into the book and telling a story that you just don’t want to put down. If you don’t like a fright, you might skip it, but if you enjoy that sense of relief that comes from a good scare that ends when you close the cover, we highly recommend it.
The Best At It, by Maulik Pancholy
Rahul Kapoor has plans this year: He wants to become the Best At It. The best at what? Read it and find out!
Why did we pick it? Rahul! He’s such a fabulous character – funny, awkward, caring and brave. He wants to find the best in himself, and he’s willing to go all out to do it. We also loved that while this is a story about a boy who’s thinking about whether or not he is gay, that’s not the main plotline. He’s also deciding how he wants to celebrate his Indian-American heritage and how to deal with anxiety. Actor Maulik Pancholy has proven himself to be a tremendously good author as well, exploring some of his own experiences in this book.
Want more book suggestions for young readers? Find Global Reading Challenge book lists from previous years on spl.org.
More about the Global Reading Challenge
The Global Reading Challenge is made possible by funding from The Seattle Public Library Foundation, the Northwest Literacy Foundation, and Ballard Rotary. We thank our partners at Seattle Public Schools who make this program possible every day.
If you have any questions about the Global Reading Challenge, or anything else, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or contact us at www.spl.org/Ask. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.
– Jenny C.