2022 Lists

The Golden Duck Notable Picture Books List

Good Night, Oppy! by James McGowan, illustrated by Graham Carter. Astra Young Readers. 

Oppy is the nickname given to the Mars Opportunity rover who explored the red planet for 15 years. Friendly illustrations tell the story of adventures and real scientific advancements across the surface of Mars.

Marty by Rachel Noble, illustrated by Zoey Abbott. Holiday House. 

Marty is a Martian living on Earth. He uses a variety of disguises to help him fit in and not be noticed by humans. When his disguise fails, Marty hopes someone will act with kindness instead of fear and accept him for who he is.

Frankenslime by Joy Keller, illustrated by Ashley Belote. Feiwel & Friends. 

Victoria Franken and her pup sidekick Igor use research and the scientific method to create new slimes that are so amazing local kids line up for them. But then, on a dark and stormy night, both inspiration and lightning strike, and Victoria’s newest creation comes to life! 

Starboy:  Inspired by the Life and Lyrics of David Bowie by Jami Gigot. Henry Holt and Company. 

A young boy (whose name is familiar to us all) hears the music of the stars which no one else can. That cosmic connection fires his imagination and directs his future.

Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Annabel Tempest. Two Lions. 

Sadie and her team of toys construct a spacecraft and project-manage a trip to Mars. Detailed illustrations and rhyming couplets capture the romance of the red planet and challenges to the excursion that Sadie meets with aplomb.

Arnold the Super-ish Hero by Heather Tekavec, illustrated by Guillaume Perreault. Kids Can Press. 

Colorful comic illustrations show an ordinary underdog in a family of superheroes who discovers that his superpower may not be what anyone is expecting. 

The Eleanor Cameron Notable Middle Grade Books

Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas. Philomel. 

Everybody needs a home and community. This truth also applies even to an alien shapeshifter stowaway on a pirate’s ship. Trouble begins as space goo, then shifts to a puppy, before settling into the disguise of a human boy as he embarks on a romp through space with a brave band of misfits.

Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia & Prince Joel Makonnen. Scholastic. 

The hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk is about to reach its end. If Yared can place well in this augmented reality game he can earn a lot of money. However, people like the Ibis are tough competition. Learning how to cooperate and compete is just the start to his understanding that augmented reality can be less confusing than reality itself.

Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing, illustrated by Christine Almeda. Kokila. 

Brilliant young scientist Maya embarks on her greatest challenge – the fifth grade – in a class without her dear friends. But a budding friendship with Ralph, a discarded robot, leads to greater connection and hopes for Maya’s future.

The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm. Random House Books for Young Readers. 

Eleven-year-old Bell is a pretty regular kid except for the fact that he lives on Mars. Life isn’t bad in the Mars Mission Settlement though, where the most important rule is no contact with other countries’ colonies ever. But when a serious virus strikes the colony’s adults, Bell and the other children realize the only way to help might be to break the rules. 

D-39:A Robodog’s Journey by Irene Latham. Charlesbridge. 

In this novel in verse, tween Klynt is living in a post-apocalyptic society where all dogs have been eliminated. When she salvages and tinkers with a robodog, she becomes part of something bigger.

Jillian vs. Parasite Planet, by Nicole Kornher-Stace. Tachyon Publications. 

Jillian was hoping for an easy yet exciting mission with her parents to a distant planet. But when things take a turn for the catastrophic, Jillian must rely on her own brain and know-how – with help from a feisty AI – to save herself and her parents from peril and certain doom. 

Stowaway by John David Anderson. Walden Pond Press. 

Leo and his brother and father live aboard a spaceship traveling throughout the universe. Leo is grappling with the loss of his home, his mother and life as he knew it and loved it. And then the unimaginable happens and Leo is separated from what family he has left.

The Orpheus Plot by Christopher Swiedler. HarperCollins. 

Lucas Adebayo, a kid from the asteroid belt, dreams of becoming the first Belter pilot in the Earther Navy but cadets from Earth, Mars, and Luna show their prejudice by bullying Lucas aboard the training ship The Orpheus. When The Orpheus is pulled into a belter rebellion, Lucas must decide where his loyalties lie and he may be the only one who can broker a peace.

Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout. HarperCollins. 

The night before beginning at Cedar Creek Middle School, Jake practices smiling. This may seem normal because middle school is scary. But Jake is an alien, raised by loving parents as their multiracial child, and he’s recently started shapeshifting in unpredictable ways.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido. 

Petra wants to be a storyteller, just like her abuela. But the world is literally ending, and Petra will have to take all the stories she’s heard with her to a new world. Can her stories of culture and identity be enough in the face of a collective determined to erase humanity’s past?

Flood City by Daniel José Older. Scholastic.

The last remnant of human life above the surface of a flooded Earth is now the site of a deadly struggle between the Star Guard that rules Flood City with an iron hand and the Chemical Barons that orbit the planet. Together, Max, Djanna, and Ato must overcome their vast differences and work together to save the city from certain destruction.

The Hal Clement Notable Young Adult Books List

The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Adam Staffaroni, and Janet Harvey. MIT Press. 

An elite group of young women scientists band together to battle corporate interests. This vibrant graphic novel is peppered with cutting edge technologies and highlights a range of scientific endeavors.

Aetherbound, by E.K. Johnston. Dutton Books. 

Young Pendt Harland, a mistreated misfit within her own family, lives an outcast life aboard a deep space vessel. But an uneventful stop at a space station gives Pendt the opportunity to break free from her emotionally abusive bonds and to make her own fate and future.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. Roaring Brook Press. 

In a future of environmental devastation, two exceptional sisters adventure into an eerie world that can steal their memories . One is a scientific genius and the other is very empathetic and imaginative. Their separate plotlines both hide and reveal their own secrets, avoiding chronological order or simple answers. 

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. Penguin Teen. 

Zetian, a concubine-pilot, sets out to assassinate the man who killed her sister. When they are paired up to pilot a Chrysalis to combat mecha aliens she emerges from the Chrysalis as the Iron Widow, a powerful and much feared female pilot. Now she must survive numerous attempts on her life and stop the future killings of other female pilots.

Hunting By Stars by Cherie Dimaline. Amulet Books. 

French and his band of Indigeneous refugees struggle to avoid capture in a dystopian future. When many believe that only the marrow of Indigeneous bones will restore their lost ability to dream, people hunt and trap others in brutal ways.

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer. Katherine Tegen Books. 

Seventeen-year-old Ambrose Cusk wakes up aboard the Coordinated Endeavor under strange circumstances: he can’t remember the launch, the ship’s omniscient Operating System (OS) sounds like his mother, and it turns out he isn’t alone – he has a shipmate from the country at war with his own. What he does remember is his mission: to rescue his previously-thought-dead sister who was sent to colonize Saturn’s moon Titan. Or is it? Ambrose and Kodiak soon start to realize OS isn’t telling them the whole truth, and they will have to put aside their differences and work together to get to the bottom of the ship’s secrets.

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold.Viking Books for Young Readers. 

Kit has a puzzle to solve, and she has been trying to find some missing pieces for a long time. The post-apocalyptic world she trudges through is ravaged by carnivorous flies and strange remnants of society. The story combines survival and time-travel to help Kit find herself, and muses about the nature of reality.

This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey. Quirk. 

Jess’s small town existence is like something out of a ‘90s teen movie, full of pop culture touchstones and absent social media drama. But when Jess starts to chafe against the strange parameters of her life, she discovers a wider world where she herself provides the entertainment.

Bright Shining World by Josh Swiller. Knopf Books For Young Readers. 

Wallace Cole’s life is very weird. Ever since his mom died, Wallace’s dad has kept them moving from industrial disaster to industrial disaster, doing something to clean them up before moving on again. When Wallace finds himself in yet another small town and starts a new school he realizes that whatever he dad is working on is directly impacting the lives of his new classmates. This time, Wallace is determined to get answers to what has been going on.

Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms, by Mackenzi Lee. Marvel Press. 

Two warring sisters – both strong, both determined, both living in the shadow of their monstrous father, and both always at odds – are on a competing quest to locate an artifact of incredible power. But the dark truths behind their mission lead them to an uneasy alliance, with lasting consequences.