2022-23 SSYRA and Florida Teens Read Nominees

SSYRA Header with book covers

The Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) has announced this year's nominees for the Sunshine State Young Readers Award (SSYRA)! The goal of the SSYRA Program is to encourage interest in reading for fun. Students in grades 3-8 are encouraged to improve their reading fluency by reading these great books.  

Sunshine State books are selected by a committee of school librarians for their "wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and/or multicultural representation" according to the SSYRA webpage. The lists are separated into three reading level subsections: SSYRA Jr., SSYRA for Grades 3-5, and SSYRA for Grades 6-8

FAME has also announced the award nominees for the Florida Teens Read (FLR) program. The FLR booklist is geared toward grades 9-12, reflecting teens' interests as well as a "variety of genres, formats, reading levels, viewpoints, and ethnic and cultural perspectives" according to the FLR webpage. 

Which books will win the 2022-2023 awards? That entirely depends on the students! 

To determine the winners, students from each age group can select at least three books on the list to read and vote for their favorite. A voting link will be posted on FAME's social media accounts early next year. The winning books will be announced in spring 2023. 

We've got the full lists for you to check out and have highlighted a few of our favorites below.


Check out the full list of SSYRA Jr. 2022-2023 titles and find them in our catalog! You can also borrow these titles digitally. 

Book cover of The Electric Slide and Kai

The Electric Slide and Kai written by Kelly Baptist and illustrated by Darnell Johnson

Kai's aunt is getting married, and everyone in the Donovan family is excited about the wedding ... except Kai. Kai is the only member of his family who can't get the dance steps to the Electric Slide right. But Kai is determined to bust a move in this fun and sweet celebration of African American families. Will he be able to dance well enough to get a nickname from his granddad at his aunt’s wedding reception? Read and find out!


The Middle Kid Book Cover

The Middle Kid by Steven Weinberg

When you're the middle kid, you're never the first nor the last to do anything. You're not the tallest or the smallest; you're babysitting one sibling but teased by the other. Stuck between a bossy older brother and a naive younger sister, Middle Kid feels left out of two worlds. Gently funny and richly detailed, The Middle Kid takes readers through a day in the life of a middle kid, and all the challenges and advantages of a life in-between.




Invasion of the Unicorns Book Cover

Invasion of the Unicorns written and illustrated by David Biedrzycki

He’s just a cute little unicorn who wants to take over the world. Special Agent Bubble07 is undercover on planet Earth. His mission: to decide whether his team of alien unicorns should invade Earth. Posing as a stuffed animal, he infiltrates the home of Earthling Daughter, where he puts up with dog slobber, tea parties, and show and tell. Will the unicorn blow his cover and call for backup? Or will his alien heart be won over by storytime, snow days, and snuggles?




The Hunger Heroes Book Cover

Missed Meal Mayhem by Jarrett Lerner

It’s a typical Monday when the Hunger Heroes get the call: a kid in Ms. Sternbladder’s class missed breakfast and isn’t allowed to have snacks! How will he pass his math test, study for spelling, or play soccer at recess if his stomach is growling out of control? Hunger Heroes to the rescue!

Toots the Bean, Chip Ninja, Tammy the Tomato, and Leonard, a wedge of cheddar cheese, are here to save kids—even cranky, annoying ones—all over the world while flying around in their taco hovercraft!



SSYRA Grades 3-5

Check out the full SSYRA List for Grades 3-5 and find them in our catalog! You can also borrow these titles digitally.

Amari and the Night Brothers Book Cover

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Amari Peters has never stopped believing that her missing brother is still alive, no matter what others say. That’s why, when she finds an invitation for a tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she goes, even though now she has to deal with magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures.

It would be easy to give up, especially with everyone thinking she’s the enemy and there’s an evil magician on the loose, but Amari will do anything to find her missing brother.




Carry Me Home Book Cover

Carry Me Home by Janet Fox

Twelve-year-old Lulu and her little sister Serena have a secret. They are homeless. And their dad has disappeared. Lulu will try her best to be responsible for her family—and try to keep their situation a secret.

One mistake and Lulu and Serena will be separated. One mistake and Lulu’s life that she has been creating in her town and in her school will be over. Who can Lulu trust? Can anyone be trusted to save her and Serena? Can anyone be trusted to find their father?




Distress Signal Book Cover

Distress Signal by Mary E. Lambert

Lavender’s class trip to the desert of Chiricahua National Park is not going well. While hiking down a ravine, a flash flood strikes! When the waters finally recede, Lavender finds herself stranded in the brutal heat of the desert with only her ex-best friend Marisol, mean-girl Rachelle, and a boy named John.

The four students are separated from their class, disoriented, and have just one pack of supplies and the most basic wilderness knowledge. They will need to put aside their differences if they want to survive.




Leonard (My Life as a Cat)

Leonard (My Life as a Cat) by Carlie Sorosiak

When Olive rescues a cat from a flood, she learns that Leonard the cat is really Leonard the alien! 

Leonard was attempting to come to Earth as a human and learn human things (bowling, hosting a dinner party, how to hold an umbrella). But now, not only will he not get those experiences, if he doesn’t make it from South Carolina to Yellowstone National Park soon, he will miss his ride home.






SSYRA Grades 6-8

Check out the full SSYRA List for Grades 6-8 and find them in our catalog! You can also borrow these titles digitally.

Curse of the Night Witch Book Cover

Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster

On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it. Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year's Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.

The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin...the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.



Concealed Book Cover

Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Whatever her name is, it won’t last long. Katrina doesn’t know any of the details about her past, but she does know that she and her parents are part of the Witness Protection Program. Whenever her parents say they have to move on and start over, she takes on a new identity. A new name, a new hair color, a new story.

Until their location leaks and her parents disappear. Katrina embarks on a dangerous mission to save them and find out the truth of her past at last.

Every new discovery shows that Katrina's entire life has been nothing but lies. Katrina has always kept her parents' secrets. But it turns out, they were the ones keeping secrets from her this whole time. Could she be the reason they've been hiding all these years? The truth will throw everything Katrina has ever believed about herself into question.

Starfish Book Cover

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.”

And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants.

Find out how Ellie does something about being her own fabulous self!


Rivals Book Cover

Rivals by Tommy Greenwald

The people of Walthorne love their basketball—and one of the things they love most is the special rivalry between the Walthorne North Middle School Cougars and the Walthorne South Middle School Panthers. As the season begins, two star players are feeling the heat: Austin Chambers, captain of Walthorne North, worries that he’s not good enough to live up to his father’s legacy, while across town, the brilliantly talented Carter Haswell, captain of Walthorne South, is already under pressure to get a scholarship that might ease his family’s financial stress.



Florida Teens Read

Check out the full list of Florida Teens Read 2022-2023 titles and find them in our catalog! You can also borrow these titles digitally

Angel of Greenwood book cover

Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink

On the surface, Isaiah Wilson is a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil.

Though they’ve attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can’t turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon.

Life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.


XOXO book cover

XOXO by Axie Oh

Jenny knows one thing to be true: her cello is her life. She has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. She puts practicing above all else, and she never wavers. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

Hard Wired Book Cover

Hard Wired by Len Vlahos

Quinn has a life and friends; he is a normal boy until he is not.

After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.

As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?

Acclaimed Morris Award finalist Len Vlahos pens a high-stakes contemporary-rooted sci-fi that asks big questions about humanity.


The Girls I've Been book cover

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems. One, her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris. Two, the morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because - Three, right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…



Descriptions adapted from the publisher.
By Charissa on December 30, 2022