Mixed Up Releases
♦ Elliot and the Last Underworld War: The Underworld Chronicles (Sourcesbooks Jabberwocky) – Jennifer Nielsen. WARNING: If you care at all for planet Earth, you will pay very close attention to the lessons inside these pages. We usually ask you to run away from dreadful things. But now, you are warned to turn the pages as fast as you can read them. You must know what happens inside this book to learn whether Earth gets destroyed. Because let’s face it—that would be a bad thing. As King of the Brownies, Elliot has battled Goblins, tricked Pixies, and trapped a Demon. But now, that Demon has escaped and he’s ready for revenge. Elliot will face a challenge unlike any he’s seen before. The Last Underworld War is about to begin…
♦ 13 Hangmen (Harry N. Abrams) – Art Corriveau. “Some people won’t believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure—all in the first few days after he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmen’s Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence.” So begins the story of Tony and his friends—five 13-year-old boys, all of whom are living in the same house in the same attic bedroom but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.
♦ Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind (Amulet) – Tom Angleberger. Regular kid Lenny Flem Jr. is the only one standing between his evil-genius best friend—Casper, a master of disguise and hypnosis—and world domination. It all begins when Casper spends money from his granny on a spectacularly convincing fake mustache, the Heidelberg Handlebar #7. With it he’s able rob banks, amass a vast fortune, and run for president. Is Lenny the only one who can see through his disguise? And will he be able to stop Casper from taking over the world?
♦ Invasion of the Dognappers (EgmontUSA) – Patrick Jennings. Nothing gets past Logan. When he observes that the neighborhood’s dogs are mysteriously vanishing, he suspects nothing less than a full-scale alien dognapping invasion. The adults don’t believe him, of course, so he enlists his friends to investigate and soon they make a shocking discovery. Now man’s best friend needs help. Fast. Suddenly, Logan and his team are on a mission unlike anything known to man. A hilarious, heartwarming tale of hound-saving heroics, Invasion of the Dognappers will be gobbled up by middle-grade readers.
♦ Obi: Gerbil on a Mission (Obi, Gerbil on the Loose) (Dial) – Michael Delaney. Obi’s on a mission to go where no gerbil has gone before – outside the house! There’s a new pet at Obi the gerbil’s house, and he’s bigger, furrier, and more slobbery than Obi. And he’s getting all the attention. But when the puppy escapes out the door and runs away, Obi sets out on a mission to bring him back. There are many obstacles, from a hungry owl to a giant dog to snarky cats in Obi’s own backyard. But with the perseverance and pluck she demonstrated in the popular first Obi book, Obi overcomes the problems and brings the puppy safely home. With clever cartoon illustrations to punch up the comedy, this funny, adventurous sequel will leave you squeaking for more.
♦ Poison Most Vial: A Mystery (Amulet) – Benedict Carey. Murder in the lab! The famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose’s father is the prime suspect. It’s one more reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, the funky urban neighborhood to which she has been transplanted. Wise but shy, artistic but an outsider, Ruby must marshal everything and everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn’t poison his boss. Everyone? The list isn’t too long: there’s T. Rex, Ruby’s big, goofy but goodhearted friend; maybe those other two weird kids from class; and that mysterious old lady in the apartment upstairs, who seems to know a lot about chemistry . . . which could come in very handy.
♦ Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers (HarperCollins) – Chris Grabenstein.
1 middle-school bully
2 bank robbers
57 dogs in peril
4,000 missing dollars
5 daring troublemakers
led by the one and only
♦ Signed by Zelda (Simon & Schuster) – Kate Feiffer. More than anything, eleven-year-old Lucy wants to be the world’s most famous handwriting expert. “You can learn a lot about a person through how they write their I’s,” she tells her friend, Pigeon—who just so happens to be a talking bird. When Lucy’s neighbor Zelda goes missing and the only clue is a cryptic handwritten note, Lucy is determined to crack the case using her graphology skills. With some help from Nicky, who lives upstairs, and plenty of advice from Pigeon (who just so happens to be very opinionated), can Lucy decipher the whereabouts of her apartment building’s missing resident?
♦ The Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief) (Aladdin) – T. R. Burns. Twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle is a good kid with a perfect school record—until the day he accidently kills his substitute teacher with an apple. Seamus is immediately shipped off to a detention facility—only to discover that Kilter Academy is actually a school to mold future Troublemakers, where demerits are awarded as a prize for bad behavior and each student is tasked to pull various pranks on their teachers in order to excel. Initially determined to avoid any more mishaps, Seamus nonetheless inadvertently emerges as a uniquely skilled troublemaker. Together with new friends Lemon and Elinor, he rises to the top of his class while beginning to discover that Kilter Academy has some major secrets and surprises in store.
♦ The Case of the Missing Moola (Club CSI) (Simon Spotlight) – David Lewman. Ben, Corey, and Hannah will have to use all they’ve learned about forensic science—plus good old-fashioned detective work and a little bit of luck—to solve their next case! Inspired by the CSI franchise, Club CSI: is “required reading” for young scientists-in-training, or for anyone who loves a good mystery!
♦ The Case of the Mystery Meat Loaf (Club CSI) (Simon Spotlight) – David Lewman. Ben, Corey, and Hannah’s first case as Club CSI: begins when a bunch of students and the principal get food poisoning from the cafeteria’s hot lunch. Everyone blames the new science teacher because she pushed the lunch lady to add her healthy “meatless meat loaf” recipe to the menu, but Club CSI: isn’t pointing fingers until they evaluate the evidence. Can they find out who messed with the meat loaf before the science teacher gets in trouble or more people get sick? Club CSI: is on the case!
♦ The Dunderheads Behind Bars (Candlewick) – Paul Fleischman. Everyone’s favorite underdogs are back! Can they land work on a movie set – and foil a cat burglar – with their unusual and motley skills? School is out for the summer, and the Dunderheads are finally rid of the awful Miss Breakbone. Or so they thought! Teen star Ashley Throbb-Hart is shooting a movie nearby, and who should show up as an extra but their formidable former teacher! She’s not the only Breakbone on the scene, either; after a string of burglaries strikes town, Miss Breakbone steers her barrel-chested brother, Police Chief Breakbone, toward those meddling, good-for-nothing Dunderheads. And when Spider ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, the blowhard chief has all the evidence he needs to lock him up. Can Einstein, Wheels, Nails, Spitball, Google-Eyes, Clips, Junkyard, Pencil, and Hollywood combine their talents to catch the real criminal before they join their friend behind bars? Ssequel to The Dunderheads.
♦ The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case: A Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Book for Young Readers (Anchor) – Alexander McCall Smith. Have you ever said to yourself, Wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective? This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious. When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.
♦ The Green Man (Tundra Books) – Michael Bedard. Teenaged O – never call her Ophelia – is about to spend the summer with her aunt Emily. Emily is a poet and the owner of an antiquarian book store, The Green Man. A proud, independent woman, Emily’s been made frail by a heart attack. O will be a help to her. Just how crucial that help will be unfolds as O first tackles Emily’s badly neglected home, then the chaotic shop. But soon she discovers that there are mysteries and long-buried dark forces that she cannot sweep away, though they threaten to awaken once more.
♦ The Mapmaker and the Ghost (Walker Children’s) – Sarvenaz Tash. Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest. Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard.
♦ The Templeton Twins (Chronicle) – Jeremy Holmes. Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins-adults-named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t?!).
♦ Dragonborn (Bloomsbury USA) – Toby Forward. When Flaxfield the great wizard dies, his apprentice Sam is left without a master. Sam has great power-but he doesn’t know it yet. All he knows is that he needs a new master if he wants to finish his education in magic. With his dragon Starback at his side, Sam sets out alone on his quest. But there are those who want Sam’s power for themselves, dangerous forces who are waiting for his first mistake so they can attack. When Sam is tricked into making a mortal error, only Starback can save him, thanks to a bond between them that is deeper than either of them know.
♦ Herbert’s Wormhole: The Rise and Fall of El Solo Libre (HarperCollins) – Pretending to be alien slayers when they travel via a wormhole to their hometown 100 years in the future, eleven-year-olds Alex, Herbert, and Sammi must pull together when an actual alien invasion occurs.
♦ Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure (Sterling) – Lissa Evans. Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic, mystery, and danger. As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.
♦ Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe (Dial) – Nathan Bransford. Presidential campaigns are all fun and games until someone threatens to blow up your home planet. When Jacob Wonderbar receives a message that he’s been nominated for President of the Universe, he, Sarah Daisy, and Dexter immediately return to space. But Jacob’s archnemesis, Prince Mick Cracken, is running as well, and his campaign tactics involve kidnappings and rogue space monkeys. After surviving corndog-eating contests and insult debates, Jacob discovers the stakes for this election are even higher than he imagined: A military group wants to destroy Planet Earth, and the President of the Universe is the only person who can stop them. Second book in the Jacob Wonderbar series.
♦ Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Game (The Kingdom Keepers) (Disney Hyperion) – Ridley Pearson. As the five Kingdom Keepers enter high school, everything is about to change. The Maintenance Base that controls all four parks in Disney World is under attack by the Overtakers, a group determined to change Disney forever. Relationships between the Keepers are no longer as simple as they once were. In fact, nothing is as simple as it once was. An after-hours visit to Typhoon Lagoon is a game changer. The Keepers lose one of their most valuable supporters. But there’s work to do. The Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral on an historic cruise to Los Angeles with a special treat in store for guests: the Disney Host Interactive guides are on board. Finn, Maybeck, Charlene, Willa, and Philby join guests as the DHI experience moves to one of the most advanced cruise ships in the world. But all is not right below decks. Strange things are happening. Only the Kingdom Keepers know the truth behind their invitation to be in attendance: nearly every Disney villain is aboard the ship, including Maleficent. The Overtakers have infiltrated the cast and crew. And no one knows what they have planned. The Dream sets sail filled with enthusiastic guests and crew. But not for long. Maleficent takes over a video screen and warns the guests of trouble to come. With the ship arriving to the beaches of Castaway Cay–its first of many exotic ports of call–the Kingdom Keepers are under attack; back home the Base is threatened and about to fall. The Overtakers have expanded in ways never foreseen, and it’s clear they intend to use this element of surprise to accomplish what has eluded them so far: victory. But not if Finn Whitman and friends have anything to say about it.
♦ Once Upon a Toad (Simon & Schuster) – Heather Vogel Frederick. Once upon a time, Cat Starr lived with her astronaut mom in Houston. But when her mother gets sent on a long-term mission, Cat has to move to a far away land—her dad’s house, halfway across the country—and share a room with her real-life evil stepsister, Olivia. Just when Cat can’t take it anymore, Great-Aunt Abyssinia comes to the rescue. And things go from bad to worse. The next morning, Cat opens her mouth and a toad hops out! What’s more, when Olivia speaks, diamonds and flowers appear. How unfair is that? Before you can say “happily ever after,” the girls are on the run from jewel thieves and a government agency. Can Cat save the day—and get rid of all those toads?
♦ Renegade Magic (Kat, Incorrigible) (Atheneum) – Stephanie Burgis. The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.” Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath in an attempt to outrun the gossip and betroth Angeline to a respectable suitor. Meanwhile, Kat’s utter lack of ladylike propriety has prompted the powerful Lord Ravenscroft to expel her from the magical Order of Guardians—before her training has even begun! Anger and exile aside, Kat knows something is not quite right about Lord Ravenscroft. Her insatiable curiosity and fierce loyalty to her family will have readers rooting for her all the way as Kat attempts to reunite Angeline with her true love and prove that she has what it truly takes to be a Guardian.
♦ Storybound (HarperCollins) – Marissa Burt. When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story—a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy-tale characters. But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In—and fast—before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story’s shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined—and it might be up to her to save it.
♦ The Last Hope (Warriors: Omen of the Stars No. 6) (HarperCollins) – Erin Hunter. The end of the stars draws near. Three must become four to battle the darkness that lasts forever. After countless moons of treachery, Tigerstar’s Dark Forest apprentices are ready to lay siege upon the warrior Clans. As Jayfeather, Dovewing, and Lionblaze prepare to lead their Clanmates into battle, they await the arrival of the mysterious fourth warrior who is prophesied to help lead the Clans to glory. The darkest hour the Clans have ever faced has dawned. Hopes will be shattered and heroes will rise as the warriors fight for their very survival.
♦ The Paradise Trap (EgmontUSA) – Catherine Jinks. A boy . . . a witch . . . and a totally sinister paradise: that’s what Marcus gets when his mom rents a scuzzy trailer and parks it near a dirty, noisy beach. Some vacation! Marcus would rather play video games anyway, but when he discovers a staircase underneath the trailer, it looks as if he may be in for some kind of multilevel, multiplayer experience controlled by a complete nightmare of a witch. It’s just like a game—except it’s all too real.
♦ The Princess of Trelian (Candlewick) – Michelle Knudsen. The hundred-year war with Kragnir is over, and Meg will soon be named the princess-heir of Trelian. But her connection to her dragon, Jakl, is making her parents’ subjects uneasy. Will they ever accept this dragon princess as their future queen? It doesn’t help that Meg is suffering horrible nightmares and sudden, uncontrollable rages — and with the link joining them together, Jakl is feeling the rages, too. Meg is desperate to talk to Calen, to see if he can help her figure out what is happening and how to stop it before she or her dragon does something terrible…Meanwhile, Calen is having troubles of his own. He’s far away, gone off with Mage Serek to receive his first true mage’s mark. But his marking ceremony is disrupted by a mysterious magical attack, and ominous prophecies predict a terrifying new danger. The Magistratum’s greatest enemy may soon reappear — and the other mages believe that Calen himself may have a hand in his return! Follow-up to The Dragon of Trelian.
♦ The Resisters #2: Sterling Squadron (Random House) – Eric Nylund. Even as he trains to be a pilot for the Resisters, twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood is still reeling from the news that aliens called the Ch’zar have taken over the world and put all the adults under their mind control. Now the Ch’zar mechanical bug armies are growing. The Resisters need more pilots like Ethan, kids who aren’t afraid to think for themselves. Ethan knows just where the Ch’zar send troublemakers like that—to Sterling Reform School. Can Ethan find a way to break into Sterling and recruit new fighters before the enemy discovers the Resisters’ underground base?
♦ The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy) (Simon & Schuster) – Linda Buckley-Archer. The year is 1763. Gideon Seymour, thief and gentleman, is hiding from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric, and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to a faulty experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine—and Peter and Kate’s only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Peter, and Kate are swept into a journey through the dangerous underworld of eighteenth-century London, traveling the routes of notorious highwaymen and even entering King George’s palace. And along they way they form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.
♦ Twice Upon a Time (Half Upon a Time) (Aladdin) – James Riley. Little mermaids and normal-sized pirates always create the biggest of problems, don’t they? After the surprise revelations of HALF UPON A TIME, Jack, May and Phillip could use the help of a fairy godmother or two on their search for May’s true identity. Only, there might be a snag: The entire Fairy Homelands have been put to sleep by an evil curse, and waking them could be hard. That’s only if by hard, you mean escaping from the Land of Never, braving a merman-infested ocean to find a Sea Witch, then fighting alongside the pirate Bluebeard against an army of land-invading sharks with legs, all while trying to outwit one of the Wicked Queen’s Eyes who seems to know your every move. So, yeah, a bit hard. But what fun would an easy fairy tale be? Twice Upon a Time is the second book in the Half Upon a Time series.
♦ You Can’t Have My Planet: But Take My Brother, Please (Feiwel & Friends) – James Mihaley. Thirteen-year-old Giles is the last person anyone would expect to save the planet. he’s not as charming as his little sister, and not as brainy as his goody-goody older brother. But when Giles witnesses an alien realtor showing Earth to possible new tenants, he knows he’d better do something. With the help of an alien “attorney” and the maddest scientist in middle-grade fiction, Giles just might save humans from eviction from Earth. Let’s hope so. The alternatives are…not so hospitable.
♦ Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier (HarperCollins) – Stephanie Barden. Vexylent. V-E-X-Y-L-E-N-T. Vexylent. Okay, okay, “vexylent” isn’t a real word! Cinderella Smith made it up as a combination of “very” and “excellent.” But Cinderella and Erin are hard at work learning to spell real words, because whoever wins first place in the spelling bee gets to pick the theme of the class party! Speaking of words, Rosemary T. has been using some pretty mean ones lately. So Cinderella decides to give her the silent treatment. But Cinderella’s aunt Flora tells her that it’s time to have a “what’s what” with Rosemary. Will Cinderella be able to say, and spell, everything she needs?
♦ Circle of Cranes (Dial) – Annette LeBox. Thirteen-year-old Suyin is a poor orphan who has a strange gift with languages and a mysterious connection to the cranes in her small Chinese village. When a shady human trafficker arrives promising luxury and riches beyond belief in America, the villagers elect Suyin – whom they consider lucky – to go as their benefactress. But instead of luxury, Suyin is forced to work in a sweatshop in New York City’s Chinatown. Suyin’s future seems hopeless, until her beloved cranes arrive and reveal that she is no ordinary girl – instead, she is the daughter of the Crane Queen. Now her mother’s life is in danger, and Suyin must prove herself worthy of her position as the Crane Princess, in order to save her mother and the entire clan of cranes.
♦ Cordially Uninvited (Simon & Schuster) – Jennifer Roy. Eleven-year-old Claire Gross is fascinated by all things royal—especially because her very own cousin Belle is engaged to the Prince of England! Even though Claire is going to be a junior bridesmaid, she’s not as excited about the wedding as you might think. For one thing, she can’t tell anyone—not even her best friend. And for another, Claire’s parents are divorced, so she’s not so sure that “happily ever after” even exists. But when Claire gets to England and meets mean-girl Pandora—also a junior bridesmaid—she quickly realizes that whether or not she believes in true love, if she doesn’t take action, Pandora could break up Belle’s relationship! It may be the royal party of the century—but between the mishaps, the mayhem, and an awful social-climbing princess-wannabe, will there still be wedding bells for the happy couple?
♦ Double Dog Dare (Philomel) – Lisa Graff. What would you do to win a dare war? In a humorous and insightful novel reminiscent of her award-winning titles The Thing About Georgie and Umbrella Summer, Lisa Graff tells the story of fourth-graders Kansas Bloom and Francine Halata, who start out as archenemies, until–in a battle of wits and willpower–they discover that they have a lot more in common than either would have guessed. This dual-perspective novel will appeal to girls and boys alike–and to anyone who has ever wanted anything so badly that they’d lick a lizard to get it.
♦ Dreamsleeves (Scholastic) – Coleen Murtagh Paratore. A powerful, radiant story about a girl who wears her dreams on her sleeve. Aislinn is a girl with a lot of dreams, but due to family issues (caused mostly by her hard-drinking father), there’s a lot standing in her way. While she should be enjoying the summer with friends, Aislinn is kept under lock and key and put in charge of her younger siblings. The average girl might give up, but not Aislinn. A person, she says, should write their dreams on their sleeve, putting them out there for the world to see, because there’s a good chance that someone might come along and help you make your dream come true. What begins as a plea for help for her father to stop drinking, turns into a spark that has the whole community making their own dreamsleeves.
♦ The Popularity Papers: Book Four: The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang (Abrams) – Amy Ignatow. It’s summertime, and Julie and Lydia are going on a road trip! After all the ups and downs of their first year in junior high, they’re looking forward to seeing the sights and getting some new perspective on their quest for popularity. Papa Dad and Daddy will provide the transportation, and they’ll provide the entertainment. At first Julie and Lydia use their Powers of Observation to catalog the traditions and oddities of each new location they visit, but soon their attention turns to parents and family and negotiating sensitive family dynamics. By the time the duo hits familiar streets again, they may have to accept some uncomfortable truths, but their journey is infused with the humor, heart, and truthfulness that Amy Ignatow is known for.
♦ Remarkable (Dial) – Elizabeth Foley. A wonderfully whimsical debut that proves ordinary people can do extraordinary things. In the mountain town of Remarkable, everyone is extraordinarily talented, extraordinarily gifted, or just plain extraordinary. Everyone, that is, except Jane Doe, the most average ten-year-old who ever lived. But everything changes when the mischievous, downright criminal Grimlet twins enroll in Jane’s school and a strange pirate captain appears in town. Thus begins a series of adventures that put some of Remarkable’s most infamous inhabitants and their long-held secrets in danger. It’s up to Jane, in her own modest style, to come to the rescue and prove that she is capable of some rather exceptional things. With a page-turning mystery and larger-than-life cast of characters, Lizzie K. Foley’s debut is nothing short of remarkable.
♦ Fenway Fever (Philomel) – John H. Ritter. Happy 100th Birthday, Fenway Park! “Stats” Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family’s hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team’s ace pitcher–and Stats’s idol–becomes convinced the famed Curse of the Bambino has returned. Stats just has to help . . . but how? As the Sox faithful sour on their team, Stats forms a plan that ultimately unifies an entire city and proves that true loyalty has a magic all its own. In honor of Fenway Park’s 100th birthday, baseball novelist John H. Ritter delivers an inspiring tale for the sports fan in each of us, regardless of team allegiance.
♦ Summer of the Gypsy Moths (Balzer + Bray) – Sara Pennypacker. Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other. But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.
♦ Summer on the Moon (Peachtree) – Adrian Fogelin. It is the beginning of summer vacation. Socko and his best friend Damien entertain themselves playing with the decrepit old elevator in their tenement or throwing things off the roof, taking special care to avoid the local Tarantula gang and its leader, Rapp. With the economy in a slump, many of the building s tenants are jobless. Despite their difficult circumstances, Socko s mom Delia is intent on helping him excel in school. She even looks out for his friends, keeping a close eye on Damien and on Rapp s reluctant girlfriend, Junebug. But when an opportunity arises to get Socko out of the bad neighborhood, Delia jumps at the chance. Her elderly grandfather has offered them a deal: to help him avoid a nursing home, he will buy a house for the three of them to live in, with full ownership going to Delia when he dies. Socko is less than thrilled to leave his best friend behind, especially with the Tarantulas recruiting. But Delia insists they can t save everyone, and they pack up their few belongings to move to Moon Ridge Estates. Nothing in the new place is even remotely what Socko had imagined. His great-grandfather ( the General ) is wheelchair bound, crotchety, and extremely bossy. The housing development is a wasteland of empty houses, most of them only half-finished. Socko manages to make the best of a bad situation, caring for the General while Delia is at work and exploring via skateboard the vast unfinished tract called Moon Ridge, now his exclusive territory. But when a family with expensive furnishings and a very upper-class-looking daughter moves in across the street, things begin to change. Socko realizes he isn t the only one with problems, and a new community begins to rally around the struggling development. During his Summer on the Moon, Socko will face a series of tests concerning his own nature, the nature of the world, and his place in it.
♦ The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook (Amulet) – Joanne Rocklin. Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet’s office, convinced he can only get better at home with them, Oona tells Fred the story of Zook’s previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook’s lives has echoes in Oona’s own family life, which is going through a transition she’s not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan—whom Oona secretly calls “the villain.” The truth about Dylan, and about Zook’s medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story.
♦ Child of the Mountains (Delacorte) – Marilyn Sue Shank. Growing up poor in 1953 in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia doesn’t bother Lydia Hawkins. She treasures her tight-knit family. There’s her loving mama, now widowed; her whip-smart younger brother, BJ, who has cystic fibrosis; and wise old Gran. But everything falls apart after Gran and BJ die and mama is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her. Moving to a coal camp to live with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae only makes Lydia feel more alone. She is ridiculed at her new school for her outgrown homemade clothes and the way she talks, and for what the kids believe her mama did. And to make matters worse, she discovers that her uncle has been keeping a family secret—about her. If only Lydia, with her resilient spirit and determination, could find a way to clear her mother’s name.
♦ Dear America: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie (Scholastic) – Kristiana Gregory. After the death of her two sisters, thirteen-year-old Hattie and her family make for a fresh start. They sell their farm in Missouri and journey across the Oregon Trail toward Oregon City. At first the adventure is exciting, but as the days, weeks, and months pass, Hattie realizes what a dangerous and tedious trip it is. As they cross the prairies, news of the fate of the Donner party reaches them, and death, disease, weather, and the terrain take a terrible toll on their traveling party. The Campbells lose neighbors and friends until they almost cannot bear to continue. But Hattie and her family must persevere or risk the same misfortune. Hattie’s diary chronicles the hardships of such a harrowing journey, but also captures the small moments, the friendships and celebrations of life, that keep hope alive.
♦ Farm Boy (Scholastic) – Michael Morpurgo. The sequel to War Horse. Albert’s son is all grown up, an old man now. But he has a shameful secret he’s kept to himself his whole life. As he comes to terms with the truth, he tells stories of the farm of his childhood–his war hero dad, skipping school to help with the harvest, and of course the wonderful horses, Joey and Zoey.
♦ Gladiator: Fight for Freedom (Disney Hyperion) – Simon Scarrow. Eleven-year-old Marcus Cornelius Primus has been torn from his idyllic childhood and recruited as a gladiator, facing a life of intense training governed by strict rules. As he learns what it takes to become an elite warrior, Marcus makes new friends and masters valuable skills, but he also makes a dangerous enemy who will stop at nothing to make Marcus’s life miserable. But Marcus has no intention of staying in gladiator school forever. He is determined to find his father’s old commander to right the wrongs that have been done to Marcus’s family. Escape won’t be easy, with the threat of punishment and battle in the arena looming large. Yet, unbeknownst to Marcus, he carries a secret that might hold the key to his freedom and that of all of the Empire’s slaves. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape.
♦ Looking for Me (Houghton Mifflin) – Betsy R. Rosenthal. One of 12 siblings growing up in depression-era Baltimore, Edith isn’t quite sure of who she is. Between working at her father’s diner, taking care of her younger siblings, and living in the shadow of her more mature sisters, Edith feels lost in a sea of siblings. When a kind teacher encourages Edith to be a teacher herself one day, Edith sees prospects for a future all her own. Full of joy, pain, humor, and sadness, this novel in verse is a wonderful look at the life of Edith Paul, the author’s mother, and is an enduring portrait (complete with family photos and an author’s note at the end) of one family’s pursuit of the American dream.
♦ The Last Song (Tundra Books) – Eva Wiseman. Spain had been one of the world’s most tolerant societies for eight hundred years, but that way of life was wiped out by the Inquisition. Isabel’s family feels safe from the terrors, torture, and burnings. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabel was raised as a Catholic and doesn’t know that her family’s Jewish roots may be a death sentence. When her father is arrested by Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, she makes a desperate plan to save his life – and her own.
♦Tracks (Margaret K. McElderry) – Diane Lee Wilson. Can the railroad that is uniting America bridge the gap between two boys from different backgrounds? Shortly after the Civil War, Malachy laces on his father’s boots and travels to the American West to work on the transcontinental railroad that will unite the country. In addition to the challenge of the physically grueling work, Malachy also has to adjust to working with Chinese men and boys, whom he views with suspicion and contempt. Despite everything, Malachy gets by with his love for his fierce new dog, Brina, and Blind Thomas, the most hardworking and loyal railroad horse around. But after a Chinese boy is blamed for stealing a bag of coins, Malachy begins to reconsider his prejudices—because Malachy is the real thief, and his conscience is uneasy. He begins to notice the many ways in which the Chinese workers are mistreated. And when real danger threatens, Malachy needs to find the courage to step up and do what’s right.
♦ Running with Trains: A Novel in Poetry and Two Voices (Wordsong/Boyds Mill Press) – Michael J. Rosen. Is the grass greener on the other side of the train window? Even a brief brush with a stranger can change our lives. It’s 1970, and Perry feels adrift in turbulent times: his father is missing in action in Vietnam, his mother is studying to become a nurse in the city, his older sister has become a peacenik in college. Traveling between his hometown, where he lives with his grandmother, and his mother’s house in Cincinnati, Perry notices Steve, whose farm lies on the B&O railroad line. Steve likes to race the train as it blows by his fields; Steve skillfully sends his collie after an escaped cow; Steve watches the Cincinnatian, longing for its speed, longing for adventure. In alternating voices, Michael J. Rosen’s poems weave a tale of two boys—one wishing for the stability of home, the other yearning to travel—and the unexpected impact of their fleeting encounter.
♦ Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School (Abrams) – Timothy P. McLaughlin, Stephen D. Nelson (Illustrator), Joseph Marshall III. This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures. The collection was compiled by a teacher at the school, working with school administrators, and contains never-before-published artworks by award-winning artist S. D. Nelson.
♦ Buried Alive!: How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert (Clarion) – Elaine Scott. In August 2010, thirty-three miners were buried alive, two thousand feet below the surface of the earth. After seventeen tense days, just as hope was nearly gone, rescuers made contact with the men. Joy broke out around the world—all thirty-three men were alive! But it would be long weeks before they emerged from the mine. What did the miners feel, trapped in the steamy darkness so far underground? What did they eat? How did they get along? And most important, how did they survive in those seventeen days when death lingered so near, and after, during the long wait for rescue? This amazing true story about problem-solving, community, and real-life heroes is made kid-friendly by veteran nonfiction writer Elaine Scott. It will inspire for years to come.
♦ Chuck Close: Face Book (Kids Can Press) – Chuck Close. This fascinating, interactive autobiography presents Chuck Close’s story, his art, and a discussion of the many processes he uses in the studio. The question-and-answer format is based on real kids’ inquiries about Close’s life and work, and his answers to them. Close, who is wheelchair-bound and paints with a brush strapped to his arm, discusses the severe dyslexia and face blindness he has struggled with since childhood, as well as a collapsed spinal artery that left him nearly paralyzed at the age of 48. An engaging feature of the book is a mix-and-match Chuck Close self-portrait section. This hands-on component encourages the reader to create new and interesting combinations of Close’s techniques and images. The book also includes an illustrated chronology of Close’s life, a list of museums where his work can be seen, and an index.
♦ Our Lady of Guadalupe (Marshall Cavendish) – Carmen T. Bernier-Grand. One morning, while walking to an early church service, Juan Diego hears a voice calling, Juanito! Juan Dieguito! He comes face to face with the Virgin Mary! I would like a shrine built on this hill, she tells him, and she instructs him to take her wish to the bishop. Juan Diego, a lowly peasant, protests that the bishop will pay no attention to him, but the Virgin says that she will protect him. Juan Diego visits the bishop three times, but only after he brings a sign from the Virgin, a bunch of roses that are miraculously blooming in December, does the bishop relent and agree to the Virgin’s request. From then on, the image of the Virgin is imprinted on Juan Diego s rough cactus-fiber tilma, the cloak in which he carried the roses. Today, millions of pilgrims visit the shrine and pray before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Tonya Engel’s sweeping oil-and-encaustic illustrations capture 16th-century Mexican country and city landscapes with stunning clarity. An Author s Note about the origins of the legend and miracle is included.
♦ Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World (Houghton Mifflin) – Sy Montgomery, Temple Grandin. When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism. While Temple’s doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her. Temple went to school instead. Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. This compelling biography complete with Temple’s personal photos takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.
♦ The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea (Kids Can Press, Ltd) – Helaine Becker, Willow Dawson. Based on the idea that knowledge is power, The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea shows how the ocean works and why this immense ecosystem needs our protection. Experiments using everyday materials help explain scientific concepts, such as why the ocean is salty, how temperature affects water density and why fish don’t get waterlogged. A focus on pollution and other ecological hazards raises awareness. Young scientists will gain a hands-on understanding of how “booms” clean oil spills and how a garbage patch roughly twice the size of Texas came to exist in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Newsy sidebars bring readers up to date on efforts to combat environmental hazards — such as the use of oysters to help squelch pollution in urban waterways. An ideal tool for classroom use or the perfect way to spend a rainy day, The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea is an essential part of any science library.
♦ Titanic: Voices From the Disaster (Scholastic) – Deborah Hopkinson. Critically acclaimed nonfiction author Deborah Hopkinson pieces together the story of the TITANIC and that fateful April night, drawing on the voices of survivors and archival photographs. Scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the TITANIC, a topic that continues to haunt and thrill readers to this day, this book by critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices and stories of real TITANIC survivors and witnesses to the disaster — from the stewardess Violet Jessop to Captain Arthur Rostron of the CARPATHIA, who came to the rescue of the sinking ship. Packed with heartstopping action, devastating drama, fascinating historical details, loads of archival photographs on almost every page, and quotes from primary sources, this gripping story, which follows the TITANIC and its passengers from the ship’s celebrated launch at Belfast to her cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers.