May New Releases

© Copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

While you’re out enjoying the May flowers, may we recommend you swing by your local bookstore or library to pick up one (or more) of the 93 middle-grade titles releasing this month? Enjoy your outing!

MIXED-UP RELEASES:

 ♦ Tracing Stars (Philomel)– Erin Moulton.  Indie Lee Chickory knows she’s not as cool as her older sister Bebe. Bebe has more friends, for one. And no one tells Bebe she’s a fish freak, for two. So when Indie accidentally brings her pet lobster to school, makes a scene, loses him in the ocean and embarrasses Bebe worse than usual, she makes a wish on a star to become a better Chickory. She tries to do this by joining the stage crew of the community’s theater production, The Sound of Music. (Bebe has a starring role.) But Bebe is worried that Indie will embarrass her again, so she gives her a makeover and tells her who she should be friends with. That means Owen is out. But he’s fun and smart, so Indie keeps her friendship with him a secret. At night, Indie and Owen rebuild a tree house into a ship in the sky to catch Indie’s pet lobster. But during the day, Indie has to hide her friendship with Owen.

When things come to a head, Indie realizes that being true to yourself is more important than being cool. But what’s even more surprising is that Bebe realizes it, too.

ANIMALS:

Popular (Canterwood Crest) ♦ Canterwood Crest: Popular (Aladdin MIX)– Jessica Burkhart.  Pressure threatens Lauren’s popularity as she shines in the spotlight of the Canterwood Crest series.  Popular is Lauren’s status, at last. She’s fitting in at Canterwood Crest Academy, dating a trés cute boy, and working hard as she prepares for her first show since the horrible accident that nearly ended her riding career. Maybe too hard…

 ♦ Chained (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR) — Lynne Kelly.  After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

 ♦ Chico’s Challenge: The Story of an American Quarter Horse (Feiwel & Friends)  Jessie Haas.  Set in Wyoming, Chico’s Challenge follows a young buckskin quarter horse who is trade to Sierra, a teen who works her father’s ranch and dreams of becoming a cutting horse champion. Chico seems to have the makings of a great cow horse, but…he has never seen a cow in his life! Can he and Sierra, both novices, learn to work together as a team?

 ♦ Dogs of the Drowned City #2: The Pack (Scholastic Press) — Dayna Lorentz.  The storm has passed — but the adventure has just begun!

Fans of WARRIORS and WOLVES OF THE BEYOND have a new animal adventure series to sink their teeth into.  Shep the German shepherd doesn’t know why his family has left him alone, nor does he understand the terrible, shrieking storm that tears apart his city. He just knows that the new pack of dogs he’s met are his best chance at survival — especially now that they’ve made enemies of the wild dogs in the city. Can Shep keep his new friends safe until his family — maybe — returns?

 ♦ Paw Prints in the Snow (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Sally Grindley.  Two children accompany their parents as they travel the world helping animals on the verge of extinction. As their parents work alongside international agencies, the children have their own thrilling adventures. Paw Prints in the Snow is written with the assistance and guidance of London Zoo’s conservation team. When Joe and Aesha’s mother is given an assignment to train young vets, the Brook family visits an important nature reserve near Lazovsky in eastern Russia. In this spectacular snow-bound landscape, Joe is thrilled by the prospect of glimpsing a rare Amur tiger in the wild. Alongside the fieldworkers, the Brooks get involved in tracking local species, such as the Asiatic black bear and the raccoon dog. However, the tigers prove elusive – until Joe’s interest in wildlife photography leads him to make an unexpected discovery that puts his very life in danger.

  ♦ Shadows Under the Sea (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Sally Grindley.  Two children accompany their parents as they travel the world helping animals on the verge of extinction. As their parents work alongside international agencies, the children have their own thrilling adventures. In this book, Joe, his sister Aesha and their parents travel to a remote island in the Philippines to take part in an intriguing seahorse project in a marine protected area. Joe befriends Dario, a local boy, and as they explore the island, Joe unravels the identity of the criminals who’ve been dynamite fishing and damaging the fragile coral reefs nearby. Exciting snorkelling trips, snapshots of island life and a thrilling chase scene are all featured in an exotic setting. Plenty of information is included on marine life, such as seahorses, mangrove sharks and reef fish.

  ♦ Summer of the Wolves (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children) — Polly Carlson-Voiles.  Julie of the Wolves meets Hatchet in this middle grade novel that follows orphaned twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota. A phone call from their uncle sets them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island. Nika, of all people, knows not to get her heart set on anything, but as she follows her uncle in his job studying wolves, Nika stumbles upon a relationship with an orphaned wolf pup that makes her feel — for the first time since her mother died — whole again. Here in these woods, with this wolf, none of the hard things in her past can reach her.

With vivid details about wolf behavior and a deep sense of interconnectedness with nature, this captivating first novel illuminates the intricacies of family while searching for the fine balance between caring for wild animals and leaving them alone.

CONTEMPORARY/TIMELESS:

 ♦ Confectionately Yours #1: Save the Cupcake! (Scholastic Paperbacks)– Lisa Papademetriou.  Confession: My life is soooo not sprinkles and sunshine . . .

Hayley’s world is far from perfect: her parents have divorced, her mom has lost her job, and she and her sister Chloe are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother’s apartment. Luckily, Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes — and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter! But when she and her best friend Artie start drifting apart, she realizes that it’s going to take more than sugar and spice to make things nice.

♦ Everybody Bugs Out (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Leslie Margolis.  A couple of Annabelle’s friends already have dates for their first school dance and Annabelle knows exactly who to ask. There’s only one problem, her friend Claire also likes Oliver and she’s essentially called dibs. To make things worse, Annabelle has to partner with her secret crush on their science fair project. Leslie Margolis captures another unforgettable moment of junior high drama in this third book in the Annabelle Unleashed series.

  ♦ Horse Camp (EgmontUSA) — Nate Leboutillier and Nicole Helget.  When their mom said she was sending twelve-year-old Percy and Penny and their little brother, Pauly, to stay with an uncle they’d never met, she tried to make it sound better by saying that Uncle Stretch’s farm was a horse camp. Well, the farm animals are actually chickens and pigs, and the only two horses are mean-tempered and not too keen on being ridden by kids. As Penny puts it, “This farm is like the eighteenth century, but way worse! The water has a rusty taste, and all the meat used to be animals on the farm.” If there is one thing the twins can agree on, it’s that between endless chores, no Internet or cell phones, and the prospect that their mom might have to stay in jail (even though some people say she’s a hero), horse camp is a big, fat joke. Will they ever have a real family again? Or is there a family for them right here?

  ♦ Jake and Lily (HarperCollins Childrens) — Jerry Spinelli.  “This is a story about me, Lily.”

And me, Jake.
“We’re twins and we’re exactly alike.”
Not exactly.
“Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me.”
Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood.
“Right. So anyway, this is a book about”
goobers and supergoobers
“bullies”
clubhouses
“true friends”
things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt
“and about figuring out who we are.”
We wrote this together
“(sort of)”
so you’ll get to see both sides of our story.
“But you’ll probably agree with my side.”
You always have to have the last word, don’t you?
“Yes.”

  ♦ Kepler’s Dream (Putnam Juvenile) — Juliet Bell.  When eleven-year-old Ella’s mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at “Broken Family Camp” with her eccentric grandmother, whom she’s never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter.

But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler’s Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother’s amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella’s broken family.

 ♦ The Lemonade War Series Book 3: The Bell Bandit (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children) — Jacqueline Davies.  Everything about this trip to Grandma’s house was different:

First, because of the fire, Mrs. Treski, Evan, and Jessie had driven up to Grandma’s two days after Christmas instead of the day before, missing Christmas with Grandma entirely.  Second, the fire had left a hole in the back kitchen wall big enough to drive a car through! And with Grandma in the hospital and not in her house, everything felt off.  Third, someone had climbed the long, slow slope of Lovell Hill to the top and had stolen the old iron bell hanging on its heavy wooden crossbeam.

Who on earth would steal the New Year’s Bell? And how could Grandma, Mrs. Treski, Evan, Jessie, and their neighbors ring in the New Year without it?

 ♦ My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children) — Jennifer Gennari.  Twelve-year-old June Farrell is sure of one thing—she’s great at making pies—and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermont’s civil union law threatens her family’s security and their business. Even when faced with bullying, June won’t give up on winning the blue ribbon; more importantly, she won’t give up on her family.

 ♦ One for the Murphys (Nancy Paulsen Books) — Lynda Hunt.  Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she’s blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong–until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She’s not really a Murphy, but the gifts they’ve given her have opened up a new future.

  ♦ Pool Girls: Dive In! (Simon Spotlight) — Cassie Waters.  Memorial Day weekend is finally here, and Grace Davis is having the best time at the Riverside Swim Club. (RSC to those in the know.) There are adorable swim team boys to check out, the warm sun to soak up, and her troubled friendship with a certain former best friend (ahem, Christina Cooper) to forget about. Grace can’t wait to spend the entire summer lounging poolside. There’s just one little problem—she doesn’t actually belong to RSC. Her parents say she can join if she earns the money for membership herself. With two weeks left in the school year before the summer really heats up, will Grace be able to make enough money, or will her summer be totally sunk?

 ♦ The Secret Tree (Scholastic Press) — Natalie Standiford. Minty’s neighborhood is full of mysteries.

There’s the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of the woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There’s the Man-Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder.One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers
a new mystery – a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like:

I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working.

I’m betraying my best friend in a terrible way.

No one loves me except my goldfish.

Raymond, a new boy, is also drawn to the Secret Tree, and together he and Minty start watching their neighbors. They have a curse to fix, and mysteries to solve. But first they have to get through some secrets of their own . . . secrets that will end up changing everything.

 ♦ See You at Harry’s (Candlewick) — Jo Knowles.  Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she’s not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn’t know he’s gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then there’s Charlie: three years old, a “surprise” baby, the center of everyone’s world. He’s devoted to Fern, but he’s annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn. Ran’s mantra, “All will be well,” is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe it’s true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.

 FANTASY/SCI-FI:

 ♦ The Books of Elsewhere Volume 2: Spellbound (Dial) — Jacqueline West.  With no way into the McMartin house’s magical paintings, and its three guardian cats reluctant to help, Olive’s friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere. So when Rutherford, the new oddball kid next door mentions a grimoire–a spellbook–Olive sees a glint of hope. If she can find the McMartins’ spellbook, maybe she can help Morton escape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first. The house isn’t the only one keeping secrets anymore . . .

 ♦ Brother from a Box (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) — Evan Kuhlman.  Matt Rambeau is officially a big brother—to a robot! Matt’s super-computer-genius dad is always getting cool tech stuff in the mail, but the latest box Matt opens contains the most impressive thing he’s ever seen: a bionically modified lifeform that looks human and calls Matt “brother” (in French)!

Norman turns out to be a bit of an attention hog and a showoff, but Matt’s still psyched to have a robotic sibling—even if he flirts with (ugh) girls. Then strange things start to happen. First Norman catches a virus and goes berserk, and then odd men start showing up in unusual places. Matt soon realizes that someone is trying to steal the robot—correction—his brother!

In this zany, action-packed story with spies, skateboards, and plenty of artificial intelligence, acclaimed author Evan Kuhlman gets to the heart (and motherboard) of one of the most special relationships known to man (or machine): brotherhood.

  ♦ Brotherband Chronicles, Book 2: The Invaders (Philomel) — John A. Flanagan.  Hal and the Herons have done the impossible. This group of outsiders has beaten out the strongest, most skilled young warriors in all of Skandia to win the Brotherband competition. But their celebration comes to an abrupt end when the Skandians’ most sacred artifact, the Andomal, is stolen–and the Herons are to blame.

To find redemption they must track down the thief Zavac and recover the Andomal. But that means traversing stormy seas, surviving a bitter winter, and battling a group of deadly pirates willing to protect their prize at all costs. Even Brotherband training and the help of Skandia’s greatest warrior may not be enough to ensure that Hal and his friends return home with the Andomal–or their lives.

 ♦ The Chronicles of Egg, Book 1: Deadweather and Sunrise (Putnam Juvenile) — Geoff Rodkey.  It’s tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody’s trying to kill you.

Not that Egg’s life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.

But when Egg’s father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.

Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.

Suddenly, Egg’s running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he’s been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.

Come along for the ride. You’ll be glad you did.

 ♦ Dragon Slayers Academy #20: School’s Out…Forever! (Grosset & Dunlap)– Kate McMullan.  It’s Graduation Day at DSA! While money-hungry headmaster Mordred is busy planning DSA’s conversion into a deluxe casino, Wiglaf and his friend s are on a mission to find their dragon buddy Worm. Unsuccessful in their quest, the group returns to see the school set up for a surprise graduation. Will Worm reunite with his friends before the doors close? And what comes next for the young knights in training? Find out in the much anticipated finale to McMullan’s hilarious fantasy series.

 ♦ The Fire Ascending (Scholastic, Inc.) — Chris d’Lacey.  On Earth, at the battle of Scuffenbury Hill, time has been suspended. Dragons and their natural enemies, the Ix, are trapped in a bitter, unresolved conflict. But at the dawn of history, something is working to change the past — and the future. A mysterious force is rewriting the timelines, turning what was once legend into startling reality. But is David Rain strong enough to save himself and those he loves from being written into a deadly new destiny?

David, Zanna, Lucy, Alexa, and the Pennykettle dragons return, along with some new friends and enemies, to embark on their most dangerous, most thrilling, and most magical adventure yet. Bridging the magic of the first five books with the world and characters introduced in FIRE WORLD, this fiery and action-packed final installment of the Last Dragon Chronicles will have readers racing to the exciting conclusion.

 ♦ The Flame of Olympus (Aladdin) — Kate O’Hearn.  When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death.

Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline—all as part of a quest to save Olympus before time runs out.

  ♦ A Hero for WondLa (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) — Tony DiTerlizzi.  Before the end of The Search for WondLa, Eva Nine had never seen another human, but after a human boy named Hailey rescues her along with her companions, she couldn’t be happier. Eva thinks she has everything she’s ever dreamed of, especially when Hailey brings her and her friends to the colony of New Attica, where humans of all shapes and sizes live in apparent peace and harmony.

But all is not idyllic in New Attica, and Eva Nine soon realizes that something sinister is going on—and if she doesn’t stop it, it could mean the end of everything and everyone on planet Orbona. Three illustrations trigger a 3-D Augmented Reality flying game that mimics action in the novel.

Featuring an abundance of lavish two-color illustrations and spot art throughout and introducing a host of remarkable characters that reinforce the importance of friendship, A Hero for WondLa has all the hallmarks of a classic book—of the future.

 ♦ The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (Walden Pond Press) — Christopher Healy.  Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

 ♦ Killer Pizza: The Slice (Feiwel & Friends) — Greg Taylor.  Four months after they discover that their new place of employment, Killer Pizza, was a front for an underground Monster Hunting Organization, Toby and his fellow rookie Monster Combat Officers, Annabel and Strobe, have been invited to New York City to tour KP Headquarters. But the exclusive tour is cut short when a monster emergency sends the trio off on a secret mission delivering Calanthe, a beautiful fourteen-year-old, defecting monster with serpent-like abilities, into the Monster Protection Program. It seems like an easy assignment until the teens realize Calanthe is the sacrificial offering in a ceremony set to happen in a few days and her people will stop at nothing to get her back!

 ♦ Mistress of the Storm (David Fickling Books) — M. L. Welsh.  Verity Gallant is a lonely little girl who doesn’t quite fit in. But when a mysterious stranger hands her an ancient book, everything changes. Suddenly it’s up to her to solve the riddle of an ancient pledge and protect her family from the evil Mistress of the Storm. What hope does she have against a witch so powerful she can control the wind and create storms at will? Luckily, Verity does not have to face her enemy alone. As events begin to spiral out of control, she finds two loyal and steadfast friends to stand by her side.

The Storm is coming. And it will change Verity’s life forever.

 ♦ Ordinary Magic (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Caitlen Rubino-Bradway.  In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society. The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

 ♦ The Prince Who Fell from the Sky (Random House Books for Young Readers) — John Claude Bemis.  In Casseomae’s world, the wolves rule the Forest, and the Forest is everywhere. The animals tell stories of the Skinless Ones, whose cities and roads once covered the earth, but the Skinless disappeared long ago.

Casseomae is content to live alone, apart from the other bears in her tribe, until one of the ancients’ sky vehicles crashes to the ground, and from it emerges a Skinless One, a child. Rather than turn him over to the wolves, Casseomae chooses to protect this human cub, to find someplace safe for him to live. But where among the animals will a human child be safe? And is Casseomae threatening the safety of the Forest and all its tribes by protecting him?

 ♦ Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) — Hélène Boudreau.  Jade is totally confused. As in, “will this be a leg-day or a tail-day?” kind of confused. Even worse, it’s been forever since her first kiss with Luke and now–nothing. Not even a text message.

Sigh.

But Jade doesn’t have time to figure out the weirdness of boys and how to use her shiny new tail. (Seriously, being a mermaid should come with a handbook.) She has to come up with a plan to get her missing mermaid mom back on dry land.

The only problem is…Jade is afraid of the ocean. But even aqua-phobic mer-girls have to take the plunge sometime…

 ♦ Shadow Spell (Aladdin) — Caro King.  In the sequel to Seven Sorcerers, Nin and her friends must save an entire world!  Simeon Dark is the most powerful sorcerer in the land of the Drift. Mysterious, cunning, and a shape-shifter, only he can stop the evil Strood and save the Drift from dying. But where is he?

Nin Redstone and her friends make their way to Dark’s mansion—a strange castle built in a tree—where she finds a ribbon of shadowy light. Could this be a clue to unlocking the mystery of Simeon Dark? Meanwhile, Mr. Strood is preparing his distillation machine, gathering his pet tigers and some barrels of blood, and then he’s coming after Nin….

 ♦ The Sisters Grimm Book Nine: The Council of Mirrors (Amulet Books) — Michael Buckley.  In the final volume in the Sisters Grimm series, Sabrina, Daphne, and the rest of the Grimms and their friends must face off against the Master to decide the fate of Ferryport Landing—and the world. When Mirror fails to escape the barrier using Granny Relda’s body, he turns to his plan B: killing all the Grimms so that the magical barrier collapses. In the meantime, Sabrina has gathered the other magic mirrors as advisors on how to deal with their mortal enemy. They tell her to join forces with the Scarlet Hand against Mirror, in exchange for offering all the citizens of Ferryport Landing their freedom. This final chapter is the end of the road for several beloved characters, but the conclusion is sure to satisfy devoted fans of the series.

  ♦ Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic Book 1: Wishful Thinking (Puffin) — Amanda Ashby.  After Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!

 ♦ Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic Book 2: Under a Spell (Puffin) — Amanda Ashby.  As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?

 ♦ Tunnels Book 5: Spiral (The Chicken House) — Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.   Spinning out of control!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any deeper, darker, or weirder… Creeping into the open through cracks in the earth, the Styx have surfaced, and are now infesting England like some parasitic scourge — carriers of a bizarre black secret that will place every last Topsoiler in mortal peril.

Unless Will Burrows puts a stop to the propagation.

Armed to the teeth, with little more than a motley crew of former commandos as reinforcements, can Will, Chester, and Elliott find a way to squash the threat? Or will they only find themselves in a deadly downward SPIRAL?

 ♦ Whatever After #1: Fairest of All  (Scholastic Press)  — Sarah Mlynowski.  A fresh, modern spin on a classic fairy tale–from bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski!

Mirror, mirror, on the basement wall . . .

Once upon a time my brother and I were normal kids. The next minute? The mirror in our basement slurped us up and magically transported us inside Snow White’s fairy tale.

I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

But hey — we’re heroes! We stopped Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! Or not. If Snow White doesn’t die, she won’t get to meet her prince. And then she won’t get her happy ending. Oops.

Now it’s up to us to:
- Avoid getting poisoned
- Sneak into a castle
- Fix Snow White’s story

And then, fingers crossed, find our way home.

GRAPHIC NOVELS/MANGA:

 ♦ Big Nate: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (HarperCollins) — Lincoln Peirce.  Big Nate is awesome.

Did you know that Nate’s the star of his own comic strip? Check it out.

Will Nate get away with his master plan? Or will Mrs. Godfrey catch him in the act? Find out what happens next.

 ♦ Boys Only: How to Survive Anything (Scholastic Paperbacks) — Martin Oliver.  Unlike those other books for boys that are a little too dangerous, BOYS ONLY: HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING is the perfect guide. In addition to the mix of humor and helpfulness, the fresh graphic style of art makes this book stand out from all the others. With practical, funny, and sometimes ridiculous how-tos (like how to escape quicksand, navigate using only the stars, and avoid being eaten by a polar bear) boys are going to love getting prepared for just about anything!

  ♦ Girls Only: How to Survive Anything  (Scholastic Paperbacks)– Martin Oliver.   A new graphic novel from the team that brought you the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Best at Everything series!

Unlike those other books for girls that are a little too daring, GIRLS ONLY: HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING is the perfect guide. In addition to the mix of humor and helpfulness, the fresh graphic style of art makes this book stand out from all the others. With practical, funny, and sometimes ridiculous how-tos (like how to deal with a clothes crisis, teach your cat to sit, and spot an alien in your family) girls are going to love getting prepared for just about anything!

  ♦ Planet Tad (HarperCollins) — Tim Carvell.  Tad has an agenda: Survive seventh grade.

He “also” wants to: grow a mustache, get girls to notice him, and do a kickflip on his skateboard. . . .

But those are not the “main” reasons he started a blog. Tad just has a lot of important thoughts he wants to share with the world, like: “Here is the first thing I have learned about having a dog in your house: Don’t feed them nachos. Not ever. ”

  ♦ SNARKED: Forks and Hope (BOOM! Studios) — Roger Langridge.  You were amazed by his Harvey Award-winning run on THE MUPPET SHOW. You thrilled to his run on THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER. Now the next great Roger Langridge graphic novel series begins as he brings Lewis Carroll’s imaginative world to new heights in a side-splitting adventure that can only be explained as…SNARKED! Presenting a fresh and incredibly modern “Langridge” spin on an already-warped classic, SNARKED starts here in an epic adventure featuring the Red Queen’s children, Princess Scarlett and her baby brother Rusty, as they set out in search of the missing Red King. And who better to help guide the way than the Walrus and the Carpenter from THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. That’s right, the same Walrus that inspired the Beatles song “I Am the Walrus” is now in Roger Langridge’s merry, mad hands for new all ages adventures at KABOOM!

 ♦ Stickman Odyssey, Book 2: The Wrath of Zozimos (Philomel) — Christopher Ford.  Zozimos’ journey to the kingdom of Sticatha has been anything but smooth. He’s survived enslavement, battled golems and a ravenous Cyclops, and generally served as plaything to gods and goddesses looking for a good laugh. All for the sake of reclaiming the Sticathan royal throne–stolen from him by an evil witch, aka his stepmother.

You’d think that a stickman would catch a break after all that, but you’d be wrong. Arriving home only brings crazy family members and a return trip to sea, where mercenary centaurs and giant boar gods keep Zozimos questing and readers laughing. It would all be an epic tragedy if it wasn’t so funny.

 ♦ Vermonia #6: To the Pillar of Wind (Candlewick)– YoYo.  The future of Turtle Realm hangs in the balance as the epic manga series charges forward.

In part six of the Vermonia series, the Blue Star Warriors must find a way to infiltrate Uro’s most fiercely guarded headquarters as they fight to save the Pillar of Wind from destruction. They must use all of their resources, including the warship Vleste, now powered by the magical crystal they found in the Lake of Wishes. As Doug is captured by a band of Uro’s soldiers, Naomi and Fly are inadvertently transported back to the planet of Blue Star- revealing the mysterious pathways connecting the galaxies while exposing some of Uro’s weaknesses.

HISTORICAL FICTION/TIME TRAVEL:

 ♦ Beyond the Western Sea Book 2: Into the Storm (Scholastic Paperbacks) — Avi.  Avi’s suspenseful seafaring adventure ESCAPE FROM HOME continues in INTO THE STORM.

Fifteen-year-old Maura and twelve-year-old Patrick O’Connell are finally free from the impoverished conditions of their small Irish village. Though they’ve made it onto the ship to America, there’s still a treacherous journey ahead of them.

In the storage hold, ten-year-old Laurence Kirkle struggles to survive and stay hidden as the ship’s crew searches for stowaways to throw overboard.

All three children are in search of a better world and a new home. But will they find what they’re looking for in America?

 ♦ Bridge of Time  (Feiwel & Friends) — Lewis Buzbee.  Best friends Lee Jones and Joan Lee have a lot more in common besides their names. On the eve of their class trip, they each learn their parents are getting divorced. Ugh. The class trip is a dud, so Lee and Joan steal away to talk. What follows is an afternoon nap in a lighthouse, walking up to find the Golden Gate Bridge gone–gone!–and meeting a young man named Sam Clemens, who is on the run from a mysterious stranger.

Lee and Joan wonder: Where are they? What year is it? Why don’t their cell phones work? How will they get back? Do they even want to? Will life ever be the same?

 ♦ Dogtag Summer (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Elizabeth Partridge.  Half Vietnamese, half American, Tracy’s not sure she fits in with her family in California. But when she and her best friend find a soldier’s dogtag, she is jarred by memories from her life in Vietnam, and the lingering anti-war sentiments that surround her today. Where is home when you’re a child of war? Is it the country that’s buried deep within your memories? Or is it the place you live, among the people you call family?

 ♦ George Washington’s Spy (Scholastic Press) — Elvira Woodruff.  This historic time-travel fantasy is a riveting sequel to a bestselling classic.

Ten-year-old Matt Carlton and six friends are accidentally swept back in time–to Boston in 1776! The British now occupy the city, and redcoat guards are everywhere! While the boys are being held captive by a den of Patriot spies, the girls have been taken in by a wealthy Tory family.

The pox is rampant; danger lies around every corner–and there’s no hope for returning home to their own time. How will these seven children survive?

Readers will relish the nonstop action and humorous dialogue in this riveting sequel to Woodruff’s bestselling novel, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS.

 ♦ Precious Bones (Delacorte Books for Young Readers) — Mika Ashley-Hollinger.  Meet ten-year-old Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mystical witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones’ father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama, practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones’ soul.

It’s summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. But then two Yankee real estate agents trespass on her family’s land, and Nolay scares them off with his gun. When a storm blows in and Bones and Little Man uncover something horrible at the edge of the Loo-chee swamp, the evidence of foul play points to Nolay. The only person that can help Nolay is Sheriff LeRoy, who’s as slow as pond water. Bones is determined to take matters into her own hands. If it takes a miracle, then a miracle is what she will deliver.

 ♦ The Treasure Chest #3: Jewel of the East (Grosset & Dunlap) — Ann Hood.  When Felix Robbins gets a crush on Lily Goldstein, a classmate who is adopted from China, he decides to try to take her back in time so that she can see the country where she was born. Maisie discovers his plot, and foils it.

But the twins end up in a small village on the Yangtze River, where they meet a girl named Pearl Buck in the days just before the Boxer Rebellion. With bandits chasing them, will they ever find safety . . . and return home?

HUMOR:

  ♦ Anyway* *A Story About Me with 138 Footnotes, 27 Exaggerations, and 1 Plate of Spaghetti (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) — Arthur Salm.  Max is a good kid—but you wouldn’t know that if you met him at the boring family camp his parents dragged him to over the summer. There, for a few exciting weeks, Max reinvents himself as “Mad Max” and gains a bad-boy reputation for being daring, cool, and fearless.

But when Max returns home, he finds it’s easier to be fearless with strangers than it is among friends, and he is not particularly proud of the way his behavior over the summer hurt people. Can he find away to merge his adventurous alter ego with his true identity as a good guy?

Peppered with humorous handwritten footnotes and doodles throughout, Anyway* perfectly captures the viewpoint of a young teen doing his best to find his place in the world—and an ideal balance between wise guy and wimp.

 ♦ Applewhites at Wit’s End (HarperCollins) — Stephanie S. Tolan.  Jake Semple and E.D. Applewhite are back, this time facing a financial meltdown E.D.’s father has called “”the end of the world “” Famously creative Randolph Applewhite hatches a plan to save the family from poverty and starvation: They will turn the sixteen acres of their family compound, Wit’s End, into “Eureka ,” a summer camp for creative children. The plan will demand the all-out efforts of the whole family, including Jake, who has managed to survive his first year in their home school. The whole thing “seems” like a good idea . . .

. . . until–in the midst of the ordinary chaos of temperamental artists; talented, intense, headstrong campers; a dead possum; and rampaging goats–anonymous, threatening notes begin mysteriously appearing in the Applewhites’ roadside mailbox. Can E.D., Jake, and the “Eureka ” campers prevent a head-on collision with disaster?

In this hilarious, masterful sequel to Stephanie S. Tolan’s Newbery Honor Book, “Surviving the Applewhites,” the Applewhite family returns, more outrageous than ever.

 ♦ Crush: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Love (Wendy Lamb Books) — Gary Paulsen.  Readers met the comical Kevin in Liar, Liar and Flat Broke. Kevin gets serious about Tina Zabinski, the Most Beautiful Girl in the World. Finally, finally, he’s worked up his courage—he’s going to ask her out. Or will his trademark scheming get in his way?

 ♦ The Loser List #2: Revenge of the Loser (Scholastic Press) — H.N. Kowitt.  Danny Shine might have gotten his name off the Loser List in the girls’ bathroom, but he’s still got problems — like the new kid, Ty Randall. Ty seems perfect: handsome, serious, committed to worthy causes — everything Danny’s not. Will out-of-control jealousy wreck Danny’s life, or can he undo the damage before it’s too late?

All the highs and lows of middle school are brought hilariously to life in this notebook-style novel, full of drawings, charts, and Danny’s unique take on 7th grade.

 ♦ Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck (Random House Books for Young Readers) — Dale E. Basye.  Dale E. Basye sends Milton and Marlo to Snivel, the circle reserved for crybabies, for their latest hilarious escapade in Heck. Snivel is a camp—a bummer camp—a dismal place where it’s always raining, and Unhappy Campers are besieged by swarms of strange mosquitoes that suck the color right out of them. Soon the Fausters discover that some Unhappy Campers have been disappearing. So after Marlo gets chosen for a special project and never comes back, Milton makes up his mind to find her and all the missing children.

Can Milton find his sister and get the heck out of Snivel? With the help of some new friends, his pet ferret, and Vincent Van Gogh’s ear, he just might have a chance.

MAGICAL REALISM:

 ♦ Sway (Hyperion Book CH) — Amber McRee Turner.  For four long months, ten-year-old Cass has been dreaming of the day her mom, Toodi, will come home. But when Toodi’s welcome back party takes a turn for the disastrous, Cass finds herself stuck alone with her dull-as-dirt dad, who insists that they set off for the summer on a mysterious adventure—just the two of them.

It turns out Cass’s dad has some big-time surprises up his sleeve. Once they hit the road in an old RV named The Roast, he introduces her to the amazing power of “Sway,” a seemingly magical force that can bring inspiration and joy to people in major need of help.

Cass can think of one particular person who could really use some Sway. If only she could track down Toodi, Cass knows she could convince her mom to come home. But with the help of a little home-spun magic, Cass realizes that the things she needs most have always been within her reach.

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE:

 ♦ Alex and the Amazing Time Machine (Henry Holt and Co. BYR) — Rich Cohen.  Alex Trumble is a pretty ordinary kid—except for the fact that his IQ borders on genius, and he loves to read books on vortexes and time travel. But when two angry hit men kidnap his big brother Steven, Alex’s life changes fast. Inventing a time machine (using an iPod, mirrors, duct tape, and a laser pointer) is only half the battle. With the help of the time-bending Dingus, Alex and his best friend Todd must travel back in time to collect clues, outwit the bad guys, and race against the clock to save his family from total oblivion.

 ♦ Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper (Philomel) — John V. Madormo.  Encyclopedia Brown, watch out! Charlie Collier can match you mystery for mystery!

Seventh grader Charlie Collier has always been able to solve brain teasers in no time at all. And his favorite books have always been mysteries. So when Charlie dons his father’s old trench coat–the one his mother thought she brought to Goodwill–and a fedora that should have suffered the same fate, he thinks solving mysteries will be as easy as pie. But then Charlie is presented with a big case. A huge one. That involves the entire town. And Charlie needs more than just smarts to crack this case. He’ll need his friend Henry, their client Scarlet, and a class bully who turns out to have some surprising secrets of his own.

 ♦ Dawn Patrol (Orca Book Publishers) — Jeff Ross.  Everything stops making sense for extreme surfer Kevin Taylor after his parents die in a plane crash. When Kevin disappears, leaving only a cryptic note, his best friends Luca and Esme have no choice but to try and find him. Their journey takes them to the coast of Panama, where they must confront unfriendly locals, a surfer who seems bent on destroying them, and monster waves. As their hope dwindles and time runs out, the mystery of what really happened to Kevin’s parents deepens, and Luca and Esme begin to wonder if they are in over their heads.

 ♦ The Great Cat Conspiracy (Beach Lane Books)– Katie Davies.  This is a story about Tom, and the Cat Lady, and all the things that happened after the New Cat got kidnapped….

The New Cat keeps bringing dead things into the house as gifts for Tom. When he brings in the head of the Vicar’s most expensive Koi carp and the Vicar asks Mum for a ton of money for a replacement, Anna’s Dad is so cross he locks the New Cat out of the house. Tom argues for the cat to be let back in, but by the time Dad finally concedes, the New Cat has disappeared altogether. Anna, Suzanne and Tom are convinced he’s been kidnapped—but can they find out who is behind the Great Cat Conspiracy?

 ♦ Madhattan Mystery (Walker Childrens) — John J. Bonk.  All set to spend their summer in New York City with their aunt while their father is honeymooning with his new wife, Lexi and her younger brother Kevin’s snoozy summer plans turn into high-stakes adventure when Lexi overhears a plot to steal Cleopatra’s famous jewels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Joining forces with budding investigative journalist Kim Ling Levine, they ditch day camp to track down the thieves and rake in the reward money. Can Lexi, Kevin, and Kim find out who’s behind the jewel heist without getting into too much trouble themselves?

For fans of the classic From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler comes a hilarious whodunnit that will keep readers guessing to the very end.

 ♦ The Mask of Destiny (Walden Pond Press) — Richard Newsome.  The final chapter of the Archer Legacy opens in the Central Criminal Court of the Old Bailey in London. Gerald, Sam, and Ruby are attending the murder trial of Sir Mason Green, hoping to see their longtime enemy put away for good. But just as the trial is about to begin, Mason Green is killed–and Gerald is framed for the murder. He only has one choice: to run.

Now he and his friends, along with Mr. Fry, are off on a quest to clear Gerald’s name. Their journey will lead them across Europe in a race for the greatest and most powerful treasure ever assembled on earth–one that waits for someone, good or evil, to finally claim it.

Mysteries will be solved, friendships will be tested, and all secrets finally revealed in this, the last installment of Richard Newsome’s pulse-pounding epic.

 ♦ Mystery at the Olympics: Rush for the Gold (Knopf Books for Young Readers) — John Feinstein.  Bestselling sportswriter and Edgar Award winner John Feinstein is back with another sports mystery featuring Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson—this one set at the summer Olympics in London. In this book, Susan Carol isn’t a reporter—she’s an Olympian, competing as a swimmer at her first Olympic games. Stevie is both proud and envious of her athletic prowess. And he’s worried by the agents and sponsors and media all wanting to get up close and personal with Susan Carol. But the more disturbing question becomes—how far might they go to ensure that America’s newest Olympic darling wins gold?

Sports novels abound, but Feinstein’s books are all stars. They combine sports action, high-stakes mysteries, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of big-time sporting events.

 ♦ Neil Flambé and the Crusader’s Curse (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) — Kevin Sylvester.  World-class chef—and royal pain in the neck—Neil Flambé is used to serving his dishes to resounding applause and overwhelming approval. And Neil’s super-sensitive nose does more than enable him to cook sophisticated meals and run his own restaurant; it also allows him to help local police solve mysteries in his spare time.

Then things start going wrong. His plates are returned. A group of critics visit the restaurant and leave completely dissatisfied. Worse yet, Chez Flambé is closed by an order of the Department of Health!

Suddenly, Neil finds himself amid the cook-off of his life—and his entire reputation is at stake. Then he discovers the root of all his problems: a dark curse that has plagued Flambé chefs for centuries. Has Neil finally met a mess he can’t smell his way out of?

 ♦ The Phantom of the Post Office (Harcourt Children’s Books) — Kate Klise.  The letter-loving trio at Spence Mansion has something to grieve about—Ghastly’s post office is about to close, which will cut off their connection to their fans. A new invention called VEXT-mail is threatening to replace not only letters, but books, hair dryers, and even garage door openers! Could the mysterious occupant of P.O. Box 5 and his seemingly sinister plan save the doomed post office? Will he strike down Ghastly’s beloved ghostwriter in the process? In this fourth book in the award-winning 43 Old Cemetery Road series, eleven-year-old Seymour Hope and his new friend, Wy Fye, must solve this postmortem mystery . . . before it’s too late!

 ♦ The Puzzler’s Mansion: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (Putnam Juvenile) — Eric Berlin.  Puzzle fanatic Winston Breen and his best friends receive a once-in-a-lifetime invitation–to a weekend of riddles, games and puzzles at a fabulous mansion! Famous musician Richard Overton is giving away valuable prizes and Winston is ready to win. But the ultimate weekend becomes the ultimate mystery when prizes start going missing, and no guests are above suspicion. Can Winston crack the case before the weekend is up?

A fast-paced whodunit filled with interactive puzzles and plenty of clever brain-teasers, the latest Winston Breen installment will have readers hooked!

 ♦ Secret of the Shadows (Bloomsbury USA Childrens) — Cathy MacPhail.  Tyler is staying in her grandmother’s cottage to help tidy it up after her death. Why does the spare bedroom that Tyler sleeps in always seem cold, despite bright sunshine? Why does she feel the presence of a frail old lady who is nothing like her grandmother? And why does she sense that the same old lady is asking for her help? Perhaps Tyler will need to use her gifts to help save somebody from a terrible fate . . .

 ♦ Sleuth or Dare #1: Partners in Crime (Scholastic Paperbacks) — Kim Harrington.  Whodunit?

When best friends Darcy and Norah have to create a fake business for a school assignment, they come up with a great idea: a detective agency! Darcy loves mysteries, and Norah likes helping people, so it’s a perfect fit.

But then their pretend agency gets a real case. Someone is missing, and it’s up to Darcy and Norah to take on the search. Unfortunately, there’s someone else out there who doesn’t want the two detectives stirring up any trouble. . . .

With the help of hidden clues, spy gadgets, and trusted friends, can Darcy and Norah crack the case in time?

 ♦ Theodore Boone: The Accused (Dutton Juvenile) — John Grisham.  Theo Boone might only be thirteen, but he’s already uncovered key evidence in a groundbreaking murder trial and discovered the truth behind his best friend’s abduction. Now with the latest unfolding of events in Strattenburg, Theo will face his biggest challenge yet.

 ♦ Three Times Lucky (Dial) — Sheila Turnage.  Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone’s business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she’s been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her “upstream mother,” she’s found a home with the Colonel–a café owner with a forgotten past of his own–and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

 ♦ Two Crafty Criminals! and how they were Captured by the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang (Knopf Books for Young Readers) — Philip Pullman.  Benny Kaminsky and Thunderbolt Dobney lead a rag-tag gang of neighborhood rowdies. Their territory is the New Cut on London’s South Bank—a place bristling with swindlers, bookies, pickpockets, and the occasional policeman. And their aim is to solve crimes.

When counterfeit coins start showing up in their neighborhood, Thunderbolt fears his own father may be behind the crime. But his friends devise a way to trap the real culprit. Then the gang takes on the case of some stolen silver. They have just two clues—a blob of wax, and an unusually long match. But even this slippery thief is unmasked by the determined kids of the New Cut.

 ♦ The Whispering House (Katherine Tegen Books) — Rebecca Wade.  It’s an old house, one her family plans to stay in for only a short while; but for Hannah Price, secrets soon come creeping out of every corner of Cowleigh Lodge.

First there’s the old and dusty book of children’s fairy tales that belonged to a young girl named Maisie. Hannah learns that the girl died mysteriously at age eleven in this very house nearly 140 years ago.

Then, when Hannah draws a portrait of Maisie, things begin to fall apart. The house seems to be reverting to its nineteenth-century form, and Hannah’s not sure whether it or Maisie herself is sending her messages. Hannah must solve the mystery of Maisie’s death, because if she doesn’t help her, Maisie may never leave Hannah alone.

NON-FICTION:

 ♦ Better Than a Lemonade Stand!: Small Business Ideas for Kids (Aladdin/Beyond Words) — Daryl Bernstein.  Filled with delightfully simple business ideas, Better than a Lemonade Stand! is a fun guide packed with creative ideas that show how to start a business with little or no start-up costs, attract and retain customers, develop negotiating skills, and more.

Originally written and published when the author was only fifteen years old, Better than a Lemonade Stand! has already helped thousands of kids start their own profitable small businesses. Now an adult and father himself, Daryl Bernstein has polished and expanded his book for a new generation of budding entrepreneurs.

This indispensable resource includes more than fifty, fun, simple business ideas—complete with tips about supplies, time needed, what to charge, and how to advertise—all completely updated with strategies based on Bernstein’s own experience as a successful entrepreneur and father.

 ♦ A Civil War Scrapbook: I Was There Too! (Fulcrum Publishing) — History Colorado.  A Civil War Scrapbook is a multicultural Civil War history for children. The book gives a fresh perspective on the Civil War by not only featuring chronological information, but also focusing on the different types of people and their place in the war. This ambitious book emphasizes the roles of the children, women, minorities, and even pets that became mascots in the war. A Civil War Scrapbook is enhanced with historical photographs, drawings, maps, games, and primary quotes from children. Readers will also enjoy learning about the importance of music in the military, the advances in technology that occurred during the war, the Morse code alphabet, and slang words used during the Civil War. Online material complements the book with bonus information, games, and activities.

 French Slanguage (Gibbs Smith) — Mike Ellis.  With this fun visual guide, simply follow the illustrated prompts and read the English words out loud: soon you’ll be speaking French Learn to be polite by saying “please”: “See Voo Play.” Or let someone know what a “good idea” that was: “Set Tune Bunny Day.”

The simple icons are easy to follow and this pocket-sized guide is easy to carry with you. It will give you the basic phrases you need to get around while traveling, whether asking directions, ordering food at a restaurant, or shopping. But most of all, it’s just plain fun.

 ♦ Heroes of Olympus (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers)  Philip Freeman, adapted by Laurie Calkhoven.  Ancient myths continue to have modern relevance—for thousands of years they have been the basis for plays, operas, paintings, and movies. And in these retellings from acclaimed writer and scholar Philip Freeman, classic tales from Greek and Roman mythology find new life and inspire aspiring writers, artists, and musicians. Adapted from the lengthier Oh My Gods and specially tailored to a younger audience, these irresistible stories of philandering gods, flawed heroes, and tragic lovers portray the fundamental aspects of humanity and are filled with entertaining drama and valuable insights.

 ♦ The Kingfisher Space Encyclopedia (Kingfisher) — Mike Goldsmith.  With dramatic full-bleed artwork, a visual design that organizes the information into clear, digestible sections, the latest photography, and special features such as digital cutaways, step-bystep sequences, and callouts featuring key scientific ideas, this amazing 160-page volume is the perfect guide to space for today’s visual learners. Arranged thematically into five key areas—Observing Space, The Solar System, Stars and galaxies, Space Exploration, and Space in the Future—this encyclopedia features concise text by an astrophysics expert that is coherent, accurate and perfectly pitched for middle-grade audiences. A glossary and index are included in the back matter along with a list of web sites to take the learning beyond the book. The unbeatable combination of great design, authoritative information, and affordable price makes this the perfect home or classroom reference for any curious space explorer.

 ♦ Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR) Deborah Kogan Ray.  Born into the Northern Paiute tribe of Nevada in 1844, Sarah Winnemucca straddled two cultures: the traditional life of her people, and the modern ways of her grandfather’s white friends. Sarah was smart and good at languages, so she was able to link the worlds. As she became older, this made her a great leader. Sarah used condemning letters, fiery speeches, and her autobiography, Life Among the Piutes, to provide detailed accounts of her people’s turmoil through years of starvation, unjust relocations, and violent attacks. With sweeping illustrations and extensive backmatter, including hand-drawn maps, a chronology, archival photographs, an author’s notes, and additional resource information, Deborah Kogan Ray offers a remarkable look at an underrepresented historical figure.

 ♦ Pocket Genius: Dinosaurs
 ♦ Pocket Genius: Animals
 ♦ Pocket Genius: Rocks and Minerals, and
 ♦ Pocket Genius: Sharks (DK Publishing).  This new and exciting series of pocket encyclopedias for young adults is full of instant information and fits in a backpack or back pocket. Featuring a fresh and striking design that is sure to appeal to the middle grade audience, these guides offer a unique catalog-style presentation, which clearly lays out individual species with concise and punchy text covering all of the essential information. These encyclopedias are perfect for back to school, summer reading and every month in between!
Each book features four types of spreads:
Thematic spreads cover essential information, such as animal anatomy, dinosaur evolution, shark taxonomy, or the characteristics of minerals.
Splash spreads cover exciting full-bleed images such as a shark feeding frenzy or a firework display.

Catalog spreads build into a comprehensive list of individual species, each with its own photograph, summary key facts, and a short description of unique features. Special boxes and features focus in even more, providing specific details on topics from shark orders to mineral groups and “genius gem” wow facts.

Fact files in the reference section contain “top tens” (biggest dinosaurs, fastest animals, etc.) and other reference materials (such as the Moh scale of mineral hardness).

 ♦ Scholastic Discover More: Night Sky (Scholastic Reference) — Giles Sparrow.  We all star-gaze. On a cloudless night we wonder about the extraordinary myriad of bright lights in the sky. But do we really understand what we are looking at? From earliest times, people have been intrigued by the night sky. Over the centuries they have developed ever-more ingenious devices, from binoculars to powerful telescopes to spacecraft powered by the Sun’s rays. With these, they have explored everything we can see, from our Moon to the most hard-to-reach areas of space. Using specially devised star charts, this book helps readers identify particular constellations, recognize the difference between a star and a planet, and understand why the entire sky appears to spin. They will discover how stars are born and die, what nebulae are, and how comets and asteroids are formed. This book is packed with the latest stunning images of our Universe and is a must-have for all young, aspiring astronomers. Hang onto your seats for this informative, stellar tour of our amazing Universe!

  ♦ Scholastic Discover More: Technology (Scholastic Reference) — Clive Gifford.  Our world is full of funky gadgets and technological gizmos. Within the next hour, you will probably use a computer, the internet, a hand-held game, or a cell phone. Technology is not only playing an ever-increasing role in our everyday lives, but also in the way we explore the world around us. Cool technology is useful, but what do we know about how it works? This book investigates the science behind technology, taking readers on a journey of discovery that they will never forget. It uncovers the smart tech of mobile phones, wi-fi, and GPS, as well as the inner workings of game consoles. It examines the world of movement–how cars, airplanes, and other vehicles run. It delves into nanotechnology, spy gadgets, cyborgs, building in space, and the eco house. Explore the pages of this book to discover how the coolest technology of today really works!

 ♦ So, You Want to Be a Writer?: How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make It Big! (Aladdin/Beyond Words) — Vicki Hambleton and Cathleen Greenwood.  Designed to inspire creative expression and help aspiring young writers achieve their dreams, So, You Want to Be a Writer? takes readers through the fulfilling step-by-step process of becoming a professional writer, from learning how to generate ideas to getting published and promoting their work.

Aspiring writers will learn how to tackle writer’s block, improve technique, approach publishers, and more. A detailed list of magazines, websites, contests, and book publishers looking for young authors will keep readers’ eyes on the prize, while exclusive interviews with bestselling authors and young published writers will keep them engaged and inspired.

So, You Want to Be a Writer? includes exclusive insights from well-known authors, such as the late Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton and fantasy author Amanda Hocking, who self-published her first novels to huge buzz. And profiles on young writers who are out there working right now—from a Vanity Fair blogger to a lyricist—give a real-time perspective to the dream profession.

 PARANORMAL:

 ♦ Ghost Knight (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) — Cornelia Funke.  Jon didn’t expect to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts at his new boarding school. Now he and his friend Ella must uncover a centuries-old murder, all while haunted by terrifying spirits. When Jon summons the ghost of Knight Longspee, only one question remains-can Longspee be trusted?

 ♦ The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) — Stacey Graham.  What was that noise? The cat? The wind?

Little brother stealing a peek at your diary?

Or is it a ghost?

The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide will help you identify the creepy crawlers from the spooky spirits, the howling winds fromt he haunting phantoms. And with this guide you can learn from real experts how to investigate and contact your very own ghosts!

Everything a girl needs for a night full of fun, including:

• Spooky urban legends to set the mood

• Must-have stuff for your ghost hunting kit

• Pointers for leading the best-ever ghost hunt

• Tips for writing your own ghost

• With fun quizzes, games, recipes, and more!

So gather your friends if they are brave enough, grab a flashlight, and go investigate!

Ask any girl what the best part of a slumber party or camping trip is and she’ll tell you it’s the ghost stories. This bright, interactive journal is for tweens who are no longer content to watch movies or read about ghosts online, but are ready to jump into the paranormal fray themselves. With workbook pages, ghost stories, quizzes, sidebars, and interviews with ghost hunters, this illustrated guidebook gives girls the tools to safely explore the unknown using everyday household items- and helps them discover their own strengths using deductive reasoning.

 ♦ Sarahnormal: Ghost Town (Simon Spotlight) — Phoebe Rivers.  In this start to a paranormal series, Sara’s new town has a lot of history—and a lot of ghosts who want to tell her all about it.

Sara Collins is a normal twelve-year-old girl with an abnormal secret: She is psychic. She’s had her abilities for as long as she can remember, but she doesn’t like to talk about them. She hopes that if she ignores them, they might go away. Sara wants nothing more than to have a normal life, and to her, “normal” doesn’t include anything paranormal.

But Sara’s life is about to be turned upside down, because she’s moving across the country with her dad to an old shore town in New Jersey. A shore town with a lot of history…and more than its fair share of ghosts roaming around. As Sara tries to settle into her new home, she discovers that for the first time, the ghosts around her can communicate with her. One ghost in particular desperately needs something from her and won’t leave her alone. Sara wants to help, but she’s scared. Can Sara put her fear aside and help the spirit? Will doing so put her in jeopardy?

Meanwhile, Sara meets a great local girl named Lily Randazzo, and against all odds, really bonds with her. Sara has made a true friend for the first time in her life. Maybe New Jersey isn’t so bad after all….

 ♦ Saranormal: Haunted Memories (Simon Spotlight) — Phoebe Rivers.  In this second installment of a paranormal series, Sara’s ready to fall in love—if the ghost standing in her way will allow it!

Sara has settled in to her new hometown of Stellamar and even made a good friend in Lily Randazzo. Now it’s time to start school, and Sara has her first psychic vision. In the vision, she sees herself with a cute stranger—and when she starts school a few days later, she meets him. His name is Jayden Mendes, and Sara knows with complete certainty that he is destined to be her first boyfriend. But there’s something else Sara knows about Jayden: He has a ghostly companion who stays by his side at all times. The ghost seems intent on keeping Sara and Jayden apart. Who is this ghost, and what is his problem with Sara? What secrets does Jayden hold—and will these secrets keep Sara from falling in love?

 ♦ The Unseen World of Poppy Malone #2: A Gust of Ghosts (Greenwillow Books) — Suzanne Harper.   Evidence

1. The mournful, eerie sound
2. A cool, silvery glow
3. Unexplained voices

Possibilities
1. Vampires
2. Ghosts
3. Mermaids
4. Werewolves
5. Fairies

To do
1. Visit the graveyard
2. Record evidence in logbook
3. Save Mom and Dad’s job
4. Reset the camera trap
5. Come up with the plan of a lifetime–and make it a super-tricky one
6. Ask Henry to help

VERSE

 ♦ Little Dog, Lost (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) — Marion Dane Bauer.  Mark is a boy who needs a dog. But he can’t get his mom on board with his plan.

Buddy is a dog who needs a boy. Buddy has an owner already, but not one who understands the kind of love and care—the “something more”—a dog needs.

Mr. LaRue is a neighbor who needs a community. He’s alone all the time in his huge old house—and everyone needs more than that.

Over the course of a summer thunderstorm and one chaotic town council meeting, these three characters cross paths and come together in a timeless tale ripe with emotions and told in verse that resolves with love, understanding, and a sense of belonging—plus a place to play a game of fetch!

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