Category Archives: For Kids

Lemons = Loot

Take a summer walk around my neighborhood, and chances are good you’ll hear small, hopeful voices calling, “Lemonade! Ice cold lemonade!” Lots of things about childhood have changed, but not having a lemonade stand. I did it, my kids did it (they also peddled rocks, which kindly neighbors straight out of story books actually bought). At the end of the day, young entrepeneurs are sticky, tired, and a bit wiser about the ups and downs of earning money.

Maybe they’d enjoy kicking back with one of these delightful novels, some new, some classic, about other kids and their summer businesses.

A Handful of Stars, by Cynthia Lord

handful of stars

Lord’s new book is set in Maine, where Salma and her migrant worker parents are employed raking blueberries. Work is a way of life for her. Meanwhile, Lily is trying to earn money for an operation for her beloved dog by painting and selling bee boxes. As their friendship grows, Lily has a lot to learn about the wider world, her community, and especially herself.


The Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall

The newest book in this beloved series centers on Batty, who’s trying to raise money to pay for voice lessons. She sets up a business offering to dust, dog walk, and (at her brother’s insistence) dig up rocks. The dusting never happens, but much else does, as Batty comes to grips with her place in her rollicking, loving family.

seaglass summer

Seaglass Summer, by Anjali Banerjee

The hero of this book, Poppy, is more of an intern. She spends the summer helping her Uncle Sanjay, a veterinarian, and learns the job is not all warm, fuzzy moments. The sadness (and occasional grossness) of the work becomes real for her, and she’s a different girl by the end of her summer.

okay for now

Doug Swieteck has just moved to stupid Marysville. It’s the middle of a blazing hot summer, he knows no one, and his family has big time problems. Who’d guess that his job delivering groceries would be part of what saves him? Featuring one of the most unique and compelling voices in all of  MG fiction, this book makes a wonderful case for creativity, resilience, love, and yes, work.

lemonade war

The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies

Yes! A lemonade stand, only as most kids never dreamed. The war is between siblings, one with great people skills, the other with a head for math. Bonus: Ten Tips for Turning Lemons Into Loot. This book became a popular series.

I know I’ve left out a lot of terrific books (including non-fiction). Please share your own favorites below, then go out and buy a glass of lemonade!

Tricia’s most recent books for middle graders are Moonpenny Island and Cody and the Fountain of Happiness.  She favors raspberry lemonade. 

July New Releases

Happy July!  Hope you are all doing well and keeping cool.  Why not take a break under the nearest shade tree and lose yourself in a new book? Here are a few great ones to take a look at — they release this month!



The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms  by Chris Colfer  (Little, Brown BFYR)

The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it’s up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him…except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they’re in danger.  Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!



Serafina and the Black Cloak by Rober Beatty (Disney- Hyperion)

Disney Hyperion presents an exciting new novel for children & adults: a spooky historical mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate. “Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.



The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After
by Soman Chainani  (Harper Collins)

In the stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale. Former best friends Sophie and Agatha thought their ending was sealed when they went their separate ways, but their storybook is about to be rewritten—and this time theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the forces of Good are in deathly peril. Will Agatha and Sophie be able to work together to save them? Will they find their way to being friends again? And will their new ending be the last Ever After they’ve been searching for?



Power of the Fire Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #4)  by Tracey West 

The Dragon Masters are going to visit Queen Rose’s kingdom. But Rori and Drake must stay behind. Then a four-headed dragon attacks the castle–and Maldred is riding it! How is Maldred controlling this giant dragon? Will Rori and Drake have to battle the dark wizard on their own?


 Who Is J.R. R. Tolkien?  by Pamela D. Pollack (Grosset & Dunlap)

Best known for his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien was born in British-occupied South Africa. His early life was full of action and adventure. Tolkien spent his childhood roaming the British countryside with his family and could read and write by age four. He was naturally gifted with languages and used this skill as a signals officers in World War II as well as in his fantasy writing. By creating alternate universes and inventing languages in his work he demonstrated that imaginary realms were not just for children. Fondly remembered as the “Father of High Fantasy,” Tolkien’s books have inspired blockbuster movies and legions of fans.


 Who was Beatrix Potter?  by Sarah Fabiny (Grosset & Dunlap)

Born into wealth in 1860’s London, Beatrix Potter always had a vivid imagination. Her early interests included natural history and archaeology, and Potter delighted in sketching fossils and fungi. After briefly illustrating Christmas cards with her brother, Bertram, Potter wrote and illustrated her well-known book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book was rejected by several publishes until Frederick Warne eventually took a risk and published the story in 1902 – a risk that paid off. Peter Rabbit was a huge success and readers loved hearing about Peter’s mischevious adventures in the lush English countryside. As she got older, Beatrix Potter became a proud conservationist, working hard to defend the landscape she loved so well against industrialization and logging. Now over one hundred years old, Peter Rabbit and his animal friends have become cultural touchstones and continue to delight readers of all ages.



The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  (Henry Holt & Co. BFYR)

Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor-winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the wild animals-her brother included-away from her mother’s critical eye. Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers laughing and crying and cheering for this most endearing heroine.


 Daniel X: Lights Out by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Co.)

In this sixth and last installment of the Daniel X series, the alien-hunting hero is finally ready to take on the biggest threat in the galaxy: The Prayer–the same beast that brutally murdered his parents long ago. But even with his incredible ability to create almost anything, Daniel will have to push his powers beyond the brink in order to bring down a monster that has the powers of a god. This epic showdown of good versus evil is a thrilling finale to this #1 New York Times bestselling series.

The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy) by S. E. Grove    (Viking Children’s)

The eagerly-awaited sequel to the best-selling The Glass Sentence — a historical, fantastical adventure perfect for fans of Philip Pullman!

It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Atlantis Rises Again–a Giveaway

Book Two in T.A. Barron’s trilogy is here.

atlantis in peril

“Atlantis in Peril” follows “Atlantis Rising”, and to celebrate, we’re giving away a copy of each book.

About the new book: 

When Promi and Atlanta transformed their native land into the magical island of Atlantis, little did they know an advanced civilization would arise only a few years later, threatening their homeland once again. As Promi struggles with his feelings for Atlanta, Narkazan discovers the weakness between the spirit realm and the mortal world and plots his revenge. Will the desire for power win over the power of love to conquer and save all? Readers will toggle between the spirit and mortal world as Promi races to save residents and loved ones in both realms.

Booklist on “Atlantis in Peril”: “Story lines related to love and family relationships, environmental responsibility and destruction, and good overcoming evil are all in play as readers reach a sinister cliff-hanger of an ending.”

About T.A. Barron:

T.A. Barron is the New York Times bestselling author of the Merlin Saga, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and was recently optioned for a major motion picture by Disney.  Always a believer that every child can be a hero, T.A. Barron founded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors outstanding young people who have made a significant difference to communities and our environment.  He lives in Colorado with his family. For more information, please visit

To win copies, please leave a comment below. Only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible.