Category Archives: Nonfiction

New Releases: May 2016

This May brings a flowering of fabulous and diverse books. Many have already garnered stars and accolades from reviewers, teachers, and librarians. These stories will tug at your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone—some of them all at once. Whether you’re looking for true tales of beating the odds, realistic novels about family and friendship, or fantastic stories of magic and mystery, you’ll find them this month.

9780553536744Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade. Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

9780062393777-2The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper by Annabelle Fisher

Fifth grader Pixie Piper has always known that she was a little different. She has a wild mop of hair that won’t stay put, her best friend is a boy, and to top it all off, she’s constantly coming up with rhymes and poems that just seem to pop out of her. Then, when Pixie thinks it can’t get any worse, she finds out that she actually is different—she’s a descendant of Mother Goose! This surprising and clever novel features family, friendship, poetry, a toilet museum, and just the right amount of magic, as well as a goose, a fox, and a beautiful golden retriever puppy. Rich, multigenerational characters and the real and powerful portrayal of grade-school friendships, with all their ups and downs, distinguish this terrific elementary school story that will appeal to fans of Judy Moody, Clementine, and novels by Wendy Mass and Lisa Graff.

51VTyQbjHzL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Johnson Steptoe Award. Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans). But when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all. Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

9780544612310It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block … for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle-grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.

9781101994825-1 Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

9780545846608Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common—but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.

51FL8xsYKpL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Return to the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz

Mal’s an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she’s broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding they return home, Mal can’t believe it. Sure, she’s King Ben’s girlfriend now, and she’s usually nice to her classmates, but she still didn’t think anyone would be silly enough to try to push her around. The thing is, it kind of worked. Especially since she and her friends have a sneaking suspicion that their villainous parents are behind the messages. And when Evie looks into her Magic Mirror, what she sees only confirms their fears. Maleficent’s just a tiny lizard after her run-in with Mal at Ben’s Coronation, but she’s the worst villain in the land for a reason. Could she have found a way to escape? Whatever’s going on, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay know they have to sneak back to the Isle and get to the bottom of it.

9780525426394Theodore Boone: The Scandal by John Grisham

Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows every judge, police officer, and court clerk in Strattenburg. He has even helped bring a fugitive to justice. But even a future star lawyer like Theo has to deal with statewide standardized testing. When an anonymous tip leads the school board to investigate a suspicious increase in scores at another local middle school, Theo finds himself thrust in the middle of a cheating scandal. With insider knowledge and his future on the line, Theo must follow his keen instincts to do what’s right in the newest case for clever kid lawyer Theo Boone.

9780062411006Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties by Tom Watson

There’s a new pet in town: Stick Cat! Perfect for fans of Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Stick Dog books, Stick Cat features Tom Watson’s trademark combination of laughs, adventure, and hilarious stick-figure drawings. It’s a big day in the big city for Stick Cat and his best friend, Edith. There are treasures to hunt, songs to sing, pigeons to catch, and naps to take. But way up on the twenty-third floor, danger lurks just around the corner. Terrible noises and violent crashes trap a desperate man in the building across the alley. Stick Cat will need to navigate his way across the alley—and around Edith’s peculiar ways—to attempt a rescue. Stick Cat’s high-wire act is sure to please cat lovers and Stick Dog fans everywhere.

9781250063885Invision: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Think you have a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world. It’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord. But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life. Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.

9780545800495Sticks & Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Strange things are happening at Dunwiddle Magic School-and the Upside-Down Magic class is getting blamed! Yes, Marigold did shrink Lacey Clench to the size of an insect. But that was an accident. And, yes, most people weren’t prepared for Nory to transform into a squippy (that’s half squid, half puppy)—but it’s not like Nory “meant” to mix up paws and tentacles. And while Bax does have the unfortunate magical condition of turning into a stone, he swears he has nothing to do with the rocky magic that’s been happening in Dunwiddle’s halls. When things get messy, it’s easy to point your finger at the kids with the messiest magic. But the Upside-Down Magic students aren’t going to let themselves get in trouble. Instead, they’re going to find out what’s really going on—and get their school back on track before something really wacky happens.

9780316401425Ever After High: Truth or Hair by Suzanne Selfors

The fifth hexciting book in Suzanne Selfors’ Ever After High: A School Story series. Holly and Poppy O’Hair are twins, but it’s always been easy to tell these sisters apart. Because she is destined to be the next Rapunzel, Holly has always had the longest locks at Ever After High, while Poppy, whose fairytale destiny is up in the air, wears her hair short to express her individuality. But when Poppy’s hair begins growing longer and longer, while Holly’s hair gets shorter and shorter, it seems as if the sisters might have to reveal the secret they’ve been keeping about their destinies. Can they turn this bad hair day around, or will their fairytale ending be a fairy-fail?

9780385386708Voyagers: Escape the Vortex (Book 5) by Jeanne DuPrau

Earth is in danger! The only thing that can save our planet are six essential elements that can fuse into a new source of clean energy. But the elements are scattered throughout the galaxy. And it’s up to the Voyagers—a team of four remarkable kids and an alien—to gather them all and return to Earth. The Voyagers’ fifth stop is Planet Tundra and it may look like a giant marshmallow, but this is no winter wonderland—it’s a winter nightmare! This frozen landscape is the deadliest the Voyagers have encountered yet. Then, when the Omega team finds themselves in trouble, only Team Alpha can save them. But if the tables were turned, would the Omegas do the same? Do you have what it takes to be a Voyager? Find out at VoyagersHQ.com.

9780062192516House of Secrets: Clash of the Worlds by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

With their last adventure just barely over, the Walker kids thought life would finally go back to normal. But things don’t remain calm for long … especially when the colossus Fat Jagger turns up in San Francisco Bay—and he’s in danger! With the police closing in, the Walkers must figure out how to save their giant friend. When a frost beast is spotted in Santa Rosa—and more mystical creatures start appearing all over America—it’s soon clear that the characters from Denver Kristoff’s works are invading the real world. It’s up to Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia to reenter the book world one last time to keep the worlds from colliding, causing mass destruction. They will have to track down three Worldkeepers hidden in Kristoff’s books—magical items that when used together will seal the worlds off for good. But the Walkers’ first move leads them straight into the Wild West, with lethal outlaws and lawless deputies—and that’s just the beginning. They’ll encounter dinosaurs, aliens, killer robots, and the Wind Witch herself—with new friends and old—and be faced with some of the deadliest choices they’ll ever have to make. The scariest thing of all could be deciding who to trust, since everyone is hiding something.

9781250066046Royal Wedding Disaster: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison still finds it hard to believe that she’s a real live PRINCESS OF GENOVIA. Not only does she get to live in an actual palace with her newly discovered family and two fabulous poodles, but she also gets her very own PONY! Of course, things aren’t going exactly like she imagined. Her half-sister Mia is very busy learning how to take over the country while trying to plan a wedding, and her father is actually getting remarried himself—to Mia’s mother!—and spends most of his time “renovating” the summer palace, although Grandmere says he is just hiding from the wedding preparations. Olivia hardly gets to see either of them. Fortunately, Grandmere has her own plans for Mia’s wedding, and needs Olivia’s help to pull them off. Just when Olivia starts to think that things are going to work out after all, the palace is invaded by a host of new cousins and other royals who all seem to be angry at Olivia (although Grandmere says they are just jealous). As the day of the wedding gets closer and closer, Olivia becomes more and more worried. For such a carefully planned event, it seems like a LOT of things are going wrong. Can Olivia keep this royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster?

9781250045812 Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India’s youngest CEO and visionary. The Players: Rex-One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother. Tunde-This14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village. Painted Wolf-One of China’s most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father’s new deal with a corrupt Chinese official. The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

61hzBZrTdxL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_The Lost Cipher by Michael Oechsle

Lucas’s father has recently died in Afghanistan, and to help him cope, his grandmother sends him to Camp Kawani, a camp for kids who have lost a parent. While there, he hears about the local legend of Thomas Jefferson Beale. Beale supposedly hid a hoard of gold in the mountains 200 years before. The location is encrypted in a set of codes no one has ever been able to decipher. When Lucas and his newfound friends decide to track down the treasure, they embark on a mission that could be too dangerous to survive.

9780316298582Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding, author, Sydney Smith, illustrator

Kim Fitzgerald-Trout took to driving with ease–as most children would if their parents would ever let them try. She had to. After all, she and her siblings live in a car. Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together in a lush tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go–to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home. Award-winning poet and screenwriter Esta Spalding’s exciting middle grade debut establishes a marvelous place where children fend for themselves, and adults only seem to ruin everything.

9780062270849Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

In this second book in the exceptional Curiosity House series by bestselling author Lauren Oliver and shadowy recluse H. C. Chester, four extraordinary children must avenge their friend’s death, try to save their home, and unravel the secrets of their past … before their past unravels them. Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max are happy to be out of harm’s way now that the notorious villain Nicholas Rattigan is halfway across the country in Chicago. But unfortunately their home, Dumfreys’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders, is in danger of closing its doors forever. But their troubles only get worse. The four friends are shocked when their beloved friend, famous sculptor Siegfried Eckleberger, is murdered. As they investigate, they find clues that his death may be tied to the murder of a rich and powerful New York heiress, as well as to their own pasts.

9780399159992The Skeleth (The Nethergrim) by Matthew Jobin

For the lords of the north, land is power. The Nethergrim, now awoken and free to wreak its evil upon the world, offers the promise of victory to those ruthless enough to accept its foul bargain. One ambitious lord, eager for the chance to conquer and rule, succumbs to temptation and helps to free the Skeleth—eerie, otherworldly beings said to be unstoppable in battle. The Skeleth merge with the bodies of their victims, ruling their minds and turning them into remorseless killers. Worse yet, to kill the man inside the Skeleth only frees it to seize a new host, starting a cycle of violence that has no end. Such chilling tales are not enough to stop young Edmund, innkeeper’s son and would-be wizard, from seeking a way to turn back the oncoming tide of destruction. Along with his best friends—Katherine the trainer of war-horses and Tom the runaway slave—Edmund searches for a magical weakness in the Skeleth, something that might allow him to break their never-ending curse. The three friends join with the legendary hero Tristan in a battle of courage, wisdom, wits, and sacrifice to stop the Skeleth from ravaging their homeland and all they hold dear.

9781442466012Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

Reality and fantasy collide in this heartfelt and mysterious novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself. Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones. With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

61scXhICU0L._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_Trouble the Water by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Eleven-year-old Callie is fearless, stubborn, and a little nosy. So when she sees an old yellow dog wandering around town by itself, you can bet she’s going to figure out who he belongs to. But when her sleuthing leads her to cross paths with a white boy named Wendell who wants to help, the segregated town doesn’t take too kindly to their budding friendship. Meanwhile, a nearly invisible boy named Jim is stuck in a cabin in the woods. He’s lost his dog, but can’t remember exactly when his pup’s disappeared. When his companion, a little boy named Thomas, who’s been invisible much longer than he, explains that they are ghosts, the two must figure out why they can’t seem to cross the river to the other side just yet … And as Callie and Wendell’s search for the old dog brings them closer and closer to the cabin in the woods, the simmering prejudices of the townspeople boil over. Trouble the Water is a story that spans lifetimes, showing that history never truly disappears, and that the past will haunt us until we step up to change the present and stand together for what is right.

9780399174995A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff

In this magical companion to the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, it’s summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don’t know is that they’ve been gathered for a reason—one that the camp’s director wants to keep hidden at all costs. Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper’s head and placed into another. And no one knows why. With a camp full of kids, a lake full of magic, and a grown-up full of a secrets, A Clatter of Jars is a story of summer, family, and the lengths we go to win back the people we love.

9780545907347 Sealed With a Secret by Lisa Schroeder

When Phoebe finds a beautiful antique at a flea market, she’s not sure whether it’s as valuable as it looks. But inside she discovers something truly amazing, a letter written during World War II, from a young girl to her sister who’s been evacuated from London. The letter includes a “spell” for bringing people closer together: a list of clues leading all through the city. Each stop along the way adds up to magic. Phoebe is stunned. Not only has she found a priceless piece of history, the letter is exactly what she needs—she’s also separated from her sister, though not by distance. Alice leaves for university soon, but in the meantime, she wants nothing to do with Phoebe. They used to be so close. Now that Phoebe has this magical list, maybe she can fix everything! That is, unless she accidentally makes everything worse instead.

9781481452236Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen

From three-time Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen comes a laugh-out-loud novel about six wacky misfits who get stuck together in a school restroom and discover friendship. It seemed like a normal school day, until a horrible storm forced the very cautious school administration to make everyone hole up in a safe place. Six students find themselves stuck in a tiny, questionably smelly space—a school bathroom—with a stuffed cat for entertainment. Hijinks ensue and the unexpected happens. They enter as strangers … and leave as friends. Get to know the story even better with a special script that accompanies the novel, so any six kids can get together with their friends and perform the story anywhere they’d like.

61N1yDfDqBL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Lost Realm (Crown of Three) by J.D. Rinehart

The kingdom of Toronia is being torn apart by civil war. The kingdom’s only hope comes in the form of illegitimate triplets, who are prophesied to kill the king and rule together in peace. Separated at birth and scattered throughout the realms, the triplets face a desperate fight to secure their destiny. Will they survive long enough to rule? The resurrected King Brutan and his army of the dead control the city of Idilliam. Outside, Eloide and Tarlan are trying to hold their own army together and find a way to rescue their brother Gulph who is trapped inside the city. Or is he? Gulph has found a passageway to the lost realm of Celestis, which lies beneath Idilliam. There he is reunited with the mother he has never known—but she can’t remember him. If Gulph stays in the city, will he also forget those above ground whom he loves? Meanwhile, Tarlan and the wizard Melchior set out on a quest to restore the wizard’s powers, leaving Eloide and her army to keep watch. But Eloide is betrayed, her troops slaughtered, and she is taken captive by Lord Vicerin, her former guardian, who is determined to use her to get to the throne. Seemingly further from the throne than ever, the triplets will need to use all of their strength and abilities if they are to survive—let alone rule.

9780062364371Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

Are you ready for Ivy Pocket? The wickedly funny, completely unreliable maid of no importance returns—this time as a coffin maker’s daughter—in this action-packed sequel to Anyone but Ivy Pocket. Everyone seems to want a piece of Ivy Pocket. Her adoptive parents keep trying to get her to clean the funeral home, even though Ivy’s certain she’s already the picture of a perfect daughter. A beautiful heiress named Estelle wants Ivy to uncover the dark truth behind her brother’s death. Her new friend, Miss Carnage, keeps asking Ivy the most curious questions (the poor, clueless dear). To top it all off, Ivy must protect the Clock Diamond from the evil Miss Always, who seems to be lurking around every corner! A fast-paced and hilarious follow-up to Anyone but Ivy Pocket, which Booklist praised as “a droll chapter book with a Victorian setting and a one-of-a-kind protagonist.” This is the second of three books about Ivy Pocket!

9780062342065-1Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle

On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes. The first wish is an impossible wish. The second is a wish she can make come true herself. And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart. Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be … noticed. So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.

9780062374547 Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson

Perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Walk Two Moons, this debut middle grade novel is the story of two girls and the unforgettable summer in which they learn about true friendship and loss. Annie has been promised a summer of freedom in the country. Freedom from a difficult school year, freedom from her fake “friends” back in the city, and, most of all, freedom from her mom’s life-governing spreadsheets and rigid schedules. When Annie meets California, who is visiting her grandfather’s farm, it seems she has found the perfect partner for the summer she’s always craved. Especially when California offers Annie a real-life adventure: if she and Annie can find the ponies her mom rode as a girl, surely it will remind her mom how wonderful the farm is—and fix what’s broken between her mom and her grandfather. But Annie’s summer of freedom is sprinkled with secrets, and everything she has learned about bravery and love will be put to the test when the truth behind the ultimate secret changes her life forever.

51IpUi+hCZL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson

Eleven-year-old Benjamin Putter has a lump in his throat, and he’s certain it’s a golf ball. He knows it sounds crazy, but everything’s been topsy-turvy since his father died last month. And he doesn’t know how to fix it. Then, one day, something starts tugging at Ben, telling him to hurry to Augusta, Georgia—home of the most famous golf course in the world. Ben might be going a little crazy, but escaping Hilltop, Alabama, sounds like a darn good idea. (And just maybe it will make that lump go away.) As he makes his way to Augusta, Ben partners up with a mysterious runaway named Noni, and they embark on a journey full of strange and wonderful surprises—and possibly magic—at every turn.

9781250059475Moone Boy: The Fish Detective by Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy

It’s lean times at the Moone Boy household and all Martin wants is a Game Boy. If he wants a Game Boy though, he’s going to have to work for it. So his imaginary friend, Sean, suggests he get a job. After failing to find work as a stable boy, cowboy, or homeboy, the Moone boy instead becomes Boyle’s main butcher boy. But Francie Feeley’s Fabulous Fishatorium across the road is luring all their customers away. Convinced something fishy is afoot, Martin and Sean decide to go on an undercover mission to discover the secrets of the mysterious fish factory. But can Agent M double-O N E get to the bottom of Feeley’s slippery schemes without ending up sleeping with the fishes himself?

9781484725528The Drake Equation by Bart King

Noah Grow is a bird-watcher. If you’re picturing some kid in a big floppy hat, peering up into trees through giant binoculars … well, good job. That’s exactly what he does. Right now, Noah is on a quest to find a wood duck. According to his calculations, aka the Drake Equation, the odds are good—really good—for spotting one. That’s why he gets off the bus at the wrong stop. And that’s how he ends up running down a hill, crashing into a fence, and landing right next to a strange, glittery disk. Noah and his best friends, Jason and Jenny, soon discover that the mysterious disk is, well, mysterious. It gives Noah peculiar powers. As things go from odd to outrageous, Noah is swept up in a storm of intergalactic intrigue and middle-school mayhem. There’s much more at stake than Noah realizes.

9781484728543What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

Abandoned in the jungle of the Nepalese Borderlands, two-year-old Nandu is found living under the protective watch of a pack of wild dogs. From his mysterious beginnings, fate delivers him to the King’s elephant stable, where he is raised by unlikely parents—the wise head of the stable, Subba-sahib, and Devi Kali, a fierce and affectionate female elephant. When the king’s government threatens to close the stable, Nandu, now twelve, searches for a way to save his family and community. A risky plan could be the answer. But to succeed, they’ll need a great tusker. The future is in Nandu’s hands as he sets out to find a bull elephant and bring him back to the Borderlands. In simple poetic prose, author Eric Dinerstein brings to life Nepal’s breathtaking jungle wildlife and rural culture, as seen through the eyes of a young outcast, struggling to find his place in the world.

 

NONFICTION TITLES

9780544223790We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman

In his signature eloquent prose, backed up by thorough research, Russell Freedman tells the story of Austrian-born Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie. They belonged to Hitler Youth as young children, but began to doubt the Nazi regime. As older students, the Scholls and a few friends formed the White Rose, a campaign of active resistance to Hitler and the Nazis. Risking imprisonment or even execution, the White Rose members distributed leaflets urging Germans to defy the Nazi government. Their belief that freedom was worth dying for will inspire young readers to stand up for what they believe in. Archival photographs and prints, source notes, bibliography, and index included.

9780544319615The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller, author, Vincent X. Kirsch, illustrator

In 1843, fourteen-year-old Hanson Gregory left his family home in Rockport, Maine, and set sail as a cabin boy on the schooner Achorn, looking for high-stakes adventure on the high seas. Little did he know that a boatload of hungry sailors, coupled with his knack for creative problem-solving, would yield one of the world’s most prized and beloved pastries. Lively and inventive cut-paper illustrations add a taste of whimsy to this sweet, fact-filled story that includes an extensive bibliography, author’s note, and timeline.

9780399173820Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars by Gregory Zuckerman, Elijah Zuckerman, and Gabriel Zuckerman

Discover the inspirational real-life stories of superstar athletes like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Tim Howard, and more! Team USA goalkeeper Tim Howard was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in 6th grade. He went on to become a national treasure after single-handedly keeping America competitive in the 2014 World Cup. Stephen Curry was told he was too small, too weak, and too slow to even receive a scholarship to play college basketball. He outworked everyone and went on to become MVP of the National Basketball Association. Jim Abbott was born without his right hand, yet he refused to be defined by what he lacked. He went on to pitch a no-hitter in the Major Leagues. Athlete after athlete in this book found discipline, hope, and inspiration on the playing field, rising above their circumstances. Filled with first-hand accounts from stars who exemplify the idea of enduring at all costs, Rising Above will serve as a must-read source of inspiration for kids and sports fans of all ages.

9781481449380You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, author, Jeffery Boston Weatherford, illustrator

Award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford’s innovative history in verse celebrates the story of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier. I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying. So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying! From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II. In vibrant second-person poems, Carole Boston Weatherford teams up for the first time with her son, artist Jeffery Weatherford, in a powerful and inspiring book that allows readers to fly, too.

9781609587451Worry: How to Feel Less Stressed and Have More Fun (Smart Girl’s Guides) by Nancy Holyoke and Judy Woodburn

Every girl worries from time to time. Maybe it’s an argument with a friend, or a big test, or a performance in front of a crowd. Maybe it’s her body. Maybe it’s even something fun, like a slumber party or overnight camp—or something really big, like moving away or her parents’ divorce. For many girls, even small worries can take on a life of their own and get in the way of enjoying life. But this book will help take charge of your worries. You’ll learn tried-and-true ways to overcome fears and create a sense of calm. You’ll take quizzes and find out about yourself and what concerns you, and you’ll read advice from real girls who found ways to deal with their own worries. The book is packed with proven techniques for handling worry and creating confidence—freeing you to be the girl you’re meant to be.

9781613734223Women in Blue: 16 Brave Officers, Forensics Experts, Police Chiefs, and More (Women of Action) by Cheryl Mulenbach

They were called sleuths in skirts, guardian mothers, copettes, and police in petticoats. It would be a long time—well over 150 years—before women in law enforcement were known simply as police officers. Balancing the stories of trailblazers from the past with those of today’s dedicated officers, chiefs, FBI agents, and forensics experts, this collection of riveting biographies traces the evolution of women in policing. Women in Blue inspires readers to value those who broke through barriers—often enduring ridicule and discrimination as they fought for equality—while original interviews shed light on the daily challenges, rewards, and life on the job of various women currently in the trenches of law enforcement. The chronological progression puts hot-button issues like police brutality, race relations, and the treatment of suspects and prisoners into historic context and shows how many women in law enforcement are working to challenge and improve their field.

9780448487854What Were the Twin Towers? by Jim O’Connor, author, Ted Hammond and Kevin McVeigh, illustrators

When the Twin Towers were built in 1973, they were billed as an architectural wonder. At 1,368 feet, they clocked in as the tallest buildings in the world and changed the New York City skyline dramatically. Offices and corporations moved into the towers—also known as the World Trade Center—and the buildings were seen as the economic hub of the world. But on September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack toppled the towers and changed our nation forever. Discover the whole story of the Twin Towers—from their ambitious construction to their tragic end.

9780448486925What is the Declaration of Independence? by Michael C. Harris, author, Jerry Hoare and Kevin McVeigh, illustrators

On a hot summer day near Philadelphia in 1776, Thomas Jefferson sat at his desk and wrote furiously until early the next morning. He was drafting the Declaration of Independence, a document that would sever this country’s ties with Britain and announce a new nation—The United States of America. Colonists were willing to risk their lives for freedom, and the Declaration of Independence made that official. Discover the true story of one of the most radical and uplifting documents in history and follow the action that fueled the Revolutionary War.

9781426324178National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017 by National Geographic Kids

This New York Times bestseller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include highlights on National Geographic Explorers and their amazing projects (plus, ways you can get involved!); a tour of history’s most famous sites; an updated “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; a new special “17 Facts for 2017” feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more.

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day ( June 2016, S&S/Aladdin) is available for preorder. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: http://doriancirrone.com/welcome/blog/

Happy Earth Day! Green Earth Book Award Winners Announced

Happy Earth Day!

My father was the organizer of our town’s Earth Day celebration the first year it was held in 1970, so it holds a very dear place in my heart. I was smack dab in the middle, too, at 10 years old. With that in mind, here is a news release from The Nature Generation. I wish these books had been available for 10-year-old me:

April 22, 2016 — The Nature Generation, a nonprofit that inspires environmental stewardship, announced today the national 2016 Green Earth Book Award winners. The literature award is recognition of authors and illustrators whose books best inspire young readers to care for the environment.  Second graders from Culbert Elementary School helped unveil the winners during a nature field trip at the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Va.

 “This year’s Green Earth Book Award winners are particularly poignant, introducing young readers to the vulnerabilities of humanity in terms of our connection to the natural world.  In these winning books, the adversity and  the struggles to make sense out of life lead to hope and beauty and lay the foundation for stories that inspire us to greatness. They will motivate young readers to view their relationship with nature differently, and to become future stewards of the natural world we live in,” said lead review panelist Dr. Ernie Bond, professor at Salisbury University and leading specialist in children’s and young adult literature.

 Picture Book

The Stranded Whale, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (Candlewick Press)

24727084

Honor winners:

Crane Boy, written by Diana Cohn and  illustrated by Youme (Cinco Puntos Press)

The Seeds of Friendship,  written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Candlewick Press)

Young Adult Fiction

The Beast of Cretacea, written by Todd Strasser (Candlewick Press)

24727083

Children’s Fiction

The Thing About Jellyfish, written by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

 24396876

Honor winners:

Sydney & Simon Go Green!, written by Paul A. Reynolds and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Charlesbridge)

The Order of the Trees, by Katy Farber (Green Writers Press)

Children’s Nonfiction

Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue, written by Karen Romano Young and Daniel Raven-Ellison (National Geographic Society)

 22747993

Honor winners:

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Millbrook Press)

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, written by Anita Silvey (National Geographic Society)

 

State of the School Library-Interview with Lu Fiskin Ross

My first school visit as an author was arranged by my good friend and critique partner, Lu Fiskin Ross. She’s the award-winning librarian at Ewalt Elementary School in Augusta, Kansas. When I arrived, Lu greeted me dressed as the Statue of Liberty, which gave me a good laugh and eased my jangled nerves considerably!LuFiskinRoss

To help celebrate National Library Week, I’ve asked Lu to give us her perspective on the state of school libraries and tell us a bit about herself.

First of all, what book or series have you read recently that you’re excited about? My favorite series that I’m reading now isn’t really for elementary students. I LOVE Maggie Steifvater’s Raven Cycle books. I just finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue and can’t wait to get the new one later this month. Right now, I’m reading Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures that Jackson Pearce and Stiefvater collaborated on. Wow! What an imagination. It is middle grade, so I would like to buy it for my school’s library. Oh, and I love anything by Mo Willems. I would love to write like he does.

I always appreciate the expertise you bring to our critique group. Librarians have an advantage of being in the know when it comes to what’s marketable and what kids want to read. Tell us a little bit about what you’re writing these days. I must admit, I’m a fantasy/science fiction lover. I love to escape to other worlds and places that I can’t go to in reality. I was highly influenced by folk tales and fairy tales while I was growing up. And then came Star Trek. I can still watch reruns after all these years. I want to finish a YA paranormal novel this summer that I started several years ago. I’ve started a YA sci/fi about Mars that I want to jump into next. And I’ve also started doing the research for a nonfiction alphabet book on Celtic mythology.

SuperLuWhen I first started writing, I chose middle grade, since that is the age level of my library. However, after being told by critique partners and editors that it should be YA because of the subject matter, I’ve been in the process of converting. Writing time is sparse for a school librarian. It is taking much longer than I thought it would.

 

You recently won $1,000 for Ewalt Elementary School from KAKE News in Wichita. Congratulations! Please tell us about that experience.  The award I won was through one of our local TV stations. One of my volunteers nominated me and submitted photos of me dressed up in character costumes. The day of the award, the principal let us know we had a surprise assembly shortly after lunch. I didn’t think anything about it. At lunch, one of the teachers thought it might be the teacher award that the TV station also has each month. Again, I didn’t think much about it. Earlier in the week, my principal asked for one of my favorite books, so I gave her one by David Shannon. She had everyone go to the cafeteria and we waited and waited. The TV crew were running late. As soon as the TV personality came through the door, I was pretty sure what she was there for. My heart started pounding! Thank you so much to the volunteer! The students told me during library times different titles and subjects they would like to see us buy with the money.

luKAKE-1 (1)Speaking of money, Kansas (as well as other states) has been especially hard hit with cuts to educational funding. How has that affected your ability to purchase books and resources, bring in authors, etc.? The above really helped with funding. I have worked at my current position for about 19 years. My funding has been reduced many times. At one point, because of a change in the district distribution of funds, I did get a slight increase. This really tears me up since there are so many good books that we can’t afford to get. I’m especially concerned about funding for next year. It’s very scary to hear of districts who will cut their librarians. This is a subject I could go on and on about. Let’s just say I’m very disappointed. Our district is fortunate to have a “Meet the Author” program. The district is still helping to fund that program, with help from our PTOs and a share of the proceeds from book sales. This is another area where funding has not been increased in 19 years, so we can’t bring in as many big name authors.

Have you noticed any changes lately in what kinds of books kids are choosing to read? PeaceLoveBooksThe biggest changes I have seen in student reading is the interest in graphic novels and hybrid books like the Wimpy Kid series and Dork Diaries. A few years ago it was fantasy with the Harry Potter knock-offs. It will be interesting to see what comes next. I have started seeing more MG animal fantasies, recently.

How have changes in technology impacted libraries? I’ve got to get on my platform about school libraries again. Some administrators and politicians seem to believe that because of technology, the librarians aren’t needed. I would say they are needed even more. Students need help in learning how to search effectively. Especially at the elementary level, they have a hard time narrowing or broadening searches to find the information they need. Also, a student may read a review online, but it is usually the human interaction that sells the book to a student. Or, if they’re in a hurry and need a dinosaur book, a human can steer them to the correct area quicker than doing the search.

What are some of the fun and creative ways you’ve used to get students excited about reading? PopeyeLu2 (1)Fun ways? Never! A librarian is supposed to be 80 years old with a bun. I think of myself as a cheerleader for finding the information, whatever the form, to help the student thrive and create something original from that knowledge. We have different themes every two years for reading in our building. I dress up on the first day of classes most years, in a costume to go along with the theme. One year, the book fair had an Egyptian theme. I just had to be Cleopatra and call the students peasants. They loved it. Last week, I was super librarian, able to find information faster than a speeding bullet. One of the greatest compliments I’ve received from a student was a first grader. He told me I was weird. I hope he meant that I didn’t act like a normal teacher. I encourage students to use their imaginations whenever possible.

Since you’re retiring this year, do you have any advice for librarians about how to adapt and thrive in these times of change? My first year or two of being a librarian, I read an article in School Library Journal about how CD’s were awesome for storing information, but they were too expensive to use. Now, we’ve gone to even better ways to store and access information. The main trait a librarian needs is to be flexible. The format of story storage may change, but story itself is universal. Focus on the universal. It is timeless.

Great advice, Lu! Thanks for all of your years of connecting kids to great books and the resources they need to excel. To keep up with Lu and her writing, check out her blog.

We’d love to hear about creative methods other librarians and teachers are using to get kids excited about books!

Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD, a 2015-2016 Young Hoosier Award Nominee, and IN TODD WE TRUST (Penguin/Razorbill.)