Tag Archives: humor

August 2015 New Releases

With about a month left for summer reading, August offers an abundance of new books in every genre. Whether you’re looking for the next novel in your favorite series or a stand-alone by a beloved or debut author, you’re likely to find it this month. First up is from one of our own Mixed-Up Files  writers:

51IP04J0+UL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_The Secret Room (The Haunted Library Series) by Dori Hillestad Butler (Author), Aurore Damant (Illustrator)

Ghost boy Kaz can finally pass through walls without feeling all “skizzy.” So now he can go explore Beckett’s secret room at the back of the library. What he finds there is a mystery he never expected! This is Number Five in the Haunted Library Series by Butler, an Edgar Award Winner.

 Unknown-8Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

This novel by Newbery Medal winner Rebecca Stead explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship. Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight? Each memorable character navigates the challenges of love and change in this captivating novel.

Unknown-42Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target? Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destiny—a legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie must—with the help of some friends—decipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear. Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.

Unknown-35Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Newbery Honor–winning author Gennifer Choldenko deftly combines humor, tragedy, fascinating historical detail, and a medical mystery in this exuberant new novel. San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people . . . but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague. The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.

Unknown-14George by Alex Gino

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte—but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Unknown-53Old Wolf  by Avi (Author), Brian Floca (Illustrator)

Hunting—the predator, and its prey—is at the heart of this riveting and suspenseful novel from Newbery Medalist Avi with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca. In the computer game world of Bow Hunter—Casey’s world—there are no deaths, just kills. In the wolf world—Nashoba’s world—there have been no kills. For this is March, the Starving Time in the Iron Mountain region of Colorado, when wolves and ravens alike are desperate for food. With the help of a raven, the miraculous Merla, Nashoba must lead his pack of eight to a next meal. The wolf hates being dependent on a mere bird, but Merla is a bird wise beyond her years. And when thirteen-year-old Casey crosses their path, two very different approaches to hunting collide.

Unknown-17Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined. In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

Unknown-39Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Sloan (Author), Gary Rosen (Illustrator)

Fans of E.B. White and Dick King-Smith will adore this heartwarming and funny animal adventure by the award-winning author of Counting by 7s. Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out!

Unknown-43School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough

Evan Quick has spent his whole life dreaming of becoming a hero. Every morning he wakes up and runs through a checklist of tests to see if he’s developed powers over night, and every day it is the same thing—nothing. But then, the class field trip to the Mask Museum is interrupted by a super villain attack, and Evan somehow manages to survive a death ray. Even better, Evan’s favorite Mask, Captain Commanding, shows up to save them all—and when things go very wrong, it’s Evan who finds the strength to come to Captain Commanding’s rescue. Yet the hero’s reception Evan is expecting never happens. Before he even gets the chance to say hello, Evan is bundled away to The Academy, an institution derisively called The School for Sidekicks by its students. Forced to take classes like Banter Basics and Combat with Dinnerware, while being assigned as an “apprentice” to Foxman—a Mask widely considered a has-been—Evan starts to worry that he’ll never be able to save the day.

Unknown-44My Teacher Is An Idiom by Jamie Gilson

With a friend like Patrick, who needs enemies? Patrick is a showoff and a prankster, and Richard is his usual target. Resolved not to let Patrick get him in trouble, Richard is sucked in by The Mosquito, a way to eat red Jell-O through a straw, and of course trouble ensues. Complications arise when the new girl from France thinks the boys are seriously injured, and miscommunication is all too easy when idioms in English and in French are taken literally. The shifting alliances, interests, and concerns of second-graders are authentically and humorously depicted in this easy-to-read school story.

Unknown-54Danny’s Doodles: The Dog Biscuit Breakfast by David Adler

 Danny knows his friend Calvin has crazy ideas, so he’s not surprised when Calvin suggests they start a Rent-a-Pet business. After all, Calvin’s Aunt Ruth wants the boys to watch her dog while she’s away, and what better way to get the miniature Collie off their hands than loaning him to a kid in the neighborhood for a few days? But in order to rent a pet, you need a renter. Which Calvin and Danny don’t have. Can the two drum up some business before it’s too late? Or will their plan go to the dogs?

Unknown-55Field Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

Father-and-son writing team Gary and Jim Paulsen pick up where their Road Trip left off. Ben has been invited to try out for a special hockey academy. But Dad wants Ben to catch up to the school field trip instead. So Ben, Dad, and their dogs, Atticus and Conor, jump into their truck. Ben concocts a secret plan to make the tryout, but Atticus and Conor are on to him. Ben and Dad’s road trip turns into a wacky adventure full of new friends and surprises.

Unknown-3Valley of Kings (TombQuest, Book 3) by Michael Northrop

If Alex and Ren are going to stop the Death Walkers, they know they have to find the powerful Lost Spells. So they head to the Valley of the Kings, deep in the Egyptian desert—where they discover that Egypt is in the grips of madness. Voices in the air whisper dark secrets, and flashes of light burn across the night sky. But their hunt for the Spells keeps getting sabotaged. Every step they take, The Order is hot on their trail. There’s no dodging, no hiding. Is someone leaking their secrets? Is there anyone they can trust?

Unknown-40
Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth
by Jeff Anderson

Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?

Unknown-5Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio

More than two million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Readers have also been treated to three stories offering a special look at Auggie’s world through new points of view. Previously only available in ebook, now they’ll be published all together in a gorgeous hardcover package! These stories are an extra peek at Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see him through the eyes of Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie’s new friend at school. Together, these three stories are a treasure for readers who don’t want to leave Auggie behind when they finish Wonder.

Unknown-7Amphitrite the Bubbly (Goddess Girls) by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

 A new mergirl shows up at Mount Olympus Academy—and Poseidon just might be her perfect match in this seventeenth Goddess Girls adventure. Amphitrite is a mergirl with a big crush on Poseidon—but will his quirks make her fall out of like?

Unknown-10Frank Einstein and the BrainTurbo (Book Three) by Jon Scieszka (Author), Brian Biggs (Illustrator)

Frank Einstein (kid-genius scientist and inventor) and his best friend Watson, along with Klink (a self-assembled artificial intelligence entity), create the BrainTurbo to power-boost the human body and help their baseball-pitching pal Janegoodall make the team. But when Klank (a mostly self-assembled and artificial almost intelligence entity) goes missing, they must first rescue their robot pal and stop T. Edison—Frank’s classmate and archrival—from stealing their latest invention and using it against them!

Unknown-11Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls by Liz Kessler (Author), Sara Gibb (Illustrator)

A field trip to a mysterious island quickly turns into an adventure when Emily Windsnap and Aaron discover a secret lookout point from which they spot a ghostly ship that no one else seems to be able to see. Searching for answers only leads to more questions until Emily and her friends confront the island’s keeper, uncovering the incredible story of a ship caught between land and sea, day and night . . . life and death. Only Emily, with her ability to transform from mermaid to human, can enter Atlantis to try to bring the ship’s passengers back before the portal is closed forever. Will she be able to resist the allure of Atlantis and return home before it’s too late?

Unknown-13Luna (Horse Diaries #12) by Catherine Hapka (Author), Ruth Sanderson (Illustrator)

A beautiful Friesian horse and the younger sister of a circus star develop a heartwarming friendship in this sweet and lively story told straight from the horse’s mouth. In the Netherlands, 1855, Luna is a black Friesian mare with one small white crescent- moon marking on her forehead. She lives a quiet life on a farm . . . until the circus comes to town! Luna bonds with a girl named May, who dreams of starring in the show, just like her older sister. And together, Luna and May just might be able to shine. Here is Luna’s story . . . in her own words.

Unknown-15The Sixth Man (The Triple Threat 2) by John Feinstein

It’s basketball season. And for once, triple threat Alex Myers is not the one in the spotlight. There’s a new new guy in town, and Max Bellotti promises to turn the Lions’ losing streak around and lead the team to a conference title. Alex is psyched, but some of the older guys on the team resent being benched in favor of an upstart freshman. And when Max comes out as gay, not everyone takes the news in stride. Snide comments and cold shoulders escalate into heated protests and an out-and-out war with the school board. While controversy swirls around them, the Lions have to decide: Will personal issues sink their season, or can they find a way to stand together as a team?

Unknown-16Harriet the Invincible  (Hamster Princess) by Ursula Vernon

Sleeping Beauty gets a feisty, furry twist in this hilarious new comic series from the creator of Dragonbreath. Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you’ll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather dull. One day, though, Harriet’s parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she’s twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she’s invincible until she’s twelve. After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey … until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way. Perfect for fans of Babymouse and Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories, this laugh-out-loud new comic hybrid series will turn everything you thought you knew about princesses on its head.

Unknown-20Lost in Rome by Cindy Callaghan

When Lucy heads to Rome for the summer, she’s is in for pizza, pasta, and a little amore in this novel from the author of Lost in London. Lucia “Lucy” Rossi thought she was going to be a camp counselor for the summer, but, thanks to a very fortunate twist, she ends up in Rome, Italy, helping out at her aunt’s restaurant, Amore Pizzeria. But Lucy arrives to Italian trouble. Her aunt is in danger of losing her business, thanks to a flashy new pizzeria down the road that is all style, but no substance. In order to try and save the shop, Lucy decides to employ a very unique version of matchmaking—making matches based on customer’s pizza preferences. Soon, word of the American matchmaker gets out, and it looks like the business might be saved … until someone decides to try and sabotage the newfound success of Amore pizza. Can Lucy figure out who might be behind everything? Or will her family being saying ciao to Amore Pizzeria for good?

 The Copernicus Legacy: The Golden Vendetta Unknown-21 by Tony Abbott

Filled with pulse-pounding action and cryptic codes, The Golden Vendetta is the third engrossing book in bestselling author Tony Abbott’s cloak-and-dagger series for young readers. It’s been two months since the Kaplan family hunted down the Serpens relic, but when the evil Galina Krause suddenly and violently reappears, Wade, Darrell, Lily, and Becca have no choice but to face her again. Now they must race to find an artifact said to be crafted by Leonardo da Vinci himself—perhaps the strangest Guardian of all. Along the way, they uncover another layer to Galina’s sinister endgame . . . and there might not be enough time to stop it.

Unknown-50Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum) by Kekla Magoon

The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers—misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown’s merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can’t rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.
Kicking off a new series with an unforgettable heroine, readers will be treated to feats of courage and daring deeds as Robyn and her band find their way in this cruel, new world.

Unknown-52Zacktastic by Courtney Sheinmel

Upon the occasion of his tenth birthday, Zack learns from his uncle that Zack is descended from a line of genies. Before his uncle has time to fully explain the genie world, Zack is whisked through a bottle portal and sent on his first genie assignment. But he doesn’t have a clue as to what he is supposed to do or what his powers might entail.

Unknown-23A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens. But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they’re caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

Unknown-27Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Planet Girl by Tommy Greenwald (Author), J. P. Coovert (Illustrator)

There’s a crisis at Eastport Middle School! It appears that everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend except, Charlie Joe Jackson! Yup―he’s the only single guy out of all his friends. How is this possible? Even Pete Milano snagged a girl! Well, Charlie Joe refuses to be left out. He quickly goes looking for help in the last place anyone would think to find him―the library. And what he finds is the gem of all gems, the guidebook of all guidebooks, the key to finally getting a girl! Now, everyone is suddenly coming to him for love advice. (Oh, how the tables have turned.) But Charlie Joe’s world is swiftly turned upside down when he realizes the girl he actually likes … might not actually be the girl he likes.

Unknown-28A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner (Author), Tim Probert (Illustrator)

Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn’t believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more “off” the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other–and find ways to make a difference–in the classroom and on the court.
With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.

Unknown-29The Glass Gauntlet (The Blood Guard Series Book 2) by Carter Roy

Ronan Truelove barely survived his first encounter with his father and the Bend Sinister. Now, he’s determined to become one of the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect thirty-six pure souls crucial to the world’s survival. Eager to prove he’s got what it takes, Ronan is sent on his first mission with his friends Greta and Sammy to visit a weird-sounding school and take a series of tests called the Glass Gauntlet. Paper and pencils and nerdy scholarship—where’s the life-or-death challenge in that? But the Glass Gauntlet is actually something much more dangerous: head-to-head competitions against ruthless opponents. Nothing and no one are what they seem. Who can he trust, and who will kill him? Ronan has to figure it out fast because his enemies are multiplying, and soon he will have to pass the ultimate test: facing his father again and standing up to those who threaten not only him and his friends but also the world.

Unknown-46The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star by Jill Murphy (Author, Illustrator)

Mildred Hubble may be the clumsiest witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, but as a senior student she’s been assigned the important task of lighting lanterns and candelabras each evening. Inspired by this responsibility, Mildred tries to stay out of trouble. But there are many opportunities for mayhem when a wish on a star leads to a lovable stray pup who, unlike Mildred’s timid tabby, loves to fly on a broomstick. Can Mildred keep Star a secret and avoid setting fire to the school, despite an impending talent competition, the disapproving Miss Hardbroom, and her ever-spiteful classmate Ethel Hallow?

Unknown-48Charlie and the Grandmothers by Katy Towell

Charlie and Georgie Oughtt have been sent to visit their Grandmother Pearl, and this troubles Charlie for three reasons. The first is that he’s an exceptionally nervous twelve-year-old boy, and he worries about everything. The second is that the other children in his neighborhood who pay visits to their grandmothers never seem to return. And the third is that Charlie and Georgie don’t have any grandmothers. Upon their arrival, all of Charlie’s concerns are confirmed, as “Grandmother Pearl” quickly reveals herself to be something much more gruesome than even Charlie’s most outlandish fears could have predicted. He and Georgie are thrust into a creepy underworld created from stolen nightmares, where monsters disguised as grandmothers serve an ancient, evil queen by holding children captive as they slowly sap each one of their memories and dreams. But something is different about Charlie. His worrisome nature, so often a burden, proves an asset in this frightening world. Will he be able to harness this newfound power to defeat the queen and save his sister?

Unknown-49Pumpkin Spice (The Friendship Garden) by Jenny Meyerhoff (Author), Éva Chatelain (Illustrator)

Besides tons of yummy fall food, Anna is excited for the Windy City Pumpkin Fest. There is going to be a bake-off, a moon bounce—even a biggest pumpkin contest! Anna, Kaya, and Reed are sure that their pumpkin, Herbert, will take home first prize. But just two days before the contest, Herbert disappears! Kaya and Anna are sure someone stole their perfect pumpkin. After all, pumpkins can’t just get up and walk away by themselves. Can the Friendship Garden crew catch the orange-fingered thief in time for the festival?

Unknown-47The Wild Ones by C. Alexander London

When a country raccoon used to a soft life winds up all alone in the big city, there’s no telling what he’ll do to survive –and to save his fellow wild animals in the process.
Kit is a young raccoon who has lived his whole life under the Big Sky. But when a pack of hunting dogs destroy his home and kill his parents, Kit needs to escape.
He finds himself in Ankle Snap Alley, a city in the midst of a turf war between the Wild Ones and the people’s pets who call themselves The Flealess. There he uncovers the secret that they died for—an ancient truce that gives Ankle Snap Alley to the Wild Ones. But the Flealess will stop at nothing to keep that secret buried forever, and Kit is in serious danger. Only the brave of heart and quick of paw can save the Wild Ones now.
Perfect for fans of the Warriors, Spirit Animals, or Redwall series, this first book in the Wild Ones epic is sure capture young readers’ imaginations and take them on a great adventure.

Unknown-34 Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler

When we last saw them, Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster stopped their big sister from marrying the wrong guy, proving that they can accomplish a lot when they work together. Now, they are turning their smarts and high-energy hijinks to something completely different: their local Christmas pageant! They’ve been practicing looking wise and stroking long, fake beards in preparation for their roles. But what if they’re not cast as the wise men? What if instead they have to play angels in the pageant? Distasteful. Deplorable. Dreadful. And it’s not like anything else is going their way this holiday season, either. Can the triplets figure out what to get for their mom, solve a mystery about a stolen Santa, and recover their holiday spirit in time for the pageant?

Unknown-22The Liberators (World War II, Book 4) by Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch concludes his gritty, thoughtful, and critically acclaimed WWII fiction series—providing entirely new insight into “The Good War.” The US Marines Corps is home to some of the roughest, toughest combatants in World War II. Their courage and daring are legendary. And the best of the best—the boldest among them—are joining the Corps’ elite new paratrooper combat unit. As Paramarines, they’ll be expected to do everything a typical Marine does … and do it while skydiving. Nick Nardini knows that he’s destined to become a Paramarine. He also knows that he has to convince his best friend, Zachary Klecko, to sign up too. Nardini and Klecko used to be inseparable, ever since they met in kindergarten, but recently they’ve been drifting apart. Fighting in the same battalion—and jumping out of the same planes—seems to Nardini like a surefire way to restore their bond and come out of the war stronger than ever. The Axis powers, however, may have other ideas.

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Unknown-37March Grand Prix: The Fast and the Furriest by Kean Soo (Author, Illustrator)

A new, turbo-charged graphic novel by Kean Soo, author of the acclaimed, award-winning series Jellaby. March Hare wants to be the fastest and furriest racecar driver around. But first, this rabbit racers will have to prove his skill at the speedway, on the streets, and in the desert. With pedal-to-the-metal illustrations and full-throttle action, March is sure to be a winner!

Unknown-38Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

Highly acclaimed graphic novelist Craig Thompson’s debut book for young readers is about a plucky heroine on a mission to save her dad. For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father’s life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Unknown-25Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm (Author), Matthew Holm (Illustrator)

From the groundbreaking and award-winning sister-brother team behind Babymouse comes a middle-grade, semi-autobiographical graphic novel. Following the lives of kids whose older brother’s delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos, Sunny Side Up is at once a compelling “problem” story and a love letter to the comic books that help the protagonist make sense of her world. By sister-bother team Jennifer and Matthew Holm. A 200-page, full-color graphic novel in the vein of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile.

Unknown-18Squish Number 7: Deadly Disease of Doom by Jennifer L. Holm (Author, Illustrator) and Matthew Holm (Author, Illustrator

Ahhh-CHOO! From the New York Times bestselling, Eisner-winning creators of Babymouse, it’s Squish’s most contagiously fun adventure yet! Uh-oh! A deadly disease is spreading through Small Pond! People are dropping like flies! And YIKES—it looks like Squish is patient #1. Will this epic epidemic be the end of everyone’s favorite amoeba? (And if it is, who will he leave his comic collection to?) BONUS: Look in the back of the book to learn how to draw one of the Squish characters and to get instructions for a SENSATIONAL science experiment you can do at home!

NONFICTION

Unknown-24Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

What happens when a person’s reputation has been forever damaged? With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary’s controversial life. How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was. How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary? This thorough exploration includes an author’s note, timeline, annotated source notes, and bibliography.

9781481435222Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle (Author), Edel Rodriguez (Illustrator)

In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War. Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not. Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

Unknown-6Who Is Malala Yousafzai? by Dinah Brown (Author), Andrew Thomson (Illustrator)

Malala Yousafzai was a girl who loved to learn but was told that girls would no longer be allowed to go to school. She wrote a blog that called attention to what was happening in her beautiful corner of Pakistan and realized that words can bring about change. She has continued to speak out for the right of all children to have an education. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Unknown-12Who Is Jeff Kinney? by Patrick Kinney (Author), John Hinderliter (Illustrator)

Even as a kid, everyone thought Jeff Kinney was talented. People loved his drawings, and when he went to college, his comic strip Igdoof was so popular that it spread to other universities! Still, Jeff faced challenges. His cartoons were rejected by syndicates that claimed his art was unprofessional. Then, an idea struck: Jeff would write a journal from the perspective of a child, illustrated with doodles just like a kid might do. And so, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series was born—and it was a hit! In this biography, Jeff’s brother, Patrick Kinney, provides a knowledgeable look at the life of this best-selling author/illustrator. From Jeff’s childhood pranks to his job developing online games, kids will love the chance to learn more about the creator of the popular Wimpy Kid books.

Unknown-45Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum (Author), Todd Hasak-Lowy (Contributor)

 Resilience shines throughout a boy’s firsthand, present-tense account of life in the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust, an ideal companion to the bestselling Boy on the Wooden Box. Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree childhood playing games and taking walks through Prague with his beloved father. All of that changed forever when the Nazis invaded Prague. The Gruenbaum family was forced to move into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. Then, after a devastating loss, Michael, his mother and sister were deported to the Terezin concentration camp. At Terezin, Misha roomed with forty other boys who became like brothers to him. Life in Terezin was a bizarre, surreal balance—some days were filled with friendship and soccer matches, while others brought mortal terror as the boys waited to hear the names on each new list of who was being sent “to the East.” Those trains were going to Auschwitz. When the day came that his family’s name appeared on a transport list, their survival called for a miracle—one that tied Michael’s fate to a carefully sewn teddy bear, and to his mother’s unshakeable determination to keep her children safe. Collaborating with acclaimed author Todd Hasak-Lowy, Michael Gruenbaum shares his inspiring story of hope in an unforgettable memoir that recreates his experiences with stunning immediacy. Michael’s story, and the many original documents and photos included alongside it, offer an essential contribution to Holocaust literature.

Unknown-41National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography: Tips & Tricks on How to Be a Great Photographer From the Pros & Your Pals at My Shot by Nancy Honovich (Author), Annie Griffiths (Author)

 In the age of smartphones and selfies, why not learn from the pros how to take great photos to share with friends and family? Here’s a fun, fact-filled, kid-friendly guide that is jam-packed with all the essentials for budding photographers. From how to set up a shot and stage the lighting and from the best software to short assignments, you’ll learn all the important photographic concepts and basics of equipment, lighting aperture, lenses, depth of field, and more. This wide-ranging book also has sections devoted to composition and photographing different subjects (animals, people, sports, landscapes). Before and after shots offer visual explanations, while tips and photographs from National Geographic photographers are featured throughout, making this the best photography guide out there today for children (and adult beginners too).

61TMeb9eQsLFur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo by Cassandre Maxwell

 Abraham Dee Bartlett knew from a young age that he wanted to spend his life working with animals. But in Victorian London, there weren’t many jobs that provided an opportunity to do that. Still, Abraham spent years gaining knowledge and pursuing his dream until he eventually became superintendent in the London Zoo. Driven by his compassion for the animals, Abraham dramatically improved the conditions of the zoo to ensure that the animals could be happy and healthy. With engaging back matter and charming illustrations, Cassandre Maxwell’s book brings to life the little-known story of the man who helped to create the modern zoo.

Unknown-56Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.
Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.

9781423183655Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan (Author), John Rocco (Illustrator)

Who cut off Medusa’s head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy.

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, which takes place on the New Jersey Shore, will be out in May 2016 from S&S/Aladdin. 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/

 

Oh, the Drama! Novel Writing from a Playwright’s Perspective

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Images are from a recent production of Peter Pan which I directed, but unfortunately, did not write.

As a director and resident playwright at my local children’s theater, I came into novel writing from a script writer’s background. There are drawbacks of coming from the stage to the page. But there are benefits, too. I think the lessons I’ve learned and am still learning apply to writers from all backgrounds, and I look forward to reading how you deal with these areas when writing.

Pitfalls: 

Seeing the Scene: “Could we have a little more description of this location?” My editor wrote this several *cough* times in my first novel manuscript. I call it the plague of the playwright: I “see” all my scenes as if they’re on stage or in a movie, often forgetting the reader can’t see them as well. I’ve had to make conscience decisions to describe “the set” of each scene, realizing that setting is what grounds the reader in the character’s world. This usually happens during the second draft.

Disoriented: “Orientation.” That’s another comment that occasionally still pops up in edits. Related to the first pitfall, in a script, I’d put the character’s position and movement on the set in parenthetical stage notes. I see it in my head when I write, but have to remember to help the reader see it by describing it for them.

Lost in Transition: As a director, I’m used to beginning and ending scenes via light cues and curtains. But that won’t work in fiction. It doesn’t always take much, just showing the passage of time or giving a character some internal dialogue (another thing it’s easy for this playwright to forget to include), but it’s the difference between a confused reader and one who can suspend disbelief.

Pluses:

PP2 (1)What’s That You Say? Dialogue is probably the playwright’s number one vehicle, and most of my first drafts consist of the characters talking. If I’m writing a script, I will often hand a copy to my husband so I can hear how a scene sounds aloud in comparison to how it sounded in my head. A strong internal ear is valuable for a novelist, but when in doubt, read it out!

Hands Free: I recently saw a contest for a short story written entirely in dialogue-no tags allowed. If I weren’t working on other projects, I’d probably enter for the fun of it. Body and dialogue tags aren’t a bad thing, and I use them often, but they can clunk up an otherwise snappy conversation. Playwrights have to rely solely on words in a script and let the actors fill in the rest. I think a stretch of dialogue without any tags gives the reader a chance to connect with the characters in a deeper way, utilizing the imagination to fill in the blanks. Jane Austen was a master of this. A conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice:

“Of what are you talking?”

“Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say he will not have Lizzy.”

“And what am I to do on the occasion? It seems a hopeless business.”

“Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her you insist upon her marrying him.”

“Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion.”

Now, I would have been tempted to at least used one physical description of Mrs. Bennet flailing about or pulling at her cap, but Jane trusts that she’s painted the characters well enough for us to see it all in the theater of our minds. Also noteworthy is that she doesn’t use a single exclamation point.

I’m Hearing Voices: Nobody wants to see a play with characters who sound like echoes of each other, and the same holds true in fiction. I like to give characters varying sentence construction and one or two key words or phrases that they say without thinking, especially in conversations.

PP3It’s All About the Timing: There’s no time for lags in action or dialogue in theater. If you’ve ever been to a play with a seemingly eternal scene change or worse, where an actor forgets lines, you know how it pulls you out of the show. Pacing is priority in fiction, too. Varying sentence structure, giving readers time to “breathe” after intense scenes, and knowing how to end a chapter with a page turner will all keep your audience fully invested in your characters’ journeys.

I’d love to hear from other script writers on how you make the transition from script or screenplay to story, and from anyone else who has insight on how to improve a novel’s setting, orientation, and transitions.

LGBioPicture copyIn addition to writing, directing, and occasionally acting in plays and musicals, Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD and IN TODD WE TRUST (Penguin/Razorbill). She resides in Kansas with her large family and a noisy parrot, who supply plenty of comedy and drama. 

 

 

 

You’re Invited: A Giveaway and Interview with Jen Malone and Gail Nall

The Mixed-Up Files is very excited to introduce Jen Malone and Gail Nall and their new series about four girls who run an event planning business. The first book in the series, You’re Invited, was released just last month.

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The authors recently stopped by to answer some questions about themselves and their books.

MUF: I see that the two of you live pretty far from each other. How did you meet? And what made you decide to collaborate on a book?

Gail: In summer 2012, we were both querying and doing blog writing contests. We “met” on one of those blogs where we each had an entry (spoiler alert: my entry was my upcoming YA debut, Exit Stage Left, which was MG back then!). We each read the other’s entry, and then I think we left simultaneous comments to the effect of, “Hi! You write like me. Let’s exchange manuscripts!” So we did, and quickly became critique partners. Not long after that, Jen snagged an agent, and then about four months later, I also got an agent. Then Jen’s book, At Your Service, sold to Aladdin, and a few months later, my book, Breaking the Ice, also sold to the same editor at Aladdin. So, collaborating on a story was almost meant to be the next step! We write MG with comparable voices, were already with the same editor at the same house, and we knew we could get along! It was a nice surprise to find out that we both drafted chronologically, and that neither of us was particularly skilled in plotting before writing. (We had to fix that last one, quick!)

MUF: What sparked your idea of a group of friends becoming event planners?

Jen: I love to write wish-fulfillment books (At Your Service is about a girl who lives in a fancy hotel) and I also love books about girl entrepreneurs, so I basically just asked myself, “What business would I have loved to do with my friends when I was twelve?” Party planning was something tween girls could kick butt and allowed for lots of creativity on their part, but also offered plenty of potential for drama and hilarious mishaps, which Gail is a master at devising! I was rereading Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants around the same time and loved the four best friends each writing from her own perspective. We always knew the tight-knit friendship would be the real story in You’re Invited, and we pitched the book as a cross between Babysitter’s Club and Sisterhood, which became a touch point for us as we wrote.

MUF: Have either of you had any of your own event planning disasters?

Gail: Okay, so back in high school, my BFF and I decided to throw a party at her house. It was very last-minute, and it was really more of a way to invite the guy she liked over without specifically inviting him, if that makes any sense. So it’s 7:00, and no one’s there. 8:00, no one. About 9, the guy’s friend calls and says they’re coming over. So rather than look like the girls who threw a party no one came to, we raced around filling up plastic cups with various levels of Coke, crumbling food onto paper plates, and generally making the place look like there’d just been some amazing party these guys had missed out on. The funny thing is, I think they bought it.

Jen: I used to work as a Hollywood publicist and a big part of my job was planning premieres and special screenings, so I’ve had my share. One of the most memorable was when I had to spend a weekend hiding the boyfriend of an A-list movie star from the press… and from his wife (it actually forms the basis for my YA out this summer, called Map to the Stars). And then there was the time a movie star ground her stiletto heel into the foot of a fan who just wouldn’t give her space on the red carpet at a film festival, and I had to distract the press so they wouldn’t notice the commotion that caused. Good times! I will say, that job taught me to be a little too hyper-organized in order to avoid any potential for disaster- when it was time to plan my own wedding everyone in the bridal party got three-inch thick binders of instructions. I cringe every time I think about those, and I’m sincerely lucky to still have them as friends today!

MUF: What was your process when you wrote? Did each of you take two characters? Or did you each have a hand in writing from the point of view of all the girls?

Gail: The book is a rotating, four-person POV, so each chapter is narrated by one of the girls. We each claimed two characters and wrote “our” girls’ chapters, but there was a lot of input and revision based on the other person’s comments. The other person also had carte blanche to go through and fix her characters’ dialogue and quirks in the chapters she didn’t write. There was a lot of “blah blah [insert Becca-speak here] blah blah”-type notes throughout the first draft. If it was something more than that, we usually wrote long margin comments to each other, suggesting changes to the scene that would better fit the characters and their motivations. Co-writing is sort of like working with a built-in critique partner!

We actually wrote a three-part blog series about the whole process (from idea to publication), which you can find the first installment of here: https://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/behind-the-curtain-what-happens-when-you-co-write-a-book/

MUF: I love how each girl’s chapter starts with something that relates to her, e.g., Sadie’s chapters always start with To-Do Lists; Lauren’s start with definitions; Vi’s start with recipes; and Becca’s start with horoscopes. If you were characters in your own book, how would your chapters start?

Gail: A list of the books in my to-be-read stack. Wait, that would take about fifty pages to list . . . So maybe I’d be a Sadie and have my endless to-do list that lives on my phone. I have reminders to “buy groceries” and “clean cat litter boxes,” because seriously, who has time to remember stuff like that? 😉

Jen: This is a great question! Mine would probably start with a quirky or inspiring quote because I’m a total sucker for them (even if I never remember them later!) 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Brown’s Book of Precepts by R.J. Palacio is basically my nirvana. It would definitely not be a recipe, like Vi’s chapters have, because I can only cook pizza bagels and oatmeal.

MUF: I see that You’re Invited Too is already in the works. When will that be out? And do you expect to do more books together?

Gail  and Jen: You’re Invited Too will be out on February 2nd, 2016! It was so much fun to write about the girls’ continuing adventures as they take on their first huge event (a wedding with a Bridezilla). We’d love to write more books for the RSVP girls, so fingers crossed!

Thanks for such great answers! Congratulations to both of you and thanks for stopping by!

Gail and Jen are giving away a signed copy of You’re Invited. To be eligible, just leave a comment below. A winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 9. (You must live in the United States or Canada to enter the giveaway.)

Read more about the authors here:

official%20author%20photoJen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her debut At Your Service published with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIX in 2014, and her new series, You’re Invited (Simon & Schuster), co-written with Gail Nall, launched with Book #1 in 2015. She has three young adult titles forthcoming with HarperCollins, beginning with Map to the Stars in Summer 2015. Jen lives outside Boston with her husband and three children, teaches at Boston University, loves school visits, and has a “thing” for cute hedgehog pictures. You can learn more about her and her books at www.jenmalonewrites.com.

Gail%20NallGail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, and is the co-author of You’re Invited (both Aladdin/S&S, 2015). Her upcoming young adult debut is Exit Stage Left (EpicReads Impulse/HarperCollins, 9/8/15), and two more middle grade novels, You’re Invited Too and Out of Tune, will follow from S&S in 2016. You can find her online at www.gailnall.com and on Twitter as @gailecn.

 

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, which takes place on the Jersey Shore, will be out in May 2016 from (Aladdin/S&S). 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/