Tag Archives: humor

Interview–and Giveaway–with Shelley Tougas

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Shelley Tougas writes fiction and nonfiction for tweens and teens. Shelley is a former journalist who also worked in public relations. Her award-winning book, Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration, landed on the top ten lists of Booklist and School Library Journal. Shelley lives near the Twin Cities.

little rock girl

Today, Shelley has joined us to talk about her new book, Finders Keepers (Roaring Brook Press 2015).

Christa spends every summer at the most awesome place in the whole world: her family’s cabin on Whitefish Lake in Wisconsin. Only her dad recently lost his job and her parents have decided to sell the cabin. But not if Christa can help it. Everyone knows Al Capone’s loot is hidden somewhere near Whitefish Lake, and her friend Alex’s cranky grandpa might have the key to finding it. Grandpa says the loot is gone, or worse -cursed – but Christa knows better. If she finds it, she can keep it and save her family and their beloved cabin.

Booklist gave it a starred review “A charming story of family history and personal connections (both lost and found) that is reminiscent of Blue Balliett and the Penderwicks‘ adventures.”


Finders Keepers is your second novel, but you have ten published nonfiction books as well. How does your nonfiction inform your fiction writing?

I was a journalist for seven years, so my background is nonfiction. Working at a daily newspaper is a writer’s boot camp. Deadlines range from a week to a frantic thirty minutes. When you have limited space, you learn to treat every word like gold. Clarity and economy are essential. There’s only room for the most telling details and the best quotes. I learned about everything from police investigations to murder trials to elections to sewer systems. I met fascinating people, including a man who walked around the world, a barbed-wire collector, young men who canoed from Canada to the Amazon, a family who raised wolves, an anti-government militant who barricaded herself from the FBI for three months, and so much more.

I did a little Internet research on gangsters in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and was surprised at how many Chicago criminals spent time there. How much of the Al Capone content is fact and how much is legend? How much of it did you make up?

I invented the characters and their adventure, but everything about Capone is based on facts and legends. Capone didn’t use banks or accountants, so even historians and journalists believe he hid money or gave it to colleagues for safe keeping. His illness caused him to be delusional, so he wasn’t making rational decisions. In 1986, journalist and entertainer Geraldo Rivera had a live television special during which his crew used dynamite to blast open a vault of Capone’s. He thought he’d find Capone’s loot and maybe even human remains. IRS agents were there to collect Capone’s estimated $800,000 in unpaid taxes. Thirty million people watched him enter the vault where he discovered … nothing.

The setting in Finders Keepers felt very real to me, even though I’ve never been there. How did you do that?

Christa’s beloved cabin on Whitefish Lake is actually my parents’ real cabin on Whitefish Lake. The difference is my parents’ cabin is part of a group of cabins near a lakeside restaurant. Christa’s cabin is a standalone place near the Clarks’ home, which is also invented. The town of Hayward does have a popular candy store with a fudge lady, an ice cream store, and the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in the shape of a huge muskie. I think it’s safe to say there aren’t underground tunnels in town!

800px-HaywardMuskie-061-050507Photo credit: Bobak Ha’Eri

If there was one single thing that you wanted readers to get from Finders Keepers, what would it be?

Put down your electronics, unleash your imagination, and play outside. That’s a message for adults, too.

What other books do you recommend to readers who enjoyed Finders Keepers?

It’s a bit self-serving to suggest my debut novel The Graham Cracker Plot [recently released in paperback], but it’s also a funny adventure story. Two novels I always recommend: Savvy by Ingrid Law and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. I recently read Lisa Lewis Tyre’s novel Last in a Long Line of Rebels, which is also about kids seeking a hidden treasure, and I loved it.


What’s your favorite thing about middle-grade fiction (as a reader or a writer)?

Kids are hilarious, often without meaning to be funny. I’ve had more laugh-out-loud moments reading kid lit than adult work.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to write middle-grade fiction?

Spend a lot of time with kids. Listen to the way they talk and observe how they handle conflict and problems. Read your work out loud to kids and pay attention to their body language. If they’re staring out the window, you know you’ve got work to do. My daughter is my first editor. My early draft of The Graham Cracker Plot  opened with backstory. When I read it to my daughter, she said, “Mom, it’s really good. But when is the story going to start?” And she was right. In middle-grade novels, you need to invite the readers immediately. Most are impatient and won’t wade through a sluggish beginning.

Shelley has kindly offered to give away a copy of Finders Keepers. Leave a comment below by midnight on Monday, November 30 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 1.

Jacqueline Houtman is the author of the middle-grade novel The Reinvention of Edison Thomas (Front Street/Boyds Mills Press 2010) and coauthor, with Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long, of the biography for young (and not-so-young) readers Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist (Quaker Press 2014).

November New Releases

Looking for great new titles you can fall back on this November? Here are some books that we’re looking forward to reading at MUF:

November 3rd:

RUBY REINVENTED by Ronni Arno (Aladdin) Ruby Miller has it made. As the only child of model-turned-TV-host Celestine Cruz and pro-baseball star Zack Miller, she has everythinRubyReinventedg a twelve-year-old girl could want. Well, except for real friends.

After a disastrous birthday party where she discovers her supposed BFFs are only friends with her because her parents are uber-famous, she finds a place as far from fake and phony Hollywood as she can get: a boarding school in Camden, Maine. In her desperation to distance herself from her star-studded parents and the paparazzi who trail them, Ruby tells her new friends that she’s an orphan. She feels awful about lying, but once she starts, it’s hard to come clean. Plus, now that nobody’s comparing her to her perfect parents, Ruby can finally let her own talents as a dress designer take center stage.

When Ruby finds herself connecting with a cute boy who really did lose his parents, she’s torn between who she is and who she’s pretending to be. And with Parents’ Weekend approaching, she must find a way to keep her secret—without losing her new best friend, the trust of her first crush, and the chance to shine as the designer of her very own fashion show.

MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Aladdin)MyDiaryFromTheEdgeOfTheWorld Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

DEAD POSSUMS ARE FAIR GAME by Taryn Souders (Sky Pony) DeadPossumsAreFairGame As the end of the school year approaches, the fifth-grade teachers at Victor Waldo Elementary conclude there’s not enough time to complete a new math unit before summer break. Great news for math-phobic Ella, right?

Wrong! The teachers decide instead to have their students host the first-ever Math Fair. And the fair project is worth two major math grades.

Add in one dead possum plus two horrible roommates who come to stay while their house is being renovated, and you have an equation for disaster. Ella is headed for summer school and math tutoring for sure. Can she stop her troubles from multiplying before it’s too late?

FAST BREAK by Mike Lupica (Philomel) FastBreakForced to live on his own after his mom dies and her boyfriend abandons him, 12-year-old Jayson does whatever it takes to get by. He will do anything to avoid the foster care system. Besides, his real home has always been the beat-up basketball court behind the projects in the North Carolina hills, and his family has always been his friends and teammates. He manages to get away with his deception until the day he gets caught stealing a new pair of basketball sneakers. Game over. Within a day a social worker places him with a family from the other side of town, the Lawtons. New home, new school, new teammates.

Jayson, at first, is combatative, testing the Lawtons’ patience at every turn. He wants out, yet the Lawtons refuse to take the bait. But not everyone in Jayson’s new life is so ready to trust him–and even Jayson’s old friends give him a hard time now that he’s attending a school full of rich kids. It’s on Jayson to believe that he deserves a better life than the one he once had. The ultimate prize if he can? A trip to play in the state finals at Cameron Indoor Stadium–home to the Duke Blue Devils and launching pad to his dream of playing bigtime college ball. Getting there will be a journey that reaches far beyond the basketball court.

PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE SIXTH GRADE by Sherri Winston (Little, Brown) In this sequel to PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE FIFTH GRADE, Brianna navigates her toughest challenge yet: middle school.

PresidentOfTheWholeSixthGradeBrianna Justice is determined to raise enough money for the big class trip to Washington, D.C., but she’s up against a lot: classmates who all pretend to be something they’re not, a new nemesis determined to run her out of office, and the sinking feeling she’s about to lose her two best friends. But just when she begins to lose hope, she comes to realize that sometimes surprises can turn out even better than the best-laid plans.


November 10:

A BITTER MAGIC by Roderick Townley (Knopf) Everything is in place: the packed theater, the Amazing Thummel, and, center stage, the magician’s mysterious assistant. Some have called her the most beautiful woman in EuroABitterMagicpe.

Then, in a swirl of light, she vanishes!

An astounding illusion, but she never reappears. All that remains are a bloodstained white scarf and her daughter, Cisley, who lives in a glass castle and walks her pet lobster each morning by the sea.

Enter Cole, a rambunctious boy from town and Cisley’s first true friend. Together they hunt for clues to her mother’s disappearance. They puzzle over broken mirrors, ever-shifting labyrinths, a closet full of whispering ball gowns, and a fatal quest for a pure black rose.

Roderic Townley spins a deliciously spooky tale of one girl’s journey to discover what’s real and what is simply an illusion.

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CRAZY HORSE by Joseph Marshall, illus. by Jim Yellowhawk (Amulet) Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you would not InTheFootstepsOfCrazyhawkguess it by his name: his father is a white man and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota history. Drawing inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition and the Lakota cultural mechanism of the “hero story,” Joseph Marshall provides readers with an insider’s perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

FINDING FORTUNE by Delia Ray (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Running away from home isn’t as easy as Ren thinks it will be. At least she isn’t running very far-just a few miles to the ghost town of Fortune . . . or Mis-Fortune as everyone else calls it. Mis-Fortune on the Mississippi. Supposedly, there’s an abandoned school on tFindingFortunehe outskirts with cheap rooms for rent. Ren knows her plan sounds crazy. But with only a few more weeks until Dad comes home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, she also knows she has to do something drastic so Mom will come to her senses and stop seeing that creep Rick Littleton for good.

From the moment she enters the school’s shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets. Every night old Mrs. Baxter, the landlady, wanders the building on a mysterious quest. What could she be up to? And can Mrs. Baxter’s outlandish plan to transform the gym into a pearl-button museum ever succeed? With a quirky new friend named Hugh at her side, Ren sets out to solve the mystery that could save Fortune from fading away. But what about her family’s future? Can that be saved too?

NINJA TIMMY by Henrik Tamm (Delacorte) NinjaTimmyTimmy the cat, his pal Simon the mink, and the pig brothers Jasper and Casper are inventors, and they’re hoping to sell their fabulous new contraption to a local merchant. With high hopes, they haul their machine through the crowded streets of Elyzandrium—and are promptly robbed by a gang of bullies. With the help of two new friends, Alfred, a kindly old toymaker, and Flores, a skilled cat pilot, Timmy and his pals set out to get back what is rightfully theirs. As it turns out, they’re not the only victims of these dastardly criminals. But what can this band of misfits do?

In this action-packed adventure, the intrepid Timmy and his wily friends transform themselves into crime-fighting ninjas—and quite possibly heroes!

BORROWED TIME by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion) BorrowedTimeIn this time-travel dinosaur adventure, Max Pierson-Takahashi and his friend Petra return to the days of the dinosaurs, where they must survive attacks from mosasaurs, tyrannosaurs, and other deadly creatures, including a vengeful, pistol-toting girl from the 1920s. The fast pace, mind-bending time twists, and Greg Leitich Smith’s light, humorous touch make this an exciting, fun choice for readers looking for adventure and nonstop action.


November 17:

ABRACADABRA: THE STORY OF MAGIC THROUGH THE AGES by H.P. Newquist, illus. by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov Abracadabra(Henry Holt) Magic is a word we use to describe something amazing, awe-inspiring, or spectacular. Truly great magic makes us believe in things we know can’t be real. In the hands of the greatest magicians, even a simple card trick can become truly wondrous.

Now, in this nonfiction narrative of magic through the ages, HP Newquist explains how the world’s most famous tricks were created. From the oracles of ancient Egypt and the wizards of medieval Europe on to the exploits of Houdini and modern practitioners like Criss Angel, this book unlocks the secrets behind centuries of magic and illusion.

Fully illustrated and including step-by-step instructions for eight classic magic tricks, this book will have middle-grade readers spellbound.

ON THE RUN by Tristan Bancks (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Ben has always wanted to be a cop, so he’s intrigued when police officers show up at the door, asking for his parents.OnTheRun Then his parents arrive after the police leave and rush him and his sister into the car, insisting they are going on a vacation. Ben’s a little skeptical–his family doesn’t go on vacations. After they lose the police in a high-speed car chase and end up in a remote cabin deep in the woods, Ben discovers his parents’ secret: millions of dollars were deposited into their bank account by accident, and they took the money and ran off. Ben isn’t sure what to think. Are his parents criminals? And because he ran off with them, is he a criminal, too?

THE HUMAN BODY: THE STORY OF HOW WE PROTECT, REPAIR, AND MAKE OURSELVES STRONGER by H.P. Newquist (Viking) TheHumanBodyDid you know the first blood transfusions were between people and lambs? Or that the first prosthetic hand with a hook was created so a French soldier could hold the reins of his horse in battle? Or that scientists recently grew a nose?

Invention & Impact, an exciting new series from PYRG-Smithsonian, introduces young readers to experiments, discoveries, and breakthroughs such as these, which have huge impacts on our world.  Designed with exciting  images from the Smithsonian’s vast collections, each highly visual book in the series starts with a big idea and then explores that concept through specific objects that give kids the micro and meta picture on how inventions and ideas connect over time.

The debut book in the series looks at one of the most complex systems on planet Earth: the human body. From artificial eyeballs to aspirin to 3-D printed body parts, The Human Body profiles the objects that scientists and tinkerers throughout history have invented (or cobbled together) to protect, repair, or improve our physical selves. And there are plenty of fascinating stories behind these objects!

Which of these or other middle-grade titles are you looking forward to reading? Let us know in the comments!


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?

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.


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!


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/