Tag Archives: middle-grade fiction

September New Releases

Ready to FALL into some great reads? I’m especially looking forward to CONFESSIONS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND A MEMOIR BY JAQUES PAPIER by Michelle Cuevas and CRENSHAW by Katherine Applegate. Hey, I still have imaginary friends – lots of them! I’m also excited for HOT PINK, about revolutionary designer Elsa Schiaparelli, because in middle school I was voted “Most Likely to Become a Fashion Consultant.” (My kids have a hard time believing that one.) Look for these awesome books HOT off the press!

Let’s begin with our own Jen Swanson’s BRAIN GAMES: THE MIND-BLOWING SCIENCE OF YOUR AMAZING BRAIN that releases September 8th from National Geographic Kids! Congratulations, Jen! BrainGames

QUICK: Name the most powerful and complex supercomputer ever built. Give up? Here’s a hint: It’s housed in your head and it’s the one thing that makes you YOU. Your brain is mission control for the rest of your body and steers you through life. Not bad for something the size of a softball that looks like a wrinkled grey sponge!

In this fascinating, interactive book — a companion to the National Geographic Channel hit show – kids explore the parts of the brain and how it all works, brainy news nuggets from a neuroscientist, plus fun facts and crazy challenges.

THE BLACKTHORN KEY by Kevin Sands from Aladdin, September 1st

TheBlackthornKeyFollowing a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this suspenseful debut novel.

“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn–with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.

HiLO  BOOK 1: THE BOY WHO CRASHED TO EARTH a Graphic Novel by Judd Winick from Random House Books for Young Readers, September 1st

HiLOD.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?

HILO is Calvin and Hobbes meets Big Nate and is just right for fans of Bone and comic books as well as laugh-out-loud school adventures like Jedi Academy and Wimpy Kid!

THE SECRETS TO RULING SCHOOL (WITHOUT EVEN TRYING): BOOK 1 (MAX CORRIGAN) by Neil Swaab from Abrams/Amulet, September 1stRulingSchool

It’s the first week of middle school, i.e., the Worst Place in the Entire World. How do you survive in a place where there are tough kids twice your size, sadistic teachers, and restrictions that make jail look like a five-star resort? Easy: with the help of Max Corrigan, middle school “expert” and life coach. Let Max teach you how to win over not just one, but all of the groups in school, from the Preps to the Band Geeks. Along the way, Max offers surefire advice and revealing tips on how to get through universal middle school experiences like gym class, detention, faking sick, and dealing with jocks and bullies.
In an innovative format that is part narrative and part how-to, acclaimed illustrator Neil Swaab has created a hilarious new reading experience that is reminiscent of video games and sure to engage even the most reluctant reader.

HOT PINK: THE LIFE AND FASHIONS OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI by Susan Goldman Rubin from Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 8thHotPink

Shocking pink—hot pink, as it is called today—was the signature color of Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) and perhaps her greatest contribution to the fashion world. Schiaparelli was one of the most innovative designers in the early 20th century. Many design elements that are taken for granted today she created and brought to the forefront of fashion. She is credited with many firsts: trompe l’oeil sweaters with collars and bows knitted in; wedge heels; shoulder bags; and even the concept of a runway show for presenting collections. Hot Pink—printed with a fifth color, hot pink!—explores Schiaparelli’s childhood in Rome, her introduction to high fashion in Paris, and her swift rise to success collaborating with surrealist and cubist artists like Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. The book includes an author’s note, a list of museums and websites where you can find Schiaparelli’s fashions, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.

CONFESSIONS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND A MEMOIR BY JACQUES PAPIER by Michelle Cuevas from Dial Books, September 8th

ImaginaryFriendJacques Papier has the sneaking suspicion that everyone except his sister Fleur hates him. Teachers ignore him when his hand is raised in class, he is never chosen for sports teams, and his parents often need to be reminded to set a place for him at the dinner table. But he is shocked when he finally learns the truth: He is Fleur’s imaginary friend! When he convinces Fleur to set him free, he begins a surprising, touching, and always funny quest to find himself—to figure out who Jacques Papier truly is, and where he belongs.

THE ENTIRELY TRUE STORY OF THE UNBELIEVABLE FIB by Adam Shaughnessy from Algonquin Books, September 8th

UnbelievableFib“What is the Unbelievable FIB?”  That’s the question eleven-year-old Prudence Potts discovers on a baffling card no one else in Middleton–except ABE, a new kid at school with a knack for solving riddles–seems to see. Then a mysterious man asks for ABE and Pru’s help investigating mythical beings infiltrating the town, and that’s just the first of many things Pru finds hard to believe.

Soon Pru and ABE discover another world beneath their quiet town, where Viking gods lurk just out of sight. And when the pair find themselves locked in a battle against a dangerously clever enemy, they must race to secure the Eye of Odin, source of all knowledge–and the key to stopping a war that could destroy both human and immortal realms.

THOMAS JEFFERSON GROWS A NATION by Peggy Thomas and Stacy Innerst from Calkins Creek, September 8thThomasJeffersonGrows

Thomas Jefferson was more than a president and patriot. He was also a planter and gardener who loved to watch things grow—everything from plants and crops to even his brand-new nation. As minister to France, Jefferson promoted all things American, sharing corn and pecans with his Parisian neighbors. As secretary of state, he encouraged his fellow farmers to grow olives, rice and maple trees. As president, he doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Even in his retirement, Jefferson continued to nurture the nation, laying the groundwork for the University of Virginia. In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country. And Stacy Innerst’s incredibly original illustrations offer the right balance of reverence and whimsy. This is Thomas Jefferson as he’s never been seen before! Back matter includes an author’s note on Jefferson’s legacy today; timeline, bibliography; place to visit (Monticello); and source notes.

THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick from Scholastic, September 15thTheMarvels

Two seemingly unrelated stories — one in words, the other in pictures — come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick’s storytelling prowess. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick’s most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story.

CRENSHAW by Katherine Applegate from Feiwel & Friends, September 22ndCrenshaw

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

I AM DRUMS by Mike Grosso from Egmont, September 22nd

IAmDrumsWhile other kids dream about cars, sports, and fashion, all eleven-year-old Samantha Morris dreams about is playing the drums. But it’s hard to make her dreams come true when her parents are against it, she bangs on dictionaries because she can’t afford a real kit, and her middle school is cutting its music program.

Sam’s only hope to accomplish her dream is to find a private music teacher and pay for lessons herself — even if it means borrowing the family lawn mower without permission to make the money. But when one of her friends tells her she’s the worst percussionist in the band, she starts to wonder if she’s got what it takes. If Sam wants to become a real drummer, she must also overcome her own doubts if she wants to succeed.

JUMP BACK, PAULl: THE LIFE AND POEMS OF PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR by Sally Derby and Sean Qualls from Candlewick, September 22nd JumpBackPaul

Did you know that Paul Laurence Dunbar originated such famous lines as “I know why the caged bird sings” and “We wear the mask that grins and lies”? From his childhood in poverty and his early promise as a poet to his immense fame and his untimely death, Dunbar’s story is one of triumph and tragedy. But his legacy remains in his much-beloved poetry—told in both Standard English and in dialect—which continues to delight and inspire readers today. More than two dozen of Dunbar’s poems are woven throughout this volume, illuminating the phases of his life and serving as examples of dialect, imagery, and tone. Narrating in a voice full of admiration and respect, Sally Derby introduces Paul Laurence Dunbar’s life and poetry to readers young and old, aided by Sean Qualls’s striking black-and-white illustrations.

THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin from Little Brown, September 22nd Jellyfish

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

 

THE DOLDRUMS by Nicholas Gannon from Greenwillow Books, Septermber 29th

TheDoldrumsArcher B. Helmsley wants an adventure. No, he needs an adventure. His grandparents were famous explorers . . . until they got stuck on an iceberg. Now Archer’s mother barely lets him out of the house. As if that would stop a true Helmsley. Archer enlists Adelaide the girl who, according to rumor, lost her leg to a crocodile and Oliver the boy next door to help him rescue his grandparents. The Doldrums whisks us off on an adventure full of sly humor, incredible detail, and enormous heart.

 

What books are you looking forward to adding to your library this month?

Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD and IN TODD WE TRUST (Penguin/Razorbill).

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/

 

Indie Spotlight: Stone Alley Books, Galesburg IL

We’re talking today with Ben Stomberg, founder-owner- manager of Stone Alley Books & Collectables (www.facebook.com/stonealley)  one of  a growing number  of small town independent bookstores created  by people who simply believe their town should have a bookstore you can visit in person.  I’m especially grateful for this one because it’s in the town where I grew up, which always had at least one bookstore that served Galesburg and surrounding smaller towns until a certain chain came in, outcompeted the locals, then failed and closed.  You know, that story.

Stone Alley logoMixed-up Files: Everybody who opens an independent bookstore has a bookstore dream, and that’s what makes each one unique. What was/ is yours?
Ben
: When I moved back to Galesburg in 2007 I thought, “It’ll be OK. There’s a bookstore and a Starbucks. I’ll Be Fine.” Then the bookstore closed and the Starbucks followed. Finding a better coffee shop wasn’t difficult, but living in a town of thirty-some thousand with no bookstore was more than I could handle.

MUF: Stone Alley is the only full bookstore in the area. How does knowing that shape what you do?
Ben:
When we first opened, I wanted Stone Alley to be a universal bookstore with a little bit of something for any kind of reader. But being a small brick and mortar shop in a small town, it’s difficult to have a deep enough selection in every genre. I began to specialize more in fiction and Young Adult and Kids Stone Alley, too many booksbooks. We lean on special orders and a loyal customer base that prefer to order through us instead of on line.

MUF: Congratulations on your move to a bigger store on Main Street this year. What have you added and changed in the process?
Ben:
When we moved to Main Street, Stone Alley merged with the local gaming store, For The Win. So we have added a wide selection of board games and card games such as Magic: The Gathering and YuGiOh. These things compliment our selection of comics that has grown steadily over the past 5 years. We’re a One Stop Geek Shop now.Stone Alley new front?

MUF: How do you help connect readers with books they will enjoy? Ben: I rely heavily on suggestions from my other customers. Nothing has ever interfered with my personal reading time like owning a bookstore has! So, even though I try to follow reviews and sales trends, my best tool is my customers. Being in such a small town, all of my regulars tend to “review” their last purchase when they come back in. That’s what I lean on the most when customers ask about titles or authors that I haven’t read.

MUF: Since we’re middle-grade authors, we have to ask: what titles, old or new, fiction or nonfiction, Stone alley drogdo you find yourself recommencing to readers aged eight to thirteen these days ?Stone Alley Magic Treehousestone alley blume
Ben:
Besides You Will Call Me Drog?
Honestly, the kids around here know exactly what they want before they walk in, or they’ve given their
grandparent/parent/aunt/uncle a specific list of titles lite Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Magic Treehouse or Junie B Jones.Stone Alley.  SilversteinWhenever someone needs more direction than that, I lean toward the classics. I don’t have children of my own and my only real experience is with what I grew up reading. But, parents love to find the books they loved to share with their kids. It’s hard to go wrong with Judy Blume, Shell Silverstein, Dr Seuss or Charlotte’s Web.Stone Alley new interior

MUF: If a family from out of town visited Stone Alley Books, would there be family-friendly places nearby to get a snack or meal? And if they could stay awhile are their some unique places and activities in Galesburg that they shouldn’t miss?
Ben:
The Landmark Cafe and Creperie and Q’s Cafe are both within a block of the shop. There is also the Discover Depot Children’s Museum and the Galesburg Railroad Museum. We host the Railroad Days festival on the 4th weekend in June and the National Stearman Fly-In every September.

Thanks, Ben , for telling us  about your store.  Best wishes for your continuing success.  Readers, do visit Stone Alley Stone Alley logo #2if you’re in that neck of the woods, especially if you have a geek in tow!

Sue Cowing is the author of the puppet-and-boy novel, You Will Call Me Drog,  Carolrodha Books 2011, Usborne UK, 2012