Tag Archives: middle-grade nonfiction

Interview and Giveaway with Science Author Patricia Newman

I’m so excited to welcome Author Patricia Newman to the MUF blog today. She writes SCIENCE books!  YAY!

Patricia (middle) is shown here with Lilian Carswell (L) and Brent Hughes (R).  Photo credit:  Elise Newman Montanino

 

Author Patricia Newman has written several titles that connect young readers to scientific concepts, including Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem, a Junior Library Guild Selection and recipient of a starred Kirkus review; Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Green Earth Book Award winner; Ebola: Fears and Facts, a Booklist Editors’ Choice selection; and the upcoming fall 2017 release, Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks, the feel of dirt between her fingers in the garden, and traveling. She lives in Northern California with her husband.

Patricia is here to share her newest book,

Sea Otters: The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem (Millbrook Press, 2017)

 

Why do you write science books? 

I like the way science connects to nearly all aspects of our world. For instance, in Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem I show kids how saving endangered predators can benefit our air, our water, and our food supply. In my opinion, for kids to be successful in the 21st century, they will need to become global citizens who look at the bigger picture. Science can help us do that.

 

How do you choose your subjects for your books?

In the case of Sea Otter Heroes, the subject chose me. I was invited to the David Smith Conservation Research Fellows Retreat in April 2015 by Chelsea Rochman, one of the scientists that I featured in Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. She thought her colleagues might be interested in learning more about communicating their research to children.

 

I conducted a day-long writing workshop, and somewhere in the middle, marine biologist Brent Hughes and his mentor Lilian Carswell (the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Coordinator with US Fish and Wildlife) approached me to see if I would be interested in writing about Brent’s sea otter discovery. He explained to me that he’d discovered a trophic cascade in which sea otters, the apex predator in an estuary off Monterey Bay, restored the natural food chain and healed the ecosystem so it could perform functions that benefit us. The more I spoke with Brent and Lilian, the more I liked the idea. Everyone thinks sea otters are adorable, and every kid knows about food chains, but Brent had found an amazing twist that most kids wouldn’t know about.

 

You seem drawn to eco-friendly topics. Is that something that you are passionate about? 

Yes, without a doubt. We have only one planet. It sustains us in so many ways. The ocean produces nearly 75% of our oxygen, it feeds us, and it entertains us. In a world where concrete is king, I think kids (and adults) benefit from getting closer to nature. In the current political climate, I want to persuade kids to love nature before they are corrupted by “alternative facts.” Caring is key because we protect what we love.

 

Tell us a little about how you do your research. How much time do you spend? What type of sources do you look for?

Nonfiction requires digging, and like my colleagues I dig through scientific journals, online sources, books, magazines, and newspapers. I also interview scientists conducting amazing research, and if I’m lucky I take a field trip to visit their labs. For Sea Otter Heroes, I spent a day on Brent’s research boat enjoying the sun on my face and the crisp ocean breeze, watching pelicans dive and sea otters crack open crabs with a rock. There are definitely worse jobs!

 

Why is back matter useful for readers?

As a researcher, I love back matter because it contains all sorts of gems. But for kids, I hope it extends the reading experience. When a novel or a fictional series ends, we have to say good-bye to beloved characters, but nonfiction science back matter lays more research, more videos, and more books within a child’s reach and encourages continued inquiry—the basis of all science.

 

Anything that you are working on that you would care to share? Other books that we can look for from you soon?

Photographer Annie Crawley (from Plastic, Ahoy!) and I team up again for Zoo Scientists to the Rescue (Millbrook Press, Fall 2017). We had a great time with this book, traveling to three different zoos, getting up close and personal with the animals, and fighting a fierce Colorado blizzard. The book features three endangered species—orangutans, black-footed ferrets, and black rhinos—and shows how zoos protect them and their wild habitats. Annie and I are excited to introduce our readers to the three scientists that we interviewed. The two women and one man are amazing role models for kids.

For fall 2018, think elephants.

 

Do you do school and/or Skype visits? Why do you think these are helpful to students?

I visit schools in person or virtually every year. Author visits motivate kids to apply themselves to reading and writing. We introduce them to a variety of literature—some of which is bound to pique their interest. Authors also show kids what real revision looks like and that writing takes perseverance. I tell students that writing is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but even in the face of rejection I refuse to give up on myself. What child who shares a piece of writing with me or asks about writer’s block or struggles to put ideas on paper wouldn’t benefit from believing in him/herself?

If you want to learn more about Patricia’s books or just drop her a line, you can find her on Twitter @PatriciaNewman  or visit her website at http://www.patriciamnewman.com/  to check out some of her other amazing science books:  

 

 

 

 

It’s Time for a Giveaway!!    Patricia’s publisher, Millbrook Press/Lerner, has generously donated a copy of her Sea Otter Heroes book. For a chance to win, leave a comment below about your favorite animal!


Jennifer Swanson is an award-winning author of over 25+ science books for kids. Visit her at her favorite place to explore the world around her www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com

 

 

SPY ON HISTORY Book – Interview with Workman Publishing’s Editor Daniel Nayeri and a Giveaway!

Looking for an innovative way to experience history? Give this new series a try. It is AWESOME! I read the first book and loved it! Not only do you learn, but you get to solve mysteries as you read. Very interactive reading and totally fun. I’m thrilled to be able to introduce this book to you today and also give you a behind-the-scenes interview with the editor  behind this new series!


Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to copy critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?



What people are saying about this book:

“A gripping story that offers a window into a pivotal time in U.S. history and puts a face to a little-known figure.” — Publishers Weekly

“Alongside it being a great story, this will rise to the challenge to any curious-minded wannabe spies.” — Black Girl Nerds

“Sometimes, a very special book comes along that allows your mind, and the kids’ minds, to actively exercise and expand while tromping through a story and learning some history. Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring…is one such book.” — Geek Dad

The cool thing, or maybe I should say, the mysterious thing about this book, is that the author is unknown. This is done on purpose, to add to the intrigue of the book and also well, it’s just cool! So instead of interviewing the author, the editor of this amazing series has agreed to speak with us.

 

Meet Daniel Nayeri, Director of Children’s Books at Workman Publishing, editor, and author.

 

Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the author of How to Tell a Story, and Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow, a collection of four novellas. Daniel is the director of children’s books at Workman Publishing. Before entering children’s publishing, he was a pastry chef.

 

Daniel, thanks for joining us today. We are so excited to learn about this book. Let’s jump right in!

1. How did you come up with this unique format?

Books like THE ELEVENTH HOUR by Graeme Base have always been enthralling to me. Escape Rooms, of course, are extremely popular. We wondered, what if there was a book series where a kid could read about little-known figures in history while also engaging with a larger puzzle? The puzzle could be contextually relevant to the story, using primary texts, and methods contemporary to the narrative. The only thing cooler than reading about Mary Bowser and her incredible spy craft would be employing some of your own to complete your own mission. It just seemed like the kind of book we would have all devoured as kids.

2. Why use an actual nonfiction fact as the focus point for the book?

There are so many unexplored nooks and crannies of history that are full of drama. We couldn’t imagine anything else. The series was always about these moments that read like thriller novels, but have the added import of being true.

3. How do the clues work to solve the mystery (without giving anything away of course)

Once we had the manuscript, our Art Director—Colleen AF Venable—and the illustrator, Tony Cliff, began an incredible process of layering clues and encrypting messages throughout the illustrations. There are several “threads” of clues that can lead a reader to the final solution, which is the codeword you need to decrypt Mary Bowser’s letter at the end of the book. Some of these threads are easy…they’re just a few steps…solve some Morse code here, compare it to a map there, and voila. Some are incredibly hard. My favorite—spoiler alert—is the thread that uses the language of flowers. Early in the book, Mary is told that some flowers means different things, and there is an illustration that gives the reader some examples. One flower, the snapdragon, means deceit. So on all the pages that have snapdragons on them (as border illustrations), all the clues are lies.

4. Was editing this book the same as editing any other book or were there more challenges?

Outside of the usual challenges in editing a nonfiction narrative story, we had lots of added issues with the hidden codes. I had to become fluent in Vigenere ciphers, but Colleen had to become a downright cryptologist by the end. You could say the puzzles were like a third layer of discourse (alongside the text and imagery). We had several vetters going through to make sure the puzzles worked and weren’t too deeply embedded.

5. Why is there a secret cadre of authors writing these books? Is that part of the mystery, too?

Mysteries upon mysteries!
The nature of a secret cadre of authors is that they are like any other cadre of authors: murderous if you give up their secrets. I wish I could tell you everything.

6. Can you tell us about the next book in the series?

This, I can do. The next book is called VICTOR DOWD AND THE WORLD WAR II GHOST ARMY. It follows an amazing unit of soldiers made up of painters, composers, and other artists whose job was to create decoys to fool the Nazis. They painted inflatable tanks to look life-like and trick the German spy planes. There are moments in the story where a tiny group of sound engineers hide in a forest and project the sounds of an entire battalion marching through. If the Nazis only knew, they could have walked right into the forest and captured them.

7. Workman creates such neat and interesting books. Many of them are interactive. Can you tell us why you feel this is a great thing for your readers?

The editorial mandate I have for the group is to make “Art Objects for Great and Terrible Children.” To us, this means a great number of things. First and foremost, it means we take our work seriously enough to call it art. Of course, we’re not too precious about it. We know a good fart joke is an art form to kids. And we call them objects because we care about the “thingness” of books, the format, the interactive possibility of a book that wants to speak, but also wants to listen. In other words, a book that asks for input, a book that wants kids to learn, certainly, but also make and do. Those are all perfectly synchronous behaviors as far as we’re concerned. A book as an act of play is no less a literary endeavor than a book as a lecture. To us, the interaction is even more compelling when trying to inform a child on a nonfiction topic.

8. What future Workman titles should our middle grade readers be aware of?

We have so many exciting titles in the works. Of course, we just launched WHO WINS, which is an interactive book with 100 biographies of historical figures. We’ve also got the third book in our DOODLE ADVENTURES series, which is like a visual Mad Libs where kids draw in parts of the story. One title on the same list as SPY ON HISTORY 2 is a history of archery called THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK: ARCHERY. It tells the history of archery in war, in battles like Agincourt, and in folklore. It shows bow designs from all over the world, and explains the physics of arrow in flight. The book also turns into an actual bow. It shoots paper ammunition (included in the book) at papercraft hay bales, and a William Tell apple (papercraft targets also included). I can’t wait to see the grown-ups’ faces when that one launches.

Sounds fantastic, Daniel! Thanks so much for joining us today and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at this awesome book.

Since we already offered a giveaway of this amazing book last week, we are offering a different book as a giveaway. Daniel mentioned it above, it is called, Who Wins and is a fantastic book for spurring discussion in the classroom.

Simply enter a comment below for a chance to win.


Jennifer Swanson is a huge nonfiction nerd and loves all things science and history. Throw in a mystery and she is hooked! You can read more about Jennifer at her website  www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com 

 

November New Releases

November is a month for enjoying friends, family, and literature! Here is a cornucopia of great new books to be thankful for, including our own Greg R. Fishobone’s theamorphousassassinGALAXY GAMES: THE AMORPHOUS ASSASSIN  available November 18th from Spellbound River Press. Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler’s past is catching up…with a vengeance! Earth’s team of international all-stars is at each other’s throats. A shadowy conspiracy is on the move. And a shape-shifting alien assassin has Tyler in his sights. Can Tyler step up his game to become the leader Earth needs? Or will the world finally discover that Tyler isn’t quite the hero that everyone believes? THE AMORPHOUS ASSASSIN launches an epic new story arc within the Galaxy Games series.

November 1st:

thefriendshipexperimentTHE FRIENDSHIP EXPERIMENT by Erin Teagan from HMH Books for Young Readers. Future scientist Madeline Little is dreading the start of middle school. Nothing has been right since her grandfather died and her best friend changed schools. Maddie would rather help her father in his research lab or write Standard Operating Procedures in her lab notebook than hang out with a bunch of kids who aren’t even her friends. Despite Maddie’s reluctance, some new friends start coming her way—until they discover what she’s written in that secret notebook. And that’s just part of the trouble. Can this future scientific genius find the formula for straightening out her life?

fannieneverflinchedFANNIE NEVER FLINCHED One Woman’s Struggle in the Battle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell from Abrams. Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries. Her accomplishments live on today. This book includes an index, glossary, a timeline of unions in the United States, and endnotes.

thebonesparrowTHE BONE SPARROW by Zana Fraillon from Disney-Hyperion. Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.
The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.
Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before

doubledownDIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOUBLE DOWN by Jeff Kinney from Amulet. The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his creative side. As if that’s not scary enough, Halloween’s just around the corner and the frights are coming at Greg from every angle. When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie . . . and will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg’s troubles?

thepearl-shelldiverTHE PEARL-SHELL DIVER by Kay Crabbe from Allen and Unwin. Sario lives with his family on a remote Torres Strait island, which he never wants to leave but the winds of change are stirring. The year is 1898, and the pearl-shell trade is at its height. When his father is coerced to join a white trader on his pearling lugger, 13-year-old Sario must go to work as a swimming diver to support the family. He can earn more as a pump diver, and is excited by the idea of walking on the sea floor, but the competition is fierce, and the only captain who will take him on runs the worst outfit in the fleet. With the constant danger of shark attack and the storm of the century approaching, can Sario provide for his family and realize his dream?
archiegreeneandthealchimistscurseARCHIE GREENE AND THE ALCHEMIST’S CURSE by D.D. Everest from Harper Collins. In Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret, Archie became one of the Flame Keepers, a secret group devoted to finding and preserving magical books that are literally portals into other places and times.
In the action-packed sequel, the Golden Circle a symbol that hasn’t been seen in three hundred years appears on Archie’s palm.It’s the mark of the Alchemists Club, a group of young magicians from centuries past who experimented with magic…until the spells got out of control, the results turned disastrous, and the club disbanded.
Now Archie and a few other apprentices, including his cousins Thistle and Bramble, have been marked with this powerful symbol and appear to be chosen to reestablish the club. They don t know who chose them. They don t know why. And they don t know what perils they are about to face because the Golden Circle has returned.

thekindnessclubTHE KINDNESS CLUB by Courtney Sheinmel from BloomsburyChloe Silver has always been good at looking on the bright side. Even though her parents got divorced and she’s moved to a new town, she knows that she will make great friends at her new school. So when she is assigned a science project with offbeat Lucy Tanaka and nerdy Theo Barnes, they have fun creating an experiment that tests out the laws of science through different acts of kindness . . . officially forming The Kindness Club.

But when she is also asked join the cool girls’ exclusive It Girls club, Chloe feels completely torn between the It Girls and The Kindness Club. Faced with the possibility of upsetting all her new friends, Chloe’s capacity for kindness is put to the test. Sometimes mistakes yield the best discoveries, and there is one hypothesis that can always be proven correct: Kindness is the coolest.

nothingbuttroubleNOTHING BUT TROUBLE by Jacqueline Davies from HarperCollins/Tegen. Odawahaka has always been too small for Maggie’s big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it’s hard for Maggie to imagine a change. But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways. Suddenly the same-old football games, election for class president, and embarrassing stories feel almost exciting. And for the first time in her life, Maggie begins to wonder if there might be more to Odawahaka than she ever saw coming.

thecartographersdaughterTHE CARTOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER by Kiran Millwood Hargrave from Knopf. Legends say that the island of Joya was once a place where songbirds sang in every tree and the islanders were free to come and go as they pleased. That was before the harsh-ruling Governor arrived, and ravens drove out the native birds. Now there are no songbirds, and the people are forbidden to travel beyond the forest that separates them from the rest of the island.
But for Isabella, the legends of her island home have always seemed like more than just stories. And when a series of mysterious events shakes the community, it’s Isabella daughter to the island’s only mapmaker who will lead a party of explorers into the forest in search of answers. As the group ventures deeper and deeper into the island, dark secrets begin to surface, and the legends Isabella has listened to all these years show signs of coming to life.

snakesandstonesSNAKES AND STONES by Lisa Fowler from Sky Pony. Twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill’s daddy stole her and the triplets away from their mama. At least, that’s how Chestnut remembers it. It’s 1921, and after nearly two years on the road with his traveling elixir show, Daddy’s still making no move to go back to Kentucky and buy Mama that house. So Chestnut is forced to come up with her own plan to get home. At night, when Daddy and the triplets are in bed, she draws up flyers with the name of the next town they ll be traveling to. Before they leave each town and hoping her mama will see them, she nails up the flyers, leaving Mama an easy trail straight to her children.
When that doesn t work, Chestnut is forced to try something bigger. But when her newest plan lands Daddy in jail and Mama has to come to the rescue, Chestnut discovers that things are not always as they seem.

returntothesecretgardenRETURN TO THE SECRET GARDEN by Holly Webb from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. As she turned it the door creaked a little and opened inwards…The only friend Emmie Hatton has ever had at the Craven Home for Orphaned Children is Lucy, the little black kitten that visits her on the fire escape every day. But when the children of Craven Home are evacuated out of London because of the war, heartbroken Emmie is forced to leave sweet Lucy behind. The children are sent to Misselthwaite Manor, a countryside mansion full of countless dusty rooms and a kind, if busy, staff. Emmie even finds a gruff gardener and an inquisitive little robin that just might become new friends. And soon, in the cold, candle-lit nights at Misselthwaite, Emmie starts discovering the secrets of the house-a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a very secret, special garden…

caveboydaveCAVEBOY DAVE: MORE SCRAWNY THAN BRAWNY by Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Phil McAndrew from Viking. His grandpa invented fire. His dad invented the wheel. How will Caveboy Dave leave his mark? Dave Unga-Bunga has always been more scrawny than brawny. This is a major problem when your village expects you to become a meat-bringer. At age twelve, all young cave-people must stalk through the eerie mushroom forests for a prehistoric beast the village can feast on. Dave would much rather invent stuff for a better life, though like underwear to make loincloths less itchy and cutlery to make eating less filthy. Can Dave save his group by inventing the perfect defense against a bloodthirsty pokeyhorn? Or will he MEET HIS DOOM?

threadsTHREADS by Ami Polonsky from Disney Hyperion. To Whom It May Concern: Please, we need help. The day twelve-year-old Clara finds a desperate note in a purse in Bellman’s department store, she is still reeling from the death of her adopted sister, Lola. By that day, thirteen-year-old Yuming has lost hope that the note she stashed in the purse will ever be found. She may be stuck sewing in the pale pink factory outside of Beijing forever. Clara grows more and more convinced that she was meant to find Yuming’s note. Lola would have wanted her to do something about it. But how can Clara talk her parents, who are also in mourning, into going on a trip to China? Finally the time comes when Yuming weighs the options, measures the risk, and attempts a daring escape.
The lives of two girls–one American, and one Chinese–intersect like two soaring kites in this story about loss, hope, and recovery.

November 8th:

thelostpropertyofficeTHE LOST PROPERTY OFFICE by James R. Hannibal from Simon & Schuster. Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.

But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance. Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?

florencenightengaleFLORENCE NIGHTENGALE: THE COURAGEOUS LIFE OF THE LEGENDARY NURSE by Catherine Reef from HMH/Clarion. Most people know Florence Nightingale was a compassionate and legendary nurse, but they don’t know her full story. This riveting biography explores the exceptional life of a woman who defied the stifling conventions of Victorian society to pursue what was considered an undesirable vocation. She is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and deadly conditions and made nightly rounds to visit patients, becoming known around the world as the Lady with the Lamp. Her tireless and inspiring work continued after the war, and her modern methods in nursing became the defining standards still used today. Includes notes, bibliography, and index.

thedograyTHE DOG, RAY by Linda Coggin from Candlewick. When my death came it was swift. Swift as a running horse. It wasted no time. Daisy, age twelve, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries and moments of jubilation as she grows to care for others in a whole new way.

merrowMERROW by Ananda Braxton-Smith fro Candlewick. The people of Carrick Island have been whispering behind Neen’s back ever since her father drowned and her mother disappeared. The townspeople say her mother was a merrow and has returned to the ocean. Neen, caught in her hazy new in-between self not a child, but not quite grown up can t help but wonder if the villagers are right. But if her mother was a oymerrow, then what does that make Neen?

 

captain

Captain by Sam Angus from Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends. It’s 1915 and British troops are about to sail to Gallipoli. Billy is the youngest soldier in his platoon and is teased for not being old enough to drink or shave. The truth is, at fifteen he’s not old enough to be a soldier, either, and he’s terrified of the war he’s about to fight. Then he meets Captain, a refugee boy, and his donkey, Hey-ho. Together they teach Billy what it means to be brave, loyal, and fearless, and above all what it means to be a friend.


abrakapowABRAKAPOW
by Isaiah Campbell from Simon & Schuster.
 Try as she might, cheeky middle schooler Maxine Larousse (you may call her Max La Roo or The Amazing Max, if you d like) has yet to learn the one magic trick she needs the most: how to reappear in New York City. That is where she used to live with her parents before her father, Major Larousse, was put in charge of a Nazi POW camp in Abilene, Texas. At least in this desolate wasteland she ll have plenty of time to practice her illusions, even if the only audience member is her ferret Houdini. When she’s tasked with entertaining the Nazi prisoners with a magic show, the pressure may be too much. But with the help of some classmates and an unexpected magic expert, the performance is a hit until twelve Nazis escape during her final act. Will she be able to track them down before her reputation as a magician is destroyed forever?

November 29:

thecharminglifeofizzymaloneTHE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE by Jenny Lundquist from S & S/Aladdin. Izzy Malone isn t your typical sixth grader. She wears camouflage combat boots and tie dye skirts; the Big Dipper and Orion are her two best friends; and she d rather climb trees or shoot hoops than talk about boys and makeup. And after only a month of middle school she’s already set the record for the most trips to the Principal’s office. The only time Izzy feels at peace is when she’s on the open water, and more than anything else, she wants to become a member of the Dandelion Paddlers, her school’s competitive rowing club. But thanks to those multiple trips to the Principal’s office, Izzy’s parents force her to enroll in Mrs. Whippie’s Charm School, a home-study course in manners and etiquette, or they won t let her race in the Dandelion Falls annual pumpkin regatta where Izzy hopes to prove to the Dandelion Paddlers she is more than qualified to be on their team. When Mrs. Whippie’s first letter arrives it’s way different from what Izzy was expecting. Tucked inside the letter is a shiny gold bracelet and an envelope charm. Izzy must earn her first charm by writing someone a nice note, and once she does more tasks will be assigned. Izzy manages to complete some of the tasks and to her surprise, she actually finds herself enjoying the course. But when one of her attempts at doing something good is misinterpreted, she fears her chances at passing the course and becoming a Paddler are slipping away. With some unexpected friends there to support her, can Izzy manage to earn her charms and stay true to herself?

spectacularsportsscienceTHE BOOK OF WILDLY SPECTACULAR SPORTS SCIENCE: 47 ALL-STAR EXPERIMENTS by Sean Connolly from Workman. Why does a knuckleball flutter? Why do belly flops hurt so much? Why would a quarterback prefer a deflated football? Here are 54 all-star experiments that demonstrate the scientific principles powering a wide variety of sports and activities—and offer insights that can help you improve your own athletic skills. How does a black belt karate chop her way through a stack of bricks? Use Popsicle sticks to understand why it’s possible and learn the role played by Newton’s second law of motion. Does LeBron James really float through the air on the way to a dunk? Use a tennis ball, a paperback book, and the help of a friend to understand the science of momentum and the real meaning of hang time. Using common household objects, each project includes step-by-step instructions, tips, and a detailed explanation of how and why the experiment worked. It’s a win-win. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat—it’s all in the science.

What about you? Which new releases are you looking forward to falling into?