Tag Archives: middle-grade readers

April New Releases

Happy April! While today may be the day to play tricks, these books on this list are the REAL DEAL!
I’m thrilled to announce some amazing titles that are being released this month including two from our very own Mixed-Up Files Members:

Hillary Homzie and Tricia Springstubb!!

 

 The Queen of Likes by Hillary Homzie (Aladdin)

A tween social media queen is forced to give up her phone and learn that there’s more to life than likes in this M X novel from the author of “The Hot List.”
Karma Cooper is a seventh grader with thousands of followers on SnappyPic. Before Karma became a social media celebrity, she wasn t part of the in-crowd at Merton Middle School. But thanks to one serendipitous photo, Karma has become a very popular poster on SnappyPic. Besides keeping up with all of her followers, like most kids at MMS, her smartphone a bejeweled pink number Karma nicknamed Floyd is like a body part she could never live without.
But after breaking some basic phone rules, Karma’s cruel, cruel parents take Floyd away, and for Karma, her world comes to a screeching halt. Can Karma who can text, post photos, play soccer, and chew gum all at the same time learn to go cold turkey and live her life fully unplugged?

 

cody 2 cover Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe by Tricia Springstubb  (Candlewick)

Not everything turns out to be as it first appears when Cody and her best friend, Spencer, navigate a neighborhood mystery and the start of a new school year.
Cody’s best friend, Spencer, and his parents are moving in with his grandmother right around the corner, and Cody can t wait. For one thing, Cody needs Spencer to help solve the mystery of the never-seen Mr. Meen, who lives on the other side of the porch with a skull-and-crossbones sign in the window and an extermination truck out front. How’s Cody to know that a yellow jacket would sting her, making her scream “Ow Ow ” just as they start spying? Or that the ominous window sign would change overnight to “Welcome home,” only deepening the mystery? In this second adventure, Spencer’s new-school jitters, an unexpected bonding with a teacher over Mozart, and turf-claiming kids next door with a reason for acting out are all part of Cody’s experiences as summer shifts into a new year at school.

CONGRATULATIONS Tricia and Hillary!!!

Keep going for some more fantastic books releasing this month:

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion) Magic, monsters, and mayhem abound when Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase meet Carter and Sadie Kane for the first time. Weird creatures are appearing in unexpected places, and the demigods and magicians have to team up to take them down. As they battle with Celestial Bronze and glowing hieroglyphs, the four heroes find that they have a lot in common–and more power than they ever thought possible. But will their combined forces be enough to foil an ancient enemy who is mixing Greek and Egyptian incantations for an evil purpose? Rick Riordan wields his usual storytelling magic in this adrenaline-fueled adventure.



Scar: A Revolutionary War Tale  by Jennifer Ann Mann (Candlewick) Sixteen-year-old Noah Daniels wants nothing more than to fight in George Washington’s Continental Army, but an accident as a child left him maimed and unable to enlist. He is forced to watch the Revolution from his family’s hard scrabble farm in Upstate New York—until a violent raid on his settlement thrusts him into one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution, and ultimately, face to face with the enemy. A riveting coming of age story, this book also includes an author’s note and bibliography.


 


The Pet and the Pendulum (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe) by Gordon McAlpine (Viking BFYR) In The Tell-Tale Start, twins Edgar and Allan Poe foiled the nefarious Professor Perry, who wanted to use them in his deadly quantum entanglement experiment. In Once Upon a Midnight Eerie, they took on his equally evil mother and daughter. Now, in The Pet and the Pendulum, it’s time for the real showdown, which takes place in an old mansion right outside Baltimore. As with the first two books, The Pet and the Pendulum is filled with codes, brain-teasers, smart (not snarky) humor, and cameos by the actual Edgar Allan Poe, who is watching over his great-great-great-nephews from the Great Beyond. Readers won’t want to miss the Misaventures’ end.

 

 


Evil Spy School  by Stuart Gibbs (Simon &Schuster BFYR) When Ben gets kicked out of the CIA’s spy school, he enrolls with the enemy. From “New York Times “bestselling author, Stuart Gibbs, this companion to the Edgar Award nominated “Spy School “and “Spy Camp “is rife with action, adventure, and espionage.

 

 


Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood By Liesl Shurtliff (Alfred A Knopf BFYR) “Red” is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all Chris Grabenstein, “New York Times” Bestselling author of “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.”
Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf.She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.
With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman two mortal enemies who seek the girls help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . .

 

War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus By Kathryn Selbert (Charlesbridge) Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England during World War II, was one of the greatest wartime leaders of the modern era. While he is often likened to the English bulldog due to his tenacious personality and even his physical resemblance to the breed, Mr. Churchill was actually a devoted poodle owner and held quite an affinity for his miniature poodle, Rufus, who withstood the trials of World War II by his owner’s side.
Readers follow Rufus and Winston’s friendship through major events in World War II from the bombings of London and the invasion of Normandy to post-war reconstruction. Secondary text includes quotes from Churchill himself taken from his rousing speeches to the people of England and to the world. Backmatter includes a timeline of World War II, an author’s note about Churchill’s pets, as well as a short biography, quote sources, and a list of recommended resources for further study.

This or That 4:Even More Wacky Choices to Reveal the Hidden You By Michelle Harris; Julie Beer (National Geographic Kids) Would you rather choose THIS: Join a Viking festrival, or THAT: Join a voodoo festival? Welcome to This or That?, a wacky book of choices where every answer brings you one step closer to discovering the hidden YOU. This fourth all-new book in the series features 10 awesome categories: outer space, amazing animals, festivals from around the world, amazing inventions, music, silly stats, and more Discover amazing stuff about the real-world and yourself, with fun facts about every option and insights about what your answers mean from the hilarious Dr. Matt Bellace at the end of every chapter.



Write Your Own Book by  DK (DK Publishing) Tell your own story with this unique book filled with creative writing prompts and activities. Young writers can build their skills, develop their confidence, and learn how to write a book in this unique format filled with creative writing ideas and exercises.

 


Do Fish Fart?Answers to Kids’ Questions about Lakes By Keltie Thomas (Firefly Books) This intriguing collection of questions and answers about our lakes and freshwater systems will fascinate, amaze and inform young readers and anyone who is curious about this world of water. The book answers questions submitted by youngsters curious about water and life in a watershed.

 

Victorian Era Middle-Grade Books

Off and on for the past three years I’ve been working on an idea for a Young Adult Victorian Gothic thriller. I even have an entire first draft—which, like all rough first drafts, needs extensive revisions and some re-imagining. I recently pulled it out and brainstormed some new ideas to write a proposal for my agent.

Which means that my mind is filled with all sorts of Victorian era setting and dress and manners—and got me wondering about books for Middle-Grade readers set in the Victorian Era. Are there any? Do they exist, and if so, what are they like?

I began hunting (as well as digging into my gray memory cells) and found some serious, some lighthearted, and some very clever novels—as well as a Newbery Honor Title. The list, with book covers, are below herewith! And, of course, in MG Victorian Era books we have orphaned children, castles, governesses and headmasters, mansions, secrets, and even murder.

I’ve actually read several of these and highly recommend them. They are award-winning titles with rave reviews. I’m now looking forward to the few I had never heard of though they are fairly recently published.

Are there other titles I’m missing? Have you read these? Which are your favorites? Please share in the comments!

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Scandalous_Sisterhood_Cover

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Mary Rose Wood

The Mysterious Howling, Maryrose Wood

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: a melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz

A drowned maiden's hair

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

splendors-glooms

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

nightgardener_cover_cmyk

Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson

nooks-crannies-9781481419215_hr

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

glass-sentence

I included the following because I wanted a nonfiction title, even though some might not consider it strictly Victorian Era. But this infamous and intriguing family was born and rose to power in the Victorian Era, although their deaths occurred in 1918.

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming the-family-romanov-candace-fleming-677x1030

You’ve Got Mail!

One of the biggest highlights of being a writer is getting Fan Mail from kids. They are adorable, smart, enthusiastic, honest – and they LOVE BOOKS with deep, hard feelings.

Book Love

When I read these letters I can remember so vividly all the feelings and love for a particular book when I was that age. The emotional power a story gave me. The knowledge that someone out there knew my heart and mind. The feeling that I wasn’t alone in my weirdness.

I never got to meet a real, honest-to-goodness published author until I was almost thirty—and it was the amazing Newbery Winner Richard Peck—pretty darn cool for my first author in Real Life, eh?! Back when I was a kid I was waaaay too shy to ever think about writing to an author. This is also back in the days of snail mail and Authors were definitely up there on a pedestal. They weren’t ordinary people. They were Gods.

Receiving Fan Mail by email, my website, or through the post office brings home the impact books can have on kids all over again. It’s an honor to write for them as well as the child still inside me.

So here’s a smattering of fan mail I’ve received lately. Some funny, some heart-warming and one that kicked me in the teeth and made me bawl.

*******

Hi my name is Elyssa, and I’m a big fan of your book The Time of the Fireflies. I’m 10 years old. You are like my favorite author of all time. If you’re wondering I’m using my dad’s phone. I was going to send you a letter, but I didn’t know what address to send it to. How did you become an author? Please write back.

(I wrote her back and then received this):

It’s like I’m talking to a Super Hero! I still can’t believe that I’m talking to Kimberley Little!

(Wow, I just achieved Super Hero Status!)Time of the Fireflies_Cover

*******

I didn’t get any homework done because I spent 4 hours and 30 minutes reading The Healing Spell. It was so awesome. I love how you write the romance part where there’s only a little bit of it but it’s the best romance ever. I cried so much when T-Baby died.
Sincerely,
A huge fan impatiently waiting for a new book

*******

Dear Ms. Little,

I wanted to write to you to say that your book, When the Butterflies Came, is amazing. I have currently just finished reading it for the 4th time. Please don’t feel like you need to answer. I just wanted to tell you how great of an author you are.

(Of course I answer every single letter.)

When the Butterflies Came Cover Art from Erin*******

The Healing Spell is such a beautiful, book. I’ve read it 4 times now, and it’s always so beautiful and uplifting each time. I first bought this book when I was 10, now I’m 15. Thank you for this work of art! It never fails to bring tears to my eyes, it’s so hard to believe that it’s about an 11-year-old. Better than most books I’ve read, even as a teenager. One of my top 10, for sure :)

(It surprised me to hear this from a teenager about one of my MG books. I’m so glad she wrote, it truly made my whole day.)

*******

Dear Kimberley Little,
I have just finished your book Forbidden and I must tell you I was moved greatly. I loved your book so much. I felt everything with your main character Jayden. I cried and it is rare that a book can get to me in such a way. I’m a senior in high school, I am also a writer. I would like to know how you are able to express such emotion in your writing? How do you get your reads to feel that emotion? Please write back I understand you’re most likely busy. But it would mean the world to me.
Thank you, Cassie

(Emotion is definitely one of the hardest things to incorporate effectively as writers.)

*******

(The following letter came in 4 different emails, one right after the other. It made me laugh.)

Hi, my name is Deena and I read all 3 of your divine awesome books

I’m 9 years old and I’m in 4th grade

Please contact me back I have been trying for 2 months to get a Gmail and contact you I’m so happy I found how to contact you

I will go on my knees to beg you to message me back

(No begging needed!)

*******

Dear Ms. Little (what should I call you?),

I absolutely just love your books. I literally idolize you. I especially love Forbidden. I own both Forbidden and The Time of the Fireflies.

(Just call me American Idol)

*******

(This was an email exchange from a fan who wanted to know when Banished, Book 2 of my Harper trilogy was coming out.)

Hi I am a fan of your books I have read When the Butterflies Came { by the way amazing book super good!}

The Time of the Fireflies { also really good book!}

And I want to read Circle of Secrets.

And I have read Forbidden – amazing and this is why I am Emailing you because you should write another book continuing Forbidden because I need and want to know what happens next. Like what really happened to Kadesh and is Jayden really going to marry evil Horeb so I think you should write another book. Thank you sooo much. Your BIG fan Katie

BanishedHC_KGL (530x800)Me: After responding to her lovely words I told her that Banished would publish February 2, 2106.

Katie: Did you mean to say that it will get published in 2016 and not 2106?

Me: Yes, I’m going to let your great-grandchildren read my next book, Katie. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😉 Yep, you’re right 2016!! I was typing too fast!

Katie: Haha, really funny, you’ve a great sense of humor!

(Typos: All in a day’s work)

*******

(Final letter for today, the one that still pricks at my emotions.)

Dear Kimberley Griffiths Little,

Around two years ago my family experienced a traumatic occurrence. My half sister Sara was kicked by a horse and she was in a serious condition. When I first saw Sara while she was in the hospital, I felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart. It was extremely difficult for many reasons. When I read your book, The Healing Spell, it reminded me of Sara’s incident, and changed my perspective completely.

I many not have physically hurt Sara myself as Livie did to her mother, but I felt a similar feeling whenever I thought about her injury. Being her big sister, I always felt that it was my obligation to take care of her and keep her protected. I believed the only reason Sara was harmed was because I didn’t take the responsibility to watch her, to make she she did not get herself into trouble. I felt that the entire incident was my fault, just as Livie had blamed herself.

The Healing Spell paperback coverSara’s injury made me much more quiet, before I read your book that is. Livie kept her feelings to herself, knowing that . . . “deep down in the blackest part of my heart that I’d cause Mamma’s sleeping sickness.” I don’t have a “secret” like her, but I was still able to deeply connect with Livie, I didn’t want to share my true feelings about the event with anyone because I was afraid they would react negatively. I kept my emotions to myself, thinking that I was the guilty one, that I should be convicted. Then, I read The Healing Spell. The further I read the more my connections to Livie increased and I began to realize new things about my thoughts and actions from Sara’s accident. In the last section of the book, Livie comes to realize that accidents happen, and once I reached this segment, I, too, realized the same thing.

Your story caused me to comprehend the fact that the accident wasn’t my fault. The whole scenario was a complete accident, and no one meant for it to occur. I can now revisit the past and learn from the incident, and I never again need to think about how I am the one to blame. This has all come to be only because of your story, Ms. Little. The Healing Spell pulled me out of the dark, empty void I constantly felt I was floating through. I feel as if I can share my feelings any time now. I know that my family will not get upset, they will understand. Because of your book, I can maintain a higher self-confidence level, leaving behind the guilt that kept dragging me down.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Alayna

Alayna says that my book changed her life. Well, her letter definitely changed my life.

That’s the power of books.

 

Kimberley Griffiths Little has published 10 award-winning novels with Knopf, Scholastic, and Harpercollins. Her most recent MG, The Time of the Fireflies, was named a Bank Street College Best Books of 2015, a Whitney Award Finalist, a Letters of Mormon Arts Award Finalist, and was recently chosen for the William Allan White Kansas State Children’s Choice List for 2016-2017. 

Find Kimberley on Facebook. and Twitter @KimberleyGLittl. Teacher’s Guides, Mother/Daughter Book Club Guides, and fabulous book trailers filmed on location adorn Kimberley’s website.