1950's--an era of paranoia and accusation. Here is a glimpse of the times during McCarthyism according to Avi. He researches and writes in order to describe his personal memories in a way that makes history come to life for young readers. His is the story of regular kid Pete Collison, lover of detective stories and all things baseball. It's a 'twisty' mystery with plenty of room for humor. Don't let this one get away!
Where is that screaming coming from?
Is it too late?
These are the wrong questions. Follow 13-year-old apprentice spy Lemony Snicket as he investigates Stain'd-by-the-Sea, a mysterious town where asking the right questions leads to adventure and danger.
"I'm a dog. I should tell you that right away. I understand words, but there are only two who understand me when I speak." Within the framework of a fierce blizzard, Teddy the dog explains his own rescue and the loss of his beloved poet, Sylvan. But misfortune turns to good when he finds and cares for two children freezing in the cold. Thus the poet's dog has the providence of rescuing 'a jewel or two'. As Sylvan once told him, "When you can't find a poet, find a child. Remember that." Remember that!
Adam Gidwitz trades Grimm's tales for Chaucer's, bringing readers into a medieval tavern where strangers tell stories about three children and their miraculous dog who have sent France into an uproar. William, Jeanne, and Jacob (a monk, a peasant girl, and a Jewish boy) learn that friendship can flourish despite, or even because of, their differences as they set out to rescue a library's worth of books from King Louis IX's inquisitorial bonfires. Along they way, they encounter fiends, knights, an inquisitor or two, and one very rude dragon. Illuminated illustrations enhance the medieval setting of this funny, timely book.
The author of Zita the Spacegirl is back with a new series, this time a take on Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack’s mom works a lot, leaving him largely in charge of his autistic, nonverbal younger sister Maddy. One day Maddy trades the family car for some magic beans, and in planting them she creates the most magical, fantastic garden. Plants that throw mud, edible peppers that give you the ability to jump as high as the clouds-it all seems fun and amazing until the dragon shows up. An exciting beginning to what promises to be another great graphic series.
Lucy and Andy are a pair of typical Stone Age kids who get into Paleo-sized shenanigans. Part comic book, part archeology lesson, Brown imagines a world where scimitar cats curl up by the bonfire, cave-teens grow terrible puberty-'staches, and pants are a thing of the past (pun definitely intended).
Castle Crenshaw is a reluctant natural athlete who has no idea how running will change his life. Coach Brody is firm but caring, and has more in common with Castle than he lets on. Though their roles are familiar, Castle and Coach are unique, intriguing, and memorable characters. Set in the world of junior track and field—a sport both dramatic and metaphoric—Ghost is the first in a fresh new series for sports lovers.
Gertie Foy is on a mission! In order to keep her estranged mom from moving to another town, Gertie is determined to become the best 5th grader in the whole universe and show her mom what she’ll be missing. The mission isn’t without its hiccups, but Gertie is “like a dog with a tire” and presses forward with optimism. Beasley has written a heartwarming and relatable story filled with many laughs. Gertie’s strength, tenacity, and confidence are admirable and her outlook on life is an inspiration to young readers.
What I love about this book is that, at its core, it is a heartwarming (and hilarious) story about a loving family. How rarely we experience that in a book chock-full of profound themes. That it is also the journey of an African-American family to the South during the civil rights movement era showcases Curtis’s deft incorporation of tough and poignant issues with everyday family interactions, and it’s why I consider it a modern-day classic.
Being wedged down in a well certainly gives one time to ponder the big questions. Like "How did I get here? Why did I trust those popular girls anyways? And what on earth is that tickling my feet?" The Girl In The Well is Me is a humorous, uniquely written reflection on life's predicaments and the decisions we make - for better and for worse.
Martin Moone is in desperate need of a sidekick to get him through the horrors of being an 11-year-old boy stuck in a house with three snotty older sisters and a school with the dreaded Bonner boys making his life a living wedgie. Luckily, there's a way: An Imaginary Friend! But ordering the perfect "IF" is a lot trickier than you'd think...
Do you like the Penderwick sisters? Then you’ll love The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, which is a heartwarming story of four brothers: Sam, Jax, Eli and Frog. Each brother has their troubles over the year in which the story takes place, but these problems can always be solved by the help of their loving dads. This book brings up important social justice themes like prejudice, GLBT discrimination and all kinds of families.
Steve has always been a worrier. But now, with a sick baby brother, his mom and dad are worried, too. When a mysterious creature visits Steve in his sleep, offering to fix the baby, Steve hopes that saying yes will bring everything back to normal. Instead, our unlikely hero finds himself caught in a bargain that becomes more horrific every day. This extremely! creepy story is equally full of heart and ultimately unforgettable.
The latest graphic novel by the authors of Babymouse and Squish is the quirky and heartfelt story of ten-year-old Sunny, who is about to spend the summer with her grandfather in Florida. She deplanes with visions of Disneyworld and adventure, but soon realizes that her days in the retirement community are to be filled with early-bird specials and trips to the post office. Sunny has a secret, too: her older brother is dealing with substance abuse issues, and she doesn’t know how to talk about it. Things turn around when she befriends someone her own age who introduces her to the world of comic books and superheroes, and through it all she finds a way to keep her sunny side up.
Bridge, Tab, and Emily are old friends, with one important rule: no fighting. Their first year of middle school will test their bond, as they navigate the sticky territory between expressing individuality and staying true to your friends. Stead writes about the ins and outs of modern adolescence in a way that seems timeless. She brilliantly captures big moments through small, detailed observations, and her portrayals of different relationships—between friends, sort-of friends, siblings, and parents (both married and divorced)—are realistic and heartfelt.
Wrapped in a fairy tale of singing princesses trapped in time by a witch’s spell, bound together by a messenger boy who promises to help, Echo is, at its center, the stories of three children before and during World War II, and the single harmonica that connects them all. As masterfully told as the finest symphony, this heart-filled epic reminds us that music is a magical gift, with power even in the darkest times to reveal the way. Don’t miss this stunning production!
Patriotic duty—it has many possibilities. But according to Pete’s seventh-grade teacher, it means ‘having no mollycoddling of pinkos in his classroom’. Thus Pete is singled out and assigned a new seat in the back of the room. Explanation: “What parents do, their kids are”. Such are the times in 1951 during the Red Scare, and Pete’s family is caught in a web of suspicion. As stranger events ensue, he becomes a detective of sorts, like his favorite, Sam Spade. Help him connect the dots and figure things out. Watch-Wait-Listen and ABOVE ALL-Work Alone!
Codes, poison, friendship and explosions combine in this engaging murder mystery set in 1660s London. Young Christopher Rowe is lucky. He has gone from being an orphan with an uncertain future to the apprentice of well respected apothecary Benedict Blackthorn. Blackthorn proves kind and tolerant, fostering Christopher’s boundless curiosity and penchant for mischief while teaching him languages, secret codes, and the rules of the trade. Christopher’s world is upended, however, when a supposed cult commits a string of murders targeting London’s apothecaries, and he must use all his skills to solve the mystery and catch the killers.
This debut novel is a stunner. Suzy hypothesizes that the death of her former best friend could only be the result of a rare Irukandji jellyfish sting. With a seventh grade science research project as the catalyst, she sets out to gather fascinating jellyfish data, narrow down experts to help her, and ultimately prove what matters under the surface. All at once, young readers may find their systems shocked by the numbing stings of Suzy’s loss, but their senses of wonder electrified as they navigate troubled waters with her. The thing about this book is: I love the heroine, her science mind, and her open heart.
This time around Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan, brings us an imaginary friend in the form of a cat named Crenshaw. Seems a lighthearted story, but for ten-year-old Jackson, Crenshaw is a lifesaver. His life is out of control. “Was he going to have enough to eat tomorrow? Were his parents going to be able to pay the rent?” Crenshaw’s presence may not save his family from losing everything, but Jackson knows he’s there and sometimes that’s just the comfort one needs to get by. Enjoy the magic in this heartbreaker. Once again—Applegate does it so well.
You may think you know the story of Baba Yaga—lives in a chicken-legged house, rides around in a mortar, and of course, has an unsavory appetite for children—but this book casts the ultimate anti-fairy godmother in a new light. Masha is a lonely girl, still grieving for her beloved grandmother. She decides to seek out adventure, answering an ad to be Baba Yaga’s assistant. The old witch is as bad as you remember, but Masha is determined to succeed, and maybe even outwit crafty Baba Yaga. Emily Carroll’s illustrations excel at portraying the gruesome and the beautiful side by side, in this tale of finding one’s place in the world.
Spunky Violet lives with her parents in a dingy trailer park in a distant corner of outer space. When Violet’s school is eaten by a rogue pod of space whales, it’s clear that something is amiss. After her father disappears on a top-secret mission, Violet meets Elliot, a sentient young chicken with prophetic dreams, and Zeke, who claims to be the last living Lumpkin. Together, this trio sets off to brave the galaxy in search of Violet’s father, all the while looking out for the rogue whales, space pirates, and the greatest enemy of all—space whale poo! This beautifully illustrated tale of adventure, family, and loyalty is heartwarming and humorous, and has surprising depth. An unexpected and delightful read that will leave you wishing for more— whale poo and all!
These are the notes of a “stuttering expert”. Although set in Memphis, 1959, his experience is not unique to anyone who has ever had difficulty raising his own voice to express what is in his heart.
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All Milo wants is to spend his winter break alone with his parents in Greenglass House, the old smugglers' inn they run. But it's not to be, as guest after guest arrives in the middle of a snowstorm. They all appear to be strangers, but Milo suspects they are more connected to each other--and the inn--than they are saying. Do yourself a favor and read everything by Kate Milford, but if you have to narrow it down, start with this one. It's smart and funny, with all the style of a classic Agatha Christie mystery.