Staff Picks: Intermediate

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Dawn Raid Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781646140411
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Levine Querido - March 2nd, 2021

The year is 1976, and Sofia Savea has just received a diary for her thirteenth birthday. Life for her is similar to many teenagers growing up in New Zealand in the 1970’s. She writes about her family, the upcoming speech competition at school, and the go-go boot she wants to buy with her pocket money. When her older brother starts talking about protests and injustices towards Pacific Islanders, things begin to change for Sofia and her family. Read along with Sofia’s diary as she navigates changes in her community, new friendships, and learns to find her voice in the movement for Pacific Islanders’ rights in New Zealand. 

Claire

 


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Katie the Catsitter Cover Image
By Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984895639
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 5th, 2021

Katie has no idea how to take care of a cat! Imagine her surprise when a mysterious neighbor invites her to catsit not one… but 217 extraordinary cats in a Manhattan apartment. What ensues is a suspenseful story of surprising heroes and supervillains, friendship, and absolutely no litter boxes. Perfect for fans of Reina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson!

Kara


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When You Trap a Tiger: (Winner of the 2021 Newbery Medal) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524715700
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 28th, 2020

This story is for the kids who don’t yet know their own power and believe in unseen magic. Twelve-year-old Lily often feels invisible, especially when her mom and her older sister fight. When a tiger appears unexpectedly in her new town that no one else can see, she turns to her halmoni’s wisdom and Korean folk tales to protect her family and find her voice. Every chapter shimmers with magic in this Newbery Medal-winning novel.

Kara


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Witches of Brooklyn Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780593119273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Graphic - September 1st, 2020

When Effie moves in with her aunt that she barely knows, everything in her life changes. She has a new house, a new school, and new friends. As Effie settles into her new life, she realizes that her kooky aunts might be more than just eccentric. They might be…magical. And to top it off, Effie might have witchy powers of her own! This middle grade graphic novel is a ton of fun, full of expressive illustrations, lively characters, and, of course, magic.

Claire


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The Girl and the Witch's Garden Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534461581
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 23rd, 2020

Piper doesn’t want to spend the summer at a mysterious manor house with family she barely knows, but when her beloved father falls ill, she has no choice but to move to the remote and misty mansion. What happens next is anything but what she expected. This book is full of everything you’d want in a fantasy novel: portals, undiscovered magic powers, secret societies, and enchanted gardens. These wonders do not erase or sugarcoat Piper’s grief, but the delight of discovering a new world balances Piper’s honest emotional journey and make for a compelling read.

Claire

*This book will be available as a paperback on 5/25/21. Pre-order the paperback HERE.*


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The Montague Twins: The Witch's Hand Cover Image
By Nathan Page, Drew Shannon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525646778
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 14th, 2020

This graphic novel delivers a Hardy Boys aesthetic (complete with sibling sleuths and a midcentury setting) with a fresh infusion of modernity, a twist of magic, and, of course, a whole lot of mystery!

Claire


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Measuring Up Cover Image
By Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062973863
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperAlley - October 27th, 2020

After moving to Seattle, Cici finds herself feeling out of place at her new school and wishing she was still with her grandma, A-má, in Taiwan. Her plan is solid: she is going to win the grand prize in a juniors cooking competition and get her A-má a ticket to Seattle for her 70th birthday. This story of family, food, and finding your own way will leave you inspired...and hungry!

Sarah


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Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian Cover Image
By Tim Probert, Tim Probert (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062990464
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HarperAlley - September 1st, 2020

Bea and Cad are two exceptionally well-developed characters. The comradery between the two and their growing acceptance of each other’s strengths and faults is hugely heartwarming and sure to captivate readers. The absolutely stunning artwork is the frosting on a delightfully well-written cake. With unexpected twists and shining dialogue, Lightfall is a new series to watch!

Anna

                                           


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Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) Cover Image
By Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781643750057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 15th, 2020

A delightful odd-couple story. Badger is a dedicated rock scientist. He likes everything contained and in its proper place. When Skunk arrives on his doorstep, Badger’s life is turned upside down. Skunk and Badger end up on some wonderful adventures involving lots and lots of chickens! The writing is joyful and lyrical, and Klassen’s wistful illustrations make you want to linger in the story. A wonderful book to share and read aloud.

Karlyn


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A Cat Story Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062932044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Quill Tree Books - October 6th, 2020

Inspired by the Minnesota author’s travels in Malta and love-hate relationship with museums, this fun and unusual graphic novel tells the story of two stray cats who are searching for a mythical garden. Not only do they walk across several Mediterranean islands, they walk through dozens of famous paintings as well. A lovely fable for young readers.

Linda


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Black Heroes of the Wild West: Featuring Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons: A Toon Graphic Cover Image
By James Otis Smith, Kadir Nelson (Introduction by)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781943145522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Toon Graphics - September 15th, 2020

This book strikes the perfect balance between fact and fun by including comic-book-style vignettes about three Black heroes from days of yore alongside real photographs of Black, Brown, and Native cowboys and homesteaders. For any child curious about the U.S. history that doesn’t show up in a John Wayne movie, this will perfectly whet their appetite to find out more.

Linda


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Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781646140008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Levine Querido - August 25th, 2020

Khosrou is just a misunderstood refugee kid telling a story in front of his class in Oklahoma (and everyone calls him Daniel). As Daniel begins to speak, he embodies the great Persian storyteller Scheherazade (of One Thousand and One Nights), recounting numerous tales to entertain, distract, and placate an inhospitable audience (including you, dear reader). Woven with threads of vivid metaphors and a few too many (hilarious) poop stories, Daniel’s patchwork (true) story will break your heart and mend it again. Storytelling at its finest.

Kara


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Class Act Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062885500
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Quill Tree Books - October 6th, 2020

Many middle grade graphic novels faithfully depict universal teenage drama, and while Class Act has its fair share of growth spurts, body odor, and budding relationships, it also dives deep into how race and privilege affect all aspects of our lives. Powerful and engaging, this companion to Newbery award-winning New Kid broadens our view of Jordan, Drew, and friends as they navigate their second year of prep school with humor and heart.

Kristen


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The Witches: The Graphic Novel Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Pénélope Bagieu (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338677430
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Inc. - September 1st, 2020

They wear gloves, and pointy shoes, and wigs. Most of all...they despise children! After meeting the Grand High Witch herself, a boy and his grandmother suddenly find themselves as the only ones who can save all the children from the witches’ evil plot. This contemporary and colorful graphic adaption of the beloved Roald Dahl story had me falling in love with The Witches all over again.

Sarah


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The Girl and the Ghost Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062940957
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HarperCollins - August 4th, 2020

All her life, quiet, good Suraya has only needed one friend: her ghost, Pink, who is sworn by blood to protect her. But when Suraya makes her first human friend, Pink’s extreme jealousy sets off a dangerous chain of events that will alter their bond forever. Does fortune favor the bold? In a hair-raising quest across the Malaysian countryside, Suraya is sure to find out!

Katie


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Twins: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
By Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338236132
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Graphix - October 6th, 2020

Shannon Wright and Varian Johnson combine their talents to create a vivid and witty graphic novel about twins forging separate identities. The pages burst with color and movement while the script is both honest and humorous. Not only do the artists capture the pains of middle school, they celebrate the love of family.

Karlyn


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Tune It Out Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534457003
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

Crowds, loud noises, and physical contact: gentle Lou knows these fears make her different, but a transient life with her mom has helped them avoid Lou’s sensory processing disorder. After an accident reveals their living conditions, Lou is sent to live with relatives. Finally, she has the support she needs to tune out the noise and discover courage! A tender, inspiring, and necessary story that opens a window into the neurodiverse mind.

Stacy


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Other Words for Home Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062747815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 6th, 2021

In this tender and thoughtful story, beautifully told in verse, we meet Jude, who has left war-torn Syria with her mother, for America.  With her brother, father and so many precious memories still back there, Jude struggles to identify where she belongs.  As she adapts, makes friends, and deals with prejudice, she works to discover her own identity, be true to herself – and eventually discover "home".

Stacy


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The Usual Suspects Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062796325
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - August 11th, 2020

Misunderstood and negatively labeled, Thelonius and his Special Ed classmates are the main suspects when a gun is found near school. While Thelonius knows that his antics/pranks can be maddening, he also knows that he's not a criminal.  Tired of being a usual suspect, he takes on an investigation of his own.  A clever read that deftly balances humor with honesty.  Great choice for kids who feel unfairly labeled.

Stacy


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Clean Getaway Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781984893000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Yearling - January 5th, 2021

Packed with fun, suspense, and real history! After agreeing to a spontaneous road trip with his grandma, Scoob realizes there's a lot he doesn't know about her--like what it was like to be part of an early interracial marriage or where she's taking him. I listened on Libro.fm and loved the narrator, Dion Graham, who did a GREAT job with the voices, conveying Scoob's confusion and G'ma's volatility.

Linda


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The Best at It Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062866424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 6th, 2020

This is a sweet and perfectly funny story about a boy trying to find a field where he can shine and a way to feel comfortable in his skin. Mental health, coming out, and family stress can make middle school a tough time, but this book handles those issues with wit, charm, and an incredibly fun cast of characters to help get Rahul through.

Linda


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The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781524737115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Puffin Books - January 7th, 2020

For Gabriel, life is pretty great in his small southern town in the 1940’s.  But when he crosses paths with and befriends Mr. Hunter, an older black man, Gabriel’s eyes are opened to racism and the ugly truths of his hometown.  Caring, non-judgmental, Gabriel seeks out truth, understanding and ultimately fairness for the oppressed.  I LOVED this fantastic heartwarming story about an unlikely and rewarding friendship.

Stacy


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It Ain't So Awful, Falafel Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781328740960
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Clarion Books - August 15th, 2017

Being an immigrant from Iran is not easy in California in the late 1970’s.  For Cindy, trying to reinvent herself, fit in, and shake off traditional Iranian ways is a bumpy path – not helped by the growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.  You can’t help but love and cheer for Cindy in this story that brings levity while shedding light on a tense and problematic time in history.

Stacy


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When Stars Are Scattered Cover Image
By Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson (Illustrator), Iman Geddy (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780525553908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Dial Books - April 14th, 2020

This graphic novel memoir left me in awe of and inspired by a young boy’s struggle, strength and courage in the face of incredible adversity.  Against all odds, Omar escapes war-torn Somalia, survives a Kenyan refugee camp and realizes his dreams of America.  Victoria Jamieson’s illustrations are perfect and I can’t imagine a better or more powerful way to share this true story with kids. 

Stacy

(Review for Audiobook from Libro.fm) At first, I was skeptical about getting the full experience of this story without the illustrations. But oh my I am glad I listened to WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED. Narrated by a full cast, I was transported inside this story. Each character’s voice provided inflections I might have missed if reading ink on the page. Plus, the music and sound effects were lush and breathed vibrant life into the audiobook format. This story is powerful and I can’t wait to re-read with the light of Jamieson’s images.

Kara


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Three Times Lucky (Mo & Dale Mysteries) Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780142426050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Puffin Books - December 31st, 2013

A fun, fantastic murder mystery that introduces us to indomitable, spunky, and tenacious Mo! Washed ashore as a baby in a small southern town, Mo knows what she wants and doesn’t let much get in the way.  When she’s not sending messages in a bottle upriver (in the hopes it will get to her birth mother), Mo busies herself with the goings on in town.  And when a murder occurs, Mo, along with her reluctant best friend, sets out to solve it.

Stacy


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The Bridge Home Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781524738136
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Puffin Books - April 14th, 2020

A beautiful story of determination, survival, and friendship.  To escape their cruel father, two sisters run away into the crowded streets of Chennai, India.  They soon find themselves hungry and homeless and relying on the kindness of strangers.  After stumbling upon two homeless boys - the four immediately band together to survive and in doing so learn to trust and dare and dream.  Truly inspirational!

Stacy


The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: First Second - February 13th, 2018

Sometimes you just need a good comfort read, and for me there's nothing more comforting than a sweet story about friendship, family, and finding yourself. This is the book that first made me fall in love with Jen Wang's art and I've been tumbling ever since! Europe's fashion capital has a prince with a secret: while his parents scheme to find him a fiancée, he's lighting up the night as Paris' most fashionable and mysterious legendary lady. With the help of his incredible dressmaker Frances, he'll wear fabulous frocks, face his family's expectations, and learn to love himself--and what more could any of us really ask for?

Linda


This Was Our Pact Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781626720534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: First Second - June 11th, 2019

This story begins with a group of friends following lanterns from their local autumn festival downriver. Then, there are swirling eyes in the river, a well-dressed bear under a streetlight, and what started as a small-town story becomes so much more. Touching, captivatingly illustrated, and surreal, This Was Our Pact transported me in a way I never expected from the first pages and, well, I never looked back.

Claire


New Kid Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

Twelve-year-old Jordan Bank is a funny, smart, and creative kid. He works to understand the many complex layers of friendship, bullying, and race through funny, yet powerful sketches. The pictures in this book are worth a thousand words. One of my favorite middle-grade novels ever. I encourage not only kids to read it, but parents and teachers too. 

Karlyn


Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea) Cover Image
By Thomas Taylor, Tom Booth (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781536215151
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Walker Books US - April 14th, 2020

Herbert Lemon is the Lost-and-Founder for the Grand Nautilus Hotel, which means he is in charge of reuniting lost items with their owners. But when a girl comes into his office trying to find her lost parents, Herbie isn’t sure that’s in his job description. And he’s definitely sure tracking down a local legend called the Malamander isn’t. In the town of Eerie-on-Sea, heroes (and legends) come in all shapes and sizes, and Malamander will have you wondering which is which.

Anna


Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers Cover Image
By Anna James, Paola Escobar (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9781984837141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Puffin Books - February 25th, 2020

When you feel like you don’t really fit in, the characters of your favorite books can feel like comforting friends. Except when they actually turn up in real life. Matilda Pages keeps running into her favorite storybook characters, literally. When she discovers she can actually go into the stories, she must learn to manage her new ability before the adventures in the books become too real. This debut from author Anna James was impossible to put down, and left me wondering which of my favorite classics I would wander into if I could.

Anna


Rat Rule 79: An Adventure Cover Image
By Rivka Galchen, Elena Megalos (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781632060990
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Restless Books - September 24th, 2019

On the eve of her 13th birthday Fred worries about growing up. Fred navigates a land of impossibility wrought with noodle looping wordplay, confounding creatures, and a rat queen who has banned birthdays. Enchanting salmon toned illustrations complement an unparalleled adventure of daughter-mother love. So clever, this infinitely satisfying timeless story deserves an irrational number of stars. Recommended ages: ∞

Jesse


Cog Cover Image
By Greg van Eekhout, Beatrice Blue (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062686039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HarperCollins - December 8th, 2020

Family! Corporate corruption! Talking trash cans! Cog tackles all the tough topics in the life of a young cyborg whose cognitive development is thrown for a loop when an accident lands him back at the plant where he was made. There he realizes that he doesn’t want to be a pawn of the sinister company that created him and that he has a special knack for granting other robots free will, which could change everything.

Linda


Lalani of the Distant Sea Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062747280
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 15th, 2020

In this gorgeous story about courage, empathy, and community, life on Sanlagita Island has always been tough, and there have always been stories of a different island, far across the sea, where life is easier. For Lailani, living with her mean step-father is hard, but she also believes that it can get better. When her mother gets sick, Lailani takes fate into her own hands and sets off in search of a cure and of hope.

Paige


The Light in the Lake Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780316422406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

Addie’s family has always loved Maple Lake, where they swim, boat, and fish every summer. It’s crystal-blue water inspired her love of science. But when her brother drowns one icy spring, Addie wonders if it’s possible to love a place that took half her heart. Still grieving, she decides to spend the summer as a Young Scientist along its shore. So begins a summer of healing, friendship, and curiosity, as she learns about water pollution and stewardship and sets out to unlock the secrets of the Maple Lake.

Paige


Dear Sweet Pea Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062473080
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 2nd, 2021

Sweet Pea has a lot on her plate: a former best friend turned bully, a growing distance with her current BFF, the recent divorce of her parents, and helping out her reclusive and eccentric advice columnist neighbor. Navigating middle school isn’t easy and Sweet Pea isn’t perfect but what she also has is confidence, tenacity and desire to fix things. Readers will alternately laugh, cringe and find her utterly relatable.

Stacy


Roll with It Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781534442566
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

Ellie knows she is so much more than a kid with cerebral palsy stuck in a wheelchair and she’s not up for pity or patronizing treatment. She’s feisty and yearning for independence. When a move to Oklahoma has her starting a new school and making friends for the first time in her life, she sees a way to make her dreams come true. Ellie is a refreshingly spunky character who will inspire all readers.

Stacy


The Last Chance Hotel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338323627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Chicken House - May 28th, 2019

Seth has lived in the hotel his whole life, parentless and put-upon by the uncaring owners and their dastardly daughter. All he wants is to be a world-class cook like his dad was, but when mystery and murder suddenly check in, Seth discovers that the world is much bigger than he imagined and he’ll have to think fast to prove his innocence.

Linda


Kate's Really Good at Hockey Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9781947895065
Availability: Special Order
Published: Animal Media Group LLC - November 27th, 2018

Kate couldn’t be more excited about the elite girls’ hockey camp she’s going to this summer--until she found out she would be staying with her grandma in Colorado. Kate thinks she has nothing in common with her grandma, but when the going gets tough, she ends up learning about teamwork in ways she didn’t expect.

Linda