If you were leaving your home forever, what would you bring in the sack you carried? 12-year-old Nisha chooses a mortar and pestle from her best friend, the family cook, and her journal, where she secretly writes to her dead mother. Inspired by Hiranandani’s father’s experience during the 1947 partition of India, the largest mass migration in history, this harrowing yet hopeful story is unforgettable.
Once a year in the Protectorate, the Elders sacrifice the youngest baby to the evil witch to save their village. Unbeknownst to the people of the Protectorate, Xan, the Witch, is actually good; in fact, she saves each abandoned baby and delivers them to loving homes in the cities across the forest. One year, Xan accidentally feeds the baby powerful moonlight instead of starlight, filling her with magic, and decides to raise this extraordinary baby as her own. As Luna grows up, she begins to discover the truth of her past. You must read this beautifully imaginative fairytale!
What would you do if you picked up an old sword and it started talking to you? If you were Odo, you would reluctantly go on a quest to kill the dragon stopping the river from flowing. Along with his friend Eleanor (who seems much more excited about this whole knight business), boy and sword go on a quest that involves a dwarven forge, a traveling bandit crew, and not a small amount of magic.
Hiccup likes to read, looks out for his clumsy best friend, uses his head to think instead of smashing rocks, and has the world’s most stubborn dragon. The other Vikings are never impressed by his very un-Viking ways. But when a gigantic and clever, Viking-eating dragon comes to shore, they may just start to like his un-Viking ways.
Lisa is about to get a new neighbor - Nilly. Nilly is a little unusual. Meanwhile, their mutual neighbor Doctor Proctor invents a lot of… weird things. But weird things can be very, very useful when trying to thwart the neighborhood bullies.
Follow Francie “Frenchy” Frye as her eccentric great-aunts call her away from the NYC acting scene to investigate a string of suspicious deaths near her family’s Minnesota lake cabin. In this exciting mystery, Francie tries to make sense of the puzzling happenings on Enchantment Lake, including a poisoned hotdish and the legend of treasure under the lake. A fast-moving, humorous story with a delightfully pensive protagonist in Francie, Enchantment Lake will have you reading late into the dark, spooky night and longing for the sound of waves crashing on the lakeshore.
I love Mason Buttle. He’s a twelve-year-old with learning disabilities and synesthesia who experiences incredible loss, does his best to avoid bullies, and is at the center of an unsolved town mystery. Through all of that honest, loyal Mason finds a way to bring his family together and celebrate friendships both old (Moonie, the dog) and new (Calvin, the human). What a beautiful read.
Kiki’s father is a doctor who travels to war-zones to help people. She worries that something will happen to him, but her mother explains that the odds of a father dying are small. When he goes missing, Kiki wants to bolster the odds—if having a dead father is unlikely, isn’t having a dead pet and a dead father twice as unlikely? This spare novel is insightful, heartbreaking, and funny.
Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He’s also her imaginary friend. After a suspicious car accident, Amanda winds up in a coma - and without her to imagine him into being, Rudger begins to disappear! Pursued by the terrible Mr Bunting and his eery imaginary assistant, Rudger must find a way to awaken his best friend or be forgotten forever!
12-year-old Molly doesn't get along with her bratty stepsister Heather, and a move to the countryside only makes things worse. But when Heather makes a ghostly friend, only Molly can see that the ghost's intentions might be dangerous. Mary Downing Hahn is a master of the ghost story, and this is one of her best!
In the excitement of preparing for a three-year move to the United States, only grandfather Sidi seems to understand how lost Aref feels. With only a week before leaving, the two go off on a farewell journey that takes them from desert to seashore, visiting and remembering all the things that make Oman home. Like Aref’s beloved stones, turtles, and especially, his grandfather, this is a story to be treasured.
Fans of Nancy Drew and Lumberjanes, REJOICE! Goldie Vance is here! There's a mystery afoot at the Crossed Palms resort, and Goldie is on the case! Set at a retro-futuristic Floridian resort, this graphic novel is a lively tale of friendship, fast cars, and sharp sleuthing. Readers who enjoyed series such as Hilda, Cleopatra in Space, and the aforementioned Lumberjanes are in for a new and exciting treat!
While reading The Zookeeper's Wife, and noting its recent popularity, I thought back fondly to my mother/daughter book club because one of our favorite books collectively was Number the Stars, the story of ten-year-old Danish best friends Annemarie and Ellen (who is Jewish) who resist the Nazis by pretending to be sisters. Both books give hope that compassion and empathy still exist amidst heartbreaking tragedy.
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...