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?
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.
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.
Esther Hautzig’s charmed childhood in Poland ended abruptly in 1941, when Soviet soldiers forced her family into exile in a remote Siberian village. In a memoir that straddles the gap between middle grade and young adult literature, Hautzig paints a vivid portrait of the grueling challenges of life on the steppe – and the hope, ingenuity and love that helped her survive. Among my all-time favorites!
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.
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.
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: ∞
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A beautifully illustrated story that is eerie, haunting, and impossible to put down! In 1982, Mary lives at Thornhill Orphanage where she is severely bullied and lonely. In present day, Ella spends lonely days in her bedroom overlooking the abandoned ruins of Thornhill. Their intertwined stories unfold uniquely by alternating between the text of Mary's diary and the illustrations of Ella's experiences. Unsettling, chilling, brilliant!
It's the summer before eighth grade and Fovea Munson dreads working in her doctor-parents' medical cadaver lab. Dead bodies? No way! And when the specimens start speaking, what should a girl do? This zany, madcap adventure is equally heartfelt, as Fovea helps three heads achieve their dreams, makes a new, true, friend of her own, and finds the courage to tell her parents she will NOT be joining the family business.
It's not just a book, it's a mind-bending choose-your-own graphic adventure! The simple choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream will lead you down a zany apocalyptic rabbit hole with thousands of possible combinations that may include mind control, quantum mechanics, or giant squid. Will you find the secret access code? Will a coin toss destroy reality? Will you manage to find a bathroom? The choice is yours!
Experiments, drones, sign language, methane and humor—Frank Einstein has it all! He and his sidekick, Watson, putter and plot in Grandpa's garage using his great repair-shop junk. Hopefully, their work produces a Smart Bot or two to win the Midville Science Prize. Enter Klink and Klank. But, first they must outwit Thomas Edison and his chief officer, Mr. Chimp. Then things REALLY kick into high gear!
"You will never satisfy your curiosity if you let a little fright keep you at home." So says wise Mr. Lobster and I am so very glad my own curiosity led me to discover these delightful stories about his adventures on Dry Land – and how he learns to be hero! Folksy wisdom, memorable characters, and laugh-aloud antics, make this a great read-aloud for fans of Pooh or Wind in the Willows.
Never have I seen a more accurate portrayal of the love a parent has for a child. Poignant and utterly relevant, Hosseini’s heartrending poetry and Williams’ abstract illustrations depict a story that cannot be ignored. Inspired by the truth of Syrian refugees, the award-winning author and humanitarian writes a letter to his son reminding him of the beauty of their homeland that he will inevitably lose sight of on his unforeseeable voyage across the sea. This chilling, yet imperative prose is proof that less is more.
All chimney-climber Nan Sparrow has left of her beloved guardian, the Sweep, is a small lump of coal that has mysteriously stayed warm for the past six years. When she is caught in a life-threatening situation at the wrong end of a
chimney fire, the coal roars to life and reveals itself to be a Golem, a legendary protector from Jewish folklore. Together, Nan and her monster create a life for themselves in an abandoned mansion, surviving the harsh realities of Victorian London. Exuberantly joyful and deeply bittersweet, Sweep is a tribute to the power of friendship and family.
Lopside, Champion, Bug, and Daisy are a talented crew of canines. When their expedition to another solar system goes awry and they are separated from their humans, the Barkonauts must use their combined skills and strengths to stay calm and complete their mission. At turns funny, heartwarming, wise, and so suspenseful I tried to read with my eyes closed, this thrilling space adventure keeps you turning pages until Lopside and friends are safe at last. Good dogs!
A story to melt the hearts of even non-animalloving readers! Life at home hasn’t been as bright since Louie’s big brother left to join the Army. But when a newborn mini donkey arrives, things change. Louie has always had a soft spot for small animals in need of help, but hasn’t always had the best of luck. He is determined to nurse Winslow back to health, despite the doubts of friends and family. Possessed with unwavering optimism, unfaltering faith in others, and a big
heart, Louie is an inspiration and example to all in this heartwarming story.
Merci Suárez knows there is no manual for navigating the changes that come with starting sixth grade. New teachers and classes are daunting, and who knows what it means when a boy says he “maybe likes” someone? In the past Merci always depended on her extended family for guidance, but this year her beloved
grandfather’s erratic behavior signals changes at home that leave Merci more confused than ever. This powerful coming-of-age story celebrating the strength of family rings true.
It’s 1946, and Langston and his father have just moved to Chicago from Alabama shortly after his mother died. The city moves quickly, his classmates bully him for being too country, and while he misses his mom, he also misses his grandma and the beauty and calm of the south. When he stumbles upon a library and discovers
that black residents are welcome, things begin looking up. He discovers the poetry of Langston Hughes and what he finds within those poems is unexpected and comforting. A beautifully written story of steadfastness and faith.