New releases for perfect Valentine’s gifts for children!

Here are some great ideas for Valentine’s gifts for middle-grade children. Hot off the press and ready for the special readers in your life!

The first two were actually released in January, and since ghost-written by one of our contributing members, we wanted to highlight them!

Taking Chances by Kelsey Abrams, illustrated by Jomike Tejido, (Jolly Fish Press)

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Grace has always rushed headlong into things often landing her in trouble. Her elderly neighbor (and close friend), Miz Ida, reminds her to think before she acts. Grace tries to be thoughtful and responsible when helping with Miz Ida s prize-winning cat, Chances, but it isn’t easy. Can Grace slow down enough to keep the people (and animals) she cares for safe? Or are there times when taking chances can be a good thing? At Second Chance Ranch, the Ramirez family cares and works to find homes for all kinds of animals on their 200-acre ranch in Texas. Sisters Natalie (12), Abby (10), and twins Emily and Grace (9) all do their part to help out and give each animal the second chance it deserves.

Wild Midnight by Kelsey Abrams, illustrated by Jomike Tejido

(Jolly Fish Press)

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Emily has her heart set on rescuing a wild mustang, but her family gets outbid at an auction. Instead she settles for helping a nearby ranch muck out stalls where some of the mustangs now reside. She quickly earns a reputation as a horse whisperer for her ability to calm Midnight, a horse that others cannot control. But even Emily cant help when a tornado blows through the area and Midnight gets loose. Or can she? At Second Chance Ranch, the Ramirez family cares and works to find homes for all kinds of animals on their 200-acre ranch in Texas. Sisters Natalie (12), Abby (10), and twins Emily and Grace (9) all do their part to help out and give each animal the second chance it deserves.

Lucy’s Lab: The Colossal Fossil Fiasco by Michelle Houts, illustrated by Elizebeth Zechel, (Sky Pony Press)

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In this third book in the series, Lucy accidentally overhears her parents talking about the family getting a second pet. But what pet should they get?

At school, Lucy’s class is learning about fossils and the plants and animals that left them behind.

One afternoon, Lucy finds a special rock, and Miss Flippo gets very excited! But when Lucy’s precious fossil goes missing, everyone in Room 2C is a suspect. . . .

My Hero Academia, by Kohei Horikoshi, (Viz Media)

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Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888, by Lauren Tarshis, (Scholastic)

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Eleven-year-old John Hale has already survived one brutal Dakota winter, and now he’s about to experience one of the deadliest blizzards in American history. The storm of 1888 was a monster, a frozen hurricane that slammed into America’s midwest without warning. Within hours, America’s prairie would be buried under ten feet of snow. Hundreds would be dead, thousands terrified and lost and freezing.

John never wanted to move to the wide-open prairie. He’s a city kid, not a tough pioneer! But his inner strength is seriously tested when he finds himself trapped in the blinding snow, the wind like a giant crushing hammer, pounding him over and over again. Will John ever find his way home?

Bravelands #2 Code of Honor, by Erin Hunter, (HarperCollins)

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Set in the African savannah and told from three different animals’ points of view, Bravelands will thrill readers who love Spirit Animals and Wings of Fire, as well as the legion of dedicated fans who’ve made Erin Hunter a bestselling phenomenon.

A baboon who has uncovered an act of treachery.

An elephant uncertain of her fate.

A lion poised to strike.

The code of the wild has been broken. The elephant leader known as Great Mother has been murdered. And Bravelands is on the edge of chaos. Now a young baboon, elephant, and lion must come together to discover the truth—before the fragile balance of Bravelands is destroyed forever.

Dragon Bones (The Unwanted Quests) by Lisa McMann, (Aladdin)

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Ten years after Alex and Aaron Stowe brought peace to Quill and Artimé, their younger twin sisters journey beyond Artimé in the second novel in the New York Times bestselling sequel series to The Unwanteds, which Kirkus Reviews called “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.”

The Artiméans have suffered some devastating blows.

After years of peace, the recent daring adventure of twins Thisbe and Fifer Stowe have brought about dire consequences. Thisbe has been captured, Fifer is injured, and Sky is lost at sea. The twins’ older brother Alex, head mage of Artimé, is paralyzed with fear of losing anyone else he loves. Fifer must convince him to finally trust her to help in the battle ahead now that their true enemy has been revealed.

Meanwhile Thisbe is trapped underground in the catacombs, where the ancient dragon rulers are buried. Along with fellow prisoners, Thisbe’s job is to transport dragon bones from her crypt to the extracting room, where others extract the magical properties dormant in the bones. When it appears no one is coming back to rescue her, Thisbe must train in secret, trying to learn how to control her fiery magic and use it to escape. As her situation becomes more grave, she might even have to align herself with the ultimate evil.

Unfortunately it’s a risk she has to take.

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August, (Roaring Book Press)
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Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is the first book in a spellbinding fantasy adventure series by screenwriter John August.

Some trails lead to magic. Some lead to danger.

As Arlo looked around, the walls of his room began to vanish, revealing a moonlit forest. Only his bed remained, and the frame of his window, through which he saw the girl. The world on her side of the glass was sparkling with silver and gold, like a palace made of autumn leaves. 
She looked off to her right. Someone was coming. Her words came in an urgent whisper: “If I can see you, they can see you . . . Be careful, Arlo Finch.

Arlo Finch is a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Colorado, a tiny town of mystery and magic, but he’s already attracted the attention of dark and ancient forces. At first he thinks these increasingly strange and frightening occurrences are just part of being in Rangers, the mountain scouting troop where he learns how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods.

But he soon Arlo finds himself at the center of a dangerous adventure, where he faces obstacles that test the foundations of the Ranger’s Vow: Loyalty, Bravery, Kindness, and Truth.

Julie K. Rubini
Julie K. Rubini is the author of the upcoming MG biography, Eye to Eye: Sports Journalist Christine Brennan. She has also written Virginia Hamilton: America's Storyteller, which is included in the Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books, 2018. Her other works include Missing Millie Benson: The Secret Case of the Nancy Drew Ghostwriter and Hidden Ohio. She is also the Founder of Claire's Day, Ohio's largest children's book festival.
www.julierubini.com and www.clairesday.org
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