It’s November – and the short days and cold weather make it the perfect month for curling up with a good book. There’s a lot of new middle grade to choose from this month, including a fun new read by From The Mixed Up Files’ own Michelle Weber Hurwitz. So make a cup of something warm and get ready to lose yourself in several great new books.
Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark by Michele Weber Hurwitz
Ethan and Erin Marcus may only be eleven months apart age-wise, but they are a million miles apart in every other respect. Ethan’s laid back and takes things in stride. Erin’s a little more…intense and doesn’t really like to go with the flow. So when these two polar opposites are invited to attend a prestigious invention/maker camp during winter break it seems almost impossible.
Even though Erin and Ethan have reached a kind of truce, Erin thinks that his invitation to the camp was a mistake. And for that reason, Ethan decides to go. He has something to prove to everyone—but mostly to himself—and he’s convinced that his desk-evator idea has great potential…if he can do it right right.
But he’s going to have to do it on his own. His buddy Brian isn’t coming, neither is Erin’s partner Zoe, so the Marcus siblings are going to have to find new partners. This is especially important to Erin whose rival, Romanov, is also attending the camp. Erin’s never forgiven him for his comment about “girls” having no place in science. She’s determined to beat him.
But then she overhears someone talking about Romanov’s project, and decides that she’ll never be able to compete with his game-changing invention. So, what now? It’s Brian who provides the solution: Why don’t the Marcus siblings combine their ideas, their brains, and their teams, and make something spectacular?
With only one day left, can Erin and Ethan actually create a workable model of their idea, and is it enough to win?
The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burges
“Will satisfy readers who hunger for feel-good tales that pack a girl-power punch, like Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted or the movie Moana.” —School Library Journal on The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart
Silke has always been good at spinning the truth and storytelling. So good that, just years after arriving in the kingdom as a penniless orphan, she has found her way to working for the most splendid chocolate makers in the city as a master promoter. Although Silke loves her work at the Chocolate Heart, she’s certain it’s not going to last, and what Silke wants more than anything is somewhere to call home–somewhere safe. But when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner.
Then Silke gets the opportunity she’s been waiting for: the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family during their first visit to the kingdom. In return, Silke will have the home she’s always wanted in the secure palace. But Silke has her own dark, secret reasons for not trusting fairies . . . and her mission isn’t as simple as she hoped. Soon, she discovers that her city is in danger–and that maybe it’s more her home than she ever realized.
Can Silke find out the truth about the fairies while keeping her own secrets hidden?
The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow
Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen people in the Prophet’s compound, but when music is outlawed, Gentry and her older brother, Tanner, sneak out of the community. When they return, all bets are off as the Prophet exercises his control.
Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God’s chosen, apart from the outside world and its “evils.”
On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave.
Determined to play, Gentry and Tanner sneak out. But once they return, the Prophet exercises control from prison, and it has devastating consequences for Gentry and her family. Soon, everything Gentry has known is turned upside down. She begins to question the Prophet’s teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put Gentry’s family in danger. Can Gentry find a way to protect herself and her family from the Prophet and escape the only life she’s ever known?
This realistic, powerful story of family, bravery, and following your dreams is a can’t-miss debut novel from Melanie Sumrow.
Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.
But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.
North to Benjamin by Alan Cumyn
Hatchet meets Maybe a Fox in this piercing novel about Edgar, a boy who has lost the ability to speak and can only bark, and his dog Benjamin as they travel through the freezing Yukon wilderness in order to stop Edgar’s mother from making a huge mistake.
Eleven-year-old Edgar knows whenever his mother gets “the look” they won’t be staying wherever they are for much longer. Soon it will be another town, another school, and, for Mom, another man. This time they’re leaving Toronto—and Roger—behind for the wilds of northwestern Canada.
For once, though, Edgar is excited. They’ll be housesitting, and with the house comes Benjamin, an old Newfoundland for Edgar to take care of. Soon after landing in Dawson, Edgar and his mom meet Caroline, a girl Edgar’s age, and her dad, Ceese. The moment his mom and Ceese meet, Edgar knows She’s going to make him the next Roger; the next man his mom will leave. It doesn’t matter that Ceese has a longtime girlfriend, or that Edgar and Caroline are becoming friends—his mom always gets what she wants.
Edgar talks to Benjamin about his concerns, and to Edgar’s great surprise, Benjamin not only understands, but wordlessly answers. Just as surprising, Edgar loses his ability to speak to anyone but Benjamin; whenever he tries to talk to a human, his voice becomes a bark. But his mom and Ceese begin to take things too far, and Edgar needs his voice, his human voice, more than ever. Desperate to stop his mother from ruining other people’s lives and upturning their own once again, Edgar embarks on a dangerous journey across the frozen Yukon River with only Benjamin by his side.
But the wilderness is not kind. Edgar and Benjamin find themselves in a situation right out of Edgar’s favorite Jack London story. With cracking ice, freezing water, bone-chilling temperatures, and looming, lurking wolves, Edgar must find a way to survive before he can stop his mother from wrecking everything.
More Than a Princess by E.D. Baker
One day, as Aislin is venturing through the woods, she is alarmed to hear a band of humans coming through. How did they get past the guarded magical passageway that leads to her hidden kingdom? Mistaken for a human herself, Aislin is captured, and soon realizes she’s in even bigger trouble–she’s being used as a pawn to help the king of this nearby kingdom, Morrain, find a secret passageway to the warring land of Scarmander, so he can capture his enemies by surprise. Aislin must find a way to break free, while also minding the beautiful human princess and ladies-in-waiting she now shares a castle with, who are all too ready to point out her differences. Thankfully, Aislin’s inner strength goes beyond her magical qualities. And with a few loyal friends by her side, she’s ready to stand up for herself and her kingdom once and for all.
A classic and original fairy-tale that celebrates beauty and goodness in all its shapes and sizes, More than a Princess will resonate with readers who love magic, suspense, girl power, and adventure.
Survivor Diaries: Dust Storm! by Terry Lynn Johnson
In this thrilling addition to the high-stakes Survivor Diaries series perfect for fans of the I Survived series and Hatchet, a geocaching field trip goes awry when two tweens wander off into the desert of New Mexico.
Stay calm. Stay smart. Survive.
Stranded after a dust storm hits in a desert in New Mexico, sixth-graders Jen and Martin must call upon real-life skills to come to the rescue. When disaster strikes, they will have to use all their knowledge and grit to survive.
With nearly twenty years of hands-on experience and training in remote areas, survivalist Terry Lynn Johnson (Ice Dogs; Sled Dog School) tells a fast-paced story featuring the real skills to prepare kids for surviving a disaster. After reading this book, you’ll be better prepared for surviving a real-life disaster. Includes wilderness-survival tips from the New Mexico Search and Rescue Council.
The Camelot Code: The Once and Future Geek by Marci Mancusi
When young Arthur of Camelot accidentally time-travels to the 21st century and Googles himself, he discovers the not-so-happily ever after in store for him once he pulls the sword from the stone. Yes, he’ll go from squire to sovereign basically overnight, but he’ll also lose the love of his life to his best friend and eventually die in battle. What’s a once-and-future king to do? Easy: stay in the future, where he’ll actually have a future-and join the football team instead.
Now, with the help of the great wizard Merlin, modern-day gamer-geeks Sophie and Stu find themselves in a race against time to get that sword pulled from the stone and the stubborn soon-to-be-king Arthur back to the past where he belongs. Complicating the plan? Lady Morgana-Arthur’s sister and greatest enemy-has traveled to the future as well, determined to take Arthur out and seize the throne. Can Sophie and Stu use their gaming abilities to defeat the evil Morgana and set the timeline right? With the very existence of their friendship, their families, and the world as they know it (including pepperoni pizza!) at stake, they’ll use every skill, power-up, and cheat code they know in their quest to save the day.
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
From the acclaimed author of The Nest, The Boundless, and Airborn comes a brilliantly funny, breakout book about a boy who discovers an ink blot that’s come to life! Perfect for those who love Hoot and Frindle and sure to be a hit with kids everywhere!
The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school–even though he can’t draw. Sarah’s still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom. So much more than they can say.
Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together–and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.
Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple chapters of his math book–not good–and the story he’s supposed to be illustrating for school–also not good. But Inkling’s also started drawing the pictures to go with the story–which is amazing! It’s just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too–for Sarah he’s a puppy. And for Dad he’s a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It’s exactly what they all want.
It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they–and Inkling–truly need.
Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashiti Harrison
From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History comes the highly anticipated follow-up, a beautifully illustrated collectible detailing the lives of women creators around the world.
Featuring the true stories of 40 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Visionary Women Around the World inspires as it educates. Readers will meet trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, actor/inventor Hedy Lamar, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, architect Zaha Hadid, filmmaker Maya Deren, and physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Some names are known, some are not, but all of the women had a lasting effect on the fields they worked in.
The charming, information-filled full-color spreads show the Leaders as both accessible and aspirational so reader knows they, too, can grow up to do something amazing.
No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica
Wes’ father always told him that there was only one ball in basketball. That you had to know when to take it yourself and when to give it up, that finding the right balance was key. So at every practice and game, Wes tries his best to be a good basketball player and, above all, a good teammate.
As the season kicks off, Wes finds that not everyone on his team has the same idea. All-star player and the Hawks’ point guard, Danilo “Dinero” Rey seems determined to hold the spotlight and the ball, even if it means costing his team the game. If Wes is to lead the Hawks to the playoffs, he’ll need to find new ways to dish out an assist–even if it means his most important one comes off the court.
The Real McCoys: Two’s a Crowd by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
When a baffling mystery strikes Tiddlywhump Elementary, sibling detectives and absolute opposites Moxie and Milton McCoy are on the case. She’s the doer. He’s the thinker. She’s the heart. He’s her heartburn.
Moxie’s friend Emily has received a suspicious letter signed with nothing but a sinister purple squiggle. Then more letters arrive—along with more questions. Who sent them? What do they mean? Is the world on the brink of collapse?
Milton and Moxie are the perfect problem-solving team…if only they could get along.When their partnership falls apart, Moxie races to identify the mysterious Squiggler first—while learning the hard way that two McCoys really are better than one.
With energetic illustrations on every page, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr’s Two’s a Crowd is a vivaciously funny and irresistibly heartfelt mystery for young readers.
Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot (The Unicorn Rescue Society #3) by Adam Gidwitz, Joseph Bruchac and Hatem Aly
All Elliot wants is a nice, normal day at school. All Uchenna wants is an adventure. Guess whose wish comes true?
Professor Fauna whisks the kids—and Jersey, of course—off to the Muckleshoot territory in Washington, where film crews have suddenly descended en masse to expose Bigfoot to the world, and the Schmoke logging company is bringing in some awfully large machinery.
Can the Unicorn Rescue Society escape the blades of the Schmokes’ chain saws? Outsmart a cable news team? And are those big, hairy creatures running through the forest really Bigfoot?
Are You Ready to Hatch An Unusual Chicken? by Kelly Jones
Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown is finally settling into her new home and her new role as keeper of some highly unusual chickens–chickens with secret superpowers!
But the arrival of two new magical chickens for her flock and some unusual eggs to be incubated and hatched (what will their superpowers be?), plus an impending inspection from the Unusual Poultry Committee (who even knew this existed?) has Sophie feeling pretty stressed out. Her older cousin, Lupe, is coming to stay with her family, which is great–but will Lupe like chickens too? And on top of it all, Sophie’s first day at her new school is rapidly approaching!
In this wildly funny and quirky novel told in letters and lists and quizzes, Sophie learns that even an exceptional poultry farmer can use some help.
Shelby’s Story: A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron
Shelby doesn’t remember much of her early life—only that she was always hungry and cold. Then one day, Shelby is rescued by a kind woman, and things change forever. She soon finds herself on a movie set, and her new life is filled with challenges and rewards. She learns things like to Go Mark, Cut, and Dig. Her rewards include squeaky toys, yummy chicken, and best of all, love and affection from castmates and crew. Everyone loves Shelby! And so will young readers and movie fans.
Shelby’s Story includes charming illustrations by Richard Cowdrey as well as a reading and activity guide at the end of the book.
These all look so good, I’m not sure which one I want to start reading first. What about you?