January’s New Releases


Happy 2019! It’s the beginning of a new year and hopefully many new and wonderful middle grade books to read! Here are some top releases for this month, including two in the Second Chance Ranch series by From the Mixed Files’ very own Laurie J. Edwards (pen name Kelsey Abrams). Start the new year right . . . with one of these new middle grade reads.

Llama Drama by Kelsey Abrams, illus. by Jomike Tejido

Life at Second Chance Ranch becomes hectic after Grace offers to take in animals from a petting zoo. Even though her impulsiveness earns her the responsibility of taking care of the big Berkshire pig, Daisy, she is happy that the llama, Harry, is also under her care . . . that is, until she discovers his ill temper. Still, she decides to train Harry as part of her science project. But spitting llamas don’t care if a hypothesis is proven or not. Can Grace pull off the best science project ever? 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.

 

Buddy Blues by Kelsey Abrams, illus. by Jomike Tejido

When Buddy, the class rabbit, goes missing, Emily is distraught. It was her responsibility to take care of Buddy over spring break, and now he is gone. The angry glares from her classmates don’t help her blues either. The only bright spot is her new friend Oliver. But as Emily’s friendship with Oliver blossoms, the possibility of finding Buddy withers away. Can Emily recover from the loss of Buddy? 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.

 

Two new books will come out this month by Jenni L. Walsh in the She Dared series. They are:

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai always knew she wanted to become a doctor someday. But a new extremist group in her home country of Pakistan wanted to stop girls from going to school. Malala knew what was important, and so she spoke out. Even after she was attacked on a bus for her views, she persisted. Learn about Malala’s incredible recovery and her journey to becoming a world-famous advocate of girls’ rights and education — and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner.

 

Bethany Hamilton

Growing up in Hawaii, Bethany Hamilton loved to surf. But one day, she was in her favorite place, out on the waves, when a tiger shark suddenly attacked. Thirteen-year-old Bethany lost her left arm. As she fought to recover, Bethany wondered: Would she ever surf again? Follow Bethany as she got back on her board and fearlessly chased her surfing dreams. With the strength of her family and faith behind her, Bethany knew she could become not only a professional athlete, but a champion and a role model.

 

 

Lizzy Legend by Matthew Ross Smith

A basketball-loving girl makes a wish to never miss a basket in this charming middle grade novel that pushes girl power to the max! Lizzy Trudeaux loves basketball. She doesn’t have much by way of money, but she has access to the community court, a worn ball named Ginger, and she practices constantly. After fighting to join the boy’s team at her school, Lizzy is finally given the opportunity to show off her hard-earned skills. When she answers what she believes is another bill collecting phone call, Lizzy receives a magical wish: the ability to sink every shot. Pure Swish. Now eviscerating the competition in the boy’s league is small potatoes—she has the skills to dominate in the NBA. With the help of her BFF Toby and some viral video action, Lizzy goes all the way to the Philadelphia Bells’ starting lineup, making history and taking names. Then, just as she’s about to go face to face with her hero, the best player on the planet, things begin to fall apart. But Lizzy isn’t a quitter and she’ll play her hardest for the love of the game.


Meena Meets Her Match by Larla Manternach, illus. by Rayner Alencar

Graduates of the Ramona Quimby series will adore Meena Zee as she navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and personal secrets in this charming middle grade debut. Meena’s life is full of color. She wears vibrant clothes, eats every shade of the rainbow, and plucks eye-catching trash from the neighborhood recycling bins. But when Meena’s best friend, Sofía, stops playing with her at recess and she experiences an unexpected and scary incident at breakfast, nothing can fight off the gray. That’s when Meena comes up with a plan to create the BEST and most COLORFUL Valentine’s Day Box in the class. With the help of her cousin, Eli, and her stuffed zebra, Raymond, Meena discovers that the best way to break through the blah is to let her true colors shine.

 

Ultraball #1 by Jeff Chen

Enter the exhilarating game of Ultraball—fly over pass rushers and explode into slingshot zones—through Jeff Chen’s dazzling future world on the moon. Here Ultraball is life, and survival is all that matters. Perfect for sci-fi and sports fans alike. Strike Sazaki loves defying gravity on the moon in his Ultrabot suit. He’s the best quarterback in the league, but while Strike’s led the Taiko Miners to the Ultrabowl three years in a row, each one has ended in defeat. This year, Strike thinks he’s finally found the missing piece to his championship quest: a mysterious girl who could be his new star rocketback. But Boom comes from the Dark Siders, a mass of people who left the United Moon Colonies to live in exile. And not all his teammates are happy sharing a field with her. When rumors surface of a traitor on the Miners, Strike isn’t sure who he can trust. If Strike can’t get his teammates to cooperate and play together, they’ll lose more than just the Ultrabowl. The stake of the colony’s future is on his shoulders.

 

I have three books coming out in the Cutting-Edge Space Exploration series: Breakthroughs in Mars Exploration, Breakthroughs in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, and Breakthroughs in Planet and Comet Research. All three books explore the latest technology involved with space exploration and the breakthroughs scientists are discovering using them, like: Saturn’s sixty-plus moons are covered with icy methane oceans, the resources on Mars astronauts could use to live there, and technology that searches for signs of life on exoplanets.

 

 

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

This space opera is about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination

 

 

 

Karen Latchana Kenney
Karen Latchana Kenney writes books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Born in Guyana, she moved to Minnesota at a young age and began writing in third grade. Now she's a full-time children's writer who lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son. Visit her online at http://latchanakenney.wordpress.com.