December New Releases

December is for holidays, hot chocolate, and a whole lot of great middle-grade books. So take a look and decide which ones you might want to put on your wish list!

 

Major Impossible (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #9) by Nathan Hale

This ninth book in the bestselling series tells the story of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed geologist who explored the Grand Canyon John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869 he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition, ten men in four boats, to float through Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history! Equal parts gruesome and hilarious, this latest installment in the bestselling series takes readers on an action-packed adventure through American history.

 

Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Patricia Brennan Demuth, illus. Jake Murray

You’ve probably seen her on T-shirts, mugs, and even tattoos, well, now that famous face graces the cover of our latest Who Is? title. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is famous for her stylish collars (called jabots) and her commanding dissents. This opera-loving New Yorker has always spoken her mind; as a young lawyer, RBG advocated for gender equality and women’s rights when few others did. She gained attention for the cases she won when arguing in front of the Supreme Court, before taking her place on the bench in 1993. Author Patricia Brennan Demuth answers all the questions about what makes RBG so notorious and irreplaceable.

 

Mac Cracks the Code (Mac B., Kid Spy) by Mac Barnett, illus. Mike Lowery

Mac B. and his arch-nemesis are facing off at the Video Game World Championships! But first, Mac B. needs to crack an unbreakable secret code. Can he solve it in time to defeat his enemy? Find out in this kid spy adventure from New York Times bestselling author, Mac Barnett! The Queen of England calls on Mac B. once again! This time, Mac must crack a secret code that has been recovered from a double agent. A series of clues leads Mac to France, and then to Japan, where he comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis, the KGB man . . . and the world headquarters of Nintendo! Is the KGB Man secretly behind all of this? And are Mac’s video game skills good enough to face down his enemy at the Video Game World Championships? With Mike Lowery’s signature illustrations on every page, historical facts woven throughout, and of course intrigue, history, hilarity and more, catch the latest in this totally smart, wholly original, side-splittingly funny series.

 

Night of Dangers (Adventurer’s Guild, Book 3) by Zack Loran Clark, illus. Nick Eliopulos

After falling victim to a vile betrayal, Zed is cut off from Brock and their friends and unable to warn them about a dangerous enemy on the move. The Adventurers Guild may have defeated the evil that cast the elves from their home, but that doesn’t keep them in the Freestoners’ good graces for long. An ordinary day at the market comes to a fatal end when a rare Danger infiltrates the city, leaving over a dozen dead. Tensions come to a boil as the city is threatened by upheaval from within and becomes alight with terror. Brock finds himself frustratingly unable to utilize his underground contacts . . . though the mysterious Lady Grey may not be finished with him yet. To come together to save their city from a timeless evil looking to settle a score, the young adventurers must learn to trust in each other again and be willing to do whatever it takes to stop the tragedy of the Day of Dangers from happening again.

 

Bad Kitty Joins the Team by Nick Bruel

See Kitty as you’ve never seen her before: EXERCISING (reluctantly) in Bad Kitty Joins the Team, the latest installment of Nick Bruel’s phenomenally successful New York Times bestselling series. Kitty is terribly out of shape―she can barely torment Puppy without needing a break to huff and puff! When Kitty’s owner catches her wheezing, Kitty is told it’s time to EXERCISE. It takes some serious convincing, a high-stakes competition, and a little bit of trickery but eventually Kitty gets into the competitive spirit . . . albeit reluctantly. What did you expect? Will our favorite feline friend learn what it means to be a good sport? Find out in this hilarious addition to the Bad Kitty series.

 

 

Don’t Tell the Nazis by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

The year is 1941. Krystia lives in a small Ukrainian village under the cruel—sometimes violent— occupation of the Soviets. So when the Nazis march into town to liberate them, many of Krystia’s neighbors welcome the troops with celebrations, hoping for a better life. But conditions don’t improve as expected. Krystia’s friend Dolik and the other Jewish people in town warn that their new occupiers may only bring darker days. The worst begins to happen when the Nazis blame the Jews for murders they didn’t commit. As the Nazis force Jews into a ghetto, Krystia does what she can to help Dolik and his family. But what they really need is a place to hide. Faced with unimaginable tyranny and cruelty, will Krystia risk everything to protect her friends and neighbors?

 

The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson, illus. Chloe Bristol

Danger, intrigue, and the power of family combine in The Winterhouse Mysteries, the fast-paced conclusion to Ben Guterson and Chloe Bristol’s illustrated, enchanting Winterhouse middle grade trilogy. It’s springtime at Winterhouse and Elizabeth is settling into the joyful chaos of her new home. But it isn’t long before she and Freddy are drawn into an ominous new mystery. Guests at the hotel start behaving oddly, and Elizabeth’s powers manifest in thrilling―sometimes frightening―new ways. As unnatural tremors shake the foundations of Winterhouse, Elizabeth hears cries for help from Gracella Winters, a villain she’d thought dead and gone for good. Elizabeth’s discovery of a rare book containing secrets of an ancient ritual leads to a tragic realization: someone at the hotel is trying to help Gracella rise again. Can Elizabeth and Freddy banish these threats and protect the future of Winterhouse once and for all?

 

Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson

From the author of Ice Dogs comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won’t hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen. McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness—a race she doesn’t know if she can even see to run. Winning would mean getting her disease—and her sister’s—national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights. A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness, Dog Driven is the story of one girl’s self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.

 

Sisterland by Salla Simukka, translator, Owen Frederick Witesman

Fall under the spell of this contemporary fairy tale that’s perfect for fans of Emily Winfield Martin’s Snow & Rose and the Chronicles of Narnia series. Alice thought it was unusual to see a dragonfly in the middle of winter. But she followed it until she fell down-down-down, and woke up in a world unlike any other. Welcome to Sisterland, a fantastical world where it is always summer. The most enchanting magic of all, though, is Alice’s new friend Marissa. But as the girls explore the strange land, they learn Sisterland’s endless summer comes at a price. Back on Earth, their homes are freezing over. To save their families, Alice and Marissa must outwit the powerful Queen Lili. But the deeper they go into Sisterland, the less Alice and Marissa remember about their homes, their lives before, and what they are fighting for. This is a wondrous tale about heroism, loyalty, and friendship from one of the most celebrated Finnish children’s authors.

 

What Were the Negro Leagues? by Varian Johnson, illus. Stephen Marchesi

This baseball league that was made up of African American players and run by African American owners ushered in the biggest change in the history of baseball. In America during the early twentieth century, no part was safe from segregation, not even the country’s national pastime, baseball. Despite their exodus from the Major Leagues because of the color of their skin, African American men still found a way to participate in the sport they loved. Author Varian Johnson shines a spotlight on the players, coaches, owners, and teams that dominated the Negro Leagues during the 1930s and 40s. Readers will learn about how phenomenal players like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and of course, Jackie Robinson greatly changed the sport of baseball.

 

The Love Pug: A Wish Novel by J.J. Howard

J.J. Howard, author of Pugs and Kisses and Pugs in a Blanket, delivers more puppy love and friendship mix-ups. Emma’s pug, Cupid, has a hidden talent: He is a master at matchmaking! Her pet seems to have a nose for spotting which two people belong together. With the big school dance coming up, Emma decides to use Cupid’s powers to find her best friend, Hallie, a date. But as Emma tries to navigate crushes and secrets, she finds that things are a lot more complicated than they seem. And what if Cupid also has a surprising match in mind . . . for Emma herself?

 

 

 

My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List by Joshua M. Greene and Rena Finder

Rena Finder was only eleven when the Nazis forced her and her family—along with all the other Jewish families—into the ghetto in Krakow, Poland. Rena worked as a slave laborer with scarcely any food and watched as friends and family were sent away. Then Rena and her mother ended up working for Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who employed Jewish prisoners in his factory and kept them fed and healthy. But Rena’s nightmares were not over. She and her mother were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz. With great cunning, it was Schindler who set out to help them escape. Here in her own words is Rena’s gripping story of survival, perseverance, tragedy, and hope. Including pictures from Rena’s personal collection and from the time period, this unforgettable memoir introduces young readers to an astounding and necessary piece of history.

 

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Dorian Cirrone
Dorian Cirrone's most recent middle-grade novel is the award-winning,THE FIRST LAST DAY. She has published several books for children and teens and is the Co-Regional Advisor of SCBWI-Florida. Visit her at www.doriancirrone.com