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June New Releases

It’s finally June, and I’m sure a lot of us are looking forward to some sunny days and some new books! Lucky for us writers, publishers, bookstores, and libraries have our backs. Check out the following June New Releases, including one from MUF’s own Jennifer Swanson. (Congratulations, Jennifer!!) Be sure to grab a couple new reads to ease you into summer.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgBeastly Bionics:  Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature by Jennifer Swanson

Discover how the natural world inspires innovation in science and technology to create the latest and greatest breakthroughs and discoveries in this exciting book.

Did you know that scientists have developed a bionic tool shaped like an elephant’s trunk that helps lift heavy objects? Or that the needle-like pointed beak of the kingfisher bird encouraged engineers in Japan to change the design of the Shinkansen “bullet trains” to reduce noise? Across multiple fields of study and methods of problem-solving, scientists are turning to biomimicry, or engineering inspired by biology or nature, to make all kinds of cool technological advancements. From robots that protect people and gather information to everyday inventions, like reflectors on the roads and ice-proof coatings for airplanes, to new sources of renewable energy, this book dives into the ways that nature can give us ideas on how to improve our world. Discover more than 40 examples of technology influenced by animals, learn about some of the incredible creatures who have inspired multiple creations, and meet some of the scientists and the stories behind their inventions.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgCurse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster

A fast-paced series starter perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and filled with adventure, mythology, and an unforgettable trio of friends.

On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.

Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.

The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin…the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.

With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAmerican as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar

An Indian American girl navigates prejudice in her small town and learns the power of her own voice in this brilliant gem of a middle grade novel full of humor and heart, perfect for fans of Front Desk and Amina’s Voice.

As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian.

When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha.

To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school.

When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton, David Mottram (Illustrator)

Ocean’s Eleven meets The Secret Life of Pets in this hilarious and delightfully illustrated novel following a ragtag group of pets who will do whatever it takes to avoid being sent to the pound.

Butterbean knew she wasn’t always a good dog. Still, she’d never considered herself a BAD dog—until the morning that her owner, Mrs. Food, fell in the hallway. Admittedly the tile was slipperier than usual, mostly because Butterbean had just thrown up on it.

Now Butterbean and her fellow pets have to come up with a grand plan to support themselves in case Mrs. Food is unable to keep taking care of them. When they discover a mysterious man in their building who seems to have lots of loot, they plan a heist. Oscar the mynah bird is the brains of the operation. Walt the cat has the necessary slyness and slink. Marco and Polo are the reconnaissance rats. And Butterbean…well, no one would ever suspect a cute little wiener dog, right? Can these animal friends can pull off the heist of the century?

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgOn These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez

Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother’s disappearance in this magical #ownvoices middle grade story that pairs perfectly with Peter Pan.Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school–like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva’s mom doesn’t come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mam snapped up by immigration enforcement? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can’t let anyone know Mam has disappeared. They’ll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back.

Minerva’s plan to go it alone falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva’s audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping Minerva find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she’ll be prepared to face life’s challenges–with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre

Twelve-year-old Zoey navigates the tricky waters of friendship while looking for a way to save her grandfather’s struggling business in this heartwarming, coming-of-age debut novel perfect for fans of Kristi Wientge, Donna Gephart, and Meg Medina.

Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From start-up companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.

So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother, José, will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!

After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare. Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgICK! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses by Melissa Stewart

Animals–they’re cute and fluffy, cuddly and puffy, and … sometimes downright disgusting. Get ready to be totally grossed out as you discover the incredibly icky ways animals eat, make their homes, and defend themselves.

From award-winning author Melissa Stewart comes the grossest journey through the animal world you’ll ever take. From ants to zebras, get ready to discover some seriously strange animal behaviors. Slurp up soupy insides with houseflies, spit sticky saliva to build nests with birds, and fend off predators with poop-flinging caterpillars and farting snakes. And that’s just the tip of the dung pile! These yucky habits may seem surprising to us, but they’re totally normal for these animals. In fact, their survival depends on them.

Snappy text, incredible photography, and more cool features add to the learning fun. Ready to chew some fingernails with cockroaches? Dive into the disgusting world of animals!

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWarrior Dog The True Story of a Navy SEAL and His Fearless Canine Partner by Joe Layden, Will Chesney

Two dozen Navy SEALs descended on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011. After the mission, only one name was made public: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois and military working dog. Warrior Dog is the story of Cairo and his handler, Will Chesney, a member of SEAL Team Six whose life would be irrevocably tied to Cairo’s, specially adapted for young readers from Chesney and Joe Layden’s No Ordinary Dog.

Starting in 2008, when Will was introduced to the canine program, he and Cairo worked side by side, depending on each other for survival on hundreds of critical operations in the war on terrorism. But their bond went beyond their military service.

As Cairo aged and went on fewer missions, Will moved on to other assignments, forced to slowly—and painfully—distance himself from the dog. Then, in 2011, the call came: Pick up your dog and get back to Virginia. Now.

Cairo and Will trained for weeks for a secret mission, but it soon became clear that this was no ordinary operation. Cairo was among the first members of the U.S. military on the ground in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the successful elimination of bin Laden.

As Cairo settled into a role as a reliable “spare dog,” Will went back to his job—until a grenade blast in 2013 left him severely injured. Unable to participate in further missions, he tried to recover, medicine provided only modest relief. Instead, it was up to Cairo to save Will’s life once more—and then up to Will to be there when Cairo needed him the most.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgCon Quest! by Sam Maggs

The debut novel from bestselling author Sam Maggs, Con Quest! is a comics convention adventure for young readers about fandom, family, and finding your place in the world!

Cat and Alex are excited to be at the world’s most popular comics convention—and they’re even more excited to compete in the Quest, a huge scavenger hunt run by their favorite nerdy celebrity. The big prize: a chance to meet him!

The twins ditch their older sister Fi and set off to find geeky clues, tackle nerdy challenges, and cross as many items as possible off their Quest list, which includes volunteering at an Artist Alley booth, gathering cosplayers in enough colors to make a double rainbow, and actually finding something healthy to eat in the convention center!

Can the twins work together even when they disagree on how to compete? Will Fi find the Cat and Alex before their parents realize they’re missing? Most importantly, can these ultimate fans complete the ultimate Quest?

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgA Dog-Friendly Town by Josephine Cameron

Josephine Cameron’s A Dog-Friendly Town is a delightful middle-grade cozy caper sure to excite dog-lovers and gentle mystery readers alike!

Twelve-year-old Epic McDade isn’t ready for middle school. He’d rather help out at his family’s dog-friendly bed n’ breakfast all summer, or return to his alternative elementary school in the fall, where learning feels safe. But change comes in all shapes and fur colors. When Carmelito, California is named America’s #1 Dog-Friendly Town, all the top dogs and their owners pour into Epic’s sleepy seaside neighborhood for a week of celebration.

The McDades are in dog heaven with all the new business until a famous dog’s jewel-encrusted collar goes missing. Every guest is a suspect, and Epic will have to embrace new friends and new ideas to sniff out the culprit before the week is through.

 

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Brave by James Bird

Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother.

Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

 

What do you think? What grabs your eye? Let us know in the comments below. Happy reading!

AGENT SPOTLIGHT: Tina Dubois of ICM Partners

Hello Mixed-Up Filers! Are we in for a treat today! Years ago, I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with Tina Dubois, literary agent with ICM Partners. Besides running a great workshop, she couldn’t have been nicer! So, I’m pleased to let all of you get a chance to meet her here at Mixed-Up Files.

JR: Hi Tina, thanks for joining us today!

TD: Thanks so much for having me and for your kind introduction! I’m glad our paths continue to cross.

JR: To start, I see you live in Brooklyn. I’m a Brooklyn boy, myself. Sheepshead Bay/Gravesend area. What is it about the city that appeals to you?

TD: The energy, the pace, the people!

JR: I agree with that. You also lived in London, one of my favorite places. How has living in different areas helped influence your tastes?

TD: I want my list to reflect a far greater swath of experiences and points of view than my own. Moving from a small town in New England to study in London surely helped shape that.

JR: Could you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an agent and also about ICM?

TD: Shortly after receiving my MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, I got a job as an assistant to two amazing agents at a boutique literary agency. They taught me every aspect of the business, from pitch letters to contract language to foreign rights. I moved to ICM a few years later and began building my own list under the mentorship of another amazing woman.

ICM Partners is one of the oldest and largest agencies in the world, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and London. I’m very fortunate to work with such incredible colleagues representing the most talented people across so many disciplines: music, comedy, theater, broadcasting, television, film, podcasting, speakers, publishing, you name it!

JR: What was the first book you sold?

TD: Anne Ursu’s middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Cronus Chronicles. It set a high bar, and I’m so grateful to Anne for trusting me with those books—with all of her children’s books!

JR: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

TD: I love working with my authors. They are so talented: creative and smart and funny. And hardworking!

 

JR: What sort of books do you look for?

TD: I’m looking for middle-grade and YA fiction across all genres. I’m also interested in middle-grade and YA nonfiction, specifically memoir (including graphic memoirs), history/biography, pop culture, and social issues. I want diverse voices/#ownvoices. I want books with something important to say about the world we live in and that challenge the status quo. I have a soft spot for unpredictable magic and characters facing impossible choices. I love books that make me laugh and cry in equal measure.

JR: Are you very hands-on with your authors?

TD: Yes. I like to be involved with every aspect of the publishing process. It’s really a collaboration with my authors—from the submission strategy to the editorial vision to the cover design to the marketing and publicity plan. The focus is always on creating the best book, considering the market it’s being published into, and anticipating how the author’s career is being shaped with each book being published. I’m also an editorial agent, so it’s not unusual for me to do a round (or two) of edits before going out with a project.

JR: With everything that’s going on, what’s the state of publishing right now?

TD: My answer to this question changes moment to moment. There are terrible, impossible losses—book sales, jobs, lives. There are also heartwarming acts of generosity and kindness—established authors using their robust platforms to support debuts; booksellers and libraries serving their communities with remote events. None of these things erase the very real hardships facing us right now, and I can’t pretend to know what’s to come. But I am grateful for the publishing people who are working hard to give us stories to help make sense of our world–and real facts for when certain voices in that world speak nonsense.

JR: What advice can you give to authors?

TD: Write from your most empathic, beautiful self, pursue whatever fascinates and scares you, and read widely.

 

JR: That’s great advice. I always like to ask, what was your favorite book as a child?

TD: I don’t know that I had a favorite—or rather, my favorite was always whatever book I was currently reading—but I know Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson resonated deeply with me.

 

JR: What’s one thing from your childhood that you wish could come back?

TD: The raucous family gatherings we used to have when my mémère was alive. All the aunts and uncles and cousins still get together, but it’s not the same without my mémère’s cooking and her smile. She was full of mischief, and she loved us grandkids. My sons would’ve adored her.

JR: Very sweet. One of my grandmothers never got to meet my kids and I always wish she had. How can people follow you on social media?

TD: @tinaduboisny

JR: Okay, before I let you go, a few months ago, you posted a photo of you holding a duck, and made it seem like it’s a ritual. I need to hear the story behind that.

TD: Oh, jeez, how do I explain this? Several years ago when I was home for the holidays, my oldest childhood friend took a photo of me with one of her chickens perched on my head. The following year, it was two chickens. Then three. Then four. This past year, she added ducks to the mix. Every year I insist it’ll be the last (because claws and beaks and dignity), but you will not find two people laughing harder, and so the tradition continues.

JR: It did look like you were having a lot of fun, but I suggest you quit before it reaches vultures! I’d like to thank you again for taking the time to speak to us today!

TD: Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure getting to chat books–and birds!—with you, Jonathan.