Book Lists

Juvenile Edgar Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America have announced nominees for The Edgar Allan Poe Awards 2018, which honors the best mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film and theater published or produced in 2017. This year’s nominees for Best Juvenile Mystery include:

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson. (Scholastic Press)

Audacity Jones and her best friend, Bimmy, are setting off from Miss Maisie’s School for Wayward Girls on an extraordinary adventure! In the glittering city of New York, the girls meet Harry Houdini, the world’s most famous magician, as he prepares a new spectacle: Houdini plans to make an elephant disappear from a crowded theater.

But Audacity and Bimmy discover a nefarious plot that puts Houdini’s illusion in jeopardy. Who could be trying to sabotage the master magician? Audie will need all her smarts, the help of friends new and old, and even her best juggling skills to solve this mystery. Will she manage to save the show in time?

Vanished! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)

Florian Bates—the only kid on the FBI Director’s speed dial and several international criminals’ most wanted lists—must uncover the truth behind a series of middle school pranks that may or may not involve the daughter of the President of the United States in this hilarious second novel in the T.O.A.S.T. Mystery series.

Middle school is hard. Solving cases for the FBI is even harder. Doing both at the same time—well that’s just crazy. But that doesn’t stop Florian Bates!

After helping the FBI solve an art theft at the National Gallery and uncovering a DC spy ring, Florian’s finding life at Alice Deal Middle School a little boring. But that’s all about to change! His FBI handler, Marcus, has a job for him! Is it a bank robbery? Counterfeit ring? International espionage? Actually it’s middle school pranks…

The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)

Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this third novel of the award-winning Blackthorn Key series.

Wherever Christopher Rowe goes, adventure—and murder—follows. Even a chance to meet King Charles ends in a brush with an assassin.

All that’s recovered from the killer is a coded message with an ominous sign-off: more attempts are coming. So when Christopher’s code-breaking discovers the attack’s true target, he and his friends are ordered to Paris to investigate a centuries-old curse on the French throne. And when they learn an ancient treasure is promised to any assassin who succeeds, they realize the entire royal family is at stake—as well as their own lives.

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens (Simon & Schuster – BFYR)

A murdered heiress, a missing necklace, and a train full of shifty, unusual, and suspicious characters leaves Daisy and Hazel with a new mystery to solve in this third novel of the Wells & Wong Mystery series.

Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are taking a vacation across Europe on world-famous passenger train, the Orient Express—and it’s clear that each of their fellow first-class travelers has something to hide. Even more intriguing: There’s rumor of a spy in their midst.

Then, during dinner, a bloodcurdling scream comes from inside one of the cabins. When the door is broken down, a passenger is found murdered—her stunning ruby necklace gone. But the killer has vanished, as if into thin air.

Newsprints by Ru Xu (Scholastic – Graphix)

Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There’s a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. And what’s printed in the newspapers now matters more than ever.

But Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out that she’s a girl, she’ll lose everything and everyone she cares about. And when she meets and befriends Crow, a boy who is also not what he seems, together they seek the freedom to be their true selves… and to save each other.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Which one do YOU think will win?

Visit to see nominees in other categories, including Young Adult.

The winners in these, and all the other categories, will be announced at a formal banquet on April 26, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City and at

Fun President’s Day reads

Happy President’s Day! Here are some of my favorite reads that allow middle graders to learn secrets, little-known facts, and fun trivia about our presidents.

Presidential Pets: The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House, by Julia Moberg. Inside this entertaining book, readers will find out that John Quincy Adams kept an alligator in the bathtub and Andrew Jackson had a parrot with quite the potty mouth. There are forty-three anecdotes about the pets presidents kept, and the book is written in rhyming prose, with hilarious accompanying illustrations.

Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents, by David Stabler. Funny, offbeat biographies and colorful illustrations show how George Washington, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and others faced problems and overcame hurdles when they were kids. John F. Kennedy, for example, didn’t like his big brother and got some pretty bad report cards. Lyndon Johnson was the class prankster. Bill Clinton was clumsy — he broke his leg while jumping rope — and Barack Obama was bothered by bullies.  The writing style is lighthearted and easy to read. “Just like history class,” says author Tim Federle, “only hilarious.”

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, by Barack Obama, is a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From Georgia O’Keeffe to George Washington to Albert Einstein, the descriptions of their contributions to the world in comparison to a child’s budding imagination, intelligence, and creativity are tender, beautiful and inspiring.



Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna DuMont has wild and wacky facts about our presidents, including that Ulysses S. Grant got a speeding ticket while riding his horse — twice! Benjamin Harrison was afraid of electricity. And who knew Abraham Lincoln was a great wrestler? The book also includes easy to digest facts about government, elections, The White House, and presidential history.



1,000 Facts About The White House by Sarah Wassner Flynn takes readers behind the scenes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With a treasure trove of material from the White House Historical Association, this colorful, easy to read book gives a fascinating history of the building and the people who have lived in it for more than 200 years.


Happy presidential reading!