New Releases

May New Releases!

I live in the upper northeast, where the winters are white and the temperatures are ridiculously frigid. That, however, does make for some amazing reading time – all snuggled up in a blanket, hot cocoa in one hand with a book in the other. But don’t let that fool you. There’s plenty of time for exploring new reads during the summer months, too. Here, we trade our warm gear for sun and summer reading via pool, boat, or ocean side; sometimes all three! Check out these book babies being released into the world this month.

Absolute Experts: DOLPHINS by Jen Swanson & Justine Jackson-Ricketts

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Kids who have a laser focus on dolphins will learn everything they’ve ever wanted to know about them in an eye-catching, page-turning book for aspiring experts, featuring exclusive content from a National Geographic explorer currently in the field.

Hey, dolphin fin-atics! Get ready to dive into the world of your favorite fabulous marine mammals in this action-packed book chock-full of awesome facts, photos, and fun! Join National Geographic explorer and dolphin expert Justine Jackson-Ricketts to get the latest, most up-to-date dolphin intel straight from the field, plus fun facts, in-depth info, and awesome trivia about every kind of dolphin under the sun (and beneath the waves). It’s the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite topics.

SOLO: A Star Wars Story by Pablo Hidalgo

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org This essential visual guide to Solo: A Star Wars Story™ explores the world of young Han Solo in unparalleled detail. An authoritative companion to the latest Star Wars™ movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide features the fascinating planets, vehicles, and aliens that Han Solo encounters on his early adventures. Explore key characters, locations, and props in captivating detail with extensive production photography and see the iconic Millennium Falcon as its never been seen before, in an exclusive cross-section artwork by Richard Chasemore.

POSITIVELY IZZY by Terri Libenson

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Award-winning comics creator and author of the bestselling Invisible Emmie Terri Libenson returns with a companion graphic novel that captures the drama, angst, and humor of middle-school life. Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Jennifer Holm, and Victoria Jamieson.

Middle school is all about labels.

Izzy is the dreamer. There’s nothing Izzy loves more than acting in skits and making up funny stories. The downside? She can never quite focus enough to get her schoolwork done.

Bri is the brain. But she wants people to see there’s more to her than just a report card full of As. At the same time, she wishes her mom would accept her the way she is and stop bugging her to “break out of her shell” and join drama club.

The girls’ lives converge in unexpected ways on the day of a school talent show, which turns out to be even more dramatic than either Bri or Izzy could have imagined.

CINDERSKELLA by Amie Borst & Borst

Middle school is scary. So are skeleton girls. To win at both, you’ve got to put some skin in the game.          Cindy might appear to be your average twelve year old, but since her mother’s death she has a secret. Every night she turns into a boney, white skeleton.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Cindy’s dad is afraid of her. She has an evil stepmother who makes her do crazy chores, some of them with a toothbrush. And then there’s the werewolf with intentions of making Cindy his midnight snack.

The Spring Fling dance is fast approaching and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. She doesn’t think letting Ethan know she’s a cursed skeleton-girl is the best way to introduce herself. Determined to break the curse, Cindy travels to the Underworld where things aren’t quite what they seem, including Mr. Death, the strange and creepy undertaker.

With a jar of pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortuneteller, and a cranky skeleton mouse, Cindy is afraid this curse has really gotten under her skin.

THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST by Jeanne Birdsall

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe finale you’ve all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall!

Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures–these are the things that have shaped Lydia’s journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring.

Now it’s summertime, and eleven-year-old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college.

This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.

Bursting with heart and brimming with charm, this is a joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best. And oh my MOPS–Meeting of Penderwick Siblings–does Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks at Last crescendo to one perfect Penderwick finale.

AMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saeed

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAisha Saeed’s middle-grade debut tells the compelling story of a girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

THE HALL MONITORS ARE FIRED! A Branches Book (Eerie Elementary #8) by Jack Chabert

Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In this eighth book, Sam and his friends keep getting into trouble. First, Sam is late to school, then Lucy slams a door, and Antonio trips his teacher. But none of this is their fault… It is all Orson Eerie’s doing! The mad scientist is planning to strike once again — at the annual Kickball Showdown! And he wants the hall monitors out of his way FOR GOOD. Will the principal fire them?! They need to come up with a plan FAST — before the big game! This will be the friends’ biggest, baddest, dustiest battle yet!

FROM THE KANE CHRONICLES BROOKLYN HOUSE MAGICIAN’S MANUAL (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Guide to Egyptian Gods & Creatures, Glyphs & Spells, and More by Rick Riordan

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Greetings, initiate! Carter Kane, here. Congratulations on reaching Brooklyn House in one piece. This accomplishment signals that you’re descended from Ancient Egyptian royalty, and you have magic powers. But what good is power without knowing how to use it? That’s where this training manual comes in. Packed with quizzes, stories, and insights about Ancient Egyptian deities, creatures (the friendly and the deadly), the mysterious Duat, and more, this primer will prime those with the blood of the pharaohs to take their first steps down the path of the gods. You’ll hear from me, other magicians (including my sister, Sadie), and even a few of the gods themselves. But beware of tricks and surprises: anything can happen in the world of Egyptian magic.

THE ALCATRAZ ESCAPE (Book Scavenger Series) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSleuthing duo Emily and James tackle their most challenging mystery yet set on the haunting Alcatraz Island in Book 3 of the New York Times bestselling Book Scavenger series!

Legendary literary game-maker Garrison Griswold is back in action―this time with “Unlock the Rock.” For his latest game, Griswold has partnered with the famous–and famously reclusive–mystery writer Errol Roy to plan an epic escape room challenge on Alcatraz Island.

Emily and James are eager to participate, but the wave of fame they are riding from their recent book-hunting adventures makes them a target. Threatening notes, missing items, and an accident that might not have been an accident have the duo worried that someone is trying to get them out of the game at any cost.

When Emily’s brother is caught red-handed and blamed for all the wrong doings, Emily is certain Matthew is being framed. With Matthew’s record on the line, Emily and James can’t afford to leave this mystery uncracked.

MINECRAFT: Guide to Enchantments & Potions by Mojang Ab, The Official Minecraft Team

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe official Minecraft: Guide to Enchantments & Potions will teach you how to enchant your equipment with useful effects and brew all manner of potions to protect yourself from harm.

The world of Minecraft is perilous: Danger lurks around every corner, and you’ll need powerful tools and equipment if you want to survive.

With insider info and tips from the experts at Mojang, this is the definitive guide to Minecraft sorcery.

THE NERDIEST, WIMPIEST, DORKIEST, I FUNNY EVER by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Everybody’s favorite kid comic, Jamie Grimm, is out to conquer the world–with laughter, of course!

Comedian Jamie Grimm can’t help feeling like he’s reached the top–he has his own smash hit TV show and he’s won a national funny-kid competition. But now he’s taking his fame and fortune to international levels by competing in the upcoming world kid comic contest! Will Jamie prove that he’s the funniest kid on earth–or does he stand (or sit!) to lose his crown?

ENDLING: THE LAST by Katherine Applegate

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgFirst Katherine Applegate thrilled readers with the action-packed Animorphs series. Then she stole our hearts with the award-winning The One and Only Ivan. Now she takes us on an unforgettable journey in this first book of an epic middle grade series!

Byx is the youngest member of her dairne pack. Believed to possess remarkable abilities, her mythical doglike species has been hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra.

After her pack is hunted down and killed, Byx fears she may be the last of her species. The Endling. So Byx sets out to find safe haven, and to see if the legends of other hidden dairnes are true.

Along the way, she meets new allies—both animals and humans alike—who each have their own motivations for joining her quest. And although they begin as strangers, they become their own kind of family—one that will ultimately uncover a secret that may threaten every creature in their world.

Building upon the success of her critically acclaimed novels such as The One and Only Ivan, Crenshaw, and Wishtree, while also returning to her action-packed fantasy roots of Animorphs, the Endling series is Katherine Applegate at her finest. With its enthralling characters, unique setting, and gripping adventure, this series is the perfect next read for fans of Rick Riordan, Brian Jacques, and Tui T. Sutherland.

Well, there you have just a few of the exciting new reads releasing in the month of May. Have a wonderful month. #ReadOn

STEM Tuesday Cool Inventions and the People Who Create Them – Book List

One of the world’s greatest inventors, Thomas A. Edison, once said that “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Well, that might,or might not be true. To find out, explore these books about invention. Perhaps you will be inspired to do a little inventing yourself. And as an added plus, these STEM titles also provide terrific links to literacy, history and art.

As always, help us out by suggesting other titles that fit this theme.

Alexander Graham Bell for Kids: His Life and Inventions by Mary Kay Carson
A biography of one of the world’s greatest inventors.  A staple for any middle grade STEM shelf. Mary Kay Carson shows readers how Bell was inspired by his nearly-deaf mother and his father who created an alphabet of images of the sounds a human being can make. Includes 21 activities!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Innovation Nation: How Canadian Inventors Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, Happier by David Johnston and Tom Jenkins
A fascinating look at our neighbor country’s inventors. This volume is jam-packed with fifty different inventions, including the igloo, the life jacket, and the canoe. 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton Revealed by Mary Losure
(JLG selection)  Young Isaac lived in a apothecary’s house and recorded his observations of the world in a tiny notebook. Mary Losure delves into the childhood of the great Isaac Newton in this narrative nonfiction biography that traces Newton’s development as one of the great thinkers of our time.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Higher, Steeper, Faster: The Daredevils Who Conquered the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone
(JLG selection)  A historical biography of the men and women who  popularized flying through their death-defying stunts. Young readers will discover loop-the-loops, corkscrews, and other daring maneuvers by male and female aviators.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Science Comics – Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared by Allison Wilgus and Molly Brooks
(JLG selection)  This fun look at the Wright Brothers earned a NSTA Best STEM of 2017 honor. Before daredevils wowed us with stunts, the airplane had to be invented. Young readers will enjoy the illustrations and text as they learn about the Wright Brothers carefully recorded experiments that led to the world’s first flying machines.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Eureka! Poems About Inventors by Joyce Sidman
A perfect read for Poetry Month. This book of narrative poems explores the minds of the creators of everything from the chocolate bar to the (ahem) bra. Readers will meet Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Crosby, and many other noted innovators just as their creativity blooms.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future: Young Readers’ Edition by Ashlee Vance
(JLG) Read about the  fascinating inventor of the TESLA and SpaceX, Elon Musk, in this young readers edition biography. Written with exclusive access to Musk and his family and friends, this book takes readers from Musk’s childhood in South Africa through adulthood and his inventions that rock the world.

STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by:

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including her 2016 title, THE STORY OF SEEDS: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, which earned the Green Earth Book Award and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia. She enjoys sharing her adventures, research, and writing tips. She strives to inform, inspire, and educate her readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. www.nancycastaldo.com

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that inspires kids to seek connections between science, literacy, and the environment. The recipient of  a Sibert Honor Award for Sea Otter Heroes and the Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how her writing skills give a voice to our beleaguered environment. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.

Getting a Head Start on your “Mysterious” Summer Reads

So, I know summer is a bit of a ways off. In fact, with all of the cold weather across the country, it hasn’t even felt like spring much. But now is the time to change all that. Close your eyes. Imagine warm sunlight shining across your face. A warm summer breeze ruffling the curls in your hair. And a nice, comfortable lawn chair– preferably at the beach– or at least near a bit of water, even if it’s your local pool. Stretch out and settle in. Today is the day you relax and… READ!

The big question is, WHAT kind of books do you like to read for fun? For me, hands down, it’s mysteries. I LOVE mysteries. Following clues, catching the bad guys, saving the day. That’s what makes me dive into a book. Here are the top 5 mysteries on my to-be-read list for summer:

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen (Aladdin)

After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results.

But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

 

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl (Random House BFYR)
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All her life, Cricket’s mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama’s run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her to come back. If it exists. And if she can find it.

Cricket’s only clue is a coin from a grown-over ghost town in the woods. So with her daddy’s old guidebook and a coat full of snacks stolen from the Cash ‘n’ Carry, Cricket runs away to find the room. Surviving in the woods isn’t easy. While Cricket camps out in an old tree house and looks for clues, she meets the last resident of the ghost town, encounters a poetry-loving dog (who just might hold a key to part of the puzzle), and discovers that sometimes you have to get a little lost . . . to really find your way.

 

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty (Disney Hyperion)
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Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.

When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack.

 

The Alcatraz Escape (The Book Scavenger series) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Henry Holt & Company)
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Legendary literary game-maker Garrison Griswold is back in action―this time with “Unlock the Rock.” For his latest game, Griswold has partnered with the famous–and famously reclusive–mystery writer Errol Roy to plan an epic escape room challenge on Alcatraz Island.

Emily and James are eager to participate, but the wave of fame they are riding from their recent book-hunting adventures makes them a target. Threatening notes, missing items, and an accident that might not have been an accident have the duo worried that someone is trying to get them out of the game at any cost.

 

Bob by Wendy Mass (Author),‎ Rebecca Stead
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It’s been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now that she’s back, Livy has the feeling she’s forgotten something really, really important about Gran’s house. It turns out she’s right.

Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who―or what―he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise.  Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.

 

Breakout by Kate Messner (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
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Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.

 

There are MANY more awesome books out there for summer. In fact, mysteries may not be your thing. (gasp!)  So let us know below YOUR list of  to-be-read summer books, perfect for relaxing in your beach chair. Maybe if we think about summer reading together, we can make the next few months fly by. At the very least, we will be thinking warm thoughts!