This month we celebrate a cornucopia of wonderful new middle-grade releases. Be sure to tell us which books you’re thankful for in the comments below.
COOL PHYSICS by Sarah Hutton, illustrated by Damien Weighill from Pavilion (November 1st) Aimed at older children and curious adults, this book covers everything you need to know about some of the most complex scientific ideas the world has ever seen, made accessible and fun—Newton’s Theory of Relativity, quantum physics, nuclear fission and fusion, quarks, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and that old favorite E=mc2 are all explained here, clearly and entertainingly. There are also 10 practical experiments to give you even more insight into the theories, including making a pinhole camera, a whirlpool in a bottle and electric circuits with Play-Doh.
MOSQUITOES DON’T BITE ME by Pendred Noyce from Tumblehome Learning, Inc. (November 1st) Mosquitoes don’t bite Nala Simiyu. It’s part of who she is, like being a half-Kenyan seventh-grader whose mother is in a wheelchair. But when a schoolmate’s father–who happens to head up a large drug company–learns of Nala’s special power, the excitement begins. After helping out with mosquito research, Nala has the chance to travel to Kenya to investigate mosquitoes’ reactions to her father’s family. All goes well until a man heartbroken by his daughter’s death from malaria kidnaps Nala. In the midst of a realistic adventure story, this book will introduce young readers to such dilemmas as health disparities, subtle racism, and who owns biological information. Brave, fallible, compassionate and spirited, Nala is a strongly relatable character in a loving, imperfect family.
FIREFLY WILDLIFE ATLAS by John Farndon from Firefly (November 1st) This beautiful book is from the producers of Firefly Encyclopedia of Animals, praised by Kirkus Reviews: “the entries come from all over the world; some are common and others rare, but all are interesting in some way… for browsers and researchers alike, this is a useful and inviting display — and a bargain.”
Firefly Wildlife Atlas is similar but approaches the animal kingdom by means of habitat. It is also remarkable for its scope and presentation, covering almost 1000 animals in meticulous full-color illustrations and concise authoritative text. From millipedes to monkeys, this book offers a detailed and thorough guide to a wide array of the world’s mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, as well as insects, spiders and other invertebrates.
THE GETAWAY (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID #12) by Jeff Kinney from Amulet (November 7th) Greg Heffley and his family are getting out of town. With the cold weather and the stress of the approaching holiday season, the Heffleys decide to escape to a tropical island resort for some much-needed rest and relaxation. A few days in paradise should do wonders for Greg and his frazzled family. But the Heffleys soon discover that paradise isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Sun poisoning, stomach troubles, and venomous critters all threaten to ruin the family’s vacation. Can their trip be saved, or will this island getaway end in disaster?
DANIEL COLDSTAR #1 The Relic War by Stel Pavlou from HarperCollins (Novemeber 7th) Below the surface on a forgotten planet, Daniel Coldstar searches for relics from a lost civilization. Daniel has no memory of his past. All he knows is to do his job and fear the masters of the mines.
GOLDELINE by Jimmy Cajoleas from HarperCollins (November 14th) In the wild, free woods of the Hinterlands, where magic is as real as stories are, Goldeline travels from camp to camp with Gruff and his bandits, getting by on the things they steal from carriages that pass through the woods.
But someone is after Goldeline. The same man who wants to cleanse the Hinterlands of anyone who’s different–and who convinced the overzealous Townies that her mother was a witch–suspects that Goldeline might be a witch, too. Now Goldeline must summon all the courage and magic she got from her momma to escape her pursuers, save her friends, and maybe even find a place to call home.
PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING by Jeffrey Michael Ruby from Delacorte (November 14th) Something sinister has come to Glacier Cove, an icy-cold town that sits on top of an iceberg. Nothing bad ever happens here. Until now. And it’s up to Penelope March to stop it. Mmm-hmm, that Penelope–the bookworm who lives in the ramshackle house with her brother, Miles. The girl with the mom who–poof –disappeared. The one everyone ignores . . . except strange Coral Wanamaker, a tiny thing with raven-black hair and a black coat. When Penelope meets someone who seems to know secrets not only about Glacier Cove but about Penelope herself, she and Miles are pulled into an ancient mystery. Together, they’ll face the coldest, cruelest enemy ever known. Looks like the girl who only reads about adventures is going to start living one. Magic cookies. Volcanoes. Penguins. Sea monsters. And a girl hero with the strength and imagination to spring into action.
IN THE COUNTRY OF QUEENS by Cari Best from Farrar Straus Giroux (November 28th) Eleven-year-old Shirley Alice Burns lives with her domineering mother, Hurricane Anna, and loving Grandmother. One day she unexpectedly discovers that her beloved father isn’t in Absentia as her family would have her believe, but dead. And she understands all too well why they haven’t told her; she’s always been shy and quiet, and Anna has always been protective of her. But if Shirley doesn’t start speaking up, she isn’t going to be able to do the things she wants to do: go on vacation to Lake Winnipesaukee with her cousins, stop taking ballet lessons, and talk about her father. Through the help of a mouse, her hero Pippi Longstocking, and her cousin Phillie, Shirley finds the strength to give her dreams a voice and convince everyone, even Hurricane Anna, that she doesn’t need to be sheltered, especially from the truth. IN THE COUNTRY OF QUEENS is the debut novel from acclaimed picture-book author Cari Best.
CHARLIE NUMB3RS AND THE MAN IN THE MOON by Ben and Tonya Mezrich from Simon and Schuster (November 28th) Charlie is recruited to use his mathematical prowess to discover what happened to a box of stolen moon rocks in this follow up to Bringing Down the Mouse.Charlie Lewis is really good at math. So good, that he’s approached by a mysterious woman who needs his help. The woman is carrying an incredible item: an actual moon rock, one of the most valuable objects on Earth, and she’s investigating the theft of a box of moon rocks from NASA’s vault at the Johnson Space Center, and believes the stolen rocks are now in the possession of a former astronaut. Although she claims to work at NASA, Charlie suspects she is something else–but he decides the adventure is too good to pass up. Charlie and the whiz kids go undercover by entering the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s paper airplane contest, and head down to the nation’s capital. Working together, they master the principles of aerodynamics, wind science, and gravity to excel in the competition.Charlie must decide how far he’ll go to solve the mystery of the stolen moon rocks; is he willing to betray a new friendship? Or has he unwittingly been drawn into something even bigger than some missing chunks of the moon?
ODDITY by Sarah Cannon from Feiwel and Friends (November 28th) Welcome to Oddity, New Mexico, where normal is odd and odd is normal.
Ada Roundtree is no stranger to dodging carnivorous dumpsters, distracting zombie rabbits with marshmallows, and instigating games of alien punkball. But things haven’t been the same since her twin sister, Pearl, won the town’s yearly Sweepstakes and disappeared . . .
Along with her best friend, Raymond, and new-kid-from-Chicago Cayden (whose inability to accept being locked in the gym with live leopards is honestly quite laughable), Ada leads a self-given quest to discover Oddity’s secrets, even evading the invisible Blurmonster terrorizing the outskirts of town.
But one of their missions goes sideways, revealing something hinky with the Sweepstakes . . . and Ada can’t let it go. Because, if the Sweepstakes is bad, then what happened to Pearl?