December’s New Releases are all about series (some the final books), female superheroes, and lots of humor. So if you’re looking for a holiday gift to put a smile on the face of your favorite middle-grade reader, here are a few to choose from.
The Hive Queen (Wings of Fire, Book 12) by Tui T. Sutherland
Growing up in the hives, Cricket has always had a million questions. Why are trees forbidden, even in art? Why do her parents seem to hate her? And the biggest, most dangerous and secret question of all: why is Cricket immune to Queen Wasp’s powers? Whenever the queen takes control of all the HiveWings, speaking through their mouths and seeing through their eyes, Cricket has to hide, terrified of being discovered.
Now she’s hiding again, wanted for stealing the Book of Clearsight along with her new SilkWing friends, Blue and Swordtail, and the fierce LeafWing, Sundew. The fugitives need answers, and fast, in order to prevent a LeafWing attack. But Cricket has more questions than ever. How can she stay hidden and discover the queen’s deadliest secret? And if she does succeed—can a powerless dragonet really do anything to topple a regime and stop a war?
Children of Jubilee (Children of Exile, Book 3) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix. Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.
But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.
The Terrible Two’s Last Laugh by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illus. Kevin Cornell
It’s Miles and Niles’s final year at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy, and the Terrible Two have one goal: an epic prank. Something big, something brilliant, something that will leave a lasting legacy at their school. Which should be easy-peasy for these experts, especially now that their principal has gone from arch nemesis to pranking protégé.
But their smooth sailing gets downright bumpy when they find out that the new superintendent is none other than Bertrand Barkin, their principal’s father . . . and their sworn enemy. Now that Former Principal Barkin is Acting Superintendent Barkin, he has a first order of business: his long-promised revenge on the Terrible Two. This rollicking finale to the bestselling series by Mac Barnett and Jory John will settle once and for all who—between quick wits and powerful fists—will have the last laugh.
Zach King: Mirror Magic by Zach King
Since Zach finally recovered his magical powers, middle school has never been better—he’s teaming up with his best friend, Aaron, on their super-popular YouTube channel and talking to the nicest, smartest, prettiest girl in school, Rachel. But when Zach magically “passes through” a magical mirror, he lands in a world that is the exact opposite of everything he’s ever known.
Instead of finding himself at Horace Greeley Middle School, he’s at Horace Greeley MAGIC School. And in this world of opposites, everyone here has magic except him. Even worse, Zach is stuck in this world AND his alter-ego, the newly magical Jack, has passed in to Zach’s world and now living his life and getting into all sorts of trouble.
Fortunately, Zach can always count on his friends—even this mixed-up magical world’s versions of them! If he can just convince the guys about the truth of his world-jumping misadventure, Zach knows, they’ll work together to figure out how to put everyone back where they belong—before it’s too late.
Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story by James Patterson, illus. Richard Watson, contributor Steven Butler
Here’s MIDDLE SCHOOL for young readers—through the eyes of Rafe Khatchadorian’s misbehaving mutt, Junior! When rule-breaking Rafe has to train his new dog in obedience school, you know things are about to get really ruff! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I’ve been waiting for ages to tell my story, and now it’s finally happening! Being Rafe’s dog isn’t always easy, but it is always EXCITING! I’ve got so much to tell you about:
How I protect the yard from birds, raccoons, squirrels, raccoons, mail carriers . . . and did I mention RACCOONS?
Sniffing pooch posteriors for the latest canine news.
And the terrifying monster hiding in the hall closet: the vacuum cleaner!
These were all the most paw-some parts of my doggie life—until the evil Mrs. Stricker threatened to send me back to the pound if I didn’t learn to behave. Now Rafe and I have to go to obedience school and win the trophy for Best Trained Dog . . . or else!
Marvel Fearless and Fantastic! Female Super Heroes Save the World by Sam Maggs, Ruth Amos, and Emma Grange
More than fifty incredible female Super Heroes from the Marvel Comics universe inspire girls and women of all ages to be powerful, passionate, and persistent.
From Captain Marvel and Wasp to Storm and Shuri, this beautiful book profiles dozens of aspirational female comic-book characters, all of whom use their intelligence, strength, kindness, and courage to help others and save the world. Fierce fan-favorites such as Gamora, Squirrel Girl, and Black Widow feature alongside lesser known faces from all corners of the Marvel comic-book universe. Young girls will discover modern, diverse heroes they can relate to and look up to, including America Chavez and Kamala Khan. Featuring a foreword by Marvel Comics writer Kelly Thompson, DK’s Fearless and Fantastic! is the ultimate tribute to Marvel’s most powerful women and girls, and a treasured gift for comic fans.