February New Releases

Happy February and Happy Book Birthday to the following authors who have book releasing this month!

 

 

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

For fans of The War That Saved My Life and other World War II fiction, A Place to Hang the Moon is the tale of three orphaned siblings who are evacuated from London to live in the countryside with the secret hope of finding a permanent family.

It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren’t terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of World War II London, those are in short supply, especially if they hope to stay together. Could the mass wartime evacuation of children from London to the countryside be the answer?

It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go– keeping their predicament a secret, and hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up lasting forever. Moving from one billet to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets and the hollowness of empty stomachs. They find comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Müller, seems an excellent choice of billet, except that her German husband’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and some of the villagers consider her unsuitable.

A Place to Hang the Moon is a story about the dire importance of family: the one you’re given, and the one you choose.

 

Girl Stuff. by Lisi Harrison

Bestselling author of The Clique returns with a funny, heartfelt series where girls help each other tackle issues of friendship, crushes, and new experiences. Perfect for fans of The Baby-Sitters Club, Real Friends, and Invisible Emmie–it’s all about being true to yourself

Fonda, Drew, and Ruthie have been besties forever, but seventh grade is going to be their year Look out, Poplar Middle School (yup, that’s PMS), here comes the coolest clique around. The three girls can’t wait to do everything together and have an amazing time doing it. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

On day one:
Ruthie realizes that being in Talented and Gifted means being in a different part of the school. There go their stuck-together-like-glue dreams.
Drew’s crush–who seemed so into her like a week ago–suddenly acts like he doesn’t know her. And now he’s all she can think about.
Fonda’s finally being noticed by The Avas (aka the popular girls, all named, you guessed it: Ava), but can she really hang out with them if Ruthie and Drew aren’t invited?

There’s nothing like seventh grade to test the bonds of friendship. Fonda, Drew, and Ruthie are about to find out how much it stinks to be lied to, to be left out, and to feel like you’re the only one who cares. But they’ll also find out how meaningful female friendships are, and how great it feels to be yourself.

Get ready for the most meaningful, most fun stuff of all: girl stuff.

 

My Ex-Imaginary Friend by Jimmy Matejek-Morris

Eleven-year-old Jack thought he had outgrown his imaginary friend, George–until his dad also disappears from his life. His mom’s bipolar disorder isn’t being properly treated, so while in the throes of a manic episode, she ditches Jack with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Jack decides that only George can help him figure out where people go when others stop believing in them–and how Jack can put his family back together.

Meanwhile, the imaginary George–half-walrus, half-human, all magic–has a problem of his own: with nobody to believe in him, he is slowly disappearing. Rejoining Jack is his only hope for survival. Or is it?

 

 

 

Red, White, and Whole by Rajani Larocca

A heartbreakingly hopeful #ownvoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted–they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked–Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”–but they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.

 

 

She Persisted: Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome and  Chelsea Clinton. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin made the same choice. She insisted on standing up–or in her case, sitting down–for what was right, and in doing so, fought for equality, fairness, and justice.

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Lesa Cline-Ransome, readers learn about the amazing life of Claudette Colvin–and how she persisted. Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton.

 

 

 

The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick

An unbelievably hilarious middle-grade true story from bestselling author Jordan Sonnenblick.

In a typical school year, every kid has one or two things go wrong. But for Jordan, there’s A LOT going wrong ALL THE TIME.

Take this year. Here are some of the thing going wrong:

— His teacher hates him. Like, really hates him. Like, is totally out to get him even when he’s trying to be good, and is willing to fail him on the simplest things, like show and tell.

— He has a slight breathing problem because of his asthma. And breathing is never really an optional activity.

— His pet snake has given birth to way, way, way too many baby snakes, all who need a home.

— He is finding that becoming The World’s Best Drummer in no time whatsoever is maybe not the easiest goal.

— There are bullies ready to stomp him when all he has to defend himself with is a lunchbox.

And all this doesn’t even include the freak swing set accident, the fears inside his head, or the funniest class presentation ever.

By keeping his cool (some of the time), banging on the drums (a lot), and keeping his sense of humor (all the time), Jordan’s going to try to make it through the year . . . and grow up to write a book about it!

 

The Enginerds Strike Back by Jarrett Lerner

Ken and his EngiNerds crew return in another nutty and nerdy adventure as they face down an alien to save the planet!

Alien invasion? At the end of Revenge of the EngiNerds an alien appeared and it turns out he’s the real deal. He explains he was sent to Earth as an envoy to scope things out for a planned massive, futuristic billboard–which will mean demolishing the planet! Here? On Earth? In their town? Not if the EngiNerds have anything to say about it. Time to save the day and the planet!

 

 

The Last Bear Hannah Gold

An instant classic with a bear-sized heart, Hannah Gold’s debut novel is a touching story of kindness, adventure, and forging your own path–perfect for fans of Pax and A Wolf Called Wander.

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to a faraway Arctic outpost.

But one night, April catches a glimpse of something distinctly bear shaped loping across the horizon. A polar bear who shouldn’t be there–who is hungry, lonely and a long way from home.

An excellent choice for readers in grades 3 to 7, this fierce celebration of friendship includes full-page black-and-white illustrations throughout, as well as information about the real Bear Island and the plight of the polar bears.

 

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold

In this magical middle-grade novel, ten-year-old Gabrielle finds out that America isn’t the perfect place she imagined when she moves from Haiti to Brooklyn. With the help of a clever witch, Gabrielle becomes the perfect American — but will she lose herself in the process? Perfect for fans of HURRICANE CHILD and FRONT DESK.

It’s 1985 and ten-year-old Gabrielle is excited to be moving from Haiti to America. Unfortunately, her parents won’t be able to join her yet and she’ll be living in a place called Brooklyn, New York, with relatives she has never met. She promises her parents that she will behave, but life proves to be difficult in the United States, from learning the language to always feeling like she doesn’t fit in to being bullied. So when a witch offers her a chance to speak English perfectly and be “American,” she makes the deal. But soon she realizes how much she has given up by trying to fit in and, along with her two new friends (one of them a talking rat), takes on the witch in an epic battle to try to reverse the spell.

Gabrielle is a funny and engaging heroine you won’t soon forget in this sweet and lyrical novel that’s perfect for fans of Hurricane Child and Front Desk.

 

Crocodile Rescue! (Wild Survival #1), Volume 1 by Melissa Cristina Márquez

For fans of The Trail, Out of My Shell, and The Honest Truth, Wild Survival is the story of a girl finding her voice . . . and fighting for survival.

Twelve-year-old Adriana Villalobos and her older brother Feye travel the globe with their parents, the hosts of a suspenseful nature show called Wild Survival! The show features daring animal rescues and the work the family does at their animal sanctuary. They’ve recently gotten an offer to take the show from YouTube to a TV network, and Adriana is thrilled. So far, she’s always been behind the scenes, but now she gets to join the rest of her family onscreen. She can’t wait to bring her passion for animals to a wide audience.

Their first stop is the lush mangrove forests of Cuba, where they’re going to help rescue an injured crocodile. But things get off to a rocky start when Feye is injured in an accident partially caused by Adrianna. The status of the show is in jeopardy, and Adrianna’s parents want her back behind the scenes, or maybe even back at home.

Adrianna is determined to prove herself, and save the show-whatever it takes. Even if that means confronting the legendary Mega Croc of Cuba that’s rumored to inhabit the murky waters around their base camp.

Based on the author’s real-life wildlife encounters, this middle-grade series will include real animal facts, light illustration of the creatures mentioned in each book, and an Author’s Note from Melissa.

 

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books

 

Reckless, Glorious, Girl by Ellen Hagan

The co-author of Watch Us Rise pens a novel in verse about all the good and bad that comes with middle school, growing up girl, and the strength of family that gets you through it.

Beatrice Miller may have a granny’s name (her granny’s, to be more specific), but she adores her Mamaw and her mom, who give her every bit of wisdom and love they have. But the summer before seventh grade, Bea wants more than she has, aches for what she can’t have, and wonders what the future will bring.

This novel in verse follows Beatrice through the ups and downs of friendships, puberty, and identity as she asks: Who am I? Who will I become? And will my outside ever match the way I feel on the inside?

A gorgeous, inter-generational story of Southern women and a girl’s path blossoming into her sense of self, Reckless, Glorious, Girl explores the important questions we all ask as we race toward growing up.

One Jar of Magic by Corey Ann Haydu

From the critically acclaimed author of Eventown comes a hopeful and empowering tale set in an enchanting world of magic and mysterious family secrets–perfect for fans of Anne Ursu, Rebecca Stead, and Wendy Mass.

Magic is like a dream. Delightful. Terrifying. Unreal.

Rose Alice Anders is Little Luck. Lucky to be born into the Anders family. Lucky to be just as special and magical as the most revered man in town–her father. The whole town has been waiting for Rose to turn twelve, when she can join them in their annual capturing of magic on New Year’s Day and become the person she was born to be.

But when that special day finally comes, Rose barely captures one tiny jar of magic. Now Rose’s dad won’t talk to her anymore and her friendships have gotten all twisted and wrong. So when Rose hears whispers that there are people who aren’t meant for magic at all, she begins to wonder if that’s who she belongs with.

Maybe if she’s away from all the magic, away from her dad telling her who she’s meant to be, who she has to be, Rose can begin to piece together what’s truly real in a world full of magic.

 

Life in the Balance by Jen Petro-Roy

Veronica struggles to balance softball, friends, and family turmoil in this new honest and heartfelt middle grade novel by Jen Petro-Roy, Life in the Balance.

Veronica Conway has been looking forward to trying out for the All-Star softball team for years. She’s practically been playing the game since she was a baby. She should have this tryout on lock.

Except right before tryouts, Veronica’s mom announces that she’s entering rehab for alcoholism, and her dad tells her that they may not be able to afford the fees needed to be on the team.

Veronica decides to enter the town talent show in an effort to make her own money, but along the way discovers a new hobby that leads her to doubt her feelings for the game she thought she loved so much.

Is her mom the only one learning balance, or can Veronica find a way to discover what she really wants to do with her life?

 

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard. Illustrated by  Akeem S. Roberts

Eight-year-old J.D. turns a tragic home haircut into a thriving barber business in this hilarious new illustrated chapter book series

J.D. has a big problem–it’s the night before the start of third grade and his mom has just given him his first and worst home haircut. When the steady stream of insults from the entire student body of Douglass Elementary becomes too much for J.D., he takes matters into his own hands and discovers that, unlike his mom, he’s a genius with the clippers. His work makes him the talk of the town and brings him enough hair business to open a barbershop from his bedroom. But when Henry Jr., the owner of the only official local barbershop, realizes he’s losing clients to J.D., he tries to shut him down for good. How do you find out who’s the best barber in all of Meridian, Mississippi? With a GREAT BARBER BATTLE!

 

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar

In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in–and certain death on her husband’s funeral pyre–only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people.

India, 1857

Meera’s future has been planned for her for as long as she can remember. As a child, her parents married her to a boy from a neighboring village whom she barely knows. Later, on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, she prepares to leave her family to live with her husband’s–just as her strict religion dictates. But that night, Indian soldiers mutiny against their British commanders and destroy the British ammunition depot, burning down parts of Delhi. Riots follow, and Meera’s husband is killed. Upon hearing the news, Meera’s father insists that she follow the dictates of their fringe religious sect: She must end her life by throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

Risking everything, Meera runs away, escaping into the chaos of the rebellion. But her newfound freedom is short-lived, as she is forced to become a servant in the house of a high-ranking British East India Company captain. Slowly through her work, she gains confidence, new friends, new skills–and sometimes her life even feels peaceful. But one day, Meera stumbles upon the captain’s secret stock of ammunition, destined to be used by the British to continue colonizing India and control its citizens.

Will Meera do her part to take down the British colonists and alert the rebellion of the stockpile? Or will she stay safe and let others make decisions for her? It really comes down to this: how much fire must a girl face to finally write her own destiny?

 

The Hedgehog of Oz Cory Leonardo

The Wizard of Oz meets The Wind in the Willows in this next middle grade novel from the author of The Simple Art of Flying, in which a theater-dwelling, Oz-loving hedgehog goes on the journey of a lifetime to find his way home in this tale of loyalty, friendship, loss, and hope.

Marcel the hedgehog used to live with his beloved owner Dorothy, but since getting hopelessly lost, he’s tried to forget the happy home he left behind. Now, Marcel lives a quiet life in the abandoned balcony of The Emerald City Theater where he subsists on dropped popcorn and the Saturday showings of The Wizard of Oz.

But when he’s discovered, Marcel is taken far away from everything he knows and ends up lost once more. His quest to return to The Emerald City Theater leads him to Mousekinland, where he meets Scamp, a tiny mouse armed with enormous spirit (and a trusty sling-shooter). Before long, they’re joined by an old gray squirrel, Ingot, who suffers from bad memories and a broken heart and Tuffy, a baby raccoon lost and afraid in the forest. And the travelers attract the attention of an owl named Wickedwing, who stalks them as they search for the old theater.

From field to forest, glittering theatre to the gutter, the animals’ road home is a dark and winding journey. But sometimes you need to get a little lost before you can be found.

 

Anything in particular catch your eye? Let us know in the comments below and happy reading!!

 

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Patricia Bailey
Patricia Bailey is the author of the middle-grade historical novel The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan. She blogs here and at her website www.patriciabaileyauthor.com.
3 Comments
  1. Thanks for the list. Looks like some good ones.

  2. Such a great round up of contemporary and fantasy!

  3. I ordered Red, White, and Whole today and can’t wait!

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