Posts Tagged Cynthia Levinson

January 2017: New Releases

Could there be a better month to stay inside with a cup of hot chocolate and read? I don’t think so. Plus, January is a great month to find the latest release of your favorite series or author along with some fabulous debuts, short stories, and nonfiction. So pull out those holiday gift cards and head to your nearest bookstore so you can snuggle up with one of this month’s offerings.


9780375831997The Warden’s Daughter
by Jerry Spinelli

Cammie O’Reilly is the warden’s daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she’s also living in a prison of grief and anger about the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And prison has made her mad. This girl’s nickname is Cannonball. In the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything is in flux. Cammie’s best friend is discovering lipstick and American Bandstand. A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. And the only mother figures in her life include a flamboyant shoplifter named Boo Boo and a sullen reformed arsonist of a housekeeper. All will play a role in Cammie’s coming-of-age. But one in particular will make a staggering sacrifice to ensure that Cammie breaks free from her past.

 

9780545783873The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

Harlem is home to all kinds of kids. Jin sees life passing her by from the window of her family’s bodega. Alex wants to help the needy one shelter at a time, but can’t tell anyone who she really is. Elvin’s living on Harlem’s cold, lonely streets, surviving on his own after his grandfather was mysteriously attacked. When these three strangers join forces to find out what happened to Elvin’s grandfather, their digging leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune—one that might save the neighborhood from development by an ambitious politician who wants to turn it into Harlem World, a ludicrous historic theme park. But if they don’t find the paintings soon, nothing in their beloved neighborhood will ever be the same. In this remarkable tale of daring and danger, debut novelist Natasha Tarpley explores the way a community defines itself, the power of art to show truth, and what it really means to be home.

 

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins. With her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background—and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia! Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, while emphasizing the importance of role models, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery.

 

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King

Obe Devlin has problems. His family’s farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn’t like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks. One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog, or maybe a small boar. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags … No one has ever seen a creature like this before, because there’s never been a creature like this before. The animal—Marvin Gardens—soon becomes Obe’s best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.

 

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys—an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves. Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming. Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety … then every boy on the island is doomed.

 

Yours Truly (A Pumpkin Falls Mystery) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Even Truly Lovejoy has to admit that teeny-tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, has its charms—like the annual maple festival, where tourists flock from all over to sample the local maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee, and even maple soap! But when someone tries to sabotage the maple trees on her friend Franklin’s family farm, Truly has to rally the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to investigate. Meanwhile, she uncovers another, more personal mystery under the floorboards of her very own home—a diary written centuries ago by her namesake, the original Truly Lovejoy…and it might just prove her family’s ties to Pumpkin Falls run deeper than anyone ever could have imagined.

 

Horizon (Horizon Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld

This harrowing tale of supernatural suspense kicks off a new series from the visionary mind of #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld. When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue. Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before — from razor-beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive.

 

Siren Sisters by Dana Langer

Lolly Salt has three beautiful sisters. When they’re not in school or running their small town’s diner, they’re secretly luring ships to their doom from the cliffs of Starbridge Cove, Maine. With alluring voices that twelve-year-old Lolly has yet to grow into (not that she wants to anyway) the Salt sisters do the work mandated by the Sea Witch, a glamorously frightening figure determined to keep the girls under her control. With their mother dead after a terrible car crash, and their father drowning in his grief, the sisters carry on with their lives and duties … until a local sea captain gets suspicious about the shipwrecks. On the day before her birthday, Lolly watches in helpless horror as her sisters are lured themselves by curse-reversing fishermen—and suddenly it’s up to her and her best friend Jason to rescue the sirens of Starbridge Cove.

 

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim

In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing’s name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing’s life isn’t easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good. She is sold as a bride to the Koh family, where she will be the wife and nursemaid to their three-year-old son, Ju’nan. It’s not fair, and Jing feels this bitterly, especially when she is treated poorly by the Koh’s, and sold yet again into a worse situation that leads Jing to believe her only option is to run away, and find home again. With the help of a spider who weaves Jing a means to escape, and a nightingale who helps her find her way, Jing embarks on a quest back to Huanan–and to herself.

 

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as the “Taco Queen” at school. But just when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion.

 

The Homework Strike by Greg Pincus

Middle school is hard work, and Gregory tries to be a good student. He participates in class, he studies for his tests — he and his friends even help each other with their assignments. But no matter what he does, there’s never enough time to finish all his homework. It just isn’t fair. So Gregory goes on a total, complete homework strike. No worksheets, no essays, no projects. His friends think he’s crazy. His parents are worried about his grades. And his principal just wants him to stop making trouble. Can Gregory rally his fellow students, make his voice heard, and still pass seventh grade? Find out in this book for anyone who thinks school is stressful, gets headaches from homework, or just wants to be heard.

 

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

Ethan had been many things. He was always ready for adventure and always willing to accept a dare, especially from his best friend, Kacey. But that was before. Before the accident that took Kacey from him. Before his family moved from Boston to the small town of Palm Knot, Georgia. Palm Knot may be tiny, but it’s the home of possibility and second chances. It’s also home to Coralee, a girl with a big personality and even bigger stories. Coralee may be just the friend Ethan needs, except Ethan isn’t the only one with secrets. Coralee’s are catching up with her, and what she’s hiding might be putting both their lives at risk.

 

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pia

Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets. And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines. But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth. So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay…

 

The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 3) by Jordan Stratford, illus. by Kelly Murphy

The Wollestonecraft Girls embark on their most important case yet–the famed dinosaur fossil hunter Mary Anning is being blackmailed. Her precious dog has been snatched and the kidnappers are demanding that Miss Anning authenticate some fake dinosaur bones up for auction at the British Museum in order to get him back. Ada and Mary have just three days to track down the fossil fakers, find the dog, and save the integrity of science! The game is truly afoot in this quirky caper involving blood-sucking leeches, an asthmatic pug, smoke bombs, secret elevators, diabolical disguises, and wicked word-play.

 

A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman

No one comes to the Second World on purpose. The doorway between worlds opens only when least expected. The Raft King is desperate to change that by finding the doorway that will finally take him and the people of Raftworld back home. To do it, he needs Pip, a young boy with an incredible gift—he can speak to fish; and the Raft King is not above kidnapping to get what he wants. Pip’s sister Kinchen, though, is determined to rescue her brother and foil the Raft King’s plans. This is but the first of three extraordinary stories that collide on the high seas of the Second World. The second story takes us back to the beginning: Venus and Swimmer are twins captured aboard a slave ship bound for Jamaica in 1781. They save themselves and others from a life of enslavement with a risky, magical plan—one that leads them from the shark-infested waters of the first world to the second. Pip and Kinchen will hear all about them before their own story is said and done. So will Thanh and his sister Sang, who we meet in 1978 on a small boat as they try to escape post-war Vietnam. But after a storm and a pirate attack, they’re not sure they’ll ever see shore again. What brings these three sets of siblings together on an adventure of a lifetime is a little magic, helpful sea monsters and that very special portal, A Crack in the Sea.

 

Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh, editor

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

 

Journey Through Ash and Smoke (Ranger in Time #5) by Kate Messner and Kelley McMorris

Ranger is a time-traveling golden retriever with search-and-rescue training. In this adventure, he goes to Viking age Iceland, which proves to be tough terrain for Ranger to navigate. Usually it’s Ranger’s job to save the day before he can return to his family, but he meets a girl named Helga who rescues him more than once. And when a nearby volcano threatens to erupt and Helga’s new baby brother or sister starts to come early, they must journey through ash and smoke to find Helga’s father. But if Helga doesn’t need Ranger’s help, how will he ever get home?

 

Wrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief #3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Trouble has a way of seeking out Nicolas Calva, and it’s not likely to leave him alone any time soon. With Caesar’s magic bulla, the Malice of Mars, and the possibility of a Jupiter Stone in play, all the powers of Rome are circling Nic. He’ll have to maneuver his way through scheming government officials and reawakened magical beasts to save the Empire. Can he manage to keep his friends and family safe, claim his own freedom once and for all, and rescue the Empire — before the magic gets the better of him? With twists and turns on every page, critically acclaimed author Jennifer Nielsen weaves an epic, action-packed conclusion to her extraordinary Mark of the Thief trilogy.

 

Bad Kitty Takes the Test by Nick Bruel

Based on her previous bad behavior, the Society of Cat Aptitude has determined that Kitty is not only a bad kitty but a bad cat. In order to redeem her feline status, Kitty must take an aptitude test to determine if she deserves to be a cat. If she fails, she will no longer be able to be a cat. With the help of Chatty Kitty, who is the instructor at Cat School, and Uncle Murray, who thinks he’s just there to renew his driver’s license, Kitty learns all about being a cat and a little about herself.

 

The Wizard’s War (Key Hunters #4) by Eric Luper

Cleo and Evan have a secret. A collection of books so dangerous they are locked up tight. A friend has vanished inside the pages of one of them. It’s up to them to find the key that will set her free. The quest is clear. To save the kingdom, Cleo and Evan must battle clever elves, horrible trolls, and the mighty Golden Dragon. Magic will help them win the war—and find the right key. But it will take more than swords and spells to survive this epic fantasy!

 

Secret Origins (Story Thieves) by James Riley

Owen and Bethany have sworn off jumping into books for good. But they didn’t make any promises about not jumping through strange portals that lead to a comic book world. Jupiter City was once filled with brightly costumed superheroes and villains, but nowadays, there’s nothing left but the Dark. Even the villains are terrified of the Dark’s shadows, and most of the heroes have either disappeared or been lost to mind control. The one hero who might have stopped all of this, Doc Twilight, has been imprisoned by the Dark. But who is Doc Twilight really? And how can Bethany and Owen defeat the Dark without superpowers of their own? They’ll definitely need the help of some old friends and new allies to bring the light back to Jupiter City, and find out the truth behind the Dark. It all comes back to Bethany’s own secret origins. What really happened when her fictional father disappeared years ago? Who is Nobody, and why is he writing these Story Thieves books? And what kind of super villain name is The Rotten Banana?

 

Heidi Heckelbeck Tries Out for the Team by Wanda Coven, illus. by Priscilla Burris

It’s time to sign up for sports at school and Heidi is excited (and a little nervous) to find the perfect fit. Lucy is great at soccer. Bruce is great at baseball. Heidi, well, the only thing she’s great at is being awful at every sport she plays! Can Heidi shake off her slump with a little magic or will Melanie’s teasing make her throw in the towel for good?

 

Robot Revolution (House of Robots #3) by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Juliana Neufield

After a few early glitches in their relationship, Sammy and his “bro-bot” E are now fast friends. In fact, E is such a valued member of the family that the other electronic occupants of the House of Robots are feeling sorely unappreciated. And when Sammy’s inventor mom becomes distracted by a top-secret project, the robots soon begin to fall into disrepair. Cue a robot revolt, with the droids wreaking harmless havoc in the house! Armed with pranks like glue in the shampoo bottles and flying toast missiles, the robots demand to be cared for. It’s up to Sammy and his disabled sister Maddie to keep the peace until his mom reveals her secret project … and why it was worth the wait.

 

The Big Secret (Tales of Sasha #1) by Alexa Pearl, illus. by Paco Sordo

In the first book of the Tales of Sasha series, a young horse named Sasha discovers a big secret about what makes her different from her friends and family. Sasha has always felt a little bit different from the other horses in her home of Verdant Valley. She loves running and jumping and the feeling of being in the air, and she longs to explore the forest beyond her valley. One day during class, the white patch on Sasha’s back gives her an itching feeling that makes her want to soar, and she leaps over a big rock. When she lands, she realizes that her patch is sparkling! But what does it mean? Find out in the first book of this magical new series!

 

Journey Beyond the Trees (Tales of Sasha #2) by Alexa Pearl, illus. by Paco Sordo

In this second book is the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha, her best friend Wyatt, and their teacher Caleb journey into the forest to try and find where Sasha came from. Sasha has finally discovered what makes her different from her friends and family—she can fly! Determined to find other flying horses like her, Sasha sets out on a magical journey beyond the trees that line her valley, with the help of her teacher, Caleb, and her better-than-best friend, Wyatt.

 

Inspector Flytrap in the Goat Who Chewed Too Much (Book #3) by Tom Angleberger, illus. by Cece Bell

Inspector Flytrap in the Goat Who Chewed Too Much brings readers back to the wacky world of Inspector Flytrap’s Detective Agency, home to the world-renowned solver of BIG DEAL mysteries. The plant detective works tirelessly with his assistant, Nina,on his community’s unsolved cases. There’s no case too big, but there are definitely cases too small for this endearingly self-important plant detective. Celebrating the disabled yet enabled, the character Inspector Flytrap is wheeled everywhere (on a skateboard, of course) by his goat sidekick as this mystery-solving duo works on cases such as “The Big Deal Mystery of the Stinky Cookies” and “The Big Deal Mystery of the Missing Rose.”

 

Rolf (Dog Diaries #10) by Kate Klimo, illus. by Tim Jessell

Scrappy dachshund Rolf von Noodle may be missing a hind leg, but he’s got attitude and can-do spirit to spare! If anything, his tripod status gives him something special: real empathy for people overcoming physical challenges. And as his owner Mindy discovers, it makes him an ideal choice to become a therapy dog. With realistic black-and-white illustrations and an appendix that includes photographs and information about the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program, therapy dog training, tripod dogs, and more, this is the kind of fact-based fiction reluctant middle grade readers sit up and beg for!

 

Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang by Victoria J. Coe

Life is pretty much a bag of treats when you’re an endlessly energetic Jack Russell Terrier. For Fenway, days are filled with important things like defending the Dog Park from wicked squirrels, snuggling with Hattie, and catching up on the neighborhood gossip with the next-door dogs Goldie and Patches. But that all changes the day a fiendish new intruder enters Fenway’s turf: he’s fluffy, he twitches evilly, and he smells worse than squirrels. He’s a bunny. An evil bunny. And Fenway can’t fathom why, but Hattie ADORES him. Goldie and Patches warn him that short humans are fickle: sometimes they love a new pet more than an old one. Fenway can’t believe his own Hattie would choose another pet over him. But taking matters into his own paws just makes everything worse. Is his heart big enough to accept that Hattie can love another pet too–and is he tough enough to take on an entire gang of evil bunnies?

 

The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

Brian can think of a few places he’d rather spend his summer than with his aunt and uncle in Boring, Illinois. Jail, for example. Or an earplug factory. Anything would be better than doing summer school on a computer while his scientist dad is stationed at the South Pole. Boring lives up to its name until Brian and his cousin Nora have a fight, get lost, and discover a huge, wooden house in the forest. With balconies, turrets, and windows seemingly stuck on at random, it looks ready to fall over in the next stiff breeze. To the madcap, eccentric family that lives inside, it’s not just a home it’s a castle. Suddenly, summer gets a lot more exciting. With their new friends, Brian and Nora tangle with giant wasps, sharp-tusked wild boars, and a crazed bureaucrat intent on bringing the dangerously dilapidated old house down with a wrecking ball. This funny, fantastical story will resonate with any reader who’s ever wished a little adventure would find them.

 

Hideout by Watt Key

In this riveting middle-grade adventure, the son of a Mississippi policeman finds a boy living on his own in the wilderness. Twelve-year-old Sam has been given a fishing boat by his father, but he hates fishing. Instead he uses the boat to disappear for hours at a time, exploring the forbidden swampy surroundings of his bayou home. Then he discovers a strange kid named Davey, mysteriously alone, repairing an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. Not fooled by the boy’s evasive explanation as to why he’s on his own, Sam becomes entangled in his own efforts to help Davey. But this leads him to telling small lies that only get bigger as the danger increases for both boys and hidden truths become harder to conceal.

 

Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt (Olympians) by George O’Connor

Shunned even before she was born and destined to live a life of solitude, Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, finds power through her skilled hunting ability and mighty bow. She slays those who wish to do harm to the innocent and takes care of the young and helpless. She protects women and young girls, helps in childbirth, soothes, and is unrivaled in her hunting abilities. In the latest volume of Olympians, New York Times–bestselling author George O’Connor continues to turn his extensive knowledge of the original Greek myths into rip-roaring graphic novel storytelling.

 

Calvino (Horse Diaries #14) by Whitney Sanderson, illus. by Ruth Sanderson

Shunned even before she was born and destined to live a life of solitude, Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, finds power through her skilled hunting ability and mighty bow. She slays those who wish to do harm to the innocent and takes care of the young and helpless. She protects women and young girls, helps in childbirth, soothes, and is unrivaled in her hunting abilities. In the latest volume of Olympians, New York Times–bestselling author George O’Connor continues to turn his extensive knowledge of the original Greek myths into rip-roaring graphic novel storytelling.

 

NONFICTION

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal, illus. by Laura Freeman

As soon as Ann Cole Lowe could walk, her momma and grandma taught her to sew. She worked near her momma in their Alabama family shop in the early 1900s, making glorious dresses for women who went to fancy parties. When Ann was 16, her momma died, and Ann continued sewing dresses. It wasn’t easy, especially when she went to design school and had to learn alone, segregated from the rest of the class. But the work she did set her spirit soaring, as evidenced in the clothes she made, including Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress and Olivia de Havilland’s dress at the Oscars when she won for Best Actress in To Each His Own. Rarely credited, Ann Cole Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them.

 

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez

At sixteen years old, Laurie Hernandez has already made many of her dreams come true—and yet it’s only the beginning for this highly accomplished athlete. A Latina Jersey girl, Laurie saw her life take a dramatic turn last summer when she was chosen to be a part of the 2016 US Olympic gymnastics team. After winning gold in Rio as part of the Final Five, Laurie also earned an individual silver medal for her performance on the balance beam. Nicknamed “the Human Emoji” for her wide-eyed and animated expressions, Laurie continued to dance her way into everyone’s hearts while competing on the hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, where she was the youngest-ever winner of the Mirrorball Trophy. Poignant and funny, Laurie’s story is about growing up with the dream of becoming an Olympian and what it took to win gold. She talks about her loving family, her rigorous training, her intense sacrifices, and her amazing triumphs.

 

Where Is The Colosseum? by Jim O’Connor, illus. by John O’Brien and David Groff

The Emperor Titus opened the enormous Colosseum in AD 80 to host 100 days of games, and it will astound readers to learn what the ancient Romans found entertaining. Over 50,000 screaming fans watched gladiators battling each other to the death, men fighting exotic wild beasts, and even mock sea battles with warships floating on an arena floor flooded with water. By AD 476 the Roman Empire had fallen, and yet the ruins of the Colosseum remain a world-famous landmark of an unforgettable time.

 

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illus. by Vanessa Brantley Newton

Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference. Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-i-l! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Dorian Cirrone is the co-regional advisor for the Florida Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has written several books for children and teens. Her most recent middle-grade novel, The First Last Day (Simon and Schuster/Aladdin), is available wherever books are sold. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: http://doriancirrone.com/welcome/blog/

January New Releases

If your New Year’s resolution had anything to do with reading more middle-grade books, you’re in luck! There’s something for everyone this month, including a fabulous new book by MUF contributor, Rosanne Parry.

Below is a sampling of January’s new books. Click on the title for information on ordering. Happy 2016!

FC9780375869723The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry

In Japan, you’re always prepared for an earthquake. That’s why Kai knows just what to do when the first rumbles shake the earth. And then he does the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do: He runs. And then the tsunami hits. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Kai’s cousin Jet sets sail off the coast of Astoria, Oregon. She knows she should have checked the tide—she always checks the tide. Except this time she didn’t. When the biggest mistakes of their lives bring them together, Jet and Kai spend the summer regretting that one moment when they made the wrong decision. But there’s something about friendship that heals all wounds and, together, Jet and Kai find the one thing they never thought they’d have again—hope.


FC9780545782302Ruby Lee and Me
by Shannon Hitchcock

Everything’s changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin’s tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren’t the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there’s talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly—Mrs. Smyre is like no other teacher anyone has ever seen around these parts. She’s the first African American teacher. It’s 1969, and while black folks and white folks are cordial, having a black teacher at an all-white school is a strange new happening. For Sarah Beth, there are so many unanswered questions. What is all this talk about Freedom Riders and school integration? Why can’t she and Ruby become best friends? And who says school isn’t for anybody who wants to learn—or teach? In a world filled with uncertainty, one very special teacher shows her young students and the adults in their lives that change invites unexpected possibilities.

9780545811903Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel

Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit’s foot is the secret to success. However, there aren’t enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can’t pass a ladder without walking under it, and black cats won’t leave her alone. That’s because Sadie is an Unlucky. And things will only get worse as she gets older, which is why Unluckies are sent away at age twelve to protect those around them. Sadie can’t stand the thought of leaving home, so she and her friend, Cooper, devise a plan to reverse her bad luck. But when their scheme accidentally results in a broken mirror, the situation turns dire. Because for Sadie, seven years bad luck isn’t an inconvenience—it’s practically a death sentence. Can a girl who’s never so much as found a single lucky penny change her fortune? Or will she be forced to celebrate her twelfth birthday by saying farewell to everyone she loves? 

9780803733053American Ace by Marilyn Nelson

Connor’s grandmother leaves his dad a letter when she dies, and the letter’s confession shakes their tight-knit Italian-American family: The man who raised Dad is not his birth father. But the only clues to this birth father’s identity are a class ring and a pair of pilot’s wings. And so Connor takes it upon himself to investigate—a pursuit that becomes even more pressing when Dad is hospitalized after a stroke. What Connor discovers will lead him and his father to a new, richer understanding of race, identity, and each other. This riveting novel in verse, perfect for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Toni Morrison, explores American history and race through the eyes of a teenage boy embracing his newfound identity.

9781481417587Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Nick and Eryn’s mom is getting remarried, and the twelve-year-old twins are skeptical when she tells them their lives won’t change much. Well, yes, they will have to move. And they will have a new stepfather, stepbrother, and stepsister. But Mom tells them not to worry. They won’t ever have to meet their stepsiblings. This news puzzles Nick and Eryn, so the twins set out on a mission to find out who these kids are—and why they’re being kept hidden.

9780399173431 A Tiny Piece of Sky by Shawn K. Stout

World War II is coming in Europe. At least that’s what Frankie Baum heard on the radio. But from her small town in Maryland, in the wilting summer heat of 1939, the war is a world away.  Besides, there are too many other things to think about: first that Frankie’s father up and bought a restaurant without telling anyone and now she has to help in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and washing dishes, when she’d rather be racing to Wexler’s Five and Dime on her skates. Plus her favorite sister, Joanie Baloney, is away for the summer and hasn’t been answering any of Frankie’s letters. But when some people in town start accusing her father of being a German spy, all of a sudden the war arrives at Frankie’s feet and she can think of nothing else. Could the rumors be true? Frankie has to do some spying of her own to try to figure out her father’s secrets and clear his good name. What she discovers about him surprises everyone, but is nothing compared to what she discovers about the world. 

9780451470348Soar by Joan Bauer

Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach. Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town—and the team—back in the game.

9780553535037The Cat Who Came In Off the Roof  by Annie M.G. Schmidt, illustrated by David Colmer

An act of kindness brings shy reporter Mr. Tibble into contact with the unusual Miss Minou. Tibble is close to losing his job because he only writes stories about cats. Fortunately, Minou provides him with real news. She gets the juicy inside information from her local feline friends, who are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood. Tibble is appreciative, but he wonders how she does it. He has noticed that Minou is terrified of dogs and can climb trees and rooftops with elegance and ease. . . . It’s almost as if she’s a cat herself. But how can that be?

9781481445931Bounders by Monica Tesler

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts. Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world. But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

9780385387965Pugs of the Frozen North (A Not-So-Impossible Tale) by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre

When True Winter comes, it’s time for the Great Northern Race! The best sled teams in the world must reach a mysterious man called the Snowfather. He will grant one wish to the winners. Young racers Sika and Shen want to win more than anything. But they don’t have big sled dogs—all they have is sixty-six yappy, yippy puppy pugs. Can this unlikely team make their dreams come true? For early chapter book readers who are ready for something longer, the Not-So-Impossible Tales are packed with humor, action, and color illustrations on almost every page.

9780544086968The Last Bogler by Catherine Jinks

With the plague of bogles in Victorian London barely contained, bogle hunter Alfred Bunce needs all the help he can get. So Ned Roach becomes a bogler’s apprentice, luring child-eating monsters from their lairs just like his friends Jem and Birdie. It’s dangerous work that takes Ned into mysterious and hidden parts of the city. Yet times in London are changing; as the machine age emerges, the very existence of bogles is questioned, and the future of bogling is in jeopardy. And the stakes get even higher for the team of boglers when an old enemy appears—a threat that may be deadlier than any bogle.

9780805099065Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan has always dreamed of becoming a spy like the ones he reads of in his favorite magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales. Instead, he spends his days keeping his eccentric family from complete disaster … that is, until the villainous archeologist, Sir Titus Dane, kidnaps Edward’s parents as part of a scheme to loot an undiscovered dragon tomb. Edward and his sisters set out on a perilous pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must evade Sir Titus’s minions, battle mechanical nasties, and escape deadly Martian hunting machines. If they can’t, they will never uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb and rescue Edward’s family.

9780553510409Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

This time Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever LIBRARY OLYMPICS. Will it be fun? Like the commercials say … HELLO? It’s a Lemoncello! But something suspicious is going on … books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to CENSOR what the kids are reading?! In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery. Now it’s not just a game—can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries? Packed with puzzles, clues, and thrilling surprises, this is a deliciously fun, action-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Let the games begin!

9780545665773Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he’s ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he’s lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn’t about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left. Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn’t lost hope. And he hasn’t lost the fire in his belly that says he’s getting his Sarah back—no matter what.

9781419716805The Terrible Two Get Worse by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

On their own, pranksters Miles and Niles were pretty devious. Now that they’ve formed a pranking duo, they’re terrible! But their powers will be tested when their favorite nemesis, Principal Barkin, is replaced by his stern and cunning father, Former Principal Barkin. Now Miles and Niles will do just about anything to get their old antagonist back—including pranking alongside him.

9780062343208Stick Dog Tries to Take the Donuts by Tom Watson

Stick Dog and his team of strays are off on another outrageous canine caper. To snatch some breakfast treats for his hungry pals, Stick Dog will need to stop a moving truck, outfox a man on a telephone pole, and calm down a very caffeinated Karen. But that’s not all. He’ll also need to manage the greatest confrontation in history when his good friend Poo-Poo comes face-to-face with the ultimate enemy—a squirrel.

9780545767491Mission Hurricane (The 39 Clues: Doublecross, Book 3) by Jenny Goebel

Who is the Outcast and why is he threatening the lives of innocent people? Book 3 reveals a shocking secret that will send Amy and Dan—and the world—reeling.

9780374301811The Rule of Three: Will to Survive by Eric Walters

Here is the gripping conclusion to an acclaimed trilogy about one suburban neighborhood’s existence after a global blackout. Teenager Adam Daley has killed again. It had to be done, part of him knows that, but murder changes a person. It can certainly change a kid who’s already grown up too quickly, too harshly, in the wake of the catastrophic global shutdown four months ago. In the name of safety and survival, Adam and his neighbors have turned their middle American community into a fortress, defending against countless enemies. But what’s lurking in the dark is a greater danger than ever before: somebody who wants to destroy the neighborhood and Adam at any cost. Soon, the hunted will have to become the hunter . . . and Adam hates himself for what he will have to do. Because sometimes even the dark is not cover enough for things that would never happen in the light.

9781481410007The Extra Yard (Home Team) by Mike Lupica

Last spring Teddy’s life changed for the better. He started working out, shaping up, and even earned a spot on the Walton baseball team, and with the team he went all the way to the Little League World Series. But the best things to come out of that season were his friendships with Jack, Cassie, and Gus, and the confidence to finally try out for the sport he really loves—football. So when eighth grade begins, Teddy couldn’t be more psyched. Until his mom drops a bomb: his father—who left them a long time ago—is back in Walton and back in their lives. And Teddy isn’t happy about it. As a former star football player at the school, Teddy’s dad is thrilled to find out his son is going out for the team, but Teddy begins to wonder if his father only cares about him now because he’s putting on the helmet. Can Teddy find a way to go the extra yard for the team and for himself, or is the distance between him and his father too much to overcome? 

9780399257988Spring According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Spring is in the air, and lots of things are growing—including the Room 26 family! Signs of spring are very exciting to everyone at Longfellow School. Mrs. Brisbane’s class has seen flowers poking out of snow and baby birds hatching, and Just-Joey even brought in tadpoles that are growing into frogs. It also means Family Fun Night is coming up, and all of the students’ families are involved in making amazing activities. Humphrey helps in many ways, of course, but he can’t stop wondering about his own family. He doesn’t know anything about his mom or dad. Luckily, all of his wonderful friends help him see that families come in many shapes and sizes, and Humphrey’s might be the biggest (and best!) one of all.

9780545855228My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter

Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua’s latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He’s taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name—Friday—and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel’s journey from freedom, to captivity, and back again.

9780553520705The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew Chilton

THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny. THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted. PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon. And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped. All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.

9780374302160Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Manami is a ten-year-old girl, born on Bainbridge Island in Washington to Japanese parents. In March of 1942, following orders for relocation in Executive Order 9066, Manami and her family and the entire Japanese-American population of Bainbridge Island, are sent to Manzanar, an internment camp in central California. On the day they are to leave their island home, Manami is distressed when she learns that they are leaving her dog behind, too. When no one is watching, she hides her dog inside her coat. She manages to sneak him onto the ferry that takes them to the mainland, but a soldier spots him before she can board the bus that will take them to the train station. What happens next causes Manami to stop speaking. At the camp, it is up to Manami to hold her family together. And she can only do that by learning to speak again.

9780803738836The Crocodile Tomb (Gods and Warriors) by Michelle Paver

Hylas and Pirra finally arrive in Egypt, only to find that the dagger Userref guarded is missing. Even worse, Telamon and the Crows are also in Egypt to hunt for the dagger, and they’ll stop at nothing until they get what they’ve come for. But when Hylas realizes where the dagger is hidden—in Egypt’s ancient tombs, buried with the restless souls of the dead—it’s going to take all of his courage to slip inside. And as his otherworldly visions grow stronger, Hylas isn’t confident that he’ll have the strength to make it out alive. With Havoc the lioness and Echo the falcon at their sides, Hylas and Pirra must rescue the dagger and make a daring escape…before the gods of Egypt consume them all.  

9781481409223The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves) by James Riley, illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos

Owen Conners would never jump into a mystery. There are too many hidden clues, twists that make no sense, and an ending you never see coming. Mysteries are just not Owen’s thing. So how exactly did he end up in one with his memory erased? And that’s far from the only question. How did Kiel Gnomenfoot, boy magician, lose all of his magic? Where’s Bethany, their half-fictional friend? And who’s the annoying guy wearing the question mark mask and Sherlock Holmes hat, taunting Owen and Kiel that Bethany is in grave danger? Bethany is trapped in a hidden room that’s slowly filling with water, and she can’t escape until her friends find her. But is she imprisoned by more than just chains and a locked door? What’s she hiding from Owen and Kiel? Maybe some mysteries just shouldn’t be solved…

9780062272218The Morrigan’s Curse (Eighth Day) by Dianne K. Salerni

The battle between Kin and Transitioners that’s been brewing for centuries has finally come to a head. The sinister Kin have captured Evangeline’s younger sister, Addie, a descendant of Merlin whose presence will allow them to reverse the Eighth Day Spell and free themselves. Addie doesn’t realize the full consequences of her cooperation. She’s been helping the Kin because they value the strength of her magic—something Evangeline never did. The feeling of power coursing through her veins is impossible to resist. Meanwhile, Riley, Evangeline, and Jax craft a plan to rescue Addie from her captors. But the Kin’s unstoppable magic, and a rebellious Addie, force Riley to reconsider whether saving Addie is worth sacrificing everyone who lives in the seven-day week. Jax won’t let Evangeline’s sister be used as a pawn, so he risks it all in a secret mission of his own. With the Morrigan pushing both sides of the war toward annihilation, Addie must decide where her loyalties lie, while Jax, Riley, and Evangeline confront the possibility of losing Addie to save the world.

9780545683005Wild Blood (Horses of the Dawn #3) by Kathryn Lasky

After adopting an orphan human boy, the First Herd is finally ready to make the treacherous journey across the mountains to find the Sweet Grass that promises survival. But when cruel men capture their leader, Estrella, it delivers a blow to the very heart of the herd. If the horses turn back, they’ll never make it across the mountains before winter. But if they leave Estrella in captivity, the wild-born filly will surely perish. This conclusion to Kathryn Lasky’s Horses of the Dawn trilogy will make your heart beat to the rhythm of thundering hooves, leaving you breathless as you join the herd’s final fight for freedom.

9781484713525The Zodiac Legacy: The Dragon’s Return by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, illustrated by Andie Tong

In this second illustrated novel of The Zodiac Legacy series, the dangerous dragon power only grows stronger within Jasmine, and Steven struggles to hold their ragtag team together. But as alliances become strained, the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” becomes blurrier and blurrier. And it all culminates in a major cliffhanger that readers won’t see coming!

9780061996498Seekers: Return to the Wild #6 The Longest Day by Erin Hunter

Lusa, Toklo, Kallik, and Yakone have returned to Great Bear Lake for the Longest Day Gathering. This means being reunited with the familiar faces of bears they have encountered throughout their travels—but it also means returning to life among their own kind, which may not be as easy as they thought. This is the thrilling finale Seekers fans have been waiting for.

9780062342331Spirit Week Showdown (Magnificent Mya Tibbs) by Crystal Allen, illustrated by Eda Kaban

Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is boot-scootin’ excited for the best week of the whole school year—SPIRIT WEEK! She and her megapopular best friend, Naomi Jackson, even made a pinky promise to be Spirit Week partners so they can win the big prize: special VIP tickets to the Fall Festival! But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate—the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it. Good gravy. Now Naomi is friend-ending mad at Mya for breaking a promise—even though Mya couldn’t help it—and everyone at school is calling Mya names. Can Mya work with Mean Connie to win the VIP tickets and get her best friend back?

9781481432672The Journey Home by Brandon Wallace

At the start of the summer, Jake and Taylor Wilder set out on the adventure of a lifetime. After seeing their mother loaded into an ambulance because of Bull, her terrifying boyfriend, the boys know they are no longer safe. So they go in search of their father, who has been living off the grid in Wyoming. After jumping trains, hitching a ride with a truck driver, and hiding in the luggage compartment of a tour bus, the boys finally find him in Grand Teton National Park. Just as the boys are getting used to their father’s lifestyle—and his “my way is the only way” attitude—they learn that their mother is still alive. But if the brothers don’t give back the money they took from Bull last year, she could be taken away from them…for good. Convinced that their father isn’t going to help, the Wilder boys set out on their own again. It’s a long way from Wyoming to Pittsburgh, and with winter approaching there will be new challenges. But they have to get back. Will the brothers be able to make it back to their mother before it’s too late?

9781481416146Anna, Banana, and the Puppy Parade by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Meg Park

Anna can’t wait for the Puppy Parade. She’s certain Banana will win. Soon Banana will be famous—and that means Anna will be famous, too! But when Sadie and Isabel suggest they all enter the parade together, Anna starts feeling a little unsure about sharing her dog—and the spotlight—with her friends. How can Anna be Best in Show and a good best friend?

9780545813037Secrets of Bearhaven (Bearhaven #1) by K.E. Rocha

It starts with a chase. When Spencer Plain is pulled out of school in the middle of the day, he never expects to be speeding down the highway with his uncle, trying to outpace the car that’s tailing them. And he certainly never thought he’d find himself fleeing from a bear through the woods. And when he hears the bear say “We’ve been expecting you,” Spencer knows he’s just uncovered a whole world he’d never imagined. He’s brought to Bearhaven, a secret oasis his parents created for bears. But there are depths to Bearhaven that Spencer and his new bear cub friend, Kate, start to uncover. Spencer finds out he’s been there before, even if he can’t remember. He also stumbles into a rescue mission being planned, to save a bear in danger. He knows he can help, and he’s desperate to find clues to his parents’ whereabouts, so he and Kate decide to take matters into their own hands—even if they discover a secret that could threaten Bearhaven’s future!

9781626722972Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Phil Gosier

When Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country―and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime! Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?

9780374374303Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key

In this gritty, realistic wilderness adventure, thirteen-year-old Cort is caught in a battle against a Gulf Coast hurricane. Cort’s father is a local expert on hunting and swamp lore in lower Alabama who has been teaching his son everything he knows. But when a deadly Category 3 storm makes landfall, Cort must unexpectedly put his all his skills—and bravery—to the test. One catastrophe seems to lead to another, leaving Cort and two neighbor girls to face the storm as best they can. Amid miles of storm-thrashed wetlands filled with dangerous, desperate wild animals, it’s up to Cort to win-or lose-the fight for their lives.

9780385733786The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence

Less than forty-eight hours after twelve-year-old Chris sets off on a sailing trip down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to forage, fish, and scavenge the shore for supplies. Chris likes the company of a curious, friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive. Because as the days get colder and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. Eventually, in the wilderness of Alaska, the boys discover an improbable bond—and the compassion that might truly be the path to rescue.

9780062227980The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher

Sophie Young and Grace Yang have been taking it easy ever since they solved the biggest crime Luna Vista had ever seen. But things might get interesting again now that everyone is gearing up for the 125th annual Winter Sun Festival—a town tradition that involves floats, a parade, and a Royal Court made up of local high school girls. When Festival president Jim Steptoe turns up dead on the first day of parade preparations, the police blame a malfunctioning giant s’more feature on the campfire-themed float. But the two sleuths are convinced the mysterious death wasn’t an accident. Young and Yang must trade their high tops for high heels and infiltrate the Royal Court to solve the case. But if they fail, they might just be the next victims.

9780545722391To Catch a Cheat: A Jackson Greene Novel by Varian Johnson

Jackson Greene is riding high. He is officially retired from conning, so Principal Kelsey is (mostly) off his back. His friends have great new projects of their own. And he’s been hanging out a lot with Gaby de la Cruz, so he thinks maybe, just maybe, they’ll soon have their first kiss. Then Jackson receives a link to a faked security video that seems to show him and the rest of Gang Greene flooding the school gym. The jerks behind the video threaten to pass it to the principal—unless Jackson steals an advance copy of the school’s toughest exam. So Gang Greene reunites for their biggest job yet. To get the test and clear their names, they’ll have to outrun the school’s security cameras, outwit a nosy member of the Honor Board, and outmaneuver the blackmailers while setting a trap for them in turn. And as they execute another exciting caper full of twists and turns, they’ll prove that sometimes it takes a thief to catch a cheat.

9780545825016Study Hall of Justice (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1) by Derek Fridolfs, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen

Young Bruce Wayne is the new kid at Ducard Academy, a prep school for gifted middle school students. Bruce finds out pretty quickly that he doesn’t fit in: the faculty seems to not just encourage villainous behavior from its students, but reward it. He makes friends with two other outsiders, farm boy Clark Kent and the regal Diana Prince. The three band together to form a detective squad to find out why all of these extraordinary kids have been brought together at Ducard Academy, and to see just what the faculty is plotting.

9780310735571The Dragon’s Descent (An Ether Novel) by Laurice Elehwany Molinari

Everything Vero has trained for in the Ether has led to this. In the third and final book of Laurice E. Molinari’s Ether series, the young guardian angel Vero is given the quest of locating the Book of Raziel—which was lost when Adam was forced to leave the garden of Eden. And not even Raziel himself knows where the book is now. It soon becomes clear, however, that Lucifer is intent on finding the book for his own means. When the C.A.N.D.L.E. library in the Ether is missing the information he needs, Vero, his sister, and his best friend, Tack, discover the clues to the book’s whereabouts may be right in front of them on Earth—and that Vero’s father’s new assignment in Sri Lanka may be no coincidence. As their quest begins in earnest, the lines between good and evil begin to blur. Vero will need to use every ounce of his training to take on not only the Devil and his hordes, but also Lilith, who may be lurking closer than anyone thinks. 

9780545789752The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

What would you do if every spark of electricity suddenly vanished, as if somebody had flipped a switch on the entire planet? Cars won’t start, the heat shuts off, there’s no water in your faucet, and your radio, TV, and flashlight go dark. Everyone in Charlie’s small town is baffled. But as time passes, lawlessness erupts and takes an ugly turn. When the market and pharmacy are torched by an anti-Semitic arsonist, Charlie realizes his mother will die without her medicine. So he dons skis and heads off alone, seeking the nearest hospital. After traveling 50 miles through brutal ice and snow, Charlie encounters a burned-out, looted city of terrified citizens. Will he be able to save his mom?

Nonfiction

FC9780062387301Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can by Cynthia Levinson

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a true leader. Growing up in Park Ridge, Illinois, Hillary was inspired by the philosophy of John Wesley, who urged his followers to “do all the good you can.” Rising to prominence in 1992 as the First Lady of the United States, Hillary captured the world’s attention with her bold ideas and political forcefulness. From her time at Wellesley to her life at the White House and beyond, Hillary has been at the forefront of huge change—and despite setbacks and political scandals, she has worked for good in the world. Acclaimed author Cynthia Levinson creates a compelling and personal portrait of Hillary’s historic journey from her childhood to her service as secretary of state and beyond. Includes a timeline of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s life and an eight-page photo insert.

9780802737397The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

In 1847, a young African American girl named Sarah Roberts was attending a school in Boston. Then one day she was told she could never come back. She didn’t belong. The Otis School was for white children only. Sarah deserved an equal education, and the Roberts family fought for change. They made history. Roberts v. City of Boston was the first case challenging our legal system to outlaw segregated schools. It was the first time an African American lawyer argued in a supreme court. These first steps set in motion changes that ultimately led to equality under the law in the United States. Sarah’s cause was won when people—black and white—stood together and said, No more. Now, right now, it is time for change. With gorgeous art from award-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis, The First Step is an inspiring look at the first lawsuit to demand desegregation—long before the American Civil Rights movement, even before the Civil War.

9781613731307In the Fields and the Trenches: The Famous and the Forgotten on the Battlefields of World War I by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

With World War I as a backdrop, readers will encounter heroes, cowards, comics, and villains—some famous, but most not—who participated in this life-changing event. Author Kerrie Logan Hollihan uses extensive original material, from letters sent from the front to personal journals, to bring these men and women back to life. And though their stories are a century old, they convey modern, universal themes of love, death, power, greed, courage, hate, fear, family, friendship, and sacrifice. Writer J. R. R. Tolkien was a signals officer with the British Expeditionary Force and fought at the Battle of the Somme. Scientist Irène Curie helped her mother Marie run twenty French field hospitals. Actor Buster Keaton left Hollywood after being drafted into the army’s 40th Infantry Division. And all four of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons—Kermit, Archibald, Quentin, and Theodore III—fought in Europe, though one did not return.

9780553498080The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller

In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets under way, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges.  With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction.

9780545804516The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson

Steven Satlow is an eight-year-old boy living in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve. But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It’s 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before.Then it happens—Steve’s new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson! Steve is beyond excited about living two doors down from the Robinson family. He can’t wait to meet Jackie. This is going to be the best baseball season yet! How many kids ever get to become friends with their hero?

9780448488530Who Was Maya Angelou by Ellen Labrecque, illustrators Dede Putra and Nancy Harrison

Born in Missouri in 1928, Maya Angelou had a difficult childhood. Jim Crow laws segregated blacks and whites in the South. Her family life was unstable at times. But much like her poem, “Still I Rise,” Angelou was able to lift herself out of her situation and flourish. She moved to California and became the first black—and first female—streetcar operator before following her interest in dance. She became a professional performer in her twenties and toured the U.S. and Europe as an opera star and calypso dancer. But Angelou’s writing became her defining talent. Her poems and books, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her international acclaim.

9780448488899Where Is the Parthenon? By Roberta Edwards, illustrated by John Hinderliter and David Groff

Athens, Greece, is best known for the Parthenon, the ruins of an ancient temple completed in 438 BC to honor the goddess Athena. But what many people don’t know is that it only served as a temple for a couple hundred years. It then became a church, then a mosque, and by the end of the 1600s served as a storehouse for munitions. When an enemy army fired hundreds of cannon balls at the Acropolis, one directly hit the Parthenon. Much of the sculpture was destroyed, three hundred people died, and the site fell into ruin. Today, visitors continue to flock to this world famous landmark, which has become a symbol for Ancient Greece, democracy, and modern civilization. Includes black-and-white illustrations and a foldout color map!

9780545160759Who Would Win? Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster

What would happen if a great white shark and a killer whale met each other?  What if they were both hungry?  What if they had a fight?  Who do you think would win?

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, which takes place on the New Jersey Shore, will be published in June 2016 by S&S/Aladdin. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: http://doriancirrone.com/welcome/blog/