Posts Tagged Dan Gutman

April’s New Releases

No fooling! April has some seriously great new middle grade releases: Fiction that ranges from funny to fantastic; books that tell true life stories; an interactive journal; a novel written by a fictional TV character; and two new books (a biography and a historical novel) by our own Julie K. Rubini and Rosanne Parry. Congrats to Julie, Rosanne, and all our featured April authors!

 

Eye to Eye: Sports Journalist Christine Brennan by Julie K. Rubini

Christine Brennan, the USA Today sports columnist, author, and commentator, uses her voice to advocate for diversity and equality in the world of sports, and her wisdom to encourage future journalists. Her passion for sports was sparked by her dad, who encouraged her to participate in athletics and, as he said, “smell the game”—go watch baseball and football games together. As a child, Christine wrote daily entries in her diary and listened to play-by-play coverage on her radio. She pursued this love of words through journalism school and applied her passion for sports by reporting on them for various newspapers. Since then, she has portrayed the setbacks and triumphs of athletes, all the while fighting her own battles for success—and respect—as a female journalist. From knocking down barriers in NFL locker rooms to covering every Olympics since 1984 to being the go-to commentator whenever scandal occurs in the sports world, Christine Brennan has done it all. Eye to Eye invites young readers to learn more about this remarkable journalist and perhaps to nurture their own dreams of investigating and telling important stories.

 

Last of the Name by Rosanne Parry

Twelve-year-old Danny O’Carolan and his sister, Kathleen, arrive in New York City in 1863. Kathleen refuses to be parted from her only remaining relative, so she finds a job in domestic service for herself and her younger … sister. Danny reluctantly pretends to be a girl to avoid being sent to the children’s workhouse or recruited as a drummer boy for the Union army. When he occasionally sneaks off to spend a few hours as a boy and share his rich talent for Irish dancing, he discovers the vast variety of New York’s neighborhoods. But the Civil War draft is stoking tensions between the Irish and free black populations. With dangers escalating, how can Danny find a safe place to call home?

 

 

The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin

When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she is a complete outsider: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they’ve known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a shock of their own: Paulie Fink–the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius–is gone this year. As stories of Paulie’s hijinks unfold, his legend builds, until they realize there’s only one way to fill the Paulie-sized hole in their class. They’ll find their next great Paulie Fink through a reality-show style competition, to be judged by the only objective person around: Caitlyn, who never even met Paulie Fink. Who was this kid, anyway–prankster, performance artist, philosopher, or fool? Caitlyn’s quest to understand Paulie is about to teach her more about herself than she ever imagined. Told via multiple voices, interviews, and other documents, The Next Great Paulie Fink is a lighthearted yet surprisingly touching exploration of how we build up and tear down our own myths…about others, our communities, and ourselves.

 

 

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

Thirteen-year-old Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the local library—as punishment. What a waste of a summer! Or so she thinks. A Kind of Paradise is an unforgettable story about the power of community, the power of the library, and the power of forgiveness.

 

 

 

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-Mcginnis

Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her mother is the book she left behind, The Complete Guide to Birds: Volume One, and a message: “In flight is where you’ll find me.” December believes she’s truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms and flies away to her real home. The scar on her back must be where her wings have started to blossom – she just needs to find the right tree and practice her flying. She has no choice; it’s the only story that makes sense. When she’s placed with Eleanor, a new foster mom who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see herself and what home means in a new light. But the story she tells herself about her past is what’s kept December going this long, and she doesn’t know if she can let it go… even if changing her story might mean that she can finally find a place where she belongs.

 

 

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal 

by Jeff Kinney

Get ready for a whole new look into Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Introducing the newest Wimpy Kid author—Rowley Jefferson! Rowley’s best friend Greg Heffley has been chronicling his middle-school years in thirteen Diary of a Wimpy Kid journals . . . and counting. But it’s finally time for readers to hear directly from Rowley in a journal of his own. In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley writes about his experiences and agrees to play the role of biographer for Greg along the way. (After all, one day Greg will be rich and famous, and everyone will want to know his life’s story.) But Rowley is a poor choice for the job, and his “biography” of Greg is a hilarious mess. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal offers readers a new way to look at the Wimpy world—one fans won’t want to miss!

 

Spy School British Invasion by Stuart Gibbs

Stranded in Mexico after nearly capturing the leaders of SPYDER, thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley desperately needs to take a shower. But even more so, he and his spy school friends need to come up with a new plan to defeat their enemies, their only clue a key that opens…something. The Mission: Go rogue from the CIA, join up with the British MI6 to locate the leader of SPYDER, the enigmatic Mr. E, and bring down the evil organization once and for all. Only it won’t be easy. They’ll have to deal with rival evil splinter factions, devious double-crosses and learning to drive on the opposite side of the road. But they have no other choice: this is their last and final chance to crack the code on SPYDER.

 

Warriors: The Broken Code #1 Lost Stars by Erin Hunter

For the first time, all five warrior Clans have settled into their true homes in the territory around the lake. But when a shockingly harsh leaf-bare season descends on the forest, a new darkness begins to spread—a shadow that threatens a beloved Clan leader, the cats’ connection with their ancestors in StarClan, and the very warrior code they live by. Packed with action and intrigue, the beginning of this sixth Warriors series is the perfect introduction for readers new to the Warriors world. And dedicated fans will be thrilled to discover the new adventures that unfold after the events of A Vision of Shadows.

 

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, the funny guy who hosts The Daily Show, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa, with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child like him to exist. But he did exist–and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government. This compelling memoir blends drama, comedy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day trials that turned a boy into a young man. In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself, thanks to his mom’s unwavering love and indomitable will. It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime not only provides a fascinating and honest perspective on South Africa’s racial history, but it will also astound and inspire young readers looking to improve their own lives.

 

Wild Rescuers: Escape to the Mesa by Stacy Plays

From YouTube gamer StacyPlays comes the exhilarating sequel to her Minecraft-inspired adventure novel about a girl raised by wolves. Stacy would do anything to protect the Taiga where she lives with the pack of intelligent wolves who raised her. But when humans start to encroach on their forest, their only choice is escape to a place no Arctic wolf has gone before: the desert. The Mesa, with its canyons, snakes, and coyotes, will be like nothing the pack has ever seen. Even in this unfamiliar territory, Stacy is determined to rescue animals in need. But as she and her wolves face new dangers and old secrets, Stacy can’t help but wonder—where does she truly belong?

 

Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story by Raina Telgemeier

Calling all fans of Raina Telgemeier! Have you ever thought about telling your own story, whether it be true or imagined? Are you interested in writing, drawing, or both? If the answers are yes, this fun, colorful, and interactive journal is for you! With guidance from Raina herself, brainstorm ideas, make lists, paste in personal photos, and use your imagination like never before to create your own stories. For additional inspiration, behind-the-scenes info from Raina’s own comics-making adventures is featured inside. BONUS: Raina’s next graphic novel, Guts, will be published on September 17, 2019. A special sneak peek is included in this book!

 

The Legends of Greemulax by Kimmie Schmidt and Sarah Mlynowski
Penn dreads the day that he will start to become a monster, but it’s inevitable. The youngest of his tribe in Greemulax, he knows that as boys become men, they turn into powerful, hairy blue creatures called Grabagorns, and that their solemn vow is to never again be weak. Legend has it that dragons all but destroyed Greemulax years ago during a terrible time known as the Great Scorch. Not one of the tight-knit community’s girls or women survived, and the men, ruled by Grabagorn Prime, have lived in mourning and anger ever since. But when one of Penn’s dragon traps catches a real live girl named Kristy, he starts to question everything he thought was true. Together, Penn and Kristy set off on an adventure that will take them to a tugboat in a tree and through a treacherous lake of pudding, toward a candy forest guarded by dragons that might hold the answers they seek. The more time they spend with each other, however, the faster Penn transforms into the monster he fears, and the more Kristy seems to fade away into nothing. Can they reach their destination before it’s too late?

 

Aru Shah and the Song of Death (A Pandava Novel Book 2) by Roshani Chokshi
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time. Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

 

Spill the Beans (Whatever After #13) by Sarah Mlynowski
My brother Jonah’s dream has come true. We have FINALLY landed in his favorite fairy tale: Jack and the Beanstalk! It’s a lot of fun meeting Jack. But then we accidentally mess up his story, which means Jack can’t climb up the magic beanstalk to find the giant’s riches. It’s time to take matters into our own hands. Now we have to:
– Make a deal with a sneaky trader
– Climb a beanstalk into the sky
– Try not to get eaten by a giant
– Find the goose that lays golden eggs
Otherwise, Jack won’t get his treasure, and our troubles will be GIGANTIC . . .

 

 

Mirror, Mirror: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita

Mirror, Mirror: A Twisted Tale poses the question, what if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince? Following her beloved mother’s death, the kingdom falls into the hands of Snow White’s stepmother, commonly referred to as “the Evil Queen” by those she rules. Snow keeps her head down at the castle, hoping to make the best of her situation. But when new information about her parents resurfaces and a plot to kill her goes haywire, everything changes for Snow. With the help of a group of wary dwarfs, a kind prince she thought she’d never see again, and a mysterious stranger from her past, Snow embarks on a quest to stop the Evil Queen and take back her kingdom. But can she stop an enemy who knows her every move and will stop at nothing to retain her power… including going after the ones Snow loves?

 

 

Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Oscar is a happy dogg–a rambunctious kid who loves being a Dogg Scout. Thanks to his family, he knows that snobby katts are good for nothing but chasing up trees. Molly is a clever katt who just knows she’s destined for fame and fortune as an actress. She comes from a family of well-bred katts who despise drooly, disgusting doggs!
For their whole lives, Oscar and Molly have been told that katts and doggs hate each other. One day, they each get hopelessly lost in the woods, but those lifelong prejudices flare up when they cross paths. Slowly, they realize that the only way to survive and find their way home is to…work together?! Yeah, that’s not going to happen!

 

Flashback Four: The Hamilton-Burr Duel by Dan Gutman

In this jaw-dropping final installment of New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman’s action-packed series, four risk-taking friends travel back in time to record the most infamous duel in American history. Billionaire Miss Z might be out of the picture, but a top-secret agency wants to send Luke, Julia, David, and Isabel on one final mission. This time, the Flashback Four are headed to Weehawken, New Jersey—in 1804—to videotape the fateful duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. But once they arrive, the team faces a question of historic proportions: Should they capture the tragic details of the duel or try to change them? With real photographs to help put young readers right in the action, plus back matter that separates fact from fiction, The Hamilton-Burr Duel tells the story of one of history’s fiercest rivalries from a fun and fresh new angle.

 

 

Welcome to Wonderland: Beach Battle Blowout by Chris Grabenstein

Welcome to the Wonderland Motel–the funnest place on earth! Contestants, start your engines! The race to be the best on the beach is on, and this year the Wonderland is FINALLY going to win! The competition is fierce! But who needs ROLLER COASTERS and JET PACKS and PIRATES when you have not one but two SECRET WEAPONS? That’s right–P.T. and Gloria, of course! Now they just need to SLEUTH OUT who the secret contest judges are and come up with enough brand-new attractions to WOW them and OUT-FUN the competition! Can they do it? Or will the Wonderland crash and burn? Anything’s possible when you live in the FUNNEST PLACE ON EARTH! Extras include P.T. and Gloria’s famous fact-or-fiction quiz and P.T.’s (Not Exactly) Patented Storytelling Tips!

 

A Black Woman Did That! by Malaika Adero

A Black Woman Did That! spotlights vibrant, inspiring black women whose accomplishments have changed the world for the better. A Black Woman Did That! is a celebration of strong, resilient, innovative, and inspiring women of color. With a vibrant mixture of photography, illustration, biography, and storytelling, author Malaika Adero will spotlight well-known historical figures and women who are pushing boundaries today—including Ida B. Wells, Madam CJ Walker, Shirley Chisholm, Serena Williams, Mae Jamison, Stacey Abrams, Jesmyn Ward, Ava DuVernay, and Amy Sherald. Readers will recognize some names in the book, but will also be introduced to many important black women who have changed history or who are reshaping the cultural landscape.

 

Fast Break (Jeter Publishing) by Derek Jeter and Paul Mantell

Between promising Vijay that he’ll compete in the school talent show and promising Dave that he’ll try out for the basketball team, Derek Jeter has a lot he’s trying to juggle. A commitment is a commitment, and Derek is determined to work hard and try his best, but he worries he might be in over his head and fears he’s going to let his friends or himself down. How can Derek do it all? Inspired by Derek Jeter’s childhood, Fast Break is the sixth book in Jeter Publishing’s New York Times bestselling middle grade baseball series that focuses on key life lessons from Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.

 

 

The Last Last-Day-of Summer by Lamar Giles

Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.

 

 

New Middle-Grade Releases: October 2016

October’s new books are packed with mystery and adventure, history and heroics, and friendship and fun. First up: a new novel by MUF’s own Amie Borst, written with her daughter, Bethanie. Click on the titles to purchase from your favorite Indie Bookseller.


Snow Fright
9781631630903
(Scarily Ever Laughter) by Amie Borst and Bethanie Borst

Sarah White is gorgeous even if she is a little bit rotten. A mirror arrives on her twelfth birthday and she thinks it’s the perfect gift, but when the mirror swallows her whole, Sarah finds herself in the dead center of the Underworld. Sarah now has to deal with her decaying flesh and sudden craving for brains. By the time Sarah escapes the Underworld, she finds her new zombie life less than appetizing. Even worse, she needs to return to the Underworld to save her friends, Cindy and Scarlet. With a poisoned apple, a crow named Raven, and a glowing necklace, Sarah sets off to rescue her friends. She must succeed, or she’ll be a brain-craving zombie forever.

9780316125925When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller. Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

9781629797403Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

9780374302825Cinnamon Moon by Tess Hilmo

On the same day as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, 250 miles away in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, there was an even more devastating fire. Twelve-year-old Ailis and her younger brother, Quinn, survive, but their family does not. Ailis and Quinn are taken by a family acquaintance to live in a boarding house in Chicago, where they meet six-year-old Nettie, an orphan displaced by Chicago’s fire. But the woman who runs the boarding house makes their lives miserable, and Ailis vows to find a way for the three of them to leave. Ailis finds a job at a millinery shop and Quinn plays his fiddle on the streets so they can save money. Then Nettie disappears, and Ailis and Quinn discover she’s been kidnapped by a group that forces children to work in the sewers killing rats. Can they find a way to rescue her?

9781423160922The Hammer of Thor: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2 by Rick Riordan

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost; it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

9780062574329Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal by DanTDM

After a day of experiments, Trayaurus and DanTDM are about to call it a night when a strange-looking crystal plummets to earth, breaking into five pieces that scatter far and wide. DanTDM and Trayaurus recover one of the shards and quickly realize they are in possession of an object more powerful than anything they’ve ever known. But they’re not alone—Dan and Trayaurus’s archenemy, Denton, has also found a shard and manipulated its power for evil. He has created a cloning machine and is producing a terrifying marauding army intent on hunting down the remaining crystals in his effort to become all-powerful. It’s down to DanTDM and Trayaurus to stop him. Will they prevail, or will the forces of evil be too great for them to overcome?

9780399551499Time Traveling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve. On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his dead father. It directs him to the bunker of their old house, where Al finds a time machine (an ancient computer and a tin bucket). The letter also outlines a mission: travel back to 1984 and prevent the go-kart accident that will eventually take his father’s life. But as Al soon discovers, whizzing back thirty years requires not only imagination and courage, but also lying to your mom, stealing a moped, and setting your school on fire—oh, and keeping your pet hamster safe.

9780374302610Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley, illus. Jillian Tamaki

Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she’ll be leaving behind. There’s just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.

9781481445627Spy Ski School (Spy School #4) by Stuart Gibbs

Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley is not exactly the best student spy school has ever seen—he keeps flunking Advanced Self Preservation. But outside of class, Ben is pretty great at staying alive. His enemies have kidnapped him, shot at him, locked him in a room with a ticking time bomb, and even tried to blow him up with missiles. And he’s survived every time. After all that unexpected success, the CIA has decided to activate Ben for real. The Mission: Become friends with Jessica Shang, the daughter of a suspected Chinese crime boss, and find out all of her father’s secrets. Jessica wants to go to ski school in the Rocky Mountains, so a select few spy school students are going skiing too—under cover, of course. Ben might not be able to handle a weapon (or a pair of skis), but he can make friends easy peasy. That is, until his best friend from home drops in on the trip and jeopardizes the entire mission…

9780316349543Dog’s Best Friend (Middle School #8) by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illus. Jomike Tejido

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and Rafe Khatchadorian is just trying to live in it. Life in middle school is finally starting to seem bearable-until Rafe spots his grandmother standing on the free-meal line at the local soup kitchen. In order to help bring in more money, Rafe concocts a brilliant plan—a dog-walking business that soon turns into a huge money-making neighborhood empire. He’ll even have extra cash to buy his own WormHole Deluxe Multi-Platform GameBox! That is, until two terrible twins launch the Great Dog War by sabotaging Rafe’s flyers and stealing his customers. Plus, his bratty kid sister Georgia has skipped a grade—so now she’s in all of Rafe’s classes. Throw a kid a bone!

9781627798686Skunked!: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet by Jacqueline Kelly, illus. Teagan White and Jennifer L. Meyer

From Newbery honor author Jacqueline Kelly comes a new illustrated chapter book series for younger readers featuring the beloved characters from The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. In Calpurnia Tate, Animal Doctor in Training, Callie Vee, Travis, and Dr. Pritzker help animals big and small. When soft-hearted Travis discovers an abandoned baby skunk, he can’t help but bring him home and take care of him. Stinky, as Travis names him, settles in pretty well. But when Travis discovers Stinky’s litter-mate, Winky, who is in need of some help, things get complicated around the Tate house. One skunk is a piece of cake; two is just asking for trouble. Will Travis and Callie be able to keep the critters away from Mother’s careful eyes―and nose?

9780374302955Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery by Jill Diamond, illus. Lesley Vamos

Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl have been best friends since first grade. Every Friday afternoon, they get together in Lou Lou’s backyard garden for their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea party. They chat about school, discuss Pea’s latest fashions, and plot the weekend’s activities. But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos procession. First, Pea’s cousin’s quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou’s beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. And that’s just the beginning! When clues start to appear in El Corazón’s outdoor murals, the best friends join forces, using Lou Lou’s floral expertise and Pea’s artistic genius to solve the mysteries. Accented by Lesley Vamos’s spirited black-and-white illustrations, Jill Diamond’s debut is a delightful introduction to two very creative best friends and their unforgettable adventures!

9780316405744The League of Unexceptional Children: Get Smart-ish by Gitty Daneshvari

Jonathan Murray: Twelve years old. Wears khaki pants to tell the world he plans on driving the speed limit when he grows up. Saved the world once; it was probably a fluke. Shelley Brown: Twelve years old. Narrates her imaginary exploits as if she is the subject of a documentary film. Saved the world once; it was probably a fluke. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has called upon Jonathan and Shelley to catch a criminal who has stolen a virus that makes people lesssmart. When the stakes are this high, can the kids be the utterly average spies the world needs them to be and save the day? Embrace your unexceptional side in this hysterically funny sequel!

9780545840712Liberty (Dogs of World War II) by Kirby Larson

Fish has a knack for inventing. His annoying neighbor, Olympia, has a knack for messing things up. But when his latest invention leads Fish to Liberty, a beautiful stray dog who needs a home, he and Olympia work together to rescue her. At the Higgins boatyard, where the boats that just might save the Allied forces during World War II are built, the wartime workforce is integrated and includes women and the disabled. However, a friendship that crosses racial lines is not the norm in 1940s New Orleans. Fish, who suffered from polio and whose dad is away fighting in Europe, looks up to Mr. Higgins, and he’s thrilled when one of his inventions helps Mr. Higgins’s engineers unlock the mechanics of the landing crafts. Mr. Higgins inspires him to be bold and brave. As Fish enlists the help of unexpected friends and allies to save Liberty, he finds his perceptions of the world—of race and war, family and friendship—transformed.

9780062272515StarChaser (TodHunter Moon #3) by Angie Sage, illus. Mark Zug

In the third and final book in the TodHunter Moon series, Tod must find a replacement Egg of the Orm before the Castle—and all its Magyk—disappears forever. Almost one year ago, Alice TodHunter Moon left her PathFinder village to become Apprentice to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Septimus Heap. Now in faraway lands, the Castle is in peril. The brilliant blue stone is crumbling to dust and both the witch Marisa and the wicked Red Queen have their eyes on the throne. But as Tod sets off on a hazardous journey to find a new Keystone, her life may be in the greatest danger of all. Can she save the Castle while evading the fate that befell her mother? This epic finale to the series praised by Kirkus as “fast-paced, fully satisfying, and ExtraOrdinary” celebrates how hard work, selflessness, and the courage to be who you are can create a harmony that spans the seas and stars.

9781512405798The Thief’s Apprentice (Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant) by Bryan Methods

Oliver, the meek son of a wealthy British industrialist, discovers the identity of a notorious thief, a man who has been skillfully evading Scotland Yard and snatching priceless artifacts for sport: Mr. Scant, his family butler. After first fearing for his life, Oliver discovers Mr. Scant’s secret within a secret: the butler’s crimes are actually a series of strikes against an underground group of business tycoons trying to master black magic.

9780062343222Stick Dog Slurps Spaghetti by Tom Watson

Stick Dog and his gang of hungry hounds want to play tug-of-war. Their search for rope leads to something even better—spaghetti! Once they get a taste, they must get some more. It will be their most difficult mission ever—and will demand all of Stick Dog’s problem-solving skills. They’ll need to scale the tallest mountain in the suburbs and sneak into a restaurant filled with people. Dangerous humans—a strange-talking girl, a huge chef, and a penguin-man—lurk around every corner. But there’s more than danger in the air. Stick Dog has caught the scent of something even more scrumptious than spaghetti. And he’ll risk everything to find out what it is.

9781626723368Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino

In twelve-year-old Giacomo’s Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. A few artists possess Geniuses, birdlike creatures that are the living embodiment of an artist’s creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he’s in serious trouble. Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools–objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path―Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him.

9780553536027Home Sweet Motel: Welcome to Wonderland #1 by Chris Grabenstein

Eleven-year-old P.T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever. They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland!

9780545642712The Trials of Cinderella (Disenchanted: Tyme #2) by Megan Morrison

Ella Coach has one wish: revolution. Her mother died working in a sweatshop, and Ella wants every laborer in the Blue Kingdom to receive fairer treatment. But to make that happen, she’ll need some high-level support. Prince Dash Charming has one wish: evolution. The Charming Curse forced generations of Charming men to lie, cheat, and break hearts—but with the witch Envearia’s death, the curse has ended. Now Dash wants to be a better person, but he doesn’t know where to start. Serge can grant any wish—and has: As an executive fairy godfather, he’s catered to the wildest whims of spoiled teenagers from the richest, most entitled families in Blue. But now a new name has come up on his list, someone nobody’s ever heard of … Ella Coach. This is a story about three people who want something better and who together find the faith to change their worlds. It’s Cinderella, brilliantly reimagined, and a delightful expansion of the wonderful world of Tyme.

9780062427731Foxheart by Claire Legrand, illus. Jaime Zollars

Orphan. Thief. Witch. Twelve-year-old Quicksilver lives as a thief in the sleepy town of Willow-on-the-River. Her only companions are her faithful dog and partner in crime, Fox—and Sly Boots, the shy boy who lets her live in his attic when it’s too cold to sleep on the rooftops. It’s a lonesome life, but Quicksilver is used to being alone. When you are alone, no one can hurt you. No one can abandon you. Then one day Quicksilver discovers that she can perform magic. Real magic. The kind that isn’t supposed to exist anymore. Magic is forbidden, but Quicksilver nevertheless wants to learn more. With real magic, she could become the greatest thief who ever lived. She could maybe even find her parents. What she does find, however, is much more complicated and surprising.

9781454920670Just My Luck (Zack Delacruz #2) by Jeff Anderson

Zack Delacruz is back—and eager to meet Abhi, the new girl at school. But things get off to a rough start when he accidentally knocks her to the ground during a game of dodgeball. And whenever he tries to make amends, she just ignores him. Nothing works—not his friends’ advice or his “lucky” cologne. In fact, he just seems more and more cursed! Then, at the Fall Fiesta-val, Zack finally learns the real reason behind Abhi’s cold shoulder . . . but not before total chaos erupts. With a runaway train, exploding confetti-filled eggs, and Abhi’s terrifying older brother, will Zackever get a chance to talk to his crush? In the end, Zack learns what it means to believe, to listen, and to be a good friend.

9780670016662Fanny in France: With French Adventures and French Recipes by Alice Waters, illus. Ann Arnold

Fanny is a girl who knows a lot about food and cooking since she’s grown up in and around the famous restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. When Fanny’s mother, Alice Waters, the chef and owner of Chez Panisse, starts to watch her favorite old French movies, Fanny knows soon they’ll be packing their bags and traveling to France for a visit. In this sparkling book of whimsical stories, Fanny recounts some of her most fun-filled adventures with French friends and food. Join Fanny as she helps cook a huge bouillabaisse in Provence; learns how to make fresh cheese from a shepherd high up in the Pyrenees mountains; hunts for wild oysters off the coast of Bordeaux, and discovers how one chicken can feed nine people, if served a certain way. Fanny in France is also a beginner’s cookbook with forty simple, French-inspired recipes that encourage children and adults anywhere to cook and share delicious snacks and meals with family and friends using basic methods and the most sustainable ingredients.

9780803739857Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone does not like sitting around at home. How’s a princess supposed to have any fun when her parents are constantly reminding her to be careful and act princessly? So when her pal Prince Wilbur needs help finding a stolen hydra egg, Harriet happily takes up the quest. The thief’s trail leads them to a wicked witch and a tall tower, occupied by a rat whose tail has more to it than meets the eye!

9780545880169Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan Gratz

World War II is raging. Michael O’Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth. But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies. Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth’s horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge. When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs—even if it means risking everything he cares about. Including … his own life.

9780316384087Fairy Tail Ending (Ever After High: A School Story) by Suzanne Selfors

Meeshell is not an ordinary mermaid princess; she knows that someday, when she is older, she will leave her sea kingdom and live happily ever after on land with her prince. The thought of living on land is thrilling but also nerve-racking. Meeshell is glad she has years to prepare! But there is a change in the tides, and now Meeshell will start attending Ever After High. She has almost no time to do all of her preparing and planning. Can Meeshell fit in at Ever After High, or will she stand out like a fish out of water?

9780062284365Mr. Nick is a Lunatic! (My Weirdest School #6) by Dan Gutman

In this sixth book in the new My Weirdest School series, the teachers of Ella Mentry School are on strike! A.J. and the gang are getting a new principal, Mr. Nick, and he doesn’t believe in rules. Mr. Nick says the students don’t even have to learn if they don’t want to! What could possibly go wrong? Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School series has something for everyone.

9781484778654School of Secrets: Freddie’s Shadow Cards (Disney Descendants) by Jessica Brody

Freddie is the daughter of the infamous witch doctor, Dr. Facilier. She’s got voodoo in her blood, a deck of Shadow Cards in her hands, and a song in her villain-kid heart. When Freddie’s dreams of joining the acapella group at Auradon Prep fall apart, she uses her Shadow Cards to get her way. But dark magic always comes with a price.

 

9781338032871Magical Mission (Geronimo Stilton #64) by Geronimo Stilton

I was traveling to London, England on a secret mission! I had to investigate some strange occurrences—someone was trying to get their paws on the crown jewels! Trap came along, too, to compete in a big magic show. And before I could solve my mystery, Trap needed my help to perform an impossible magic trick. Could I do it all? Squeak!

9780545783972It’s a Doggy Dog World (Crimebiters #2) by Tommy Greenwald, illus. Adam Stower

Jimmy is sure that his dog Abby is special. After all, it was Abby who (with the help of Jimmy & friends) helped nab the criminal Barnaby Bratford and shut down Barnaby’s babysitting service, a front for robbing the nice folks of Quietville. Jimmy’s parents, on the other hand, are starting to feel like Abby is one destructive little dog (she chewed up Mom’s entire shoe collection!) and they insist on enrolling Abby in obedience training. The only problem is that the longer Abby’s in class, the more normal (read: boring) she becomes. Jimmy’s superhero crime-fighting vampire dog is slowly becoming just like every other dog. She doesn’t even sneak out at night anymore! At the same time Jimmy’s friends (the Crimebiters) are realizing that there’s just not very much crime to fight in their tiny town. But when Jimmy joins the lacrosse team & mysterious things start happening on and off the field, the Crimebiters realize that Abby better get back to her crime-fighting ways … and fast!

9780803738249Making Mistakes on Purpose (Ms. Rapscott’s Girls) by Elise Primavera

Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents is not your typical boarding school. Students arrive in boxes, birthday cake is served for breakfast, and two very talented corgis assist the rather quirky headmistress. This semester, the girls will learn how to get to The Top, but the semester is not off to a good start. One of the girls doesn’t make it back to school and when her friends try to rescue her, they wind up at the Bottom of the Barrel. Luckily, Ms. Rapscott knows that learning to fail is the secret to Going Far in life.

9780545928892Hot Cocoa Hearts: A Wish Novel by Suzanne Nelson

Emery Mason is not a fan of the holidays. She’s so over the tinsel, the shopping, and all the other trappings of the season. Unfortunately, this year, Em is forced to work—as an elf!—at her parents’ Santa photo booth at the mall. There, Em meets Alejandro Perez, who works at the hot cocoa shop next door and is always full of holiday spirit. Alex is cute, but he’s nothing like Em’s real crush—the brooding and artistic Sawyer Kade. But the more time Em spends with Alex, the more she realizes that she may not be the Grinch she always thought she was. Soon, a blizzard, a Secret Santa surprise, and a family disagreement throw Em’s world upside down. Can Em embrace the magic of the holidays and find the perfect boy to kiss under the mistletoe?

9780062392053Impyrium by Henry H. Neff

For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall. Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them. One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.

9781101939758The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospital. In the mirrors that line its grand hallways, which once belonged to a princess. In those that reflect the elegant rooms, now filled with sick children. One morning, when Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens, she discovers something incredible: a white horse with broken wings has left the mirror-world and entered her own. Tucked into the garden’s once-gleaming sundial, Emmaline finds a letter from the Horse Lord. He is hiding the wounded white horse, named Foxfire, from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep the Black Horse from finding her new friend, she must collect colorful objects with which to blind him. But where can Emmaline find color when her world is filled with gray?

9781481440424MINRS 2 by Kevin Sylvester

They are coming to get you. Hide. Hide. Hide. The children of Perses have been receiving this message on repeat, from Earth, for weeks. Christopher, Elena, and the other survivors of the attack on their space colony know two things: their victory over the Landers will be short-lived and a new wave of attacks is imminent. New Landers arrive sooner than expected. Led by the ruthless Kirk Thatcher, and armed with a new lethal kind of digger, they vow to hunt down and destroy everyone. The kids have nowhere to go but underground. Again. But resources and patience are running low and the struggle to keep everyone safe is complicated by all the infighting amongst the kids. As Christopher navigates the burden of leadership, he also has to decide whom he can trust. There are no easy answers. And with deadly consequences on the line, there is no room for mistakes. Will Christopher be able to successfully lead the group back to Earth? Or will Thatcher make sure no one survives?

NONFICTION

9780544319592Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

9780544824386The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay

Explainer-in-Chief David Macaulay updates the worldwide bestseller The New Way Things Work to capture the latest developments in the technology that most impacts our lives. Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi, this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow. This sweepingly revised edition embraces all of the latest developments, from touchscreens to 3D printer. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained–with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth. An illustrated survey of significant inventions closes the book, along with a glossary of technical terms, and an index. What possible link could there be between zippers and plows, dentist drills and windmills? Parking meters and meat grinders, jumbo jets and jackhammers, remote control and rockets, electric guitars and egg beaters? Macaulay explains them all.

9780399541582What Was the Great Chicago Fire? by Janet Pascal

On Sunday, October 8, 1871, a fire started on the south side of Chicago. A long drought made the neighborhood go up in flames. And practically everything that could go wrong did. Firemen first went to the wrong location. Fierce winds helped the blaze jump the Chicago River twice. The Chicago Waterworks burned down, making it impossible to fight the fire. Finally after two days, Mother Nature took over, with rain smothering the flames. This overview of a stupendous disaster not only covers the fire but explores the whole history of fire fighting.

9780399541599What Was the San Francisco Earthquake? by Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler, illus. Ted Hammond

One early April morning in 1906, the people of San Francisco were jolted awake by a mammoth earthquake—one that registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Not only was there major damage from the quake itself but broken gas lines sparked a fire that ravaged the city for days. More than 500 city blocks were destroyed and over 200,000 people were left homeless. But the city quickly managed to rebuild, rising from the ashes to become the major tourist destination it is today. Here’s an exciting recount of an incredible disaster.

9780316213882Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean—and definitely not inside the lines—to be beautiful.

9780385383424My Name is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter, illus. Terry Widener

In an evocative first-person account accompanied by exquisite artwork, Winter and Widener tell the story of James Madison Hemings’s childhood at Monticello, and, in doing so, illuminate the many contradictions in Jefferson’s life and legacy. Though Jefferson lived in a mansion, Hemings and his siblings lived in a single room. While Jefferson doted on his white grandchildren, he never showed affection to his enslaved children. Though he kept the Hemings boys from hard field labor—instead sending them to work in the carpentry shop—Jefferson nevertheless listed the children in his “Farm Book” along with the sheep, hogs, and other property. Here is a profound and moving account of one family’s history, which is also America’s history.

9780374302511Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat

Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area.

Dorian Cirrone 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 Releases 2015

It’s a New Year!

And one way to spend those gift cards you got for the holidays is brand new books! Here are a few to choose from, including this great new release from Mixed-Up Files member, Jennifer Swanson:

 get-attachment-1.aspxThe Wonderful World of Wearable Devices by Jennifer Swanson.

The benefits offered by wearable devices seem limitless, and for many people, the devices are really chic. These wireless gadgets can track the number of steps people take each day; measure their heart rates, the number of calories they ate, or the amount of energy they expended; or access data by using cloud computing. “Wearables”–bracelets, rings, eyeglasses, necklaces, shoe clips, and more–enable individuals to read, text, send e-mails, stay connected via social networks, or access the Internet as they walk. This intriguing volume also explains the devices’ cutting-edge medical applications, including as impact indicators for concussion studies.
9780545538244

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance hall calls to Theo. He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name. Acclaimed author Augusta Scattergood has delivered a straight-to-the-heart story with unforgettable characters, humor, and hard questions about loss, family, and belonging.


9780385743587Firefight (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson

They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David’s hand. Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers. Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it’s the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David’s willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

9780316405935I Totally Funniest: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

After scoring big on national TV in the semifinals contest, everyone back home is jumping on the Jamie Grimm bandwagon, and all the attention might be going to his head. Not only are his friendships starting to suffer, but the pressure of coming up with his best material ever for the ultimate standup act to snag the final win in Hollywood is pushing Jamie to the brink. Suddenly, life isn’t looking very funny anymore. Can Jamie take the grand prize without pushing away his fans, friends and family?

9780062236326The Genius Files #5: License to Thrill by Dan Gutman

When we last left our heroes, twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald were in Roswell, New Mexico, and they had just seen a strange beam of light. Now their cross-country road trip is about to take a detour that’s out of this world—literally! Once the twins get their feet back on the ground, they embark on the final leg of their trip, which will take them from the Hoover Dam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Chased by nefarious villains, the twins will be trapped with a venomous snake, pushed through a deadly turbine, and thrown into a volcano. And craziest of all, their parents might finally believe them!

9780316401289Ever After High: Next Top Villain (A School Story) by Suzanne Selfors

Duchess Swan and Lizzie Hearts are roommates at Ever After High. While their personalities are very different, they bond over not quite fitting in with the other Royals. Lizzie, however, has one thing that Duchess doesn’t: a happily-ever-after at the end of her story. While Lizzie and the other princesses train for the day when they will rule their kingdoms, Duchess is torn between her role as the perfect, dutiful princess and her rebellious ambition to be a queen. When both girls are selected to attend General Villainy class, Duchess sees an opportunity to be a rebel while following the rules. But can she play a prank on her roomie to ace the class? Find out if Duchess’s desire to change her destiny will make her Ever After High’s Next Top Villain!

9780399257971Imagination According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Imaginations are running wild in Mrs. Brisbane’s class, but Humphrey is stumped. His friends are writing about where they would go if they could fly, but Humphrey is HAPPY-HAPPY-HAPPY right where he is in Room 26. It’s pawsitively easy for Humphrey to picture exciting adventures with dragons and knights in the story Mrs. Brisbane is reading aloud. He has no trouble coming up with plans to help his friends and tricks to entertain them. His imagination even goes a little too far when he wonders if Carlos’s imaginary friend might be a ghost. If only his imagination wouldn’t disappear when he tries to write. Luckily, Humphrey likes a challenge, and Mrs. Brisbane has lots of writing tips that do the trick.

9781481423243Heidi Heckelbeck Is Not a Thief! by Wanda Coven and Priscilla Burris

Heidi Heckelbeck is a witch, but she is NOT a thief! Can she clear her name and help find her best friend’s missing pen? Maybe…with some magic! Heidi Heckelbeck’s best friend, Lucy, has a brand-new pen. It’s glittery, looks like a lollipop, smells like strawberries, and even lights up. It’s the coolest pen ever! Heidi wishes she had one just like it. And when it goes missing, Lucy accuses her best friend of taking it! Heidi Heckelbeck might be a witch, but she is NOT a thief! Heidi searches all over for Lucy’s pen, but it’s nowhere to be found. So what’s a witch to do…except turn to her Book of Spells?

FC9780545709354Unleashed (Swindle) by Gordon Korman

Luthor, a former attack dog, is supposed to be on his best behavior now that he’s in the care of Savannah, a girl who’s easily a dog’s best friend. But every time a certain truck passes by Savannah’s house, Luthor goes into attack mode — and chaos follows. Meanwhile, Griffin Bing is locked in the fight of his life with his archenemy, Darren Vader. Both are trying to win an invention contest — and will stop at nothing to be victorious. A runaway dog. Some majorly strange inventions. A mysterious neighbor. A stolen object of great value. These are a few of the ingredients in UNLEASHED, Gordon Korman’s latest Swindle mystery.

9781419714917The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

9780061996467Seekers: Return to the Wild #5: The Burning Horizon by Erin Hunter

Erin Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Seekers series continues in the fifth book in the Return to the Wild story arc. With its thrilling blend of action and suspense, this epic animal fantasy is perfect for fans of the #1 nationally bestselling Warriors series. Toklo, Kallik, Lusa, and Yakone are determined to reach Great Bear Lake in time for the Longest Day Gathering. Even Toklo, who has already claimed a new territory in the mountains, has promised to stay with them until Lusa has found a home of her own. But when Lusa is unexpectedly separated from the others, she must face her past—and make a decision about her future.

9781616556211Plants vs Zombies: Timepocalypse by Paul Tobin and Ron Chan

PopCap’s immensely popular Plants vs. Zombies game gets another serving of hilarious, plant-filled, zombie-zapping comics! Crazy Dave–the babbling-yet-brilliant inventor and top-notch neighborhood defender–helps his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer Nate Timely fend off Zomboss’s latest global attack in Plants vs. Zombies: Timepocalypse! This new, standalone tale will tickle your funny bones and thrill . . . your brains! Paul Tobin (Bandette, Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon Falling Skies) and Ron Chan (The Guild, Husbands) join forces with a bevy of time-tossed plants to deliver a hilarious, all-ages romp to your timeline!

9781481418706The Courage of Cat Campbell by Natasha Lowe

 Cat Campbell is a late-blooming witch whose magical abilities are bursting to be mastered in this charming coming-of-age story set in the world of “The Power of Poppy Pendle.” Cat Campbell has had magical powers since the day she was born, but she didn’t always know that. Cat’s mother believes magic ruins lives, and even as Cat’s passion for magic grows over the years, no one suspects she has the gift. But she has indeed inherited the coveted magic gene of her famed great-great-grandmother Mabel, a discovery she makes in a most surprising way. Cat is a witch And when she comes across a book called “The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic,” she finds the encouragement she needs and spells that work. Then the town of Potts Bottom is threatened by a notoriously feared witch, and Cat has the chance to help her family and town–and to prove herself in the process. Because, as “The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic “proclaims, “believing in your magic and yourself is half the battle.”

9781481409193Story Thieves by James Riley

Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores. But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen—his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character. Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: All she has to do is take him into a book in Owen’s favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series, and he’ll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father … Or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany’s secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot’s final (very final) adventure.

9780545665735The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from. So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier–even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

9781442494978Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the “New York Times “bestselling author of “Out of My Mind.” Stella lives in the segregated South–in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community–her world–is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.

9780803738812The Eye of the Falcon by Michelle Paver

The eruption of the volcano has shrouded the sun in ash, and the harsh winter is never-ending. With no trace of his lost sister to be found, Hylas takes ship for Keftiu, to find Pirra and free her from captivity. But the Crows are also coming to Keftiu, led by the power-hungry Telamon. And Telamon knows what Hylas doesn’t: that in the chaos of the volcanic eruption, Pirra took the Crows’ prophesized dagger. Aided by Havoc, the lion cub, and Echo, a falcon of the Goddess, Hylas and Pirra will face the Crows once again, in a terrifying epic battle to save the land—or destroy it.

9780544087477A Plague of Bogles by Catherine Jinks

Jem Barbary spent most of his early life picking pockets for a wily old crook named Sarah Pickles—until she betrayed him. Now Jem wants revenge, but first he needs a new job. Luckily Alfred the bogler, the man who kills the child-eating monsters that hide in the shadows of Victorian London, needs a new apprentice. As more and more orphans disappear under mysterious circumstances, Alfred, Jem, and Birdie find themselves waging an underground war in a city where science clashes with superstition and monsters lurk in every alley.

9780439793384Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michele Wood

What if Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sat down over tea to reminisce about their extraordinary lives? What would they recall of their triumphs and struggles as they fought to achieve civil rights for African Americans and equal rights for women? And what other historical figures played parts in their stories? These questions led Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes to create Chasing Freedom, an engaging work of historical fiction about two of the nineteenth century’s most powerful, and inspiring, American women. With breathtaking illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award winner Michele Wood, Chasing Freedom richly imagines the experiences of Tubman and Anthony, set against the backdrop of the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Additional back matter invites curious young readers to further explore this period in history–and the larger-than-life figures who lived it.

9781402297588How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel by Jess Keating

Ana Wright’s summer just got terrifying. She’s finally getting used to living in a zoo (no, seriously—she lives with her family in an actual zoo), when she’s assigned to work in the new shark tank. With her worst enemy. Forget about sharks! Ashley is the ultimate predator. And after Ana’s favorite croc peed on Ashley’s shoes, she’s probably out for revenge. This can’t be good.

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, which takes place on the Jersey Shore, will be out in May 2016 from (Aladdin/S&S). 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/