Posts Tagged Nathan Hale

December New Releases

December is for holidays, hot chocolate, and a whole lot of great middle-grade books. So take a look and decide which ones you might want to put on your wish list!

 

Major Impossible (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #9) by Nathan Hale

This ninth book in the bestselling series tells the story of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed geologist who explored the Grand Canyon John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869 he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition, ten men in four boats, to float through Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history! Equal parts gruesome and hilarious, this latest installment in the bestselling series takes readers on an action-packed adventure through American history.

 

Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Patricia Brennan Demuth, illus. Jake Murray

You’ve probably seen her on T-shirts, mugs, and even tattoos, well, now that famous face graces the cover of our latest Who Is? title. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is famous for her stylish collars (called jabots) and her commanding dissents. This opera-loving New Yorker has always spoken her mind; as a young lawyer, RBG advocated for gender equality and women’s rights when few others did. She gained attention for the cases she won when arguing in front of the Supreme Court, before taking her place on the bench in 1993. Author Patricia Brennan Demuth answers all the questions about what makes RBG so notorious and irreplaceable.

 

Mac Cracks the Code (Mac B., Kid Spy) by Mac Barnett, illus. Mike Lowery

Mac B. and his arch-nemesis are facing off at the Video Game World Championships! But first, Mac B. needs to crack an unbreakable secret code. Can he solve it in time to defeat his enemy? Find out in this kid spy adventure from New York Times bestselling author, Mac Barnett! The Queen of England calls on Mac B. once again! This time, Mac must crack a secret code that has been recovered from a double agent. A series of clues leads Mac to France, and then to Japan, where he comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis, the KGB man . . . and the world headquarters of Nintendo! Is the KGB Man secretly behind all of this? And are Mac’s video game skills good enough to face down his enemy at the Video Game World Championships? With Mike Lowery’s signature illustrations on every page, historical facts woven throughout, and of course intrigue, history, hilarity and more, catch the latest in this totally smart, wholly original, side-splittingly funny series.

 

Night of Dangers (Adventurer’s Guild, Book 3) by Zack Loran Clark, illus. Nick Eliopulos

After falling victim to a vile betrayal, Zed is cut off from Brock and their friends and unable to warn them about a dangerous enemy on the move. The Adventurers Guild may have defeated the evil that cast the elves from their home, but that doesn’t keep them in the Freestoners’ good graces for long. An ordinary day at the market comes to a fatal end when a rare Danger infiltrates the city, leaving over a dozen dead. Tensions come to a boil as the city is threatened by upheaval from within and becomes alight with terror. Brock finds himself frustratingly unable to utilize his underground contacts . . . though the mysterious Lady Grey may not be finished with him yet. To come together to save their city from a timeless evil looking to settle a score, the young adventurers must learn to trust in each other again and be willing to do whatever it takes to stop the tragedy of the Day of Dangers from happening again.

 

Bad Kitty Joins the Team by Nick Bruel

See Kitty as you’ve never seen her before: EXERCISING (reluctantly) in Bad Kitty Joins the Team, the latest installment of Nick Bruel’s phenomenally successful New York Times bestselling series. Kitty is terribly out of shape―she can barely torment Puppy without needing a break to huff and puff! When Kitty’s owner catches her wheezing, Kitty is told it’s time to EXERCISE. It takes some serious convincing, a high-stakes competition, and a little bit of trickery but eventually Kitty gets into the competitive spirit . . . albeit reluctantly. What did you expect? Will our favorite feline friend learn what it means to be a good sport? Find out in this hilarious addition to the Bad Kitty series.

 

 

Don’t Tell the Nazis by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

The year is 1941. Krystia lives in a small Ukrainian village under the cruel—sometimes violent— occupation of the Soviets. So when the Nazis march into town to liberate them, many of Krystia’s neighbors welcome the troops with celebrations, hoping for a better life. But conditions don’t improve as expected. Krystia’s friend Dolik and the other Jewish people in town warn that their new occupiers may only bring darker days. The worst begins to happen when the Nazis blame the Jews for murders they didn’t commit. As the Nazis force Jews into a ghetto, Krystia does what she can to help Dolik and his family. But what they really need is a place to hide. Faced with unimaginable tyranny and cruelty, will Krystia risk everything to protect her friends and neighbors?

 

The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson, illus. Chloe Bristol

Danger, intrigue, and the power of family combine in The Winterhouse Mysteries, the fast-paced conclusion to Ben Guterson and Chloe Bristol’s illustrated, enchanting Winterhouse middle grade trilogy. It’s springtime at Winterhouse and Elizabeth is settling into the joyful chaos of her new home. But it isn’t long before she and Freddy are drawn into an ominous new mystery. Guests at the hotel start behaving oddly, and Elizabeth’s powers manifest in thrilling―sometimes frightening―new ways. As unnatural tremors shake the foundations of Winterhouse, Elizabeth hears cries for help from Gracella Winters, a villain she’d thought dead and gone for good. Elizabeth’s discovery of a rare book containing secrets of an ancient ritual leads to a tragic realization: someone at the hotel is trying to help Gracella rise again. Can Elizabeth and Freddy banish these threats and protect the future of Winterhouse once and for all?

 

Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson

From the author of Ice Dogs comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won’t hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen. McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness—a race she doesn’t know if she can even see to run. Winning would mean getting her disease—and her sister’s—national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights. A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness, Dog Driven is the story of one girl’s self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.

 

Sisterland by Salla Simukka, translator, Owen Frederick Witesman

Fall under the spell of this contemporary fairy tale that’s perfect for fans of Emily Winfield Martin’s Snow & Rose and the Chronicles of Narnia series. Alice thought it was unusual to see a dragonfly in the middle of winter. But she followed it until she fell down-down-down, and woke up in a world unlike any other. Welcome to Sisterland, a fantastical world where it is always summer. The most enchanting magic of all, though, is Alice’s new friend Marissa. But as the girls explore the strange land, they learn Sisterland’s endless summer comes at a price. Back on Earth, their homes are freezing over. To save their families, Alice and Marissa must outwit the powerful Queen Lili. But the deeper they go into Sisterland, the less Alice and Marissa remember about their homes, their lives before, and what they are fighting for. This is a wondrous tale about heroism, loyalty, and friendship from one of the most celebrated Finnish children’s authors.

 

What Were the Negro Leagues? by Varian Johnson, illus. Stephen Marchesi

This baseball league that was made up of African American players and run by African American owners ushered in the biggest change in the history of baseball. In America during the early twentieth century, no part was safe from segregation, not even the country’s national pastime, baseball. Despite their exodus from the Major Leagues because of the color of their skin, African American men still found a way to participate in the sport they loved. Author Varian Johnson shines a spotlight on the players, coaches, owners, and teams that dominated the Negro Leagues during the 1930s and 40s. Readers will learn about how phenomenal players like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and of course, Jackie Robinson greatly changed the sport of baseball.

 

The Love Pug: A Wish Novel by J.J. Howard

J.J. Howard, author of Pugs and Kisses and Pugs in a Blanket, delivers more puppy love and friendship mix-ups. Emma’s pug, Cupid, has a hidden talent: He is a master at matchmaking! Her pet seems to have a nose for spotting which two people belong together. With the big school dance coming up, Emma decides to use Cupid’s powers to find her best friend, Hallie, a date. But as Emma tries to navigate crushes and secrets, she finds that things are a lot more complicated than they seem. And what if Cupid also has a surprising match in mind . . . for Emma herself?

 

 

 

My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List by Joshua M. Greene and Rena Finder

Rena Finder was only eleven when the Nazis forced her and her family—along with all the other Jewish families—into the ghetto in Krakow, Poland. Rena worked as a slave laborer with scarcely any food and watched as friends and family were sent away. Then Rena and her mother ended up working for Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who employed Jewish prisoners in his factory and kept them fed and healthy. But Rena’s nightmares were not over. She and her mother were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz. With great cunning, it was Schindler who set out to help them escape. Here in her own words is Rena’s gripping story of survival, perseverance, tragedy, and hope. Including pictures from Rena’s personal collection and from the time period, this unforgettable memoir introduces young readers to an astounding and necessary piece of history.

 

March New Releases

We’re excited to dig into these new releases in March! Be sure to tell us in the comments which books you look forward to, and if we’ve missed one you’re anticipating, let us know!

March 1st:

Alexandra the Great: The Story of the Record-Breaking Filly Who Ruled the Racetrack by Deb Aronson from Chicago Review. Alexandra the Great tells one of the greatest underdog tales in American sports—the story of Rachel Alexandra, who grew up to become one of the most remarkable racehorses in history. Despite dominating every filly her age, her owner refused to let her compete against male horses. When a new owner saw her potential and raced her against bigger, stronger males, Rachel Alexandra thrived and went on to win the Preakness, the first filly to do so in 85 years, and the Woodward, a feat never before achieved by a filly. Having grown into a strong, muscular, dominating athlete, Rachel Alexandra was named 2009 Horse of the Year, broke records, graced the pages of Vogue magazine, and showed people around the world exactly what it means to “run like a girl.”

March 7th:

Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman from S&S/Wiseman. A rich girl from New York City, Effie Starr Zook isn’t afraid of much. When her parents go on a dangerous round-the-world adventure in a solar airplane, she’s packed off to her aunt and uncle’s farm for the summer. Expecting boredom, she runs smack dab into a family secret. Why does the neighbor kid want to avoid her? What are her aunt and uncle so worried about? And what does “bad blood” mean, anyway? Effie’s got a brand-new bicycle, time on her hands, and an unlimited capacity for asking questions. With these, she sets out to uncover whatever it is the grownups are hiding. Along the way, she’ll contend with crackpot politics, serve espresso in a bookstore cafe, and learn more than she bargained for about her famous great-grandfather, the inventor of the barf bag. Fast-paced and funny, this is a story about having the courage to find out who you really are. Look out, world–when Effie Starr Zook has questions, she won’t take no for an answer.

Fish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli from HMH/Clarion. The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater. A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl’s longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl’s story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.

Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter from Harper Collins. Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past—for only then can they really begin to build their future.

 

 

Invent It! by Rob Beattie from Sterling. From idea to prototype to selling the product: this imaginative book teaches kids that they’re never too young to start inventing! What should kids do when they have an idea? Put it into action! This fun and informative book takes budding inventors through the entire creative process—from brainstorming, designing, and prototyping, to patenting, manufacturing, and marketing.  It is packed with all the tools and tips needed to turn a concept into reality!

Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ’Em Dead by Cindy Callaghan from Aladdin. Sydney Mackenzie is an aspiring actress and average less-than-popular California Girl. So when her parents drop the biggest bombshell ever—they have inherited a cemetery called Lay to Rest, which means a move to boring Delaware—Sydney is NOT happy. And to make matters worse? Their “new” house is actually right on the cemetery grounds—and it isn’t exactly California chic. But after settling in, Sydney discovers that the creepy old house might have more history than she once thought. And someone—or something—is encouraging her to delve deeper into a decades-old mystery that dates back to the Underground Railroad. Will Sydney’s filmmaking skills and the help of some new friends be enough for her get to the bottom of the mystery of her new home?

Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin L. Gray from S&S/Wiseman. Fourth grader Vilonia hasn’t lost her rain coat in the three weeks she’s had it and she’s brushed her teeth every night and she’s volunteered to be the Friday Library Helper. But all that hard work is worth it if it means she can get a dog. Besides, this dog isn’t just because Vilonia has wanted one for pretty much ever. It’s also to help Mama, who’s been lost in one, big sadness fog for forty-three days–ever since Nana died. But Vilonia read that pets can help with sadness. Now all she has to do is keep the library goldfish alive over spring break, stop bringing stray animals home, and help Mama not get fired from her job. And she’s got to do all of it before the Catfish Festival. Easy as pie, right?

March 14th:

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay from Candlewick. Jena — strong, respected, reliable — is the leader of the line, a job every girl in the village dreams of. Watched over by the Mothers as one of the chosen seven, Jena’s years spent denying herself food and wrapping her limbs have paid off. She is small enough to squeeze through the tunnels of the mountain and gather the harvest, risking her life with each mission. No work is more important. This has always been the way of things, even if it isn’t easy. But as her suspicions mount and Jena begins to question the life she’s always known, the cracks in her world become impossible to ignore. Thought-provoking and quietly complex, Meg McKinlay’s novel unfolds into a harshly beautiful tale of belief, survival, and resilience stronger than stone. 

Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, trans. by Helen Wang, illus. by Meilo So from Candlewick. Sunflower is an only child, and when her father is sent to the rural Cadre School, she has to go with him. Her father is an established artist from the city and finds his new life of physical labor and endless meetings exhausting. Sunflower is lonely and longs to play with the local children in the village across the river. When her father tragically drowns, Sunflower is taken in by the poorest family in the village, a family with a son named Bronze. Until Sunflower joins his family, Bronze was an only child, too, and hasn’t spoken a word since he was traumatized by a terrible fire. Bronze and Sunflower become inseparable, understanding each other as only the closest friends can. Translated from Mandarin, the story meanders gracefully through the challenges that face the family, creating a timeless story of the trials of poverty and the power of love and loyalty to overcome hardship.

Kings of the Court by Alison Hughes from Orca. When the Gladiators basketball team’s nasty coach finally gets turfed midseason, things couldn’t possibly get worse. The team hasn’t won a game yet, and morale is at rock bottom. Sameer, who announces the games and keeps score, and Vijay, the team mascot, have their hands full keeping the team’s spirits up. When they get promoted to assistant coach and manager, can they help a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity? Or will the courtside drama eclipse even the school play?

Love, Ish by Karen Rivers from Algonquin Young Readers. My name is Mischa “Ish” Love, and I am twelve years old. I know quite a lot about Mars.
Mars is where I belong. Do you know how sometimes you just know a thing? My mom says that falling in love is like that, that the first time she saw Dad, she just knew. That’s how I feel about Mars: I just know.
I’m smart and interesting and focused, and I’m working on getting along better with people. I’ll learn some jokes. A sense of humor is going to be important. It always is. That’s what my dad always says. Maybe jokes will be the things that will help us all to survive. Not just me, because there’s no “me” in “team,” right? This is about all of us. Together.
What makes me a survivor? Mars is going to make me a survivor.
You’ll see.

In Karen Rivers’s riveting new novel, Ish’s dreams for a future on Mars go heartbreakingly awry when an unexpected diagnosis threatens to rewrite her whole future.

Matylda, Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee from Candlewick. Sussy and Guy are best friends, fourth-graders who share their silliest thoughts and deepest hopes. One afternoon, the two of them decide they must have something of their very own to love. After a trip to the pet store, they bring home a spotted lizard, the one with the ancient face and starfish toes, and they name her Matylda (with a y so it’s all her own). With Guy leading the way, they feed her and give her an origin story fit for a warrior lizard. A few weeks later, on a simple bike ride, there is a terrible accident. As hard as it is, Sussy is sure she can hold on to Guy if she can find a way to love Matylda enough. But in a startling turn of events, Sussy reconsiders what it means to grieve and heal and hope and go on, for her own sake and Matylda’s. By turns both devastating and buoyant, this story is a brave one, showing how far we can justify going for a real and true friend.

My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts by Trudi Trueit from Aladdin. Kestrel and her family are headed out to Vancouver, BC, to help out her grandmother at her beautiful ski lodge. It’s been in the family for generations, but the business is in trouble—and there are lots of people looking to take over the property. Kestrel is determined to help her family retain their precious business—one that her grandfather built literally from the ground up. But two evil twins—who happen to be the daughters of a property developer determined to drive the lodge out of business—prove to be her nemeses in every way possible. Can Kestrel help save the lodge and beat the twins at their own game?

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel from Harper Collins. Meet Olga, the amazing child scientist who LOVES animals (because they are super-cute) When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science–learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything.

One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale from Amulet. The aliens have arrived. And they’re hungry for electricity. In the Earth of the future, humans are on the run from an alien force—giant blobs who suck up electrical devices wherever they can find them. Strata and her family are part of a caravan of digital rescuers, hoping to keep the memory of civilization alive by saving electronics wherever they can. Many humans have reverted to a pre-electrical age, and others have taken advantage of the invasion to become dangerous bandits and outlaws. When Strata and her brother are separated from the caravan, they must rely on a particularly beautiful and rare robot pony to escape the outlaws and aliens—and defeat the invaders once and for all.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, illus. by Ekua Holmes from Candlewick. Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

March 28th:

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt from Macmillan/Holt/Ottaviano. Stevie’s life seems safe and full of love until the day tragedy strikes. Stevie is sent to live with her estranged grandfather Winston at his rundown motel. Though the colorful tenants who inhabit the motel are quickly charmed by Stevie, she struggles to connect with her grandfather. What dark secret is he keeping from her? It will take another difficult departure before Winston realizes just how strongly Stevie has taken root at the motel–and in his heart.

Braced by Alyson Gerber from Arthur A. Levine Books. Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet. Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her–even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself.  

Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler from Scholastic. Alfie thinks he knows his destiny. As Prince Alfred, heir to the throne of Great Britain, he’s fated to become the most disappointing king in the nation’s history. Alfie longs for a way to prove himself, but little does he realize that with the throne of England comes an ancient secret. He who wears the crown must protect the country as the legendary hero — the Defender of the Realm.
Hayley is an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life. She certainly never believed in the mysterious superhero, the Defender. Then, after witnessing a very public battle at the Tower of London, everything is different, and Hayley is left with no doubt. The Defender is real. Two kids with two very different lives are about to get caught up in a centuries-long battle for the fate of a nation. Monsters and criminals, villains and dragons, together Hayley and Alfie must protect their home at all costs.

The Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man by Alex Irvine, illus. by Ben Bishop from Tilbury House. This graphic retelling of the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission follows astronaut Michael Collins, commander of the lunar orbiter, to the far side of the moon. When the Earth disappears behind the moon, Collins loses contact with his fellow astronauts on the moon’s surface, with mission control at NASA, and with the entire human race, becoming more alone than any human being has ever been before. In total isolation for 21 hours, Collins awaits word that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have managed to launch their moon lander successfully to return to the orbiter―a feat never accomplished before and rendered more problematic by the fuel burn of their difficult landing. In this singularly lonely and dramatic setting, Collins reviews the politics, science, and engineering that propelled the Apollo 11 mission across 239,000 miles of space to the moon. Drawings. Junior Library Guild Selection


The Gauntlet by
Karuna Riazi from S&S/Salaam Reads. When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how. Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

How to Speak Dolphin by Ginny Rorby from Scholastic. Lily loves her half-brother, Adam, but she has always struggled with him, too. He’s definitely on the autism spectrum — though her step-father, Don, can barely bring himself to admit it — and caring for him has forced Lily to become as much mother as sister. All Lily wants is for her step-father to acknowledge that Adam has a real issue, that they need to find some kind of program that can help him. Then maybe she can have a life of her own. Adam’s always loved dolphins, so when Don, an oncologist, hears about a young dolphin with cancer, he offers to help. He brings Lily and Adam along, and Adam and the dolphin — Nori — bond instantly. But though Lily sees how much Adam loves Nori, she also sees that the dolphin shouldn’t spend the rest of her life in captivity, away from her family. Can Adam find real help somewhere else? And can Lily help Nori regain her freedom without betraying her family?

Jake the Fake Keeps It Real by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, illus. by Keith Knight from Random/Crown. For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate comes a new side-splitting series from comedian and film star Craig Robinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach, and NAACP History Maker recipient and cartoonist Keith Knight. Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It’s better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.

King of the Bench: No Fear! by Steve Moore from Harper Collins. From the nationally syndicated cartoonist of “In the Bleachers” comes a new, highly illustrated middle grade series about Steve, who plays the same position in every sport: bench-warmer. Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Timmy Failure, King of the Bench is an ode to teammates, underdogs, and bench-warmers everywhere. Steve is King of the Bench. No brag. It’s just a fact. But this year, Steve and his friends are excited to try out for the Spiro T. Agnew Middle School baseball team. The only problem is, after watching another player get beaned by a fastball, Steve has developed a serious case of bean-o-phobia–the fear of getting hit by a pitch. If Steve ever wants to get off the bench and get in the game, he’s going to have to muster up some courage, and fast.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, illus. by Caroline Hadilaksono from Random/Crown. Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed “good girl” of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant “Grumps,” who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn’t been part of any of their lives. Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps’s clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household… He’s worse than just tough to get along with — Grumps has got to go But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?

The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley from Scholastic. A dark secret lurks in Keira’s family. She comes from a long line of Word Weavers who bring their stories to life when they use a magical pen. But Keira’s mom is unable to face the truth of the family’s history because the Word Weavers have been hunted for generations for their power. And so, she forbids Keira to write. Oblivious to the family’s secret ability, and angry at her mom’s rule of no fictional writing, Keira discovers her grandma’s Word Weaver pen and uses it to write a story for the Girls’ World fairy tale contest, believing it will bring her good luck. But when Keira decides to have her fairy tale reflect her family’s imperfect life, and has the princess in her story vanquished to a dark tower for eternity, she starts to wonder if anyone ever truly lives happily ever after.

Reformed by Justin Weinberger from Scholastic. Ian Hart has mastered the art of lying low. He might sometimes space out at the exact moment Mr. Dunford calls on him (it was field day!). And sure, he’s a little clueless around the girls in his class. But Ian’s nobody’s fool. So how’d a kid like him get framed for pranking the new boy? Too bad he won’t have the chance to find out. Tonight, Ian and his friends Ash and Alva will be sleeping with one eye open . . . at bully reform school, where the hijinks are rougher, the mean girls are meaner, and even the teachers refuse to play by the rules. It’ll take all the schemes and wits Ian, Ash, and Alva can muster if they want to make it out of this nightmare and into middle school. But they’re ready for action. Even if it means forging a secret alliance with a world-class hacker. Even if it means . . . wearing a tutu. Watch your back. Hide your underwear. In a place like this, only the fearless survive.

March 30th: 

Revenge of the Star Survivors  by Michael Merschel from Holiday House. Middle school meets the Dark Side in this painfully funny survival story of social misfit Clark Sherman. When Clark crash-lands on the inhospitable planet of Festus Middle School, he soon learns the natives don’t take kindly to newcomers . . . particularly ones who practice Jedi mind tricks and follow nerdy TV shows like Star Survivors. As he faces a conspiring group of violent bullies, browbeaten teachers and a fiendish principal, Clark knows he’ll be lucky just to survive eighth grade. Then, hope appears on the horizon: there is Les, the enigmatic boy who seems to disappear at will; Ricki, a fellow Star Survivors fan; and the independent-minded librarian, Ms. Beacon. When Clark and his newfound allies are imperiled, he gathers his courage and the consequences of his actions ripple through the galaxy in life-altering ways.

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor from Holiday House. Profiles of six amazing women who defied prejudice to succeed in the sciences using genius, ambition, and perseverance! Laurie Lawlor deftly paints portraits of each of these pioneers who refused to take no for an answer, pursuing their passions through fieldwork, observations, laboratories and research vessels in the face of sexism. Lawlor tells the stories of Eugenie Clark, an ichthyologist who swam with sharks; Marie Tharp, a cartographer who mapped the ocean floor; Katherine Coleman Johnson, a mathematician who calculated trajectories for NASA flights; Florence Hawley Ellis, an anthropologist of Pueblo cultures who pioneered tree-ring dating; Gertrude Elion, a pharmacologist who developed treatments for leukemia and AIDS; and Margaret Burbidge, an astrophysicist who formulated a theory of quasars.