YOUNG ADULT (GRADES 8+):
|Midnight Star (Marie Lu)|
The Young Elites, book 3. When I put this list together each week, I have to decide whether or not to include the many new release sequels. I didn't have to think about this one at all. The Young Elites and Legend series are both very popular in my library, and my students will be clamoring for this final book in the trilogy. Fantasy.
|The Row (J.R. Johansson)|
Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent. But a month before his execution date, her father confesses that he did commit the murders. Confused and heartbroken, Riley sets out to uncover the truth. Mystery, thriller.
|To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves ad the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party (Skila Brown)|
Free verse. This is a first-person account of the tragic fate of the Graves, Donner, and Reed Parties when winter comes too early as they travel through the Sierra Nevada. Free verse, historical fiction.
|Unblemished (Sara Ella)|
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved. Retelling, fantasy.
|Rani Patel in Full Effect (Sonia Patel)|
This book reminds me of Push by Sapphire because I think it will be an important but painful read. Seventeen-year old Rani Patel is a seemingly-fierce hip-hop performer. But Rani's life is a mess. She has no friends, and her parents' marriage is a sham. Worse, Rani's father turns to Rani for all his needs, including intimate ones. Realistic fiction, multicultural, sexual abuse.
|Red Vengeance (Margaret Stohl)|
Sequel to: Black Widow: Forever Red. Not much to be found by way of description on this title. It's based on a Marvel comic, so that's bound to be a selling point. The only description I can find is from the Marvel Press website: "This bold new adventure will bring Agent Romanov together with her fellow vigilante operative, Ana Orlova…the Red Widow." Superheroes, action-adventure.
|The Weight of Zero (Karen Fortunati)|
Seventeen-year-old Cath knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles meds, preparing to take her own life when Zero next arrives. Realistic fiction, mental illness.
|Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee (Mary G. Thompson)|
I thought this would be a creepy doll book, just in time for Halloween, but it isn't. This is the story of Amy and Dee, two cousins who were kidnapped six years ago. Amy returns to her family; Dee does not. The families try to find out from Amy what happened to Dee, and Amy won't say. A psychological thriller that goes with books like Room, Living Dead Girl, and Stolen. Psychological thriller, kidnapping, mystery, unreliable narrator.
|The Singing Bones (Shaun Tan)|
75 Grimm's fairy tales, told via Shaun Tan's unique sculptures. Fairy tales, retelling, art, graphic novel.
|Still Life With Tornado (A.S. King)|
Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Sounds really unique! Magical realism, divorce, abuse.
|Bound By Blood and Sand (Becky Allen)|
Jae is a slave living in a dried-out, dying world. Jae doesn't mind this so much. At least in death, Jae will finally be free. No one remembers the magic needed to get the water flowing again, and when Jae discovers it, only she can wield it. But why would a slave choose to save a world that keeps her prisoner? Dystopia, science fiction.
|Iron Cast (Destiny Soria)|
Set in Boston, 1919. Best friends Corinne and Ada are performers by night and con-artists by day. But when a hustle goes wrong and Ada gets arrested, the friends find that their position is far more precarious than they thought. Historical fiction, possibly steampunk.
|Beast (Brie Spangler)|
Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers. Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie.
MIDDLE GRADES (GRADES 5-8):
|Spy Ski School (Stuart Gibbs)|
Spy School series, book 4. Ben Ripley's mission: 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. Action-adventure.
|Projekt 1065 (Alan Gratz)|
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. Historical fiction, spies, WWII.
|StarChaser (Angie Sage)|
TodHunter Moon, book 3. In faraway lands, the lapis lazuli, the source of Magyk, is crumbling to dust. Soon the destruction will spread to the Castle and the Wizard Tower will lose its Magyk and come tumbling down. It seems that the Orm Egg that Tod rescued from the evil sorcerer Oraton-Marr was the Keystone holding the Enchantment of the lapis lazuli in place. But the Egg has hatched now, and the Keystone is no more. Somehow, from somewhere, another Keystone must be found—but how? Fantasy.
|The Secret Horses of Briar Hill (Megan Shepherd)|
Winged horses live in the mirrors of Briar Hill Hospital. 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. Fantasy.
|The Infinity Year of Avalon James (Dana Middleton)|
Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret--one that they aren't allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It's your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless. Pair with Savvy, Scumble, and Switch. Magical realism.
|The Capybara Conspiracy: A Novel in Three Acts (Erica S. Perl)|
Seventh-grade playwright Olive Henry is frustrated by her middle school’s lack of appreciation for anything but sports. So Olive and her best friend, Reynaldo, hatch a plan to kidnap the school’s capybara mascot, planning to return it, heroically, just in time for the school’s pep rally and claim a reward: permission for their drama club to practice in the auditorium. Realistic fiction.
|Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas (Jonathan W. Stokes)|
Smooth-talking, refined twelve-year-old Addison Cooke loves a grand adventure, especially one that involves using his vast knowledge of history and archaeology, learned from his aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers. If that adventure includes an expertly-knotted Windsor tie and an Arnold Palmer on the rocks, all the better. Give this one to Indiana Jones fans. Action-adventure.
|Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella (Megan Morrison)|
A revolutionary peasant girl, a newly-uncursed prince, and a crafty fairy godfather come together change all their lives and make a difference in the world. Retelling, fantasy.
|Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More! (National Geographic Kids)|
You are probably already familiar with the NG Kids books with their signature bright yellow covers, but I had to include this one anyway. My 9-year old son and 9-year old nephew both LOVE these books, and I'm thinking they'll both find this one the Christmas tree. Beautiful, glossy color photos and interesting facts and presentation make the NG Kids books a must for every library. Nonfiction.
|Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals (Animal Planet, Charles Ghigna)|
Another animal fact-book hit for my 9-year old son and his cousin to devour! Packed with more than 200 vibrant photographs and fun facts about animals with unusual behaviors, strange appearances, and remarkable stats, this deluxe gift book is perfect for reluctant readers or anyone who loves totally gross and amazing animals. Nonfiction.
|Kyle Finds Her Way (Susie Salom)|
On the first day of sixth grade, Kyle Constantini lands in the principal's office after standing up against (that is, punching) Ino Nevarez, who was teasing a deaf girl at school. Her punishment? Join the NAVS program, which teaches constructive problem-solving (that is, not punching). Realistic fiction.
|Making Mistakes on Purpose (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. Humor.
|The Truest Heart (E.D. Baker)|
The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker, book 3. Born to be a tooth fairy, Cory Feathering has been busy proving there's another life meant for her -- one of matchmaking! She's already helped Marjorie Muffet and Goldilocks find true love, and now it's Mary Lambkin's turn. When Cory has a vision of Mary with one particular boy, Cory knows exactly what to do.
|Liberty (Kirby Larson)|
Dogs of World War II series. 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.
|Jason and the Argonauts (Robert Byrd)|
I am ALWAYS looking for more illustrated mythology books for my 6th grade boys! This one traces each step of Jason’s journey, from the Golden Fleece’s origin story and Jason’s childhood to his triumphant return with the prize and eventual death. Mythology.
|Riding Chance (Christine Kendall)|
Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he's forced to endure something that's worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he's "sentenced" to the local city stables where he's made to take care of horses. Realistic fiction, sports (polo).
EARLY CHAPTER BOOKS (GRADES 1-4):
|It's A Doggy Dog World (Tommy Greenwald, Adam Stower)|
Jimmy is sure that his dog Abby is special. After all, it was Abby who 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 and 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. Illustrated. Mystery, humor.
|Peter Powers and His Not-So-Super Powers (Kent Clark and Dave Bardin)|
Everyone in Peter Powers' family has super awesome superpowers. His dad controls fire with his mind, and his mom can fly. His big brother makes copies of himself, and his little sister is super-strong. And his baby brother even turns invisible! But all Peter can do is--this is really embarrassing--make ice cubes with his fingertips. Superheroes.
|Mouse Scouts (Sarah Dillard)|
Meet Violet, Tigerlily, Hyacinth, Petunia, Junebug, and Cricket, six new Mouse Scouts who are trustworthy and strong, thrifty and brave...and destined to be friends to the end! Best friends Violet and Tigerlily can’t wait to start earning their merit badges. But their troop leader, Miss Poppy, is one strict rodent.
PICTURE BOOKS (ALL AGES):
|I Used To Be A Fish (Tom Sullivan)|
A boy is inspired by a pet fish and fueled by imagination to tell a whimsical version of his own life story, which mirrors the process of human evolution.
|The Boy and the Bindi (Vivek Shraya, Rajni Perera)|
I am VERY interested in this title for our Picture Books Around the World project. A young Indian boy is fascinated with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by Hindu women. Rather than chastise her son, she teaches him about its cultural significance and doesn’t flinch when he asks for one himself. Wearing it allows him to joyfully explore and express his difference.
|Big Bob, Little Bob (James Howe, Laura Ellen Anderson)|
Picture book that would make a nice introduction to gender differences and accepting each other as people. Despite the fact that they share a name, Big Bob and Little Bob are different. Big Bob likes trucks and throwing balls and being loud. Little Bob likes dolls and jingling bracelets and being quiet. No matter what they do, they do not do it the same. Could they possibly be friends despite these differences?
|We Found a Hat (Jon Klassen)|
Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat...
|Bang Bang I Hurt the Moon (Luis Amavisca, Esther Madrid)|
That night, Nicholas was making gun shapes with his hands. "Bang Bang I shot the moon," he said pointing at the moon. No one believed it when suddenly the moon fell into the family's garden. The moon was not injured but fell down because of the fright.
|Cat Knit (Jacob Grant)|
So cute for knitting clubs! Cat and Yarn are the best of friends. They have so much fun playing together, the two are inseparable. Until the day Girl takes Yarn away. When Yarn Returns, he is completely changed, no longer Cat's bright and rolly friend. Cat is mad! Soon, Cat begins to miss his best friend, and he just might realize that a little change isn't so bad after all.
|Stowaway in a Sleigh (C. Roger Mader)|
A picture book with cats and Christmas and snow...could anything be more cozy? When Slipper finds Mr. Furry Boots in her house, she does what any cat would do and investigates. But curiosity gets the best of her when she finds herself on a trip she hadn’t planned on taking.
|Preaching to the Chickens (Jabari Asim, E.B. Lewis)|
At age 23, John Lewis was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington and has been dubbed one of the top leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. This picture book is a glimpse into the boyhood of now-Congressman Lewis. John wants to be a preacher when he grows up—a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation!
|A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 (Matthew Olshan, Sophie Blackall)|
In the year and a half since the flight of the first manned balloon in 1783, an Italian has flown, a Scot has flown, a woman has flown, even a sheep has flown. But no one has flown from one country to another. John Jeffries, an Englishman, and his pilot, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, want to be the first. On January 7, 1785, they set out to cross the English Channel to France in a balloon. All seemed to be going fine, until Jeffries decides the balloon looks too fat and adjusts the air valve—how hard could it be?
|Billions of Bricks (Kurt Cyrus)|
Grab a hard hat and all your tools, and get ready for a construction adventure in counting! This clever, rhyming picture book leads readers through a day in the life of a construction crew building with bricks. A brick may seem like just a simple block, but in groupings of ten, twenty, and more, it can create many impressive structures, from hotels to schools to skyscrapers. This is a terrific introduction to counting in quantities for children.
|The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold (Maureen Ferguson, Cale Atkinson)|
Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn't think he's real. He WANTS to believe in Harold--after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold's letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer... what would Christmas be without that? But Santa's just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold's not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists... with hilarious consequences.
|The Happiest Book Ever! (Bob Shea)|
This one could be a great way to discuss emotions and why it's okay to feel sad or mad or afraid sometimes. What could be happier than a book with a dancing cake, a candy parade, and a hug monster? A book with all those things (and more) plus YOU! Your happy, happy thoughts will make this book super happy happy! But something seems off.
|I Don't Want to Be Big (Dev Petty)|
Frog does NOT want to grow up. Doesn’t need to be tall. Doesn’t want to be able to jump high enough to see the tree frogs. He’s just FINE being small. Besides, if you grow up, you don’t get to do fun things like jump in mud puddles with your best friend, Pig. Do you?
|Bujitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon (John Himmelman)|
Isabel is the best bunjitsu artist in her class. She can throw farther, kick higher, and hit harder than anybunny else. But her strongest weapon is her mind!
|A Hat for Mrs. Goldman (Michelle Edwards, G. Brian Edwards)|
Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, and Sophia, who thinks knitting is too hard, helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman herself doesn’t have a hat—she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! It’s up to Sophia to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman. But try as Sophia might, the hat turns out lumpy, the stitches aren’t even, and there are holes where there shouldn’t be holes.
|Bogo Quierelotodo (Susanna Isern)|
Bogo watched many animals around him. Some of them were so incredible that they made him feel less special. One day he decided to invent amazing things so that he could have everything he wanted.
A pair of wings to fly like a bird. It never worked.
A pair of night glasses to see like an owl. It never worked...