When Emily & James compete in the latest Griswold Game, "Unlock the Rock," along with the usual puzzle solving, they also uncover an unexpected mystery involving Alcatraz itself. So much thoughtful attention to detail is given in this clever, engaging story. But there is so much more to it, because I'll guarantee that you--the reader--will find one or more characters that are relatable. The plots in this series have drawn me in Every time, but it's Emily, James & friends that hold my attention. This is one you'll read over & over again!
A hilarious tale about expecting a sibling! This chapter book is perfect for those new to the concept of having a brother or sister. They can relate to Lulu and her journey to becoming a big sister!
Everybody’s nerves practically go over the edge when the multi-billionaire Lars Sjoberg gets poisoned. When Lars & his family demand to go back to earth, everybody looks to Dash to solve the case. Moonbase Alpha was supposed to be an exciting place to live, but Dash didn’t expect for it to be this exciting. After solving a murder and rescuing the Moonbase commander he just wants to have a calm, quiet thirteenth birthday. But of course, multi-billionaire & total pain Lars Sjoberg ruins it—by being poisoned. Now there’s a murderer on the loose on Moonbase Alpha again. And Dash is charged with finding out who it could’ve been.
— ARC REVEIWER Alexander P., age 11
Freddie & his friends are back & in trouble again. This time the monsters are meaner, grosser & slimier. These bugs eat everything in sight: plants, then animals…then us! This all happened because Freddie drew a picture for Trevor & Trevor, in turn, somehow got the 3D printer. Read this book to find out if the city is saved…or it falls.
— ARC REVIEWER Jesse V., age 10
A light, easy read that presents all the very real challenges of 5th grade life both at home (as a sister, daughter & granddaughter) & at school: figuring out who you are, where you fit in, who your friends are, what makes a real friend & staying true to yourself. A great story for girls.
It was difficult reading this book. It brought to life a topic we are all familiar with—a black boy shot by a white policeman. We’ve watched these stories from a distance, but this brings it home, to our doorstep…right into our faces. Told from the unique perspective of Jerome’s ghost, we feel both sides: pain, grief, loss, outrage, disgust, mistakes made & the horrible waste of a life. A book for 8th-grade classrooms & older, it can open important conversations about race, class, attitudes & injustice & also how we can make a change—how we can make our world a better place.
Twelve-year-old Julie is visiting her father for the summer. He owns a small dive shop that takes divers down to visit three military tanks that are now coral reefs. One day, Julie & her dad experience two difficult customers. While they are on their trip, the boat breaks loose from the anchor & strands the divers at sea. They face many problems including sharks. This story kept me up all night & at the edge of my seat. I recommend it to people who enjoy survival stories. It was the best book I’ve read so far!
- ARC REVIEWER Sofia M., age 10
Newbury Medal winner Erin Entrada Kelly brings another realistic fiction novel to middle grade! Two kids separated by land find themselves to have quite a lot in common after an online scrabble game brings them together.
Some people think a dog that catches birds is very smart. But Calpurnia knows that even some bird dogs can be the dumbest ever. Why else would a dog pounce on a porcupine, not once but twice!? If the porcupine’s quills go too far into his body, he could die & the vet is nowhere to be found. So it’s all up to Calpurnia. This is a good book for people who might want to be an animal doctor. Calpurnia is one of the smartest girls I’ve ever read about.
— ARC REVIEWER, Zoe H., age 8
Set in the time of the Vietnam War this book demonstrates the power of love and what how far you’ll go to save the ones you love. O’Connor brings unlikely friendships and sibling relationships to the forefront in this marvelous middle grade book!
This fictional memoir about Elizabethan stage actor John Rice, details his trials and triumphs of portraying a woman onstage. Gender fluidity and sexuality are key topics in this mesmerizing and intricate tale.
The sign said, "Yes, We Do Have Chocolate Cream Doughnuts," but the sign was wrong. Was there nothing that could make moving to this small town worthwhile? Tristan's quest for the recipe leads to starting his own business, but he may have made more promises than he can fill with cream.... A delicious tale that will leave you wanting more, just as soon as you get back from the closest bakery.
Adventure, mystery, the supernatural, a strong-willed protagonist, LGBTQ themes: This book has a little of everything! It transported me to St. Thomas and synced me to the inner thoughts and feelings of an introverted narrator. I loved getting sucked into her story and wrapped up in the vivid descriptions of her surroundings.
Paloma and her mother are spending a summer in Mexico-home of Paloma's deceased father and of Frida Kahlo! Paloma quickly finds herself immersed in the rich art history and culture of mexico, learning Spanish and making friends. She didn't realize she would also find herself in plenty of danger and excitement while trying to solve the mystery of a stolen Peacock ring from Frida's estate. There is plenty of action, surprise and meaningful encounters in this mystery!
With Thor (a skunk kit) at his side, BAT (a boy) faces the challenges of a big sister who loves the spotlight, being a good friend through thin and thick, and deciding when it is a good idea to sneak a skunk into a crowded auditorium (um, never?), all while remaining uniquely himself.
I really liked this book that’s about shapeshifting & friends! One day, Anders’s sister, Rayna goes missing. Rayna doesn’t know that Anders turned into a wolf. She thinks he’s a dragon, like her. What will happen? You gotta read on! Anders is my favorite character because he never gives up. I recommend this book to fans of the Warriors series, by Erin Hunter.
— ARC REVIEWER YuJi S., age 10
When Aru lights a cursed lamp at her mom’s Museum of Ancient Indian Art, she releases a demon & dooms the world, unless she can get to the celestial weapons in time. This book was brilliantly written! In fact, when I finished it, I went right back to the beginning & read it again. Roshani Chokshi’s fresh, original voice tells a well-paced, action story that explodes with humor & gives the reader a look at Hindu gods & goddess. And yes, guys will like this book as much girls…it’s just that good!
Have you ever loved something so much that you couldn’t live without it? Marty did, & when he loses his most precious possession—a jacket from his dad—he knows he must get it back. His dad, now very sick, has raised him on stories of the Train of Lost Things, where kid’s lost items go. Marty always dismissed the train, but now, desperate for the memories held in his jacket, goes searching for it. Marty, along with his newfound friends Dina & Star, learn important—& sometimes hard—lessons about family, bravery, accepting who you are, loss & recovery.
— ARC REVIEWER Hannah C., age 12
This middle grade fantasy novel delves into the mystical power of a girl named Bone. Will she figure out the secrets surrounding her powers, or will she learn to accept herself? Great fantasy/mystery read!
Fans of realistic fiction will be completely drawn in by Nisha's fascinating and informative tale of India’s history, and the format she uses to tell it. The more we read about other people and their countries, the more comfortable and enlightened we become with other cultures and traditions.
I am SO Glad I Read this Book! And I can’t believe this is a debut novel—the quality of writing is just that good. Keller handles what could be a difficult topic in an approachable way. Just like main character Natalie is approachable and very real. A definite read for fans of realistic fiction, this story will surprise you and is filled with: Friendship & Family, Science & Botany, Humor & Hope.
If you liked The Girl in the Well is Me, you will love Rivers' coming of age story about 12 year old Natalia. Nat struggles with normal issues and not so normal dilemmas, such as how to live with paparazzi, who her mother is or how to handle a transgender friend she is attracted to. You will want to adopt Nat's "perfect" words, love "The Bird" and hope you too will love a possibility of whales.
I was hooked the minute I read page one! And what’s not to love: lush images of Rome, ancient artifacts &…a secret room, never mind stolen art. This is the kind of book I wanted to read at lightning speed & to skip ahead periodically, to find out what would happen next, before returning to where I left off. But I forced myself to slow down & savor every delectable detail & every wonderful word.
Ivy Aberdeen is hiding a secret that she only lets out in her art. Then a tornado comes and suddenly her house is gone and her life changed. Not long after, Ivy meets and develops a crush on June, a young girl with her own secrets. I was blown away by this touching and powerful story of finding out who you are and accepting yourself. An important read for anyone still discovering themselves. The author beautifully depicts growing up and the emotions surrounding it - including, yes, crushes, but also family dynamics and looking outside yourself to see what is happening around you, learning that life isn't always perfect and that sometimes you need to take a leap. A beautiful, emotional, coming-of-age story that made me cry at least three times.
An exquisite retelling of a classic tale with illustrations so sumptuous, they should be in an illuminated manuscript! Perfect for the eight year old who wants a little more text on a page, this tale has a hero who saves her seven brothers, just as she and the King are about to face their perilous deaths. It’s the kind of book I would save for the next generation.
Suspenseful and educational, young readers will learn the true meaning of perseverance and courage in the latest historical fiction from Tarshis' I Survived series!