Fall 2021 Elementary Flyer Books Summaries

Picture Books

David Goes to School

David’s teacher has her hands full.  From running in the halls to chewing gum in class, David’s high energy antics fill each school day with challenges – and are sure to delight even the best behaved readers!

Cece Loves Science and Adventure

Cece loves being an Adventure Girl almost as much as she loves science and can’t wait for her troop’s camping trip.  Along with her friends, her mom, and her dog, Einstein, Cece learns now to pitch a tent, set up a campsite and record landmarks on the trail.  When a sudden storm appears, the girls use meteorology to determine its location, engineering to build a shelter, and technology and math to calculate the length of the trek back to their campsite.  A perfect blend of STEM and adventure for curious readers of all ages.

Smiley Shark

Smiley Shark longs to dip, dive, dart, splish and splash with all the other fish in the ocean.   When he smiles at them and tries to make friends though, they quickly swim away.  But when all of the other fish are trapped in a fisherman’s net, could Smiley’s big toothy grin be just the key to save the day?  An under-the-sea tale with bold, bright illustrations sure to capture the attention of young readers.

Sophie’s Squash

On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mother cook it, she names it Bernice.  Lovingly taking care of her new friend and taking her along everywhere, Sophie ignores her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice may not last forever.  As she begins to notice changes in Bernice, Sophie must decide what to do when her squash is in trouble.  A sweet and playful story of the unique fall friendship between a girl and her vegetable! 

If I Ran Your School by the Cat in the Hat

When the Cat hears that Sally and her brother from the classic The Cat in the Hat think school is dull, he arrives at their classroom (along with some helpers!) to demonstrate how school fun should be done.  Can adding two-headed class pets, replacing show-and-tell with smell-and-tell, planting seeds that grow books, and adding mops and plungers to the art supplies liven up the school day and make learning even more fun?  This new tale about a classic favorite is sure to bring giggles to even those a little nervous about school!

Construction Site:  Road Crew, Coming Through!

The hard-working crew from the popular Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series join up with seven new trucks to finish a big job – a brand new road!  Working as a team, the crew gears up for an action-packed day of rolling, building, paving, and painting to make a strong new road that will get everyone home safe in time for bed.  Full of energetic rhymes and eye-catching illustrations, this book is a must read for construction fans new to the series or die-hard fans!

Save It!

This title, one of the Moneybunny series, is a charming introduction to simple money concepts in which a little bunny learns about the power and satisfaction that come with saving money.  Honey, who earns two carrots a week for taking care of her five loud and rowdy siblings, wishes she had a playhouse of her own to get some peace and quiet.  Can she devise a plan to save the money she’ll need to make her dream come true?  It may mean doing without a treat or two and being determined to follow the course, but Honey may just have found a way to solve her problem all on her own.   A look at dealing with money that even the youngest of readers can understand. 

Early Readers

Splat the Cat and the Obstacle Course

Splat the Cat wants to try out his friend Plank’s backyard obstacle course but first he’ll have to take his little sister Flo to her ballet class since Mom and Dad are busy.  After a class that Splat thinks is just a bunch of twirling and fluttering, he and Flo head to Plank’s.  Splat knows he’ll have no trouble with the hanging rings, balance beam or trampoline Plank has set up, but soon discovers that his little sister may have the skills to master the course and leave him in the dust.  A delightful Level 2 story of sibling rivalry and discovering new talents when you least expect it!

Pete the Cat:  Rocking Field Day

It’s field day and Pete is super excited for a day filled with activities like the water-balloon toss, three-legged race, an obstacle course and tug-of-war.  He is sure that his friends Callie, Gus and Grumpy Toad will join him and be the team that wins the gold medal.  Alligator, Squirrel, Turtle, and Marty are just as determined to come out on top and the competition is on.  Can Pete really “rock” field day and learn some lessons about teamwork along the way?  This Level 1 reader’s story and illustrations make it perfect for fans of this favorite cat

Tiny Tales:  Shell Quest

This Level 3 reader in a new series, I Can Read Comics, introduces young readers to the world of graphic novel storytelling as it encourages visual literacy in children.  When a little slug finds new friends in the backyard, she notices that they look a lot like her, except they have shells!  Maybe a shell is just what she needs to fit it – but finding one may be a lot harder than it sounds!  This popular format has been adapted to simple stories that are just perfect for even the most reluctant of readers. 

Get in the Game! Space Jam a New Legacy

A brand new Level 3 reader based on the summer blockbuster featuring LeBron James.  The basketball superstar teams up with Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes in an adventure that will captivate fans of these popular characters. 

Grumpy Monkey Get Your Grumps Out

Grumpy Monkey Jim Panzee wakes up one morning and decides that it’s time for a new Jim.  To get rid of his constant bad mood, Jim asks his jungle friends to get him so mad that he can get rid of all his grumpy feelings.  Their efforts seem to be working until his friend Norman reminds this grumpy monkey that it may be best to just be himself, grumpy and all!

Grumpy Monkey Ready, Set, Bananas!

Jim Panzee ‘s plans for a quiet morning nap are interrupted by Tortoise’s plea to join him in the jungle race.  This makes Grumpy Monkey even grumpier but he reluctantly agrees.  Then one of the runners bumps into a tree and bananas come raining down! The race to the finish is over as everyone, including Grumpy Monkey, races to get the biggest share of bananas.  A funny tale with great illustrations that fans of this new favorite character are sure to love. 

Luca:  Friends are Forever

Based on the Disney feature film Luca, this Level 2 reader is the story of sea monster friends Luca and Alberto and their summer adventures in a seaside Italian village.  When they meet Guilia, a human girl who lives in the village, they begin to realize that even though someone may not be like you, you can still be brave and true friends.  A sweet story of acceptance and loyalty. 

Madeline and Her Dog

In this Level 2 story featuring the Madeline of picture book fame, Genevieve, Madeline’s dog, is up to her mischievous ways.  Out for a walk with the girls, this curious dog keeps sniffing around for a tasty treat.  When she smells fish in the river, Genevieve jumps in and comes out smelling very “pee-yew”!  It may take all of the girls to get this stinky canine clean again —-but will she stay that way or get in trouble again?  A perfect “read it myself” choice for fans of this classic character. 

Gymnastics

From somersaults and backflips on the floor to aerial moves, mounts, and dismounts on bars and beams, kids will learn all about gymnastics history, events, and competitions. Kids will also love reading about how athletes train and how events are judged and scored.  A perfect follow up to the excitement of the Tokyo Olympic Games!

Beginning Chapter

Stuck Together: Pea, Bee and Jay

Like all peas, Pea loves to roll so when he is dared to roll all the way off the farm, he is sure he can do it!  But along the way, a powerful thunderstorm strikes and bounces Pea off course.  Lucky for him, he meets two unlikely new friends, a bee named Bee who thinks she knows it all and a bird named Jay who  can’t figure out how to fly.  On their own, they may not look like much, but if this trio can stick together, they might just help Pea find his way back home!  An early reader graphic novel that’s on many “Best Books of 2020” lists! 

Lily:  The Puppy Place

In this favorite series about a family that fosters young dogs, giving them love and proper care until they can find each a forever home, the Peterson family is headed to the beach.  Ready to enjoy a vacation at Fair Harbor Inn, young Charlie Peterson meets Lily, an untrained English cream golden retriever puppy named Lily.  She is very rambunctious and it may be difficult to find a family willing to take this bundle of endless energy.  Can Charlie and his sister Lizzie find a home for this lively pup?  A great choice for pet lovers of all ages. 

Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots:  Graphix Adventures of the Bailey School Kids

A graphic novel format brings a modern feel to this classic early chapter book series!   The kids in third grade at Bailey Elementary are so hard to handle that all of their teachers have quit.  But their new teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, is different to say the least.  She just moved from Transylvania and seems to have some strange powers that help her deal with these mischief-makers.  Her methods may be a bit unusual, but are they just what the Bailey School kids need?  A choice that will keep even the most reluctant reader turning pages after bedtime! 

Press Start:  Super Rabbit Boy’s Team Up Trouble

In this latest in the bestselling series for newly independent readers, King Viking, his robot army, and Miss Business are working together to create a perfect storm of trouble in Underland.  It’s up to Super Rabbit Boy and Mega Mole Girl to team up and save the day.  But these two heroes are used to flying solo.  Will they be able to work together to save the day or will their squabbles spell disaster for Underland?  

Mermicorns:  Sparkle Magic 

When a mermicorn’s horn starts to sparkle, that means she’s ready for Magic School!  Sirena can’t wait to learn to do all kinds of magic around the ocean.  But magic isn’t as easy to learn as she had hoped, and to make matters worse, her school partner, Lily, is way better at magic than she is.  Feeling frustrated and angry, Sirena learns that it is hard to do magic when you’re jealous or angry.  Can she learn to be a good friend and master her first magic lesson?  A new series that ‘s part unicorn, part mermaid and totally magical for readers who love a little imagination in their books!

Mermicorns:  A Friendship Problem

Mermicorns Sirena and Lily are best friends at Magic School. They love to find special places to practice their magic so when Sirena finds a spot on the coral reef that’s perfect for a club house, she can’t wait to take Lily there. But she also wants to invite her kitten mermaid friends to the club…and that makes Lily jealous. Does Sirena have room for old friends AND new ones in her clubhouse? 

J.D. and the Family Business

Eight-year-old kid barber J.D. joins forces with his sister, who has beauty shop dreams, in this hilarious illustrated chapter book series.  J.D. is a barber battle champion. He’s graduated from home haircuts to having a regular chair at the neighborhood shop, Hart and Son, and he’s making enough money to keep his candy jar stocked and his comic book collection growing. And yet, J.D. knows it’s time for his next challenge. He doesn’t just want to be the best barber in Meridian, Mississippi—he wants to be the best barber in the state . . . and maybe the country! When his older sister, Vanessa, starts to gain a following online for her hair tutorials, the kids decide that to truly level up, they must join forces. How do two siblings with big personalities, big ambitions, and competitive spirits work together (or not) to take over the hair world?

True 

Chapter

True Hauntings:  Deadly Disasters

In these scary stories of thrilling survival and restless spirits, veteran ghost writer Dinah Williams explores the stories and alleged haunting of some of the deadliest catastrophes in history.  Whether it’s the lost souls left behind following the 2011 Japanese tsunami, the ghost that frightens miners who perished in a Utah coal mine explosion, or a phantom train which appears on the anniversary of the deadliest train crash in North Carolina history, these stories will captivate who can’t get enough of the scary!  With historical photos and sidebars that are equal parts educational and terrifying, readers will find that sometimes fact is even scarier than fiction. 

True Hauntings:  Battlefield Ghosts

A bloody soldier who disappears into thin air.  Flickering orbs floating over a military cemetery.  History is filled with brave fighters cut down in the heat of battle.  But what if they aren’t resting in peace?  This second volume in the True Hauntings series revisits deadly clashes from the past and the ghosts they left behind, from a headless horseman galloping through the night to restless spirits rising from sunken ships.  There is no doubt that true stories can be the most terrifying of all!

The Pumpkin War

At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.  Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.  A captivating story of competition and personal discovery with lots of great information about growing pumpkins as well. 

Wild Survival:  Crocodile Rescue!

Twelve-year-old Adrianna Villalobos and her older brother Feye travel the globe with their parents, the hosts of a suspenseful nature show called “Wild Survival!” The show features daring animal rescues and the work the family does at their animal sanctuary. They’ve recently gotten an offer to take the show from YouTube to a TV network, and Adrianna is thrilled. So far, she’s always been behind the scenes, but now she gets to join the rest of her family onscreen. She can’t wait to bring her passion for animals to a wide audience.  Their first stop is the lush mangrove forests of Cuba, where they’re going to help rescue an injured crocodile. But things get off to a rocky start when Feye is injured in an accident partially caused by Adrianna. The status of the show is in jeopardy, and Adrianna’s parents want her back behind the scenes, or maybe even back at home.  Adrianna is determined to prove herself, and save the show-whatever it takes, even if that means confronting the legendary Mega Croc of Cuba that’s rumored to inhabit the murky waters around their base camp.  Based on the author’s real-life wildlife encounters, this edge-of-your seat tale also includes real animal facts and light illustrations.  A page-turner you can’t put down!

Wild Survival:  Swimming with Sharks!

Twelve-year-old Adrianna Villalobos and her older brother Feye travel the globe with their parents, the hosts of a suspenseful nature show called “Wild Survival!” The show features daring animal rescues and the work the family does at their animal sanctuary.  This time the family is off to Sri Lanka. They’ve heard a rumor that an extremely rare Pondicherry shark might have been sighted. Once they arrive, Adrianna, Feye, and their parents discover the rumored Pondicherry shark is the main attraction in a restaurant aquarium. Is this shark really the one they’re looking for? And if it is, can they convince the restaurant’s owners to release it back in the wild?  Packed with animal facts and illustrations as well as non-fiction back matter, this story of man versus one of the world’s most feared creatures is perfect for readers who love fast-paced tales of adventure.

War Stories

There are two things Trevor loves more than anything else: playing war-based video games, and his great-grandfather Jacob, who is a true-blue, bona fide war hero. At the height of the war, Jacob helped liberate a small French village, and was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to America.  Now it’s decades later, and Jacob wants to retrace the steps he took during the war – from training to invasion to the village he is said to have saved. Trevor thinks this is the coolest idea ever. But as they get to the village, Trevor discovers there’s more to the story than what he’s heard his whole life, causing him to wonder about his great-grandfather’s heroism, the truth about the battle he fought, and importance of genuine valor.  A must-read story of telling truth from lies and finding out what being a hero really means from favorite author Gordon Korman. 

Ways to Make Sunshine

Fourth grader Ryan Hart was named by her mom with a name that means “king”, hoping her daughter would feel powerful each time she heard it.  So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine”.  When her dad loses his job, the family must make changes that include moving to a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries.  But Ryan gets to stay at her same school and her mom still finds a way to get the ingredients Ryan needs to practice her new recipes.  This spunky character is also capable of standing up for herself, particularly when she is teased for having a name more commonly given to boys or dealing with her bossy older brother.  She has a lively imagination which comes in handy when she and her best friend, Kiki, prepare for the school talent show together.  From Easter speeches to African American hair care, this first in a series will give those whose lives reflect that of Ryan the opportunity to relate to a middle grade title character.  A must-read story that celebrates the strength of family and the importance of a positive attitude!

Raising Lumie

Twelve year old Olive Hudson’s life has had lots of recent changes.  Her father has passed away and Olive is moving to a new town to live with a half-sister, Maudie, that she barely knows.  They will be sharing a house with folks neither of them has yet to meet.  Olive believes that having a dog would really help but that seems to be out of the question until a chance meeting with a young man who is losing his sight turns into an opportunity to raise a pup named Lumie to be a guide dog for the blind.  With a commitment to do everything it takes to train Lumie for a future as a service dog, Olive wants to be a great trainer but realizes that success will mean losing the companion she’s grown to love and cherish.    A story of the incredible bond between a girl and a dog with a twist that gives this book an extra dimension perfect for animal lovers of all ages.

Katarina Ballerina

Ten year old Katarina is a New York City girl through and through but her big dream is to become a prima ballerina.  Dance lessons are expensive though so she has been teaching herself via the internet.  After a school talent show performance convinces her dad to sign her up for lessons in a studio, Katarina discovers that her feet don’t move quite the way she’d like them to, the twirls and spins make her dizzy, and not all of her new classmates are very welcoming.  One of them does reach out, however, with an offer to help Katarina improve her skills and a potential friendship emerges.  When the head of the dance studio announces that there will be a competition to earn a spot in an upcoming international dance camp, both girls set their sights on being chosen.  With a co-author who was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, this is the perfect choice for budding dancers who know the challenges of making their dreams come true.

Fins:  A Sharks Incorporated Novel

The world’s shark population is in trouble for a sad, simple reason: shark fin soup. And although it’s illegal, poachers have been targeting Florida’s biannual migration of blacktip sharks. Marine biologist Doc Ford needs some assistance protecting the sharks and enlists the help of three kids—Luke, Maribel and Sabina. Luke is brand-new to Florida from the Midwest; sisters Maribel and Sabina have only recently arrived from Cuba—and all three feel like fish out of water. It’s going to take some convincing for them to work as a team and to recognize in themselves the courage, wisdom and tenacity that Doc sees in them.  Together they form Sharks, Inc. and are given an important assignment: to set out each day on their small fishing boat in hopes of tagging sharks for Doc’s research—and to stay away—far away—from any possible poachers in the area. The trio certainly isn’t looking for trouble, but when they come face to face with danger, survival requires them to rely on each of their own unique gifts, and especially on one another.

A Whale of the Wild

For young whale Vega and her family, salmon is life. And Vega is learning to be a salmon finder, preparing for the day when she will be her family’s matriarch. But when she and her brother Deneb are separated from their pod after a devastating earthquake and tsunami render the seascape unrecognizable, Vega must use every skill she has to lead her brother back to their family. The young orcas face a shark attack, hunger, the deep ocean, and polluted waters on their journey. Will Vega become the leader she’s destined to be?  This beautifully illustrated animal adventure explores family bonds, survival, global warning and a changing seascape and includes information about orcas and their habitats.  A perfect choice for fans of A Wolf Called Wander and The One and Only Ivan

Triple Threat

When twelve-year-old Alex makes up her mind to join her middle school’s football team, she doesn’t expect it to be easy. But she also never anticipated she’d be met with scorn and derision from her exclusively male teammates. Football has always been a source of happiness for Alex. She and her single father never miss a Steelers game on TV, and Alex knows she has a talent for throwing the perfect spiral. But the guys suck the joy right out of the game for Alex—going out of their way to trip her up during tryouts, and teaming up against her just to watch her fail. In spite of the support of one lone teammate, Alex is the lowest she’s ever felt. But if getting QB is worth it to her, she’s going to have to fight for it.  An action packed story from a favorite sports writer, Mike Lupica. 

Kudo Kids:  The Mystery of the Masked Medalist

Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo! The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can’t believe they get to attend the Summer Olympics there. The siblings plan to eat tons of delicious Japanese food, watch every event they can, and win a super-popular new game called OlympiFan.  Developed by a mysterious former medalist, OlympiFan brings players together from all over the world to search Tokyo for virtual medals and clues to the creator’s identity. Andy loves puzzles, and he’s determined to crack this one, especially since the winning team will get to be beta testers for the Masked Medalist’s future games!  Mika wants to find as many clues as she can, but she also has a secret goal of her own—one that could get her into big trouble. But when someone sabotages the game, the Kudo Kids have an even bigger mystery to solve than the Masked Medalist’s identity. If they want to capture the gold, Mika and Andy have to figure out who’s trying to stop their team before someone beats them to the grand prize!

The perfect “what might have been” mystery !

The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel

Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up—after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help—smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems—and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, an endearingly nerdy protagonist, and a cliff-hanger ending make this first book in the series a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.   Based on a Peabody-award podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids from their school and around the world are disappearing without a trace.

Max’s Story:  A Puppy Tale

Max is a feisty little Chihuahua Yorkie mix who doesn’t seem to like any of the potential forever families interested in him.  As soon as he sets his eyes on CJ, however, the little dog knows that she’s his girl.  He is a native New Yorker and quickly figures out that his purpose is to show her how to navigate the big city.  He may be the smallest dog at the park but he knows how to take charge and is determined to prove to all of the other canines that he’s the alpha dog.  Can CJ help Max learn that he doesn’t always have to be ferocious and that a more gentle Max may be happier after all?  Another in the Puppy Tale series from favorite animal story author Bruce Cameron.

One Last Shot

For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough.  Not for his parents, who always seem to be at odds with each other, and especially for his dad, whose competitive drive and love for sports Malcolm has never shared.  When he discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys, his dad jumps in to sign his son up for tournaments and find him a bona fide coach.  Frank originally seems to be just a washed up golfer turned coach who is just working with Malcolm for the lesson payments, but is he the confidant and role model that the boy needs?  When he meets another mini golf lover who offers some insights into his messy family life, Malcolm realizes that figuring out the challenges of his favorite sport may help him put the pieces of his family back together as well.  A heart-warming story of family, friendship and a sport rarely in the limelight by one of the best authors of realistic fiction. 

Super Puzzletastic Mysteries:  Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America

This collection of 20 never before published short mysteries by favorite authors such as Stuart Gibbs, Peter Lerangis, James Ponti and Chris Grabenstein offers a variety of capers for young mystery lovers.  From stolen fundraising money to kidnapped squirrel monkeys to magical misdirection, each narrative presents a unique opportunity to practice deduction and problem-solving skills, with clues such as ciphers, crosswords, and magic squares.  With solutions found in the back of the book, these entries are short enough for classroom read-alouds and encourage “out-of-the-box” thinking and team collaboration.  A perfect choice for readers who shy away from longer chapter books but love the excitement of figuring out “who did it?”  A much needed format for classroom and individual collections. 

City of Gold

Just weeks after arriving in Colorado to start a new farm following the death of their dad, the Hollowell family is looking at disaster.  Fifteen year old Owen witnesses the theft of their mules and learns that Hercules and Peaches will likely be sold by the thieves to work in the mines of cities over the mountains.   Knowing that the family won’t survive without livestock to plow the fields and despite the protests of younger brother Till who is kept home by their mother, Owen sets out to track the rustlers and retrieve his animals.  After a dangerous mountain trek, he finds himself in Telluride, the self-proclaimed “City of Gold.” With help from a colorful assortment of townsfolk, miners, a girl named Molly, and even his Wild West–loving brother Till, Owen learns the truth about the mules and the man who took them. Now all he must do is convince the town’s infamous marshal to help him catch the outlaw.   Telluride’s notorious marshal finally takes an interest when he identifies the rustler as one of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch and the lawman leads Owen and Till into the canyon country all the way to Robbers Roost, the camp of the outlaw gang.   Can this young boy outsmart an experienced gang of thieves to get back the animals key to his family’s survival?  Rich in adventure, history, and humor, this odyssey set in the twilight of the Wild West by favorite author Will Hobbs will keep you reading way past your bedtime

The Tiny Mansion

The last thing Dagmar wants is to spend her summer vacation squished into a tiny house with her dad, her stepmom, and her annoying five-year-old half brother. But after a sudden financial setback, her family is evicted from their Oakland apartment, and that’s just where they end up, parked among the towering redwoods of Northern California.  As Dagmar explores the forest around their new and (hopefully) temporary home, she discovers they are living next door to an eccentric tech billionaire and his very unusual extended family. There’s his brother, a woodsman who sets dangerous booby traps all over the place, and his sister, a New Age animal lover who meditates to whale songs in an isolation tank. And then there’s the billionaire’s son, Blake, who has everything he could ever wish for—except maybe a friend.  And with both families at risk of losing everything, it turns out it’s not the size of the home but the people you share it with that matters.

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero

Ten year old Isaiah Dunn’s life has been spiraling out of control since his father died four months ago.  His mother struggles with depression and alcoholism and his family is in danger of being evicted from the cheap motel they moved into after losing their apartment.    Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it’s a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama’s gone totally silent. Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own—once she stops hassling Isaiah.  And when things get really tough, there’s Daddy’s journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad’s tales were real. He could use those powers right about now! Determined to earn the money needed for a new apartment, Isaiah tries his hand at selling candy to classmates and sweeping up hair at a barbershop, continuing to connect with his father’s stories through his own emerging talents as a poet and writer.  With chapters that are each a calendar-date vignette of Isaiah’s challenges, this debut novel explores the indomitable spirit of a ten-year-old boy and the superhero strength it takes to grow up.

Three Keys

The story of Mia and her family and friends at the Calivista Motel continues in this powerful, hilarious, and resonant sequel to the award-winning novel Front Desk.  Mia Tang thinks she’s going to have the best year ever. She and her parents are the proud owners of the Calivista Motel, Mia gets to run the front desk with her best friend, Lupe, and she’s finally getting somewhere with her writing!  But as it turns out, sixth grade is no picnic!  First, Mia’s new teacher doesn’t think her writing is all that great and her entire class finds out she lives and works in a motel!   Secondly, the motel is struggling, and Mia has to answer to the Calivista’s many, many worried investors.   And finally, a new immigration law is looming and if it passes, it will threaten everything — and everyone — in Mia’s life.  It’s a roller coaster of challenges, and Mia needs all of her determination to hang on tight. But if anyone can find the key to getting through turbulent times, it’s Mia Tang!

Room to Dream

In this third book in the Front Desk series, Mia Tang continues to pursue her dreams.  After years of hard work, she finally gets to go on the vacation she has yearned for – a family trip to China.  Mia can ’t wait to see all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents again, especially her favorite cousin Shen.  As she roams around Beijing, she witnesses some of the big changes China is going through.  Change is happening in Mia’s life too.  Her best friend, Lupe, is taking classes at the high school and seems to be too busy with the demands of her schoolwork to have time to spend with Mia.  Mia’s writing may have found a home with a column in a Chinese newspaper, but will her stories of her life in the US for Chinese readers backfire when her US friends become aware of it?  Something has happened with her relationship with Jason too but Mia is clueless about how to deal with with it.  The biggest change, however, may be the disappearance of many of the small businesses Mia loves, both in China and at home, and their replacement by big chain stores.  Can the Calivista survive?  Mia is more determined than ever to deal with these winds of change but can she still find the room to dream?  

The Queen Bee and Me
Meg has always found comfort in her best friend Beatrix’s shadow. Self-assured Beatrix is the one who makes decisions, and the girls have been a pair since kindergarten. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick.  A special science elective is Meg’s first step away, but when she’s paired with quirky new girl Hazel, Beatrix steps in to stake her claim on Meg. Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be—and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: Is being Beatrix’s friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice?  This book by North Carolina author Gillian McDunn is a heartfelt story of the dynamics of tween friendship that will resonate with readers of all ages.

Shine!

Seventh-grader Piper is heartbroken when she learns that she has to leave her public school and begin mid-year at Chumley Prep, the local independent school that has offered her father, a choral teacher who dreams of writing Broadway musicals, a job and a tuition-free spot for his daughter.  Piper’s mother, who passed away when Piper was three, had been a star cellist at the school and the seventh-grader feels the pressure to shine.  As she had expected, Piper initially feels out of place at the school.  Some of the Chumley students are not very welcoming, especially the popular Ainsley who tries to sabotage all of the newcomer’s attempts to thrive at her new school.  When a new award for the student who “most fully demonstrates overall excellence” is announced, many of the students implement strategies to determine how they can exhibit the characteristics that will win this prize that has rather vague criteria.  Piper, who shines primarily in science, has no hopes of being selected but when she wins the school science fair, some of her new friends believe she is a real contender.  Will it be her innate kindness and willingness to help others, however, that gets her noticed and gives her a chance to shine?  Bursting with humor and heart, Shine is a story about finding your place in the world and shining wherever that might be!

Girl Stuff

Fonda, Drew and Ruthie have been neighbors and best friends since they were little but will now be attending the same school for the first time ever.  Fonda, excited to be attending school without being overshadowed by an older sister, can’t wait to have a group she can depend on in the face of an intimidating girl clique.  Drew, who was at a private school, is looking forward to not having to wear a uniform and going to the same school as a cute boy she met over the summer.  Ruthie, who has been attending an alternative school with a long list of rules and restrictions, is glad to have more freedom to be herself.  When Ruth is placed in the Talented and Gifted program, one whose students are kept separate from the other students, however, Fonda realizes their threesome may be in jeopardy.  Drew’s crush, who seemed so into her only a week ago, suddenly acts like he doesn’t know who see is.  Fonda has finally been noticed by the popular girls, but does she really want to hang out with them if Ruthie and Drew aren’t included?  As their bonds of friendship are tested, the three find out how awful it feels to be lied to, left out, and ignored.  Can they nurture the elements of true friendship and see how great it feels to just be yourself?  Perfect for fans of the Baby-sitters Club series. 

Graphic Novels

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work.  Benny taught Lucas everything about football so when his parents decide that the sport is too dangerous and Lucas needs to quit, the boy knows he has to talk to his mentor.  Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school but just as he arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes.  The Twin Towers have been attacked and nothing will ever be the same again.  This gripping graphic novel adaptation of the bestselling title in the I Survived series, released in time for the 20th anniversary of this historic event, will appeal to lovers of the graphic novel format and fans of the original series as well. 

Baby-sitters Little Sister:  Karen’s Kittycat Club

Karen’s best friend Hannie just got an adorable new kitten.  Their neighbor Amanda has a cat, too and Karen has her grumpy old feline, Boo-Boo.  Now that they all have cats, Karen comes up with a great idea!  She wants to start a kittycat club!  The girls are too young to baby-sit like Karen’s big sister, Kristy, but could they cat-sit?  Will anyone want to hire Karen and her friends?  A graphic novel series perfect for younger readers. 

Miles Morales:  Shock Waves

Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while also swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man.  After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother’s birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to set up a fundraiser for the devastated island.  But when a new student’s father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles’ fundraiser. Who is behind the fundraiser and how does it relate to Spider-Man?  Bestselling author Justin Reynolds and award-winning artist Pablo Leon create a riveting story with non-stop action that will appeal to new and well-versed comics readers alike!

Last Kids on Earth:  Thrilling Tales from the Tree House

The kids and their monster buddies are hanging out in the tree house, when Jack launches into an epic, totally-heroic, super rad story of one of his many post-apocalyptic adventures. Of course, after he’s finished, everyone’s eager to one-up his tale with a story of their own. Soon, Quint, Dirk, June and Skaelka, and even Globlet regale the group with sometimes outrageous, often hilarious details of their action-packed escapades during the monster-zombie apocalypse.   In this first-ever graphic novel of this favorite series, six brand-new, full-color comics finally reveal the mysterious whereabouts of two evil villains to prep readers for the seventh book which releases this fall.

Clash

There’s a new kid in town!  From the moment Natasha sets foot in class, it’s clear she’s one of the coolest kids in sixth grade!  Everyone wants to be her friend, including Olive, but doing that may not be easy.  Olive tries her best to befriend Nat, but it seems like the only thing they have in common is that they both want to hang out with Olive’s friends.  Watching as Natasha gets closer with some of her best buds, Olive can’t help but worry that they’re starting to like Nat more than they like her …and who could blame them?  Nat is just so cool, and Olive is well, just Olive.  A graphic novel that tackles the issues of new friendships, middle school conflicts and the importance of empathy and respect. 

 

Nonfiction

“The President Has Been Shot!”:  The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

This finalist for the young reader Excellence in Nonfiction award by one of the very best authors of historical events transports readers back to November 22, 1963, the day that US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while on a trip to Dallas, Texas.  With intense pacing and a thriller-like narrative, this book explores this horrific day in US history not as dry, textbook history but as the tragic and shocking crime that it was.  Photographs, background information, and illustrations capture the assassination in real time emotion and provide details about the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, his motives and plans for the shooting .  The pursuit and capture of Oswald as well as the impact on both Kennedy’s family and the entire nation are described with historical accuracy as well.  This is a not to be missed account of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.  A bestseller for years in hardback format, it is now available in a more affordable paperback version. 

Pocket Genius Oceans

With nearly 97% of the planet’s water held in oceans, there is an incredible variety of creatures that call the ocean home.  This mini-encyclopedia explores all the different marine habitats from tidal pools and salt marshes to coral reefs and ocean floor ridges.  Curious kids will also learn about how oceans are formed, what causes tsunamis and how tidal waves are used to generate electricity.  Data about ocean conservation and how young readers can help insure its survival complement the comprehensive facts and figures of this nonfiction gem.  Presenting information in bite-sized chunks supported by photographs and illustrations, this reference guide is perfect for both avid and reluctant readers.  

The First Thanksgiving:  Separating Fact From Fiction

Every November, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving Day. But what actually happened at the first Thanksgiving? And when did it happen? Did the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe come together to celebrate a bountiful harvest or was their multi-day feast motivated by other factors?  A timely volume in a series that reveals many of the myths and misunderstandings of history, this nonfiction choice is a must-read for students and teachers alike. 

Who is Tom Brady?

On February 7, 2021, Tom Brady lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy into the air for the seventh time in his career.  After winning the Super Bowl six times with the New England Patriots, this was Brady’s first win with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  This record-breaking win further convinced many that Tom Brady is football’s GOAT, greatest of all time.  This moving biography, told in the shorter WHO HQ Now format, details the life of this amazing football hero and the victories that led him to become the winning quarterback so many cheer for today.  A perfect choice for sports lovers of all ages. 

Who Would Win?  Extreme Animal Rumble

Eighty fierce animals battle it out in this exciting collection of five books in this action-packed favorite nonfiction series.    Featuring a range of mammals, sea creatures, reptiles and dinosaurs that will satisfy all kinds of animal fans, this nonfiction standout features facts about each animal’s anatomy and behavior.  With photos, charts, and illustrations that supplement the facts, this is a great value for kids hungry to learn more about the creatures of our world!

It’s All About …..Dogs and Puppies

The perfect length for young readers, this book tells you everything you want to know about man’s best friend.  Read all about how they grow from puppies to dogs, all the different breeds, what jobs they do, how to care for them and so much more.  Packed with detailed photography, the latest facts, and a bonus audio download, this book has everything a puppy-loving kid could want!