Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Middle Grade Marvels 2019 (So Far) Plus YA Wonders

Another decade is about to come to a close.  I have read, as I always instructed my students to do, until your eyeballs fall out.  Still, I have another basket full of 2019 books I still want to read.  There are at least thirty-five books there I will read without fail, otherwise I will be missing something wonderful to share with someone else. That is what makes reading books so wonderful, the ability to share those stories with others.  Those stories give us knowledge, wonder and insights into events, people and places we might never realize.  We become better with every book we read.

This year, as I did in a similar post last year, I am highlighting upper elementary, middle grade books I read which were not given separate blog posts.  I found these books to be singular.  At the end I will list a few young adult books which were outstanding to me.  I will link to the publisher's website to give you their summary of the book, to the author's website, and if appropriate, an illustrator's website.  At many of the publisher websites there are excerpts from the books and reading guides.  Following my short booktalks I will sometimes include quotes from the book.  I have listed the books in order of publication date.  If they are published on the same date, alphabetical by author's last name.


The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (Henry Holt And Company, January 8, 2019) written by Dan Gemeinhart

Imagine you have lost your mother and two sisters in an automobile accident at the age of seven.  For five years, since that day, you and your father have been on the road living in a converted school bus, never returning home.  Now you find out from your grandmother, a park at your home is to be destroyed.

Buried there is a treasure box of mementos.  You, your sisters and mother placed it there.  You have to get home to get this without your father knowing. (He will not talk about the accident or the loss of his wife and daughters.)  You are in the southeastern United States.  Your home is in the northwest.  You only have a limited amount of time. 

As you devise a plan to get there, you and your father pick up a cast of strangers, each with their own set of problems.  You learn how strangers can become the best of friends in circumstances beyond your control.  You learn how beautiful people and life can be. 

But my Yager description was cut off by Salvador's mom's quick gasp and hissed curse: "Policia!"

I followed her pointing finger and saw the police cruiser pulling off the highway on the other side of the bridge, exiting toward the gas station we'd just left.  It would be only a matter of minutes now before they found the bathroom empty and came looking for me.

"All right," I said, cracking the door. "Y'all can head back over there.  I'll hide in the ditch here and wait for my dad.  Thank you so much again for everything."

Salvador spoke some words to his mom in Spanish and she said some back, shaking her head emphatically.

"Stay here," she said to me.  "I wouldn't want someone leaving my Salvador in a ditch by the side of the road, and I'm not doing that with you."

"And we're not going back over there as long as the cops are there, either," Salvador added under his breath.

"Why?" I asked, which I knew was totally rude and nosy as soon as I said it.

Salvador's face went cold again, but this time his eyes slid away from mine instead of glaring. 

The Unsung Hero Of Birdsong, USA (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, January 8, 2019) written by Brenda Woods

The year is 1946.  The town is Birdsong, South Carolina.  A twelve-year-old boy, riding his bicycle, a birthday gift, is nearly run over by an overzealous driver.  Gabriel Haberlin is saved, pushed aside, by Meriwether Hunter.  Gabriel Haberlin is white, and Meriwether Hunter is African American.  

Gabriel Haberlin's father owns an auto shop.  Meriwether Hunter is given a position there because of his outstanding skills as a mechanic and soon Gabriel is working there, too.  As the friendship grows between the boy and the World War II veteran, our understanding broadens about the truths of this historical period.  You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough to arrive at the surprising twist.  

One funny thing about life and all the stuff that happens while you're living it is that mostly you only see it through your own eyes, that is, unless you decide to try to see things through the eyes of someone else.  Then, you have four eyes, and looking at things with more eyes than just your own lets you see things more clearly---maybe even see things the way they really are, not just the way you want them to be. 

Genesis Begins Again (A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, Atheneum Books For Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, January 15, 2019) written by Alicia D. Williams
Watch. Connect. Read.

Being thirteen is hard.  For Genesis, it's harder.  Her dark skin color results in an uneven place with her peers and with her family.  She believes other problems within her family are her fault.  This girl bears burdens which will break your heart.

As the narrative is revealed changes help Genesis start to alter her perception of herself, little by little.  She gets support from people who see the essence of who she is.  As a reader, you find happiness in every good thing which comes her way.

"Yes, ma'am." The I add, "I can't read music."

"That's fine," Mrs. Hill escorts me to the door.  "And, Genesis," she says, taking my hand, "when you practice, I don't want you to just sing it.  I want you to embrace it."

"Yes, ma'am." I feel a smile creeping on my face, the first one all day.

Mrs. Hill wants me to sing.  I'm down for that, just as long as she doesn't ever have me sing by myself.  Having people gawk and talk about me every time I start a new school is bad enough, but singing in front of everybody?  Alone?  I can see myself now, adding to my list. #Whatever.  Because she acted like she was Beyonce and they laughed her right out of Farmington Hills.  No, thank you.

New Kid (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, February 2, 2019) written and illustrated by Jerry Craft with color by Jim Callahan

As the title suggests seventh grade student Jordan Banks is the new kid at a prestigious private school, Riverdale Academy Day School.  He would much rather go to art school, but this place favors academics.  Navigating the classes, locating classes, passing between classes and lunch are challenging plus there is not much diversity.  Jordan learns to balance the friendships from his neighborhood with those he forms at the new school.  This graphic novel fully engages readers with truth and humor.  Each time you read it, you'll discover something new.

Christmas Break
a neighborhood friend comes to Jordan's home and Jordan starts the conversation as they play video games

How's your new school?
Okay, I guess.
But sometimes, it's rough like last week, this kid comes to school packin'!
He brought a gun to school?
Yep! for protection.  Luckily the security guards found it.
Bet that never happens at your school.
Are you kidding?  Last week they found a snickers bar in this kid's locker.
Duh! A nut-free school, son!
That thing was packin', all right . . .packed with peanuts!!!

Here is a link to a School Library Journal post about this book on their The Classroom Bookshelf page.  At Harper Stacks Jerry Craft writes a letter about this book's publishing.

Song For A Whale (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, February 5, 2019) written by Lynne Kelly

School is tough for Iris.  She is the only deaf person there, feeling alone in her silence.  One day in science class her teacher shares a video with her students about Blue 55, a whale who wanders the ocean alone.  His sound frequencies are about twenty hertz different from other whales and his song pattern is unlike any others. He has no other whales who understand him.

Iris is a whiz with technology.  She knows she can help this whale.  The problem is, he's thousands of miles away.  Iris is about to start a journey, a journey which will change several lives, including her own.  This book is so beautiful your heart will feel as though it's going to burst.

With my hand on the computer's speaker, I closed my eyes as the song fluttered against my fingers.  This was different from anything I'd felt through a radio speaker before.  Not like any other music, and not like talking either.
A steady vibration tickled my palm as Blue 55 sang out a long call that seemed like it would never end.  Then the speaker pulsed when he switched to short bursts of sound.  While keeping one hand on the speaker, I placed the other over my heart to feel the matching rhythms of my heartbeat and the whale song.

Revenge Of The Enginerds (Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, February 19, 2019) written by Jarrett Lerner

In this sequel to the highly popular EngiNerds, readers discover along with the main protagonist that there is one robot left who seems to be creating havoc. It's insatiable appetite and ability to shoot waste out its behind like a weapon makes its removal a necessity.  This is complicated by a new smart girl who believes aliens are involved and the ups and downs of friendships already formed. There is action, high jinks and humor galore.

That's how long we've been looking for Edsley's robot.
Maybe that doesn't seem like that much time to you.
But each of those days contained twenty-four long hours.
That's seventy-two hours---or 4,320 minutes---for that hungry, hungry robot to cause as much chaos, mayhem, and destruction as he pleased.
Over the course of those nearly forty-five hundred minutes, we've tried nearly everything to find the bot.
Some of our plans have been good.  Some of them have been not-so-good.  And a few, unfortunately, have been downright ridiculous.
And let me tell you---it hasn't been easy to keep the morale up and the momentum going among the guys.  They went from determined to discouraged in about a day and a half, and now the majority of them are something even worse:  distracted.
All of which has left me feeling desperate.
That's why I'm currently at the park with Edsley, twenty-six rotisserie chickens, and a pair of giant, industrial-strength fans.

Eventown (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, February 12, 2019) written by Corey Ann Haydu

When Eldee's mother gets a new job in Eventown, it seems to be the solution to problems the family has been experiencing.  Right away, careful readers will seem the sameness in all the homes, landscaping, school and the rigid rules as being a little too good to be true.  Perfection is not the way real life is meant to be, is it?  And the perfection in Eventown is wrong on multiple levels.  Will Eldee discover the truth?  And if she does, what does all this mean?

Sometimes I think feelings are bigger than people.  More powerful.  They make people do things that can't be undone.  I used to think feelings were part of a person, but lately I've been thinking they are separate beings, that they come like aliens and invade people's bodies and cause destruction.

I have a lot of questions, but I nod like I understand because I don't want to interrupt the warm, glowy feeling I'm getting being around all these people.  It feels like the beautiful sunset we watched last night is inside me, like it lasted so long that I swallowed it whole and I get to carry it around so I can feel golden-pink and toasty.

Game Of Stars (Kiranmala And The Kingdom Beyond) (Scholastic Press, February 26, 2019) written by Sayantani Dasgupta with art by Vivienne To (Here is the cover reveal for book #3, plus several links.)

It's not at all usual to wake up one day only to discover you are a princess in another realm, a slayer of demons and all those folktales told to you turn out to be true, but that's exactly what happens to Kiranmala in book one, The Serpent's Secret.  This title, book two, starts off

Chapter 1
A Demoness in My Room
The first time the Demon Queen appeared in my bedroom, I tried to decapitate her with my solar system night light.
I was fast asleep, but got woken up by the freaky sound of buzzing.  Then I smelled that rancid, belchy, acidy odor I'd come to associate with the rakkhoshi during my adventures in the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers last fall.

If you think you'll have moments to catch your breath after reading this, think again.  The action is non-stop.  Each of the twenty-nine chapters get crazier by the minute with a cast of characters that will keep you on your toes.  Who is friend?  Who is enemy?

Falling into the giant birds' eyes was the wackiest, weirdest, coolest thing.  I felt like I was flying through a movie on super-duper fast forward.  I saw so much---the green fields and rich forests of my parents' homeland, the cawing monkeys and dappled deer.  And it wasn't just my sense of sight either.  I could smell dizzyingly scented flowers, piled high in the marketplace, hear the mystical possibilities of an early morning raga played on a stringed sitar.  I zipped by vivid colors, and people with faces like mine, and the chaotic wonderfulness of a place where history walked hand in hand with modern life.  And best of all, I was quickly dry and warm.

Being a monster or a hero wasn't about who you were or what you looked like, or where you were from.  Being a monster or a hero was about what you chose to do with every minute of your life.

Ronan Boyle And The Bridge Of Riddles (Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, March 5, 2019) written by Thomas Lennon with art by John Hendrix

If one word could be used to describe this book, it would be madcap.  A fourteen-year-old, whose parents happen to be in jail, probably framed, is now a member of a group of police who manage, sometimes, the shenanigans of magical creatures.  Yes, there is adventure, more than you can imagine.  Yes, it's hilarious.  You'll laugh out loud.  And yes, there's a dog, an Irish wolfhound, named Lily. There are leprechauns, folk of fairy and a man with evil intentions. There are the occasional footnotes to assist you in word definitions and explanations.  Hang on, it's quite a ride!

My pride and my knees were injured, but it seems I had passed some test of bravery that qualified me to start as a trainee in the Garda Special Unit of Tir Na Nog, one of the most ancient and enigmatic law enforcement agencies in Europe.

Looking back on it, descending into a cave of bones to find a very ugly baby would be one of the easiest days that I would have in that first year under Captain Siobhan de Valera's command.

After that, things got complicated.

How High the Moon (Little, Brown And Company, March 5, 2019) written by Karyn Parsons

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons Kickstarts Conversations about Race and Racism for Young Readers   
Watch. Connect. Read.

In this outstanding story set in 1943 Ella finds herself living in two different worlds, that of South Carolina where she's spent most of her life with her grandparents and her cousins Henry and Myrna and the visit with her mother in Boston over the Christmas holidays.  The truths she learns (and readers, too) are utterly shocking.  This is a slice of history will leave a weight on your heart so heavy you'll hardly be able to breathe.  You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough.  You have to know what happens.  And you like, Ella, will hold tight to the warmth of hope.  This story is told in alternating chapters between Ella, Henry and Myrna.

I'd never known my daddy.  Granny said he'd moved out west a long time ago, before I was even born.  Mama never talked about him at all.  I tried not to think about it that much.  Poppy had been all the daddy I could ever want.  When I was little, he used to lift me up to smell the blossoms in trees.  I'd stick my face in the center of a saucer magnolia and try to sniff in its fragrance.  He taught me how to build a birdhouse and a doghouse.  He taught me how to ride a bike.  All I ever learned about the stars, like which one is the North Star, which ones make up Orion's Belt and the Big Dipper, how to locate the Milky Way, I learned from Poppy.
And sometimes I'd just sit out on the porch with him.  Not doing nothing.  Not saying nothing.  We'd just be.  Together.

Get to Know: HOW HIGH THE MOON by Karyn Parsons from LB School on Vimeo.

Sweeping Up The Heart (Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, March 19, 2019) written by Kevin Henkes
Educator's Guide
Video with Kevin Henkes speaking about the book
Watch. Connect. Read.

Sometimes the loss of a spouse or a parent is more than those left behind can process.  If the grief overpowers the spouse, they withdraw from their child when they need them the most.  For seventh grade Amelia Albright she longs for a return to some kind of normal.  She longs for a real vacation for this spring break.  Instead she is stuck at home.

At the clay studio Amelia finds solace if not adventure, but this time there is someone new there.  This new person, Casey, the owner's nephew, alters Amelia's life in an unexpected way.  There are mysteries and secrets and revelations.  There is much beauty in this wonderful new story by a true master.

Amelia covered the short distance at a clip, an oddly rhythmic clip.  She was moving quickly because she was eager to work, but more to the point she was reinventing her walk, trying to make it faster and more graceful.  Purposeful.  Her legs had grown so much lately that she felt out of sync, as if her body belonged to someone or something else.

Caterpillar Summer (Bloomsbury Children's Books, April 2, 2019) written by Gillian McDunn
American Booksellers Association
Nerdy Book Club
Watch. Connect. Read.

With a mother working hard to financially support her family after the loss of Cat's father, she and her younger brother, Chicken, are surprised when plans change, and they find themselves on Gingerbread Island spending three weeks of their summer with grandparents they've never met.  We all know how summer can weave its own special kind of magic but this summer for Cat, her brother, her grandparents, and yes, her mother is life changing.  This is a story of family you'll tuck away and treasure.

That's what Mom meant when she called Cat the glue.  Errands, making dinner, and packing suitcases were only part of it.  Cat was the problem solver, the one who knew Chicken well enough to know the difference between what he said and what he meant.

"After she left, I was angry," said Macon.  "That's when I started my morning walks.  The ocean heard my anger, and eventually washed it away.  Then I finally understood what I'd been missing all those years."
Cat looked at him curiously.  "What was that?"
Macon blew a big breath out.  "Being a parent is a kind of promise.  A promise to stand by someone even if you think they're making a mistake.  To love who you get, not who you think you're going to get."

Endling #2: The First  (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, May 7, 2019) written by Katherine Applegate
Watch. Connect. Read. 

This book, the second in a trilogy, began with Endling #1: The Last, is a breathtaking roller coaster ride in one of the best middle grade fantasy worlds created with a memorable cast of characters.  The quest for others of her kind sought by Byx has been answered but the kingdom of Nedarra is threatened by others who seek power over freedom for all.  The rising tension as war is inevitable is certain to keep you on the edge of your seat.  There are numerous one lines in this title which have timeless universal appeal. (My book is laden with sticky note markers.)

All morning we'd been heading toward icy peaks towering in the distance beyond the Nedarran border---toward our uncertain future, toward my flimsy hopes.
We'd already been walking for three hours, and it had been tough going.  It was cold, and gray clouds encircled the mountains, groping for the peaks.  Our breath hovered before us like ghosts from our tangled pasts.

At times, Khara found it easier to pass as a boy on her journeys.  Apparently, some humans have limited expectations when it comes to the abilities of females.  I don't understand why.  In the dairne world, females and males are treated equally.

The truth can be a dangerous thing.  Especially if you're a liar.

Dream Within A Dream (Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, May 7, 2019) written by Patricia MacLachlan

This summer shouldn't be any different than other summers when Louisiana and her brother Theo stay on the island with their grandparents while their parents travel as ornithologists, but it is.  Her grandfather is losing his vision.  Her brother does not want to leave the island after summer.  He wants a more grounded life with his grandparents.  And Louisiana meets George.

No one writes generational stories filled with as much love as does Patricia MacLachlan.  You'll find yourself attached to all the characters and their stories.  Patricia MacLachlan cleverly includes one of children's literature's most beloved characters, too, for careful readers to notice.

I put my hand up to my hair where George's hand had been and watch him walk home again.
He turns once to look at me, walking backward.  Then he is gone.
When I go inside, Boots and Jake are alone in the kitchen, dancing close together.  There are candles on the table, flickering light in the dim room.  Jake puts his hands on either side of Boot's face as they dance.
There is no music.
Hands again.

Other Words for Home (Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, May 7, 2019) written by Jasmine Warga

A wonderful novel in verse about a family divided by their views and distance but not in their love of each other.  In the community where Jude and her family live in Syria, it has become dangerous.  Jude and her pregnant mother leave for America to stay with Jude's uncle's family in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Her father and older brother stay.

Living with her mother's brother, starting school, overcoming her homesickness and trying to find her place in a whole new world consumes Jude's days.  All her experiences as an immigrant are felt deeply by readers.  All the news from Syria are felt deeply by readers.  The divisions in the book are:
Changing, Arriving, Staying, Hoping, Growing and Living.

My brother wants to see things change,
and I just want to hear him laugh

It is so strange to feel lucky
for something that is making my heart feel so sad.

But one morning 
when I wake up,
the floor creaks
and it sounds like the house is saying
and that makes me feel less alone.
The old house is
becoming my friend.
My first American friend.

One night, though, Mama wins and Aunt Michelle
let her cook dinner.
Mama does not find her recipe online.
She finds it in her memory,
her heart.

In my months of speaking English
while still thinking,
still dreaming,
in Arabic,
I have learned that sometimes
the simplest things are
the hardest to say.
That sometimes there is no word
for what you feel,
no word in any language.

Pie in the Sky (Henry Holt And Company, May 14, 2019) written and illustrated by Remy Lai (Lots of extras at special site linked to title)
Watch. Connect. Read.

Let's face it.  Life simply isn't fair.  It's a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.  For children, it's even worse because most of the time they have no say in most of the decisions which affect them.  This highly illustrated novel tells of a move to a new county by Jingwen, his younger brother Yanghao and their mother.  His father has passed away.

To help alleviate his challenges, which are numerous, Jingwen and Yanghao start to make cakes his father would have baked in his dream bakery, Pie in the Sky.  They have to do this without their mother discovering it.  It breaks rules she has in place for them when she is working.  Heartwarming, laugh-out-loud hilarity and the resilience of family will have readers cheering for these characters.

Happy Tails Vet is right next door.  As soon as I knew what a tail was, I could guess what "vet" meant.  Plus, people with dogs on leashes and cats in crates walk in and out of there.  Some of the dogs have those big lampshade things on their heads.  My cat, Mango, who's being taken care of by Ah-po and Ah-gong now that I'm here, doesn't like vets.  He'll turn from the laziest cat in the world who only ever moves upon hearing the clinking of his dinner bowl into a murderous moggy with only one mission:  destroy the world.

Dactyl Hill Squad Book Two Freedom Fire (Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., May 14, 2019) written by Daniel Jose Older
Scholastic On Our Minds 

This book is as exciting as the first one; certainly, to be consumed by readers in a single sitting.  This is true, edge-of-your-seat reading.  Magadalys and her friends on their flying prehistoric creatures travel south to locate her brother.  The Civil War is raging around them in this amazing alternate historical perspective.  Facts are woven deftly into the narrative.  Extensive notes---A Note On The People, Places & Dinos Of the Dactyl Hill Squad follow at the book's end.

Magadalys has a connection to dinosaurs, the ability to communicate with them.  This is what gives her and her squad an edge.  This is how they are able to assist the troops in Tennessee fighting for freedom.  But . . . they are challenged as never before when another reveals a special connection to dinosaurs.

Chapter One
Night Flight
A glint of light flickered in the darkness below.  It was late---the sun had sunk behind the trees hours ago, and it seemed to extinguish the whole world of mountains and sky when it went.  Magdalys Roca had lost track of how long she and her friends had been flying southward on the back of Stella, the giant pteranodon, but she was pretty sure she'd never get used to that sense of emptiness that closed in whenever night fell across the vast American wilds.

The raptors leapt as one, landing directly in the thick of the trike charge, and then everything became a muddled mass of howls, musket shots, and dinosnarls.
"How can anyone make sense of this?" Magdalys asked.
Cailoux shook his head. "You can't.  War doesn't make sense.  Everyone tries, loses.  All you can do is fight as hard as you can and do your best to keep a cool head in the storm."

This Was Our Pact (First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, June 11, 2019) written and illustrated by Ryan Andrews

The graphic novel fantasy told in eight chapters will wrap around you and bring you into its wondrous realm.  There are two rules:

No one turns for home and no one looks back.

Every year a community places lighted lanterns in the river.  Every year a group of boys follow on their bikes to see where they go.  This year is different.  Nothing is going to stop them from the truth.  Or is it.  One by one the boys drop out and go back home until there is only Ben and Nathaniel.  Nathaniel is not really part of the initial group, but he tags along, nevertheless.

What happens to Ben and Nathaniel is nothing short of a mind-boggling adventure.  They are never really alone (thankfully).  When they meet a talking bear carry a large basket on its back and wearing a scarf and coat, everything shifts.  The story (song) of the lanterns is told.  To the boys they are lanterns.  To the bear they are fish.  Do they both, lanterns and fish, follow the river to a starry sky?  Will the boys come to an end of their journey?  This is magic. Pure magic.

And so we listened.
Amid the bubbling and gurgling of the river below
We heard the swish, swish of the pampas grass
The caws of bickering crows
And the soft echo of a passing train
But no jumping fish.  Not a single one.

Midsummer's Mayhem (Yellow Jacket, an imprint of Little Bee Books, Inc., June 11, 2019) written by Rajani LaRocca, illustrations by Rachel Suggs
Book Page Cover Reveal
Baking Event Kit
The Children's Book Podcast

Even if you've never read a single line written by William Shakespeare, this book will have you grabbing for the nearest copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream as soon as possible.  As the youngest in her Indian-American family, Mimi Mackson, eleven years old, is trying to become her own person.  A new shop in their community, The While Away Cafe, is holding a baking contest which Mimi enters.  Mystery surround this cafe.  Mystery is also surrounding the weird behavior of her father, a food writer.

A boy, previously unknown to Mimi, appears.  They walk in a portion of the woods unfamiliar to Mimi, seeing plant and animal life unknown to her.  Powerful ingredients are present.  And . . . there is a book, a very special book.  (Readers will enjoy the acknowledgements, baking terms, herbs and spices, Indian foods, and recipe at the end.)

Outside on the sidewalk, I glanced back as I strapped on my bike helmet.  Peaseblossom and Mrs. T had disappeared into the back; the cafe was empty again.
But as I pedaled down the street, I couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching.

We propped up pillows and Mom snuggled next to me while we ate.  I let the sweetness of the sugar and ghee, the sunniness of the saffron, and the gently grainy texture of the semolina play in my mouth.  It was the perfect combination of sweet and savory, smooth and gritty, fragrant and the tiniest bit bitter.
It tasted like home.

In front of me rose a monstrous hooded snake, tan except for two symmetrical black spots on its chest.  Taller than me, it swayed back and forth, dancing to music I couldn't hear.
I stayed rooted to the spot, mesmerized by its terrible beauty.
It was a cobra.
It was impossible!  Cobras didn't live in Massachusetts.

Emmy in the Key of Code (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 16, 2019) written by Aimee Lucido
The Storyteller's Inkspot
Spotify playlist 

This novel in verse follows twelve-year-old Emmy as she journeys through a year in middle school, sixth grade, in a new home in San Francisco. It's quite a change from the Midwest, from Wisconsin.  This powerful novel about the creative abilities of girls, music, coding and friendship will keep you turning pages as fast as you can.  It completely captures the moods and moments of moving, trying to find your place and being your best self.  You'll find yourself wanting to learn coding.  You'll find yourself looking for music which reflects yourself.

The desks are full of kids talking
laughing and shouting
in harmony.

a few duets here and there.
Even the teacher runs around
in a stunning rendition of
"Flight of the Bumblebee."

Everyone must have practiced their parts
all summer long,
because they perform them perfectly
no matter if they're the background vocals
or the lead singer.

But there's no part for me.

There's no group for girls wearing Packers hoodies
because they forgot to ask their mom
if they could go back-to-school shopping.

There is no group for girls carrying brown paper bags
stuffed with white bread sandwiches
and full-fat potato chips
because they made their grocery run at Safeway
instead of Whole Foods.

There is no group for girls who should have asked
to live with their grandma and grandpa
back in Wisconsin
so they could stay at the school
where they knew their part
backwards and forwards.

Here in homeroom I feel like 
                         a wrong

The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, June 25, 2019) written by Natalie Lloyd, interior illustrations by Julia Sarda

Last year in January we met the Problim children, each born on a different day of the week, when The Problim Children was released.  They're back and now reside in town in their grandfather's residence after their home in the woods was destroyed.  Their father has returned, but their mother is still missing.  They are frantically, but with purpose, trying to gather all the elements necessary to solve a puzzle.

In this book one of the children, Mona, Monday's child, decides to take matters into her own hands, entering a contest for Corn Dog Princess during the annual Lost Cove Corn Dog Carnival.  Evil swirls around every corner and there are tense moments out at sea and in the caves.  And Toot, of course, is still passing his own special kind of gas numbered for its distinctive odors.

The wind came as a night visitor, sneaking through the town of Lost Cove like a clumsy bandit.  Knocking boats against each other in the harbor, pushing over trash cans, tossing tree limbs into the street, and swirling across the barren land where the river used to be.  A purple-tailed squirrel sleeping in a tall magnolia tree on Main Street startled awake.  It was not afraid of this weather . . . but it was definitely curious.
Squirrels know that the sea wind carries all sorts of invisible things.  That's why it's so restless.  The wind carries wishes that never made it to the stars.  Questions called out that never will be answered.  Ghost stories. Ghosts, even.  Sometimes.  This particular wind had no ghosts tangled up inside it.  But it did carry a warming.  The squirrel felt it.

Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray (Elements of Genius #1) (Scholastic Press, July 9, 2019) written by Jess Keating with art by Lissy Marlin
100 Scope Notes Cover Reveal

When a book's dedication reads:

This book is dedicated to you.  Yes, you! The one
reading this book right now.  You're a genius, too,
even if you don't realize it yet.  Nikki and her friends
are lucky to have you on their team.

you're ready to jump right into whatever it has to offer.  When this is followed by a letter from the one and only Nikki Tesla, you are fully committed.  There is no turning back when you discover in the first chapter a death ray is pointed at our protagonist.

Now, government officials are taking her to Genius Academy, against her will, but in order to protect her mother.  After the first test with her genius classmates, their first assignment (think James Bond) is to find something of vital importance that has been stolen.  It would seem Genius Academy is more, much, more than a school.

Are you still with me?  This is probably a good time to stop and say holy XXXXX! The censors will probably black that out, too, but seriously.  Can you believe it?  I sure couldn't.
"What are you saying exactly?" I asked.  I held my breath, suddenly afraid to disturb anything in the room.
"You know how in the X-Men, there's a secret school full of mutants that goes out and saves everyone when trouble strikes?" Grace said.
"Yeaaah . . ." I said.  My memory took me back to the men in suits sitting in my living room.  They knew I read X-Men comics to get through second grade.  Did Grace and the others know too?
She shrugged.  "This is like that."

Survivor Girl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 16, 2019) written by Erin Teagan
Watch. Connect. Read.

Twelve-year-old Alison is a huge fan of her famous father's reality survival show.  She is thrilled to be asked to join him at the Great Dismal Swamp.  The problem is she's not sure about her ability to portray a person who survives.

She is shocked to discover much of the show is like a big Hollywood production with props and stunt doubles.  What Alison and readers will discover is life has a way of turning the tables unexpectedly fashioning a reality show into a life-threatening reality.  This book is a first-class page turner.  Just when you try to catch your breath, you're back in the action again. (I loved this book and this character.)

I look over my shoulder, and the Jeep and the rest of the crew are tiny ants behind us.  I have another secret freak-out because I'll be sleeping in a shelter made of leaves and twigs and spiderwebs, eating moss for breakfast, and taking pee breaks in the bear-and-bug infested woods.
And there's no turning back.

We're in the middle of "the alligators in the swamp go CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP" when we realize this storm isn't just passing over.  Thunder echoes, shaking the earth, the sky pulsing with lightning.  And with each flash we get a better glimpse of the devastation, and it's like we're on some other planet where the ground is dust and the trees are skinny scorched toothpicks.

The Miraculous (Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group LLC, July 30, 2019) written by Jess Redman
Watch. Connect. Read. Book Trailer Premiere plus link to an earlier interview
Publisher's Teachers' Guide
MG Book Village

Grief can change your entire outlook on life.  It can be a weight on your entire being, making the act of breathing difficult.  It can also connect you in wondrous way to others, others who are the key to bringing the real you back to life after a loss.

Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis has always believed in miracles until the death of his baby sister.  The discovery of a house, a woman with unusual qualities (Is she a witch?) and a cape-wearing girl named Faye are all bound together in a journey, a journey of self.  This journey is full of heartbreak and hope and healing.

"Then why do you believe in that stuff?" he asked Faye.
"Witches and werewolves and zombies?"
Faye stopped midstep to pin her bangs back.  Wunder waited for her, although he wished he hadn't when she finished and stepped very close to him.
"Because I know enough to know that I don't know everything." Faye said, staring into his eyes.  "I know you like your sunshine-and-sparkles miracles, Wundie, the ones where the bad thing doesn't happen, where life is always perfect.  But sometimes the bad thing does happen.  People hurt your feelings and disappoint you.  People die."
She was silent for a moment.  Wunder thought she would flip up her hood, but then she took a deep breath and continued.  "But sometimes the brightest miracles are hidden in the darkest moments."  She nodded, almost to herself.  "That's right.  But you have to search for them.  You can't be afraid of the dark."

Cape Book One (The League Of Secret Heroes (Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, August 6, 2019) written by Kate Hannigan, comic portions illustrated by Patrick Spaziante
A Fuse # 8 Production Book Trailer Premiere (Talk about exciting!)
Geek Mom interview with Kate Hannigan
Nerdy Book Club
Caroline Starr Rose interview with Kate Hannigan

Set during World War II young Josie O'Malley wants to help.  She believes her skills in puzzling and coding are exactly what are needed, but she is rebuffed.  She and two other girls, who also love female superheroes (who have mysteriously disappeared), are swept up into the fight against those who would seek to defeat the efforts of those battling evil.  Josie, Akiko, and Mae discover qualities in themselves they did not know existed.  They are in fact superheroes themselves!  In high-speed action the narrative interspersed with comic pages takes you into a world of spies, double agents and sabotage. That this title is the first in a series is some of the best news of 2019.

When the world needs a hero, sometimes you have to become one.

Despite some huffs and puffs, Akiko poked around in her Hauntima pouch, then passed me a pencil.  With my hand trembling just a bit, I held the pencil out like a short stick.  Then, leaning my body back as far as I could, I poked the rat.
It didn't flinch.
I poked it again.
Again, it stayed in the same crouch, beady black eyes unblinking.
"It's really dead," uttered Mae, a tremor in her voice.
"Not only is it dead," I whispered.  "It's stuffed with something!"
With one last poke of Akiko's pencil, the stiff rat fell over onto its back.  And that's when we saw what was packed inside.

The Bone Garden (Henry Holt And Company, August 6, 2019) written by Heather Kassner illustrations by Matt Saunders
Spooky MG

In a word, this book is one of the creepiest books of 2019.  The world imagined by author Heather Kassner is chiefly underneath a graveyard.  This realm of tunnels and more tunnels and still more tunnels is where Irreelle gathers bone dust for Miss Vesper.  She lives in constant fear of angering Miss Vesper.  She is told she does not really exist except for the magic created by Miss Vesper.

With the help of another, Irreelle seeks to find freedom and truth, even if it means the loss of her fragile life.  Flawlessly haunting, hopeful and filled with suspense, you will be reading this tale in a single sitting.  You long for a happy ending but you're not sure it's there.  You'll have to remind yourself to breathe more than once.

For all the love Miss Vesper had denied her, Irreelle still warmed inside that someone could care so much for another.  Something far beyond words.
Like friendship, Irreelle realized.  She did not need Guy to declare they were friends.  It was enough that he stood beside her.  the knowing, the feeling of friendship and love mattered most of all.
"Come one," Guy said, tearing away.
They were halfway down the row, running back toward the hill, when Irreelle stiffened.  The tiny white hairs on her arms stood up.  "Do you feel that?"
"What?" Guy's mouth formed the word, but a clap of thunder drowned out his voice.

Best Friends (Real Friends Volume 2) (First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, August 27, 2019) written by Shannon Hale with illustrations by LeUyen Pham
100 Scope Notes an interview
Publishers Weekly a conversation
Past Magazine
NPR an interview

Sixth grade is anything but perfect as Shannon is soon to discover.  Everything is changing as fast as the minutes pass by in a day.  Unwritten rules have her on edge and forging friendships is like walking on a tightrope made of fishing line.

This graphic novel discloses all the ups and downs of middle school with truth and honesty.  Readers will read this repeatedly until it has the well-loved look.  It will be passed from one to another and then back again.

The Good Thieves (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 27, 2019) written by Katherine Rundell

It is the 1920s.  The setting is New York City. Vita Marlowe's grandfather, who she loves with all her heart, has been cheated out of his home and everything else he worked for his entire life.  This man, a champion in this girl's life, has given up.

Vita Marlowe is not one to let something like this happen.  She comes up with a plan she simply can't share with any adults.  She enlists the help of other children.  They embark on a dangerous mission which will have you alternating cheering and hardly able to sit still.  Will they beat the infamous villain with Mafia connections?

Vita froze, staring at the gun.  The barrel was barely bigger than her thumbnail, and yet it looked large enough to eclipse the sun.  Dillinger handled it with the ease of a man who was accustomed to using a weapon to make a point.

All the Impossible Things (Roaring Brook Press, September 3, 2019) written by Lindsay Lackey
Watch. Connect. Read. cover reveal
American Booksellers Association introduction

There are a lot of tough topics disclosed in this book but at its soul, it's about healing and making decisions which will bring happiness to you and to others you love. Ruby "Red" Bird has magic swirling about her.  Whenever she is upset, winds tend to blow, even causing a tornado.

When Red finds herself in a new home in foster care, the residence of Celine and Jackson Groove, who run a petting zoo, she's not sure what to expect.  She certainly doesn't expect to feel love blooming within her again.  She also realizes the thing you long for most might not be the best thing.

The wind came from her mother.
Some moms pass along their freckles or their laugh or their flat feet.  Red's mother shared air currents and chaos.  Clouds that twisted between earth and sky like a wet rag being wrung out.

The inside of the house was just as bright and mismatched as the outside.  Mr. Groove---"Call me Jackson, kiddo," he said---led them into a crowded but comfortable living room.  The walls had ornate wallpaper covered in gold birds hanging from tangled branches.  A sagging denim couch was framed by a leather recliner and an antique rocking chair.  Two differently patterned rugs splashed across the hardwood floor, each accented with clumps of dog hair.  There were plants on shelves and tabletops, pillows embroidered with inspirational quotes, and stacks of magazines and books overflowing the bookcases.  A pile of firewood next to the hearth filled the room with the sweetness of pine.
The whole place felt like an adventure.

White Bird: A Wonder Story (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, September 3, 2019) written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio, inked by Kevin Clap

This is a graphic novel debut for this author and illustrator.  It is a poignant narrative, of wartime in Nazi-occupied France, a grandmother is sharing with her grandson for the first time.  It is a flashback tale of her being hidden, as a Jewish girl by a boy who classmates previously ridiculed.  The kindness extended to her by this boy and his family shows how goodness in people can overcome their real fear of harm themselves.

Without spoiling this remarkable book with any more disclosure about plot, I will comment no further except to say we are brought forward to present day.  There is extensive back matter with an afterword, an author's note, a note about the dedication, a glossary with photographs, a suggested reading list and organizations and resources.  This is a stunning book I would hope everyone would read.

Stargazing (First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, September 10, 2019) written and illustrated by Jen Wang
School Library Journal interview with Jen Wang about this book
The Mary Sue cover reveal

If you were to see these two in public, you would never expect them to be friends.  They live in the same Chinese American community, but they are total opposites.  Their family dynamics are different.  This all changes when they become next-door neighbors.  Christine and Moon become inseparable.

As their story unfolds readers, along with Christine will wonder about the secrets Moon shares.  All too quickly though what seems to be otherworldly becomes frightfully real.  This is a friendship story which will have you cheering through your tears.

Beverly, Right Here (Candlewick Press, September 24, 2019) written by Kate DiCamillo (There are multiple resources at the publisher's website.
Watch. Connect. Read.
PBS Video conversation

In this companion title to Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana's Way Home, readers follow the story of the third member of the outstanding trio of friends.  Before the book begins, author Kate DiCamillo writes a letter to readers speaking about all three books.  She tells us about the power of community found in each of them.

In this title, Beverly Tapinski is not only running away from home, she's never going back.  She's fourteen now and ready for change.  It's 1979 and her cousin Joe Travis has just dropped her alongside the road, a highway in Florida.  Beverly needs to find a job and a place to stay.  She does this.

Little does she know, but all her intentions to remain separate from the world around her backfire.  She finds herself becoming a part of the close circle of people with whom she associates.  No one tells people stories like Kate DiCamillo and her masterly writing shines like a celestial gift in this book.

She wanted Buddy.
She wished he were sitting next to her, leaning
into her, his flank rising and falling.  Buddy, who was always 
gentle.  Buddy, who had never hurt anybody.
But Buddy was gone from the world and Jerome
was in it.
There was no equity in that---none at all.
The ocean kept pounding in, ferocious, relentless.  Beverly rested her chin on her knees.

And then for some reason, she thought about Nod's tail hanging down from the top of the refrigerator, ticking back and forth, back and forth.  She thought about the angel---how she hung there in the sky, waiting, her blue wings lit up with lapis lazuli.  She thought about Iola putting a tuna melt down on the table in the little kitchen.
In a crooked little house.
By a crooked little sea.
Beverly got up.  She walked over the hot sand up to A1A, and back to the Seahorse Court.

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky (Disney Hyperion, October 15, 2019) written by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong is not the boxer his father and grandfather want him to be.  Tristan Strong has lost his best friend in a school bus accident.  Tristan Strong believes he failed his friend when he needed him the most.  All he has left of Eddie is his journal, a collection of folktales.

On the first night at his grandparents' farm in Alabama, Tristan (a seventh grader) is visited by a creature who steals Eddie's journal.  In his anger and in the fight to get the journal back, Tristan punches a hole in the fabric separating our world from the world of gods, heroes we have met in African American and African stories.  He also releases an evil presence held by one of the bottles hanging on the bottle tree.

Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle in Alke, a battle to save this world from collapsing.  You had better set some time aside because once you start this book, you won't rest until you finish it. This is one of the finest books written in 2019.

By the time we crossed the Alabama state line, I was ready to claw my way into the trunk.  I don't know how Nana could sit there and hum and knit for most of a day, but that's what she did.  The Cadillac rumbled down a two-lane highway, kicking up trails of dust and exhaust, a dented rocket ship blasting through time in reverse from the future to the land that Wi-Fi forgot.

The water was only ankle-deep now, and the mist cleared a bit to reveal glimpses of a sprawling forest of moss-covered trees.  Vines dangled from low-hanging branches, and roots dipped in and out of the water, while treetops disappeared into blurry white, as if some supreme cartoonist had forgotten to finish drawing them.  The air felt thick and humid, and my neck tingled like someone was watching me.
Brer Fox stared at me as I tried to shake off the feeling.
"Good.  You sense it as well.  Be wary, my boy.  We've not escaped just yet.  That hole in the sky is causing creatures far worse than bone ships to go into a right frenzy.  You want to know how to get back to wherever you tumbled from?  Stay alive."

The Ghost In Apartment 2R (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, November 11, 2019) written by Denis Markell

YAYOMG! author interview about this title

After his brother Jake went to college, Danny was promised by his parents he would inherit his brother's bedroom.  To his anger and dismay, they've decided to rent out the room (AirHotel) to visitors in Brooklyn, New York.  Costs for sending his brother to college are more than they figured.  Danny will still have his bedroom in the closet of their apartment.

What happens is chapter by chapter Danny and readers discover the room, the entire apartment is being haunted.  At first it is a cool feeling near Jake's bedroom's doorway.  It escalates, eerie event by eerie event. (The ghost inhabits the bodies of visitors on more than one occasion and visit Danny in his bedroom in the middle of the night.)  Of course, no one believes Danny, except for his friend Gus and finally his friend, Nat (short for Natalie).

What makes this an outstanding and first-class ghost story is the chilly descriptions, vivid in every detail.  What makes this a stellar book as a whole is the vibrant characters and revelations of life in Brooklyn, New York.  You will be captivated, and you will laugh out loud.

Anyhow, I'm heading home, and it's one of those early fall days where Brooklyn looks particularly great, especially our neighborhood, where the houses are all small brownstones with stoops and big parlor windows.  The sun is putting deep shadows on all the buildings, bringing out the dark reds of the bricks and dusky greens of the rooftops.  Hey, that's not bad.  Maybe it symbolizes something.

At I-don't-know-what in the morning, I get up to pee.  I'm about to head back to my room, when I see light at the end of the hallway.
The door to Jake's room is closed, but there's a faint light showing under the door.  Like someone's in there.  But it's the middle of the night.  I know it's probably just Mom, or that someone left the light on, but something feels weird and I can't just go back to bed.
I want to head to my bedroom, but I find myself walking toward Jake's room.  It's not like I made a decision.  It's like something is pulling me there.  Or someone.  I get to the door and reach for the doorknob.
Before I can get to it, it turns by itself.

Mulan's Picks

Two Dogs In A Trench Coat Go on a Class Trip (Scholastic Press, May 28, 2019) written by Julie Falatko with illustrations by Colin Jack

Waldo and Sassy, canine companions of Stewart, started their disguise as a human student named Salty in order to keep an eye on their boy attending Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School and Learning Commons.  That they've been able to accomplish this by stacking themselves and wearing a long coat is hilarious in and of itself.  In this third installment of the series, the laugh-out-loud situations increase tenfold.  All you have to do is imagine two dogs in a museum and you know nothing about this field trip is going to be normal.  They may look like an unusual human, but they are all dog, through and through.

First everyone had to stop by one table to turn in their field trip permission forms.  The bag lunches were at the next table, and everyone who ordered a lunch picked one up there and put it into their backpack.  Waldo accidentally ate half of the sandwich when he stuck his nose into the bag to smell what was in there.  Sassy noticed, and Waldo dropped the other half of the sandwich onto the ground for her.  Good thing they had two lunches, since lunch number one was already gone and the school day hadn't even really started yet.

"I put them in the rocket boots and ate them," said Sassy.  "Turns out space boots are the perfect snack dispenser.  Also I was promised so many lunches.  And all I've gotten are boot carrots."

Stay (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, September 13, 2019) written by Bobbie Pyron
Authors of the South interview with Bobbie Pyron

Piper feels as though her world is collapsing.  She and her family have moved to a new city and are living in a homeless shelter.  Baby lives with his human Jewel on the streets in the park.  The two, Piper and Baby, meet and there is an instant connection.  When Jewel and Baby become separated, Piper knows she has to do whatever it takes to bring them together again.

This story, told in alternating points of view between Piper and Baby, portrays homelessness with truth and compassion.  Readers will find themselves learning and growing new respect for the plight of people without homes.  This is a book to share whenever you can.  This is a book to be read repeatedly.

Baby and Jewel
A small brown dog listens
to the beat of his world
in the chest of a woman
named Jewel.
He watches a raccoon waddle across the grass
in the bright moonlight.
Baby squirms with curiosity.
Is it doggish?
Is it cattish?
Oh! So many things to smell!
To see!
To make friends with!
Jewel stirs.
Baby settles
against her chest
a good, good dog.
He tucks his head beneath her chin.
Jewel's scent fills every inch
of the little dog
with deep joy.
Baby and Jewel
a pack of two
warm and safe together.

But how can it?  Every place we've been since we lost our home four months ago, every possibility that didn't work out, has made our world feel smaller.  I never realized until it was gone how something as normal as hope lights up your world.

Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, December 3, 2019) written by Terry Lynn Johnson
YA and Kids Books Central author interview

What do you do when you start losing your sight?  You can't tell your parents because they are already dealing with your younger sister's eye disease.  Going to school, being around home and even mushing with her dogs has become a challenge.  Fourteen-year-old McKenna Barney enters a race to bring attention to the disease her sister is fighting but how is she going to do this when her own sight is failing?

There is not a moment when the race starts that you don't feel as though you are on the sled racing with McKenna.  As the race proceeds you discover, along with her, there are two other competitors that have to win at all costs.  Every possible danger or mishap is faced, not always with the desired results.  The conclusion will have you gripping whatever is handy.

The exercise is good.  My boots crunch on the trail rhythmically.  My breath pushes in and out in a clod in front of me.  No wonder the dogs are always so full of joy.  When you're running, you can't look too far ahead.  You can't look behind.  You can focus only on the now. 

I hear a single, long howl.
It starts low and rises, beautiful and lonely and haunting.  In the next instant, the howl is joined by several other voices.  They all have different tones and pitches but somehow, it's harmonized.  The song builds, with more and more howls joining in until every single dog in the parking lot is a part of it.  There are over a hundred dogs out there, all throwing their heads back and singing their hearts out.

A thought hits me so hard, I physically feel the impact at my core.  It's something I've known all along but haven't really understood until this moment.  A jolt of comprehension shifts my world.
Zesty is not disabled.  Her differences make her better.

I, Cosmo (Candlewick Press, December 24, 2019) written by Carlie Sorosiak

Cosmo, a thirteen-year-old golden retriever, has always been able to care for his human, Max.  Now Max is asking him to do something he never thought he would do---enter a dance contest.  Max will do anything to keep his parents together, their arguments are continuing and are more frequent.  Cosmo will do anything for Max.

Told entirely from Cosmo's point of view we gain immeasurable insights into the mind and heart of a dog, his human, and the boy's family.  Day by day as the contest gets closer, we wonder if Max and Cosmo can succeed not only in winning but in keeping the family together.  This is certainly a book for lovers of dogs but also for those who are drawn to storytelling at its finest.

"I just wish I knew what was going to happen," he says after a long pause, after my panting slows.  "Or if it's going to happen.  All I know is I want us to stay together.  We have to stay together.  You and me.
I whimper from a deep place.
Because it never occurred to me, in any universe, that we wouldn't.

Young Adult

(in order they were read)

Internment (Little, Brown And Company, March 19, 2019) written by Samira Ahmed

Lovely War (Viking Books for Young Readers, March 5, 2019 ) written by Julie Berry

White Rose (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2, 2019) written by Kip Wilson

Stepsister (Scholastic, May 14, 2019) written by Jennifer Donnelly


  1. Thank you for sharing this list! I have read several of them, but now I need to catch up on those I missed.