Graphic novels are all the rage with young readers these days, but this fact can be frustrating for adults who are trying to encourage kids to read more complex material. Thank goodness veteran comic-book creators Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins have created a hybrid sure to satisfy both camps in Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde. Sixty-five of the 304 pages are comic panels drawn by Higgins, while the rest is prose written by Venditti.
In Ruby on the Outside, Nora Raleigh Baskin gives readers a serious, relatable look into the criminal justice system and its ripple effects. The story of Ruby, her aunt and her mother contributes to the growing body of children’s literature highlighting nontraditional family structures.
Nashville author Lynne Berry offers twice as many laughs with two new picture books. Pig and Pug is perfect for early readers, as a pair of reluctant friends confront their differences. The hero of Squid Kid the Magnificent presents a spectacular magic show, but his sister, Stella, isn't impressed.
Berry plays favorites with her two books and gives us a peek into her life full of animals and rhyme.
After six children receive invitations from an eccentric countess, they encounter mysterious keys, things that go bump in the night and secret passages during the weekend visit of a lifetime. The children unknowingly share a connection, but rather than bringing them together, this bond nearly destroys them.
Truly Lovejoy, or Drooly as her brother calls her, tries to stay under the radar. But she’s nearly six feet tall and sporting size 10.5 shoes, so being overlooked is impossible.
When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novels A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, in which a girl is whisked from darkest India to a very different environment in England, usually in the wake of a family tragedy. As captivating as those novels were to my preteen self, what was always missing was a real portrait, not just a glimpse, of what the heroine’s life was like in the exotic place from which she came. Katherine Rundell’s Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms does exactly that.
According to author Jessica Lawson, Tom Sawyer was a tattletale and Becky Thatcher was the real rascal getting into all sorts of trouble in St. Petersburg, Missouri. That’s the inventive premise of this gem of a chapter book that stirs up all of the ingredients of the American classic to create a thoughtful, energetic new debut novel.
What happens when a group of middle school geniuses trains for months to win a special contest at a Disney World-style Florida theme park called Incredo Land? That’s the premise of Bringing Down the Mouse, a page-turning caper whose hero is sixth-grader Charlie Lewis, known as “Numbers,” the nerdy son of an MIT professor dad and a mom with two Ph.D.s.
Don’t get too attached to the protagonist in Pardon Me! He pays the ultimate price for his bad behavior in this be-good-or-else cautionary tale from Daniel Miyares, his debut picture book as both author and illustrator.