What lengths would you go to in order to attract the attention of your crush? In Jake Gerhardt's debut middle-grade novel, three eighth-grade boys are all crushing on the same girl: Miranda Mullaly. Told in the alternating voices of class clown Sam, studious Duke, athletic Chollie and oblivious Miranda, this comedy of errors is a breezy, fun read.
Gerhardt perfectly captures those awkward middle-school years with lots of humor and plenty of heart. In a Behind the Book essay, he shares his own hilarious story of noticing girls for the first time.
As our kids and students mature in reading ability, we often recommend they read the classics. Treasure Island and The Swiss Family Robinson are a couple that teachers and librarians would suggest, yet the language of those classics is archaic and can be difficult for emerging readers, much as they might like the stories. Author Cylin Busby has written a historical novel that can bridge the gap between readiness and understanding.
Patches the calico cat is on a mission to find a special place of her own. A golden leaf pirouettes by the window, teasing her to follow. Filled with longing, she springs at the screen and chases the leaf into the wide, wide world. She’s never been on an adventure before, but one glance at the blue-and-gold sky tells her that thousands of special places must await her.
Sara Pennypacker, author of the light-hearted Clementine series, proves with her new novel that she’s capable of writing stories with more heft and just as much heart.
Henry Cole’s Brambleheart is an enchanting coming-of-age adventure with an unlikely hero: a chipmunk named Twig who just can’t seem to find his place in the world. Twig lives in the Hill—a towering heap of metal, glass and plastic bric-a-brac discarded by humans—and, like the other animals there, he’s expected to find a trade. At school, each of his fellow students seems to already have a niche: Lily the rabbit is a whiz at twisting grass into sturdy rope, and Basil the weasel is a pro at metal craft. When it’s Twig’s turn to weave or weld in front of the class, he never fails to get flustered.
Miss Maisie’s School for Wayward Girls is a stable home for young orphan Audacity Jones. She has good friends and good times but wishes for something to shake up the routine. When the school’s wealthy benefactor asks for a volunteer to come on a top-secret mission, problem solved—or is it?
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes were an 11-year-old girl at a ritzy boarding school. That’s the premise of Friday Barnes: Girl Detective, the first in a series by Australian writer R.A. Spratt. This children’s comedy TV writer and author of the award-winning Nanny Piggins series has crafted a likable, intriguing heroine and a lighthearted, breezy mystery.
Like many fifth-graders, Chloe just wants to fit in at school. Trouble is, that’s pretty much impossible for her. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she’s automatically marked as an outsider at her new school in New Delhi. Chloe’s older sister, Anna, has had no trouble adjusting to the family’s move from Boston to India, but Chloe still feels like a fish out of water.
British author Cameron McAllister was inspired to write The Tin Snail after seeing a newspaper photo of three prototypes for a car called the Deux Chevaux (or 2CV) that had been hidden in a French barn during World War II and remained there for 50 years. We spoke with the author to learn more about the fascinating true history behind this exciting middle-grade adventure.
The Tin Snail begins in Paris in 1937, when 12-year-old Angelo Fabrizzi sits in a cafe with his father, a pioneering car designer. Inspired by the shape of a lopsided pastry, Angelo gives his father an idea for a new aerodynamic car design. A year later, at the Paris Motor Show, several Nazis clear the way for Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, while Angelo gets behind the wheel of his father’s creation and makes an impactful, unexpected debut.