It was only supposed to be a haunted house. When Cole skipped trick-or-treating on Halloween night to go with Dalton and Jenna to the new haunted house in town, they didn’t know what to expect. What happened, however, was beyond any of their wildest imaginations.
Casey Snowden lives for baseball, almost literally—his dad and granddad run a school for umpires, where Casey and his best friend Zeke spend all their time. It helps Casey forget his absent mother, who keeps calling to re-establish visitation, and provides inspiration for his future career as an award-winning sportswriter.
At the risk of jinxing it, Kate DiCamillo is on a lucky streak. After being named as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature (2014-2015), Camillo snagged her second Newbery Medal, for her hilarious and heartwarming middle grade novel, Flora & Ulysses. It's the story of a cynical 10-year-old girl who learns a thing or two when she befriends a strange poetry-writing squirrel. Our reviewer loved it: "Like all of DiCamillo’s books, Flora & Ulysses is filled with adventure, but also plenty of humor and soul." We asked DiCamillo a few questions after she heard the news.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are back, and so are Madeline and her ex-hippie parents, Flo and Mildred, in this sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny―Detectives Extraordinare! Imagine if Tina Fey wrote a middle grade novel, and you’ll have a sense of the nonstop quips packed into these pages.
Twelve-year-old Jewel has never liked her birthday. Celebrating the day she was born is just another reminder to her family of the brother she never met, 5-year-old John, nicknamed Bird by her grandfather, who tried to fly off a cliff and fell to his death while her mother was in labor with Jewel. It’s more than loss and grief that surrounds Bird’s death; it’s superstition and blame that Jewel has never fully understood. Her grandfather hasn’t spoken since the day Bird died, and her father is sure the nickname “Bird” attracted a Duppy, a Jamaican spirit, that convinced him to jump.
Fourteen-year-old Victoria Secord loves nothing more than her 16 Alaskan huskies. Like her dad, she loves racing, and she races to win. But after her father’s untimely death, Vicky and her mom are at odds. Vicky could never leave Alaska, but her mom keeps talking about moving back to Seattle.
When your mom is the president of the United States, you’d think your life would be perfect. But, as eighth grader Audrey Rhodes is discovering, living at “1600” (as she calls her new home) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Having friends over becomes an issue of national security, a Secret Service agent follows her everywhere and class trips are out of the question.
On the heels of solving her first mystery in the Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky, Mo LoBeau faces more intrigue in her tiny North Carolina town of Tupelo Landing. Just when her adoptive kin buy the old Tupelo Inn, now abandoned and rumored to be haunted, her sixth-grade teacher assigns an oral history report to coincide with the community’s 250th anniversary. Extra credit goes to the student who can interview the town’s oldest member, so Mo decides to interview the ghost of the Tupelo Inn because “[t]here ain’t nobody older than dead.”
The most exciting part of Carson Fender’s day was supposed to be his role in the fourth-biggest prank in Erik Hill Middle School history (it involved fainting goats). That all changed when a mysterious man pressed a mysterious package into Carson’s hands and ran away, only to be abducted by two men with painted white faces. In Codename Zero, by Chris Rylander, Carson learns quickly that crazy, frightening and awesome things can happen anywhere. Even in North Dakota.
Remembering the sacrifices and successes of African Americans—from unexpected champions of civil rights to talented performers who dreamed big—is one of the most inspiring ways to celebrate Black History Month. If we keep teaching our children well, racism just may someday be a thing of the past.