When Burdock—a one-eyed cat named for the prickly burr seeds that inspired Velcro—discovers that Dewey Baxter is planning to burn down his barn, it becomes his mission to save the barn’s inhabitants. It isn’t long before the whole farm—workhorses Tug and Pull, Fluff the sheep, Figgy the pig, Mrs. Brown the cow, Nanny the goat and her kid, Tick—work with Burdock to concoct an escape plan.
Tamara Ellis Smith’s first novel sweeps readers up in a tale imbued with magical realism, a definitive mix of gritty realism and magic that allows the possibility for life-affirming choices.
Calpurnia fans, rejoice! Callie Vee, heroine of Jacqueline Kelly’s Newbery Honor winner, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, is back. The sequel picks up in the year 1900, just after a rare snowfall in central Texas fulfills one of the budding young scientist’s dreams.
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.
When author Jen White was 12, she and her sister and cousin were mistakenly left behind at a gas station for six hours during a family camping trip―no one had seen the girls get out of the camper. Years later, White’s first novel, Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave, begins with 12-year-old Liberty being abandoned by her father at a gas station along with her 8-year-old sister, Billie.
Eccentric mastermind Garrison Griswold, founder of the popular Book Scavenger website, is about to launch an elaborate new game when his plans are violently interrupted. The only clue he leaves behind is a specially printed copy of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, “The Gold-Bug.”
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.
Twelve-year-old Lily is thoughtful and bright but needs an extra push to unleash her imagination and individuality. That push is Salma Santiago, a migrant worker whose family is in Maine for the blueberry harvest.
Lisa Graff’s latest novel is a feast for all kinds of readers. She writes convincingly in the voice of a middle school student, and young readers will relate easily to the main character, Trent. Graff’s stories always foster a better understanding of young people in parents and teachers, but never more so than in Lost in the Sun.