The League of Unexceptional Children
by Gitty Daneshvari
When an incompetent security guard lets a suspicious person into the White House, it sets in motion several unprecedented events. Security codes are stolen from a secret safe and the vice president is kidnapped. None of the regular FBI or CIA operatives can be trusted, so it is up to the League of Unexceptional Children to save the day. These are the kids who don’t stand out in any way, either for good or bad. They are nondescript and unmemorable. They move through life on the periphery, with most people forgetting their names as soon as they hear them. This is why they make the perfect spies! Jonathan and Shelley are hastily recruited from their suburb outside of Washington, DC. With minimal training, they must step up and save the free world. This exciting adventure story will appeal to both exceptional and unexceptional children alike. Recommended for grades 3-6.
ARC provided by publisher
The Water and the Wild
by K.E. Ormsbee
Lottie Fiske doesn’t remember her parents at all. She has grown up with Mr. & Mrs. Yates, but after Mr. Yates died life has become more and more difficult. If not for her best friend Elliot, she would have nothing at all. But Elliot is very sick, with little hope of getting better. Lottie makes a last ditch effort — a birthday wish in a seemingly magic box underneath the out-of-place apple tree beside her bedroom window. Little does she know that this tree is a portal to a different world, one of fairies, sprites, and wisps, and her wish has put into a motion a chain of events. As Lottie learns to navigate this new world, her only thought is to return to Elliot in time to save him. This seems to be the start of a new series. Recommended for grades 4-6.
by Lisa McMann
Citizens of Quill are sorted in the thirteenth year into Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. The Unwanteds are eliminated from society. When Alex Stowe is deemed Unwanted, he is sure that it is the end. Surprisingly to him as well as the other Unwanteds of his year, being “eliminated” is actually a passage to the magic world of Artime, a vibrant opposite to the desolate land of Quill. His twin brother Aaron, however, is considered Wanted and quickly rises through the ranks. The survival of Artime hinges on the citizens of Quill never knowing about it, and the bond between the twins threatens its very existence. An exciting fantasy adventure about the power of creativity. Recommended for grades 3-6. The first in an excellent series!
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
by Sheila Turnage
Mo and Dale are back in this sequel to Three Times Lucky. This time the Desperado Detective Agency is exploring the paranormal. When Miss Lana and Grandma Miss Lacy purchase the supposedly haunted Old Tupelo Inn, they take it upon themselves to figure out who the ghost is and what happened. Along the way they learn more about themselves and their families than they had expected. The culminating gala does not disappoint. This story is full of life truths cloaked with humor. Highly recommended to grades 4-8. It is not necessary to have read the first one, but it will help you appreciate the characters more.
by K.A. Holt
When Timothy steals a wallet to pay for his baby brother’s medicine, he is caught and sentenced to a year’s probation and house arrest. One of the conditions of his probation is to keep a journal and that is what we are reading. It is written in free verse poetry which helps to convey the power and depth of his emotions. Through the year we learn more about Timothy, his baby brother Levi, and the various adults in his life who do their best to care for him. As we watch Timothy process the curveballs that life throws him, we learn alongside him about what is truly important. This moving story shows the potential damage of a wrong decision even if it is for good reasons. Highly recommended for grades 5-8.
ARC provided by publisher.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm
Ellie is confused when her mom brings home a scraggly thirteen year old boy, until she realizes that it is actually her scientist grandfather who has found a way to reverse the aging process. He is still a cantankerous old man, just in a teenage body, and hilarity ensues when he enrolls in Ellie’s middle school. There are serious questions asked here too though, about life and death and what immortality would mean. Ellie learns a lot more about her grandfather and herself as she helps him on this journey of scientific discovery. Recommended for grades 5 -8.
by A.L. Sonnichsen
Kara has grown up living in a small apartment in Tianjin, China, with her Mama who rarely leaves the apartment. Her Daddy is in Montana, and though Kara thinks it would be easier to just go there, Mama says they can’t. The reason, as Kara finds out, is that Mama never legally adopted Kara. A neighbor found baby Kara abandoned on the street due to a birth defect on her right hand. Mama took her in and raised her, but never did anything official. Kara speaks English better than Chinese and has never been to school or out of her neighborhood. When everything comes crashing down around them, it is up to Kara to pick up the pieces and turn her life into something worth living. A powerful and moving story told in free-verse poetry based on the author’s own experiences in China. Highly recommended to grades 5-8.
A Time to Dance
by Padma Venkatraman
Dancing is Veda’s life. Ever since a she a spiritual experience at one of Shiva’s temples as a young child, there is nothing more that she wants in the world. On the way home from winning at a Bharatanatyam dance competition, she is in a horrific accident and loses her right leg below the knee. It is through hard-work and perseverance, plus strength she didn’t know that she has, that she learns to dance again. Told in powerful free verse poems, we grow and change along with Veda as she learns more about herself, her family, her friends, and the true power of dance. A gorgeous and moving story. Recommended to grades 5-9.
by Sarah Mlynowski
Nory’s father is the headmaster of the prestigious Sage Academy. Her brother and sister both attend it and excel at their magic skills. For Nory, though, things are different. She is a Fluxor, meaning that she has the ability to turn into animals. Her animals, however are never quite right. Instead of a perfect kitten for the test, she becomes part kitten, part beaver. Or part dragon. Or a skunk-elephant combo. This is frowned upon by the magic world and especially by her father. She ends up at Dunwiddle Magic School, where they have a special class for Upside-Down Magic. There she meets other students whose magic isn’t quite right. All Nory wants is to fix her magic and learn to be normal. But is normal really all that it’s cracked up to be? A fun new twist on magic schools, perfect for students who don’t quite fit the mold. Recommended for grades 2-6.
ARC provided by publisher
Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat
by Gail Jarrow
Grades 5 & up
I do love a good medical mystery! The disease known as Pellagra was characterized by a rash, diarrhea, and then going crazy right before one died from it. Not fun at all. Prevalent in southern Europe at the end of the 1800s, doctors were surprised to find it growing stronger in the United States in the early 1900s. Originally thought to be caused by toxins in moldy corn, this book chronicles the variety of theories and experiments that lead to the discovery of a cause and and then a cure for this devastating disease. A fascinating read for grades 5 & up.