When Audrey Met Alice

When Audrey Met AliceWhen Audrey Met Alice
by Rebecca Behrens
Grades 4 & up

Audrey Rhodes is feeling sorry for herself. It’s hard being the First Daughter. Both her mother, the president, and her father the First Gentleman, are too busy with work and their respective duties to have much time for her. School isn’t much better, where Mean Girl Madeline’s grandfather lost in the election against President Rhodes. Things start to look up, though, when she discovers a diary written by Alice Roosevelt, when she was First Daughter over 100 years before. Audrey feels so much better when she learns that she is not alone in her feelings about living in the White House, though things take a turn for the worse when she starts to emulate Alice’s wild ways. Can she find a way to take a stand and help her mother, instead of constantly feeling that she is either in the way or overlooked?

Although Alice’s diary is made up, all of the entries are based on historical research. Sources at the end include links to more biographical data on Alice Roosevelt, including a piece written by the author. The book also includes an important discussion about Marriage Equality. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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The Witch’s Boy

The Witch's BoyThe Witch’s Boy
by Kelly Barnhill
Grades 4 & up

Ned survives when his identical twin brother drowns, and is always considered, “The Wrong Boy.” Unbeknownst to him, his mother (Sister Witch, who guards the magic) has stitched his dying brother’s soul into his body. Aine is proud to be the daughter of her fisherman mother. But when her mother dies, and her father returns to his banditing ways, Aine has to find her own way in the world. Their paths cross when Aine’s father tries to steal Ned’s mother magic, and ends up kidnapping Ned in the process. A story of overcoming one’s circumstances to fulfill one’s destiny. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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Loot

LootLoot
by Jude Watson
Grades 4 & up

When your father is a notorious jewel thief, you learn more about crime than regular school work. When Alfie McQueen is killed during his latest job, his twelve year old son March sets off to run like his father taught him. Unfortunately, he is nabbed by the authorities, and sent to a juvenile group home, with the twin sister he didn’t know that he had. Together they must figure out if they can trust each other, and also how to pull off the biggest heist of their lives. A fun romp, full of near misses and back-stabbing double dealers, this life or death adventure will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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Thrones & Bones: Frostborn and Nightborn

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones, #1)Frostborn
by Lou Anders
Grades 4 & up

As his father’s only son, Karn is expected to take over the family farm one day. What he really wants, though, is to play his favorite strategy game, Thrones and Bones, and see the world. Thianna is half Frost Giant, half human. She has always felt like an outsider in her village of Giants, though her Giant father loves her unconditionally. When they are thrown together in unexpected circumstances, both running for their lives, they learn even more about themselves than they do about each other. A great start to a new fantasy series. Recommended for grades 4-8.

Nightborn (Thrones & Bones, #2)Nightborn
by Lou Anders
Grades 4 & up

In this sequel to Frostborn, gamer Karn Korlundsson is basking in the glow of his heroics regarding the horn of Osius. Much to his dismay, he learns that there is a second horn that must be found and destroyed. Even worse, his best friend Thianna has gone missing while searching for it. He immediately sets off to find her. To complicate matters, two Dark Elves are searching for the horn as well, and will stop at nothing to get it. This is another exciting adventure filled with riddles, strategy, intrigue, and double crossing. I suggest reading Frostborn first to better appreciate the characters and their friendships. Recommended for fantasy lovers in grades 4-7.

eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

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A Whole New Ballgame

A Whole New BallgameA Whole New Ballgame
by Phil Bildner
Grades 3 & up

Fifth grade starts much differently than Rip and Red had expected. They have a new teacher, Mr. Acevedo, who does things his own way, and their classroom set up is like nothing they have seen before. Plus the fifth grade basketball program, which both boys have been looking forward to is now structured differently as well. But change isn’t necessarily bad, as they learn through a series of new projects and experiences. This is a fun book to start off the school year, especially for basketball lovers. (Note: There is a heavy anti-testing bias.) Recommended for grades 3-5.

ARC provided by publisher

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Chasing the Milky Way

Chasing the Milky WayChasing the Milky Way
by Erin E. Moulton
Grades 5 & up

Lucy has been taking care of her sister Izzy and their mother since Grandma died. Since they turned twelve, she and her best friend Cam have been working on a robot to enter in the BotBlock challenge. It is hard to save up the money for the entry fee, but they are so close — close to enough money, almost done with the robot — when Lucy’s mom takes a turn for the worse. She starts having delusional episodes, and Lucy fears it will affect her chances of getting to the contest, which is her only way out of the Sunnyside trailer park and into the life of science that she dreams of. When everything spirals out of control, Lucy does everything she can to keep it together, but even that may not be enough. Recommended for grades 5-8.

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The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky ThatcherThe Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher
by Jessica Lawson
Grades 4 & up

What if Tom Sawyer was actually a goody-two-shoes and tattletale, while Becky Thatcher was really the one who snuck out at night and had adventures. This topsy turvy version of St. Petersburg, Missouri, has Samuel Clemens living there for a bit while waiting for his steamboat to be fixed. It is here that he learns the stories that he will later write, but most of the characters are not who they end up being. It is a very good adventure, but may make some students confused if they read this before the original. Becky is as feisty a heroine as anyone could want, though, and many girls will much prefer her in this version. Recommended for grades 4-7.

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A Blind Guide to Stinkville

A Blind Guide to StinkvilleA Blind Guide to Stinkville
by Beth Vrabel
Grades 4 & up

Growing up in Seattle, everyone knew Alice and about her blindness and her albinism. Now that she and her family have moved to the small town of Sinkville, she has to explain herself over and over. To make matters worse, her mother spends all day in bed and her father is always at work. She has her dog Tooter, though, and together they set out to find something to like in the town. Alice slowly begins to make new friends — first Kerica, whose mom works at the library, and then a few adults around town. She doesn’t let her vision impairment stop her from getting out there, even when the resident mean girl gets in her face. (One of the best scenes was when Tooter pees on the mean girl!) This is a feel good book, with plenty of humor, and just enough conflict to keep the pages turning. Highly recommended for grades 4-7.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Seven Stories Up

Seven Stories UpSeven Stories Up
by Laurel Snyder
Grades 4 & up

Annie meets her grandmother for the first time as she and her mother race to Baltimore to see Grandmother on her death bed. Annie is shocked to learn about family she does not even know existed. She is more shocked still when she wakes up in the morning to find she is not in Baltimore in 1987, but rather in 1937, with her grandmother as a young girl. An exciting time-travel adventure. Recommended for grades 4-6.

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Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of KatrinaZane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina
by Rodman Philbrick
Grades 5 & up

Zane Dupree has never met anyone on his father’s side of the family. His father was killed in an accident just before Zane was born, and his mother has never been able to locate any of his relatives. Finally she finds Zane’s great grandmother, Miss Trissy, the woman who raised his father. Zane and his dog Bandy fly down to New Orleans to meet her. Unfortunately, this is just before Hurricane Katrina hits. Zane and Miss Trissy try to leave when the mandatory evacuations come around, but it doesn’t quite work out as planned. This is a story of survival, which shows both the good and bad sides of human nature that come out after a natural disaster. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

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