Yours Truly

Yours Truly (Pumpkin Falls Mystery, #2)Yours Truly
by Heather Vogel Frederick
Grades 4 & up

The Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes are back in this sequel to Absolutely Truly. Truly has settled into her new town, and is enjoying the Maple Madness that comes with spring in the North East. Her cousin and best friend Mackenzie is visiting from Texas, and Truly finds herself jealous of all of the attention that Mackenzie is getting. There are two mysteries for the PFPEs to solve this time — who is sabotaging the maple sap lines and what is the big secret in the old diary that Truly and Mackenzie found? A fun book for mystery lovers and fans of The Mother-Daughter Book Club series. It is not necessary to have read the first one, but it helps. Warning: this will make you crave maple syrup! Recommended for grades 4 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls

Mrs. Smith's Spy School for GirlsMrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls
by Beth McMullen
Grades 4 & up

Abby is shocked when she learns that her mother is sending her away to boarding school for seventh grade. Sure, she’s gotten in trouble sometimes (okay, a lot of times), but she and her mom do everything together. They’ve traveled the world together. Why would her mother do this? When a very mean but very popular girl disappears, Abby sneaks into the Headmistress’s office to try and find out why. Instead, she finds out that the posh and proper Smith School is actually a covert spy training school. She is discovered in the process and is cast as bait in the next spy mission. A fast-paced and fun adventure! Fans of Stuart Gibbs’s Spy School series will enjoy it! Recommended for grades 4 & up.

eARC provided by Edelweiss

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The Kindness Club: Chloe on the Bright Side

The Kindness Club: Chloe on the Bright SideThe Kindness Club: Chloe on the Bright Side
by Courtney Sheinmel
Grades 3 & up

Chloe’s parents have recently divorced, and she is starting 5th grade in a new school. She is trying to remain positive about finding new friends. Her best friend from her old school was invited to the popular girls’ club, so Chloe jumps at the chance to become an It Girl at her new school. But she also likes quirky Lucy and nerdy Theo, and enjoys the science project the three of them have been assigned. They must come up with their own experiment and decide to study the effects of kindness on other people. Unfortunately, this is at odds with the It Girls club and Chloe finds herself having to make hard choices over and over. A realistic portrayal of the friendship issues upper elementary students often face. They will find themselves rooting for Chloe to make the right choice. Recommended for grades 3 & up.

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The Pants Project

The Pants ProjectThe Pants Project
by Cat Clarke
Grades 4 & up

Liv is not looking forward to starting sixth grade at the new middle school for one big reason. The dress code requires that all girls wear skirts. Liv not only doesn’t like wearing skirts, Liv is pretty sure that she isn’t supposed to be a girl at all. She’s done some research online, and while she hasn’t told anyone yet, Liv learns that there is a word for people like her (transgender) and knowing that makes her feel not so alone. But having a super short haircut and two moms already has her in the crosshairs of the resident mean girl, so she isn’t about to share that with anyone. Plus, her best friend has deserted her. Luckily she finds new friends in unexpected places, and with their help manages to launch The Pants Project, to change the dress code. While this book could seem like a diversity checklist (transgender, same sex parents, immigrants, differently abled), Cat manages to weave it into a powerful story that middle schoolers of all backgrounds will be able to relate to. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

ARC provided by publisher.

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Gertie’s Leap to Greatness

Gertie's Leap to GreatnessGertie’s Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley
Grades 3 & up

Gertie is on a mission to become the best fifth grader ever! She has to you, you see, because her mother who left when she was baby is about to move out of town and Gertie needs to prove that she doesn’t need her. But a new girl that just joined her class seems to be better than Gertie at everything, and is turning the rest of the class against her. Will this be the first mission that Gertie doesn’t complete? There is too much at stake for Gertie to feel. Any student who has ever felt left out or ostracized will relate to Gertie. Recommended for grades 3 & up.

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by Patricia Reilly Giff
Grades 3 & up

Judith’s mother abandoned her as a toddler, leaving her with her Aunt Cora. While Judith has grown up loved and cared for, she hasn’t spoken to anyone since her mother left. This has caused her problems with friends and in school, though it seems that most people in their small island community do look out for her. Now in 5th grade in a regular class with a teacher new to the island, she faces new challenges and new people in her life. A quiet, introspective story. Recommended for grades 3 & up.

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Juana and Lucas

Juana and LucasJuana and Lucas
by Juana Medina
Grades 1 & up

This super fun book is a great way to introduce early elementary students to kids like them living outside of the United States. Juana and her dog Lucas live in Bogota, Columbia. She takes us through her average school day, complete with lunch and recess, and we see the areas that are easy for her and where she struggles. This year she is starting to learn English and it is HARD. When she doesn’t see the importance of learning another language, she asks various people in her life what they think. They all answer positively, but it is her grandfather who manages to convince with her the promise of a trip to an amusement park in Florida. Sprinkled with Spanish words throughout, American kids will have no problem relating to spunky Juana. It is nice to see a book set in South America that does not deal with war or poverty. Highly recommended for grades 1 & up.

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Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn

Little Green Men at the Mercury InnLittle Green Men at the Mercury Inn
by Greg Leitich Smith
Grades 3 & up

Aidan lives with his parents at the Mercury Inn, the motel they own on the Florida space coast. Because of its proximity to Cape Canaveral, it is a great place to watch spacecraft launches. This particularly appeals to Aidan’s best friend Louis, a UFO nut with a prosthetic leg due to a car accident. But this particular launch is special, when a large seemingly unidentified flying object is seen overhead after a massive power outage. Suddenly tourists, reporters, and government agents descend on the hotel to try and find the aliens. It is up to Aidan, Louis, and their new friend Dru to solve the mystery of the alien visitors before it is too late. Fast paced and full of fascinating UFO theories. Pair this with Chris Grabenstein’s Home Sweet Motel for more Florida Motel fun! Highly recommended to alien enthusiasts, grades 3 & up.

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Dragon Captives

Dragon Captives (The Unwanteds Quests, #1)Dragon Captives
by Lisa McMann
Grades 4 & up

Good news for Unwanteds fans! There is a new series featuring the now 12-year twins Fifer and Thisbe. The bad news is the book ends with a major cliffhanger…

It has been 10 years since we last visited the seven islands of the Unwanteds, and Artimé and Quill are still at peace. Alex and Aaron Stowe’s younger twin sisters Fifer and Thisbe are extremely frustrated with their older brothers. They are told that they have the most natural magical ability on the island, but Alex refuses to let them be trained in using magic until they learn some self-control. They don’t feel they will be able to control their magic until they have some training. Just when they have disappointed Alex again, something exciting finally happens. Hux, one of the young dragons that Alex had made wings for, returns to Artimé. He needs larger wings, but he also needs Alex to come with him to create the wings for his brothers and sisters. The dragons are being held captive and will be killed if they are not able to fly. When Alex refuses to help, Fifer and Thisbe decide to take matters into their own hands, bringing along their friend Seth as well. An exciting return into the world of the Unwanteds. Recommended for fans of the series, grades 4 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Book Uncle and Me

Book Uncle and MeBook Uncle and Me
by Uma Krishnaswami
Grades 3 & up

Yasmin stops at Book Uncle’s free lending library on the sidewalk near her apartment everyday. She has made it her goal to read a book a day, and is now at 400 in a row. With his motto, “The right book for the right person for the right day,” Book Uncle always gives her exactly what she needs to read. That is until the day he has to pack up all of his books and stop the lending library. It seems that someone has complained and now he needs an expensive permit. Yasmin is devastated by this. Instead of sinking into despair though, she gathers her friends to try to help Book Uncle and save their library. A great introduction to social activism. Recommended for grades 3 & up.

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