Urban Outlaws, Blackout, & Lockdown

Urban OutlawsUrban Outlaws
by Peter Jay Black
Grades 4 & up

Jack, Charlie, Obi, Slink, and Wren have all escaped from the group homes and foster care that they were placed in for a variety of reasons. Each has special skills involving computers and technology, and together they use these to right the wrongs of society. Whether they are performing Random Acts of Kindness or stealing millions from arms dealers, they stay one step ahead of both the law and the bad guys. When Obi’s obsession with a mythical supercomputer turns out to be a reality, the Urban Outlaws set out to learn what they can about it. But when they stumble into a trap, it will take all of their wits and cunning to make their way out and protect each other and the life they have created. A super fun adventure for grades 4-7, especially those into Mission: Impossible type scenarios.

Blackout (Urban Outlaws, #2)Blackout
by Peter Jay Black
Grades 4 & up

Jack, Charlie, and the rest of the Urban Outlaws are back in the second book in the series. The virus that they accidently unleashed in the first book is wreaking havoc on electrical grids across London. Jack feels obligated to track it down and capture it. Unfortunately, the agents from the first book are after it as well. This book is full of more super spy inventions as well as Mission: Impossible type situations. For fans of the first book, grades 4-7.

Lockdown (Urban Outlaws #3)Lockdown
by Peter Jay Black
Grades 4 & up

The Urban Outlaws are back, and this third book takes them all the way from London to New York (with a side trip to Los Angeles) in pursuit of Hector and the computer virus. He is now using it to take down hackers all over, including threatening their friend Noble. This book is full of twists, double-twists, even more super spy inventions and Mission: Impossible type situations. I strongly suggest reading the series in order. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

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Saving Baby Doe

Saving Baby DoeSaving Baby Doe
by Danette Vigilante
Grades 6 & up

When Lionel and Anisa find a newborn baby in a PortaPotty, everyone’s first thought is that it is theirs. Instead of being recognized as heroes, their parents come down on them hard, even when it is proven not to be theirs. Finding the abandoned baby brings up all kinds of issues for Lionel, whose own father left when he was seven. Lionel is trying desperately to be a good person, but is in danger of falling in with the wrong friends. His heart is in the right place, but the wrong choices can change his life forever. Recommended for grades 6& up.

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Gold Medal Winter

Gold Medal WinterGold Medal Winter
by Donna Freitas
Grades 4 & up

Esperanza Flores has been training as a figure skater since she was 10 and now has the opportunity to skate for Team USA at the Winter Olympics. With the support of her mother and her coach (a formed gold medal skater), Esperanza hopes to become the first Latina-American to medal in figure skating. In addition to the pressure of the skating, there is the drama that lurks behind the scenes with both boys and other skaters. It is a great deal for a high school sophomore to handle. Follow Esperanza on her journey towards the gold. A fun read, especially for those dreaming of skating in the Olympics. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows

P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing WidowsP.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows
by Caroline Lawrence
Grades 4 & up

P.K. Pinkerton is back in this third mystery taking place in the Nevada Territory in the 1860s. This time, P.K. is hired to spy on his friend and mentor, Poker Face Jace. Jace is down in Carson City, attending the legislative sessions where they are voting on a variety of bills including whether to make Nevada a state. Although P.K. has been hired to see if Jace is cheating on Opal Blossom, he ends up embroiled in a variety of other issues and intrigue as well. A fun, gunslinging, wild west mystery. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

Abby Spencer Goes to BollywoodAbby Spencer Goes to Bollywood
by Varsha Bajaj
Grades 5 & up

It bothers Abby Spencer that she has never met her father. She knows that he is in India, but that’s it. When a chance encounter with a new food causes an allergic reaction, she and her mother realize that it is time to track him down. With a little Internet searching they manage to get in touch, and find that he never received any of the messages that Abby’s mother had sent telling him that she was pregnant. Ecstatic to learn that he has a thirteen year old daughter, he flies Abby to Mumbai to meet him and her grandmother. This is a fantastic story about learning about yourself, your family, and all of the pieces that make a person whole. Pair this with The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond for another great journey of discovery. Recommended for grades 5-8.

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Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile (Eddie Red Undercover, #1)Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile
by Marcia Wells
Grades 5 & up

When Edmund and his father happen upon a knife fight in the alley behind their favorite ice cream store, Edmund’s photographic memory and his ability to draw faces well come to the attention of the police. Desperate to catch a gang of sophisticated art thieves, Edmund is sent undercover to museums to look for and sketch the suspects. But working for the cops isn’t all it is cracked up to be, especially the grumpy detective who yells at him constantly. But Edmund’s private school tuition for the next year is riding on his ability to solve it, so he needs to go above and beyond what the police want him to do. Recommended to mystery lovers grades 5-8.

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Adventures with Waffles

Adventures with WafflesAdventures with Waffles
by Maria Parr
Grades 2 & up

This Norwegian import is full of hilarious adventures, true friends, and plenty of poop jokes. 10-year-old Trille’s best friend is his next door neighbor Lena, and things are never boring when she is around! The only girl in his class, she more than holds her own. Though they don’t always make good choices, Trille and Lena always have the best intentions. Whether they are creating the decorations for the midsummer bonfire, creating their own Noah’s Ark, busking for money by playing their recorders, or starting a retirement home for horses, nothing ever goes quite as planned. It is a great look at rural Norwegian life as well. This would make a fun read aloud. Recommended for grades 2-4.

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Kinda Like Brothers

Kinda Like BrothersKinda Like Brothers
by Coe Booth
Grades 5 & up

Jarrett’s mother has always taken in temporary foster babies until more permanent homes can be found for them. This time is different though, because 23-month-old Treasure has an older brother who comes with her. Eleven year-old Jarrett does not want to share his room with twelve-year-old Kevon, and he especially does not want to share his friends or his summer with this boy who seems to be naturally better than him at everything. As they each try to deal with their own issues, how far is too far in hurting each other? And can they work together when it is important? Highly recommended for grades 5-8.

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The Education of Ivy Blake

The Education of Ivy BlakeThe Education of Ivy Blake
by Ellen Airgood
Grades 4 & up

In this companion book to Prairie Evers, Ivy’s mom has left her boyfriend and decides she wants Ivy back. In a very realistic decision, Ivy leaves the Evers’ home that she loves, and tries to make things work with her mother. But her mother has not changed — both her drinking and her anger are still out of control. Ivy slowly begins to listen to the people around her, instead of her mother’s voice telling her that she will never amount to anything. A heart-wrenching book. You do not need to have read the first one, but it helps. Recommended for grades 4-7.

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School for Sidekicks

School for SidekicksSchool for Sidekicks
by Kelly McCullough
Grades 4 & up

1n 1988, the Hero Bomb was detonated under a bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Many people were killed, but many of the ones who survived gained superpowers and became either Masks (heroes) or Hoods (villains). The Twin Cities became known as Heropolis. Now, 30 years later, Evan Quick dreams of finding his own superpowers and becoming one of the Masks that he so admires. Just when it seems like this dream will never come true, he ends up in an unexpected battle and finds himself whisked away to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives, better known as the School for Sidekicks. But things aren’t quite what he expected — not the school, not the Masks, not even the Hoods. This fun read is highly recommended to superhero fans in grades 4-7.

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