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August 2016 Newsletter for Parents August 2016
Squeezing in Some Last-Minute Summer Reading

Hi Kidsreaders,

Can you believe August is almost over? While kids in the New York City area are still on summer vacation and hitting back-to-school sales, many children across the country already have settled into their desks and classrooms. I can't say I miss the tests and quizzes, but I always enjoyed meeting my new teachers and color-coding my folders and notebooks.

With summer wrapping up, I've been thinking a lot about summer reading and how freeing it can be for your children to go all out and read whatever they'd like in between those assigned books they read during the school year. With that in mind, I decided to make a list of my top summer reads:

  • ELEVEN AND HOLDING by Mary Penney --- I have no shame in admitting that I love a good tearjerker, but this book pulled at my heartstrings in just the right way. The real highlight of this one, however, was the protagonist, Macy Hollinquest, a bold, stubborn girl bursting with spunk, loyalty and determination. I read this in one day!
  • THE VOYAGE TO THE MAGICAL NORTH by Claire Fayers --- As the daughter of a former sailor, I feel a bit biased with this selection, but between the gorgeous cover and the awesome main character, there was no way this book couldn't make the list. In this highseas adventure, a young girl named Brine and her friend join forces with pirates on a magical journey to, you guessed it, the north. As a bonus, Brine is quite the bookworm!
  • FURTHERMORE by Tahereh Mafi --- It's no secret that Tahereh Mafi is a bit of a YA legend, but her middle grade debut is not to be missed no matter your age. Her writing is vibrant and fantastical, and her worldbuilding is out of control. See our featured review of this title below!
  • LITTLE ELLIOT, BIG FUN by Mike Curato --- Many of you are probably familiar with Curato's picture book hero, Little Elliot, but this may be his best book yet. If you're looking for a bit of fun to round out your summer, Elliot and Mouse have you covered. I love the old-timey pictures of New York City!
  • DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM by David Neilsen --- If you're a Lemony Snicket fan, this book was practically made for you. I loved Neilsen's whimsical, lyrical writing and the bond between his three main characters --- not to mention the spooky villain of the story, Dr. Fell himself.

By the way, if DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM sounds interesting to you, you'll want to head over to our blog, where David Neilsen has written a guest post about his inspiration for the book's evil doctor. You'll definitely think twice about walking past creepy houses after reading what he has to say!

Speaking of blogs, I've really been enjoying Slate's pop-up children's blog, Nightlight. Although the blog will only be updated through the month of August, it covers everything from the HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD release to diversity in children's books and even attempting to write your own book. Be sure to check it out so you can catch up on all the children's publishing buzz.

In other news, we finally have a trailer for the film adaptation of Katherine Paterson's beloved bestseller, THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS. If you loved Bridge to Terabithia, you and your children will adore this story about foster kid Gilly, who has spent years trying to make herself as unloveable as possible in hopes of being reunited with her birth mother. But when she is placed with the Trotter family, their unconditional love and acceptance teach her a little something about the true meaning of "family." The Great Gilly Hopkins won't arrive in theaters until October, so you have plenty of time for a reread of the book with your kids --- I have my copy on my bedside table!

But that's not the only Books on Screen news we have to share: L.M. Montgomery's iconic, fiery heroine, Anne Shirley (that's "Anne" with an "e"), will be coming to Netflix in 2017 in a new series called "Anne." I've talked about my love of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES here before, so you know I'll be eagerly awaiting more news as the series goes into production. In the meantime, you can click here to learn more.

While we're on the subject of beloved children's books, you should know that next month marks the 100th birthday of the one and only Roald Dahl, the author of classics like MATILDA, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. We'll be celebrating with a series of blog posts about Dahl, his contributions to the literary world and ways you and your children can join in on the fun, so be sure to check back starting on Tuesday, September 6th. In the meantime, you can find a list of events occurring nationwide here.

We learned this week that award-winning author Joyce Carol Thomas passed away following complications with liver disease. Thomas' books, including MARKED BY FIRE, BRIGHT SHADOW and THE BRIGHTER THE BERRY, have been renowned worldwide for their portrayals of African-American rural life and the messages of hope and joy they delivered to young readers. She was honored for her literary contributions with both the National Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award, as well as numerous other accolades. Our thoughts go out to her family, friends and fans --- she will surely be missed.

Last, but certainly not least, don't forget to check out some fabulous contests for YOU below. With the kids heading back to school, this is the perfect chance to bulk up on your fall reading. And be sure on the lookout for our Series updates --- we have added books to 25(!) different series!

Happy reading!

--- Rebecca Munro (

Featured Review: GHOST by Jason Reynolds

GHOST by Jason Reynolds (Fiction)
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team --- a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: FURTHERMORE by Tahereh Mafi

FURTHERMORE by Tahereh Mafi (Fantasy)
It's been almost three years since Father disappeared and Alice is determined to find him. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver and in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself --- and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado.

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Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: WISH by Barbara O'Connor

WISH by Barbara O'Connor (Fiction)
Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. But when she is sent to North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all. Reviewed by Angela Warsinske.

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Featured Review: MOO by Sharon Creech

MOO by Sharon Creech (Fiction)

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna --- and that stubborn cow, Zora. Reviewed by Rebecca Hawkins.

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Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: A MOST MAGICAL GIRL by Karen Foxlee

A MOST MAGICAL GIRL by Karen Foxlee (Historical Fiction)

Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she’s put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly un-ladylike life. Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest. Annabel is pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld beneath London. It doesn’t take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

- Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM by David Neilsen

DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM by David Neilsen (Fantasy)

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell. Only Jerry, Nancy and Gail are immune. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.

Featured Review: THE RAT PRINCE by Bridget Hodder

THE RAT PRINCE by Bridget Hodder (Fairy Tale)

Cinderella thinks she must work alone to save her noble family from the ruin and disgrace her stepmother has brought to Lancastyr Manor. She has an ailing father, a sweet little stepsister and servants to protect from the wicked Wilhemina --- and no way to call attention to their plight unless she figures out how to attend the royal ball. But Cinderella knows nothing of the ancient pact between the House of Lancastyr and the rats who live within the walls of her ancestral home. Nor is she aware that the sleek black rat she thinks is her pet is actually the Rat Prince...and she is not alone. Reviewed by Becca Watts.

- Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.

Contests for YOU!


  • Win a Copy of QUEEN SUGAR by Natalie Baszile --- We have 25 copies of QUEEN SUGAR --- the inspiration for the highly anticipated 13-part TV series produced by Oprah Winfrey, directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma), and starring Rutina Wesley ("True Blood") and Greg Vaughan, premiering September 6th on OWN --- by Natalie Baszile to give away to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments on it. The deadline for entries is Thursday, September 8th at noon ET.

  • Win 12 Copies of BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue for Your Book Group --- We are celebrating the release of BEHOLD THE DREAMERS --- Imbolo Mbue's unforgettable debut about a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy --- with a special contest that will give three groups the chance to win 12 copies. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 21st at noon ET.
  • Win 10 Copies of MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf for Your Book Group --- We are celebrating the paperback release of New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf's MISSING PIECES --- the chilling page-turner about a woman who uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family --- with a special contest that will give two groups the chance to win 10 copies. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 21st at noon ET.
  • Win 12 Copies of RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles for Your Book Group --- In anticipation of the September release of his latest book, A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, we're giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of Amor Towles' New York Times bestselling RULES OF CIVILITY --- his beguiling debut about a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.
  • Win a Copy of THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah --- Kristin Hannah's mega-bestselling THE NIGHTINGALE has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 71 weeks --- and counting! We're so thrilled by its success that we're giving a whopping 350 readers the chance to win a copy. Whether you still haven't read it or you're looking for a good reason to read it again, now is a great time to win this powerful World War II story. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.
  • Win a Copy of LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly --- We are celebrating Martha Hall Kelly's remarkable debut, LILAC GIRLS --- an incredible story of love, redemption and terrible secrets, set during World War II --- with a special contest that will give 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.
  • "What's Your Book Group Reading This Month?": Win 12 Copies of A CERTAIN AGE by Beatriz Williams --- Each month, we ask book groups to share the titles they are reading that month and rate them. From all entries received, three groups are selected, and each wins 12 copies of that month’s prize book. August's prize book is A CERTAIN AGE --- a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’ comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York --- from Beatriz Williams, the bestselling author of A HUNDRED SUMMERS. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.
On the Kidsreads Blog
The Creepy House at the End of the Street --- Guest Post by David Neilsen, Author of DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM --- David Neilsen shares the inspiration for his novel: the fear of the unknown or, in his case, a creepy old house. This spooky house --- and the "witch" who lived in it --- are the basis for Dr. Fell and his mysterious home.
Click here to visit the Kidsreads blog.

August’s Cool & New Books Roundup
This month's Cool & New roundup includes FUZZY, a fast-paced story from bestselling authors Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger about a robot learning the ins and outs of middle school; THE BRONZE KEY, the magical third book in Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's Magisterium series; and David Stabler's KID ARTISTS, a collection of stories about the childhoods of 16 famous artists from Claude Monet to Dr. Seuss.
Click here to see the rest of August's Cool & New Books roundup!

August’s New in Paperback Roundup
Our New in Paperback roundup this month includes A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE by Beth Vrabel, which explores many different issues --- albinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and more; THE LEAGUE OF UNEXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN by Gitty Daneshvari, where a covert network uses the nation's most average, normal and utterly unexceptional children as spies; and UPSIDE-DOWN MAGIC by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins, in which three students of magical school's magic has a tendency to turn wonky at the worst possible moments.
Click here to see the rest of our August New in Paperback roundup!

New Picture Books
Our Picture Book roundup this month includes the final book in Aaron Becker’s highly acclaimed trilogy --- RETURN --- in which a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure; LITTLE ELLIOT, BIG FUN by Mike Curato, in this third story Little Elliot and mouse go to the amusement park and have a lot of fun; and DO NOT BRING YOUR DRAGON TO THE LIBRARY, which asks what might happen when a dragon steps into a library.
Click here to see the rest of August's Picture Book Roundup!

New Series Books for August
INSPECTOR FLYTRAP IN THE PRESIDENT'S MANE IS MISSING (Inspector Flytrap, Book 2) by Tom Angleberger, Cece Bell (Illustrator) (Mystery)
In INSPECTOR FLYTRAP IN THE PRESIDENT’S MANE IS MISSING, we once more follow the Detective Agency and their BIG DEAL cases. Inspector Flytrap and Nina the Goat return in a set of mysteries involving the President of the United States and a very large horse statue that mysteriously attracts a threat from outer space.

SHERLOCK SAM AND THE GHOSTLY MOANS IN FORT CANNING (Sherlock Sam, Book 2) by A.J. Low (Science Fiction)
When ghostly sounds fill the air at one of Singapore's most-loved historical attractions, Sherlock Sam finds himself in the middle of an intriguing mystery. Ghosts don't exist...or do they? Will this puzzle prove too difficult for Sherlock Sam and Watson to solve?

3 OF A KIND (Knightley and Son, Book 3) by Rohan Gavin (Mystery)
Despite trying to leave his detective ways behind and wanting to lead a normal life, when his father's loyal housekeeper, Bogna, goes missing, Darkus must return to the family fold to solve the mystery. Alongside his father, Alan, and his stepsister Tilly, Darkus follows the trail to America and the bright lights of Las Vegas where they must once again face the deadly criminal organization the Combination --- and this time, all bets are off. With danger at every turn, Knightley and Son will need an ace or two up their sleeves in order to win this game.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING, BABY LINCOLN? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Three) by Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator) (Fiction)
Baby Lincoln’s older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying “Yes, Sister.” But one day Baby decides to depart on a Necessary Journey, even though she doesn’t know where she’s headed or what to do. Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?

JUDY MOODY AND THE BUCKET LIST (Judy Moody series) by Megan McDonald, Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator) (Fiction)
Judy is visiting Grandma Lou one day when she accidentally finds an uber-mysterious list of activities --- a Bucket List! Judy then decides that she’ll make her own bucket list of all the things she wants to do, and soon Judy is off running and trying to cross off all her items. But what happens if Grandma Lou achieves everything on her list? Does that mean she’ll be ready to...kick the bucket?

JONNY JAKES INVESTIGATES THE OLD SCHOOL GHOUL (Jonny Jakes Investigates, Book 2) by Malcolm Judge, Alan Brown (Illustrator) (Science Fiction)
It's been over a hundred years since Head Teacher Victory Piggot terrified his last pupil, but now he's back! Sort of. It's up to Jonny Jakes to investigate, before Piggot unleashes unspeakable horrors on the school! Meet Jonny Jakes, undercover reporter for banned school newspaper The Woodford Word. Nothing will stop his pursuit of the truth. Not teachers. Not parents. Not double detention.

GANDHI FOR KIDS: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Ellen Mahoney (Nonfiction)
With his wire-rimmed glasses, homespun cloths and walking stick, Mohandas Gandhi is an international symbol of nonviolence, freedom, simplicity and peace. Tracing Gandhi's evolution from a shy boy in India to a courageous, world-traveling spiritual and political leader who worked tirelessly to help India achieve independence from England, GANDHI FOR KIDS will inspire young readers to make connections between his ideas and contemporary issues such as bullying and conflict resolution, healthful eating from local sources and more.

FOR MAGNUS CHASE: Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Introduction to Deities, Mythical Beings, & Fantastic Creatures (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan (Fantasy)
This "who's who" guide to the gods, goddesses and other important figures of Norse mythology was commissioned by Helgi, who, after more than a millennium as manager of Hotel Valhalla, became fed up with answering the same questions from newly deceased heroes at check-in. The profiles provide essential stats, interviews and personal reflections so you can identify the gods and avoid those awkward introductions. Handy facts about other beings round out this go-to tome. You'll never see Ratatosk as a cute little rodent or confuse a dwarf with an elf ever again!

ATTICUS CLAW LEARNS TO DRAW (Atticus Claw, World's Greatest Cat Detective, Book 2) by Jennifer Gray (Fiction)
Famous works of art are going missing. Atticus is on the case. The prime suspect is Ricardo Butteredsconi --- Italian theme park entrepreneur and art connoisseur. Then Inspector Cheddar goes missing from the Tate Modern, and Atticus and his friends suspect Butteredsconi and his evil pet pig. Atticus has to act fast if he wants to stop Inspector Cheddar becoming a waxwork!

ATTICUS CLAW SETTLES A SCORE (Atticus Claw, World's Greatest Cat Detective, Book 3) by Jennifer Gray (Fiction)
Atticus Grammatticus Cattypus Claw, the world's greatest REFORMED cat burglar is back. This time, the tabby with talent is on the right side of the law. And when Jimmy Magpie and his gang are busted out of jail by a mysterious villain and an evil cat called Ginger Biscuit, Atticus knows from bitter experience he's going to need all his skill and courage to catch them. Can Atticus overcome his murky past with the help of the Cheddar family in order to prevent the biggest crime in history AND settle a score of his own?

THE CANDYMAKERS AND THE GREAT CHOCOLATE CHASE (The Candymakers, Book 2) by Wendy Mass (Fiction)
It has been a few months since the Harmonicandy was chosen as the winner of the nationwide candymaking contest. Forever changed by the experience, Logan, Miles, Philip and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when presented with the chance to go on tour to promote the new candy, they each have very different reasons for hitting the road. The stakes are a lot higher than they thought, however, and a decades-old secret is revealed. They've already learned to trust one another. Now they'll have to trust themselves in order to face what lies ahead and save what really matters.

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS PIRATE ADVENTURE (Berenstain Bears series) by Mike Berenstain, Mike Berenstain (Illustrator) (Fiction)
Ahoy, beary! Join the Berenstain Bears as they embark on a high seas adventure full of cannonballs, scallywags, and --- of course --- treasure in this low-cost paperback format! X marks the spot for Captain Cub, Brown Bear the Pirate and Honey Bones on the isle of their imagination.

CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S GUIDE TO NOT GROWING UP (Charlie Joe Jackson, Book 6) by Tommy Greenwald, J. P. Coovert (Illustrator) (Fiction)
Graduation day is finally here! Charlie Joe has been waiting for this moment his entire middle school career. This might even be the best day of his life. Just make it through the ceremony and he's free. But suddenly things around him are starting to change. Words like "responsibility" and "college prep" keep popping out of his friend's mouths. Come to think of it, doesn't high school bring more teachers and more books? Maybe this whole growing up thing isn't such a good idea after all. Surely Charlie Joe can figure out a way to put the brakes on growing up --- and fast!

SUNKER'S DEEP (The Icebreaker Trilogy, Book 2) by Lian Tanner (Fantasy)
Sharkey is a Sunker; he was born on a fortunate tide, and everyone knows it. He's a hero, a future admiral, beloved by the ancestors. The trouble is, his life is based on a lie, and it's about to fall apart. Sharkey's been a fake hero for years, but when the Sunkers are attacked, he must become a real one. Meanwhile above water, Petrel, Fin and the crew of the 'Oyster' have come ashore to defeat the Devouts. Now, both crews must work together to fight for their lives.

WHO IS HILLARY CLINTON? (Who Was...? Series) by Heather Alexander, Dede Putra (Illustrator), Nancy Harrison (Illustrator) (Biography)
At age 14, Hillary Clinton thought it would be thrilling to become an astronaut, so she sent an application to NASA. The reply was a flat out rejection: the space program didn't take women. It was a critical moment for the young girl, one that made her realize the world she lived in needed changing and that she had better try to make those changes happen. Clinton's life has been a thrilling series of firsts --- First Lady of the US, then first First Lady to become a US Senator, Secretary of State and possibly the first woman to run as the Democratic candidate for President.

WHO WAS MILTON BRADLEY? (Who Was...? Series) by Kirsten Anderson, Tim Foley (Illustrator), Nancy Harrison (Illustrator) (Biography)
Born in Maine in 1836, Milton Bradley moved with his family to the working-class city of Lowell, Massachusetts, at age 11. His early life consisted of several highs and lows, from graduating high school and attending Harvard to getting laid off and losing his first wife. These experiences gave Bradley the idea for his first board game: The Checkered Game of Life. He produced and sold Life across the country and it quickly became a national sensation. Working with his company, the Milton Bradley Company, he continued to produce board games, crayons and kid-friendly school supplies.

LIFE OF ZARF: The Troll Who Cried Wolf (Life of Zarf, Book 2) by Rob Harrell (Fantasy)
Even after rescuing the king from deadly Snuffweasels, Zarf is scum on the bottom rung of the middle school social ladder. After all, he is still a troll. But at least he still has his two best friends, Kevin and Chester...until Kevin disappears, that is. Now Zarf is at an all-time low. It seems a band of wolves are seeking revenge for the constant disgrace they’ve suffered over the years, and Little Red Ridinghood’s kid might be next on their list. Now it’s up to Zarf to crank out a solution from that troll brain of his, and save his best friend before it’s too late.

THE NORA NOTEBOOKS, BOOK 2: The Trouble with Babies by Claudia Mills and Katie Kath (Fiction)
Nora Alpers has just become a 10-year-old aunt. A new family member isn’t the only thing stressing Nora out. At school, Nora has to write journals in the voice of a pioneer on the Oregon Trail and prepare for the annual science fair. Science is normally Nora’s best subject --- until Nora ends up being paired with science-hating, cat-obsessed Emma! How will Nora ever learn to be a good aunt if she’s trying to survive the Oregon Trail and arguing against Emma’s unscientific science-fair ideas?

ONE VOTE, TWO VOTES, I VOTE, YOU VOTE: All About Voting (Dr. Seuss? series) by Bonnie Worth, Aristides Ruiz, Joe Mathieu (Fiction)
In simple rhyme, the Cat in the Hat introduces early readers to the concept and practice of voting --- with a focus on the American presidency! Learn the basic principles of democracy, how political parties are formed, why Election Day is held in early November and much, much more! An ideal choice for reading and talking about elections (whether for a classroom pet or the leader of the free world), this is also perfect for supporting the Common Core State Standards.

SQUISH #8: Pod vs. Pod by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm, Jennifer L. Holm (Illustrator), Matthew Holm (Illustrator) (Graphic Novel)
Uh-oh! Squish’s friend Pod just hasn’t been himself lately. One minute he’s happy-dancing; the next he’s sobbing in his soup. What’s going on? (Hint: “mitosis” is the process that splits single-celled organisms. That’s right, splits.) It is truly pod vs. pod --- and may the best pod, umm, win?

STING: A Loot Novel (Loot, Book 2) by Jude Watson (Fiction)
Rule Number One for Cat Burglars: Never Do a Favor for a Friend. So why is March McQuin dangling above a stone floor in the middle of the night, instead of tucked in bed? Along with his twin sister, Jules, he’s set on stealing a set of diamonds. Except another thief got there first. March and Jules are lucky to escape with their lives, and one measly stone. The stone they grabbed was the Morning Star, one of a trio of famous sapphires, and it’s cursed. The only way to break the curse and set everything to rights is by pulling off two more impossible heists...and stealing the other two sapphires in the set.

I SURVIVED THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT ST. HELENS, 1980 (I Survived #14) by Lauren Tarshis (Nonfiction)
It was one the most beautiful mountains in America, Mount St. Helens, in Washington State. But what many didn't know was that this peaceful mountain had an explosive past. But below ground, pressure had been building, and soon, Kaboom! Mount St. Helens would erupt with terrifying fury. Eleven-year-old Jessie Marlowe knew the mountain well, and never imagined that this serene wilderness could turn deadly. But on May 10th, 1980, Jessie finds herself in the middle of the deadliest volcanic eruption in U.S. history. Trapped on the mountain, she must escape clouds of poisonous gas, boiling rivers, and landslides of rock, glacial ice, and white-hot debris.

THE BRONZE KEY (Magisterium, Book 3) by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare (Fantasy)
Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world. But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer…and risk their own lives in the process. As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

BACK IN THE SADDLE (Marguerite Henry's Ponies of Chincoteague, Book 7) by Catherine Hapka (Fiction)
Haley has been focused on one goal with her pony Wings: entering an upcoming competition in the fall and winning. She’s so busy trying to make that happen that her grades drop and her family is worried. And then, when the big day finally arrives, Haley falls off Wings and is eliminated! It’s the worst thing she can imagine after all her hard work and sacrifice. Can she get back on her horse and regain her self-confidence?

RILEY (Puppy Pals, Book 2) by Susan Hughes (Fiction)
Kat and her BFF Maya love playing with the puppies at her aunt Jenn's grooming business, Tails Up! When a sweet golden retriever puppy named Riley is boarded at Tails Up!, Kat and Maya couldn't be more excited! Riley is supersweet and friendly. But when a new girl named Grace shows up in Kat's class, she finds herself wishing Grace was as easy to get along with as Riley. Kat is disappointed to find herself paired up with Grace, who can't seem to get that mean look off of her face! But is Grace unkind, or is she just lonely? Maybe Riley can help her figure it out.


Click here for more series features.

More New Reviews
THORNGHOST by Tone Almhjell (Fantasy)
Strange things are happening around Niklas Summerhill’s home. A green-eyed beast is killing animals in the woods, and the nightmares that have haunted Niklas since his mother died grow more terrifying with every night. When the beast turns out to be a troll brought to life from his own games, Niklas knows he has to stop it. With the help of his lynx companion, he finds a portal to another world. But this realm is also in danger. The evil Sparrow King is hunting down the few survivors from a devastating war, and a dark, blood-thirsty plant is infecting the valley. Niklas must try to save both worlds. But first he has to uncover the truth about his mother’s last words: "I’m a Thornghost." Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge.

BERA THE ONE-HEADED TROLL by Eric Orchard (Graphic Novel)
Bera doesn't ask for much in life. She's a solitary, humble troll, tending her island pumpkin patch in cheerful isolation. She isn't looking for any trouble. But when trouble comes to find her, it comes in spades. A human baby has arrived in the realm of the trolls and nobody knows where it came from, but Bera seems to be the only person who doesn't want it dead. There's nothing to it but to return the adorable little thing to its parents. Like it or not, Bera's gone and found herself a quest. Reviewed by Julia Luetdke.

CLICK HERE TO START by Denis Markell (Mystery)
Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game! Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

It has been a few months since the Harmonicandy was chosen as the winner of the nationwide candymaking contest. Forever changed by the experience, Logan, Miles, Philip and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when presented with the chance to go on tour to promote the new candy, they each have very different reasons for hitting the road. The stakes are a lot higher than they thought, however, and a decades-old secret is revealed. They've already learned to trust one another. Now they'll have to trust themselves in order to face what lies ahead and save what really matters. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

GOING GOING GONE by Nicholas O. Time (Science Fiction)
Librarian Valerie Tremt tells three students that one of the library books, THE BOOK OF MEMORIES, is actually a time travel portal. Now that he can time travel, 12-year-old Matt knows exactly where he wants to go. His grandfather Joe was on the path to becoming a major league baseball player until he slipped and fell into the pool and hurt his ankle. The injury turned out to be a career-ending one. Matt wants to go back in time to prevent the accident from ever occurring, so his grandfather can have the career he deserved! But can he successfully alter his grandfather’s past without changing his own future? Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski

THIS IS NOT THE ABBY SHOW by Debbie Reed Fischer (Fiction)
Abby is gifted in math and science, and she has ADHD. Normally, she has everything pretty-much-sorta-kinda under control. But when Abby makes one HUGE mistake that leads to “The Night That Ruined My Life,” or “TNTRML,” she lands in summer school. Abby thinks the other summer school kids are going to be total weirdos and she feels that her life is turning into a total disaster. But as Abby learns to communicate better and finds friends who love her for who she is, she discovers that her biggest weaknesses could be her greatest assets. Reviewed by Aimee Rogers.

SONG OF THE DEEP by Brian Hastings (Fantasy)
Twelve-year-old Merryn lives with her fisherman father in a little cottage by the sea. Each day, her father braves the tumultuous waves and returns home in time for dinner. One stormy evening, he doesn’t come back. Merryn has a vision that he’s been dragged underwater by a terrifying sea creature. Determined to rescue him, Merryn builds a tiny submarine and embarks on a journey through the undersea worlds she’s only heard about in her father’s lullabies. As she faces the dangers and wonders of the world below the waves, she realizes that her father’s stories were all real. Reviewed by Rebecca Hawkins.

Track the facts about dragons, unicorns, mermaids and more --- with Jack and Annie! When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House Super Edition #2: Night of the Nine Dragons, they had lots of questions. What do tales about dragons have in common? Are mermaids real? How do unicorns use their horns? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about their favorite creatures from myths and legends. And just what might some of those creature sightings really be? Reviewed by Elizabeth Corley.

GANDHI FOR KIDS by Ellen Mahoney (Biography)
With his wire-rimmed glasses, homespun cloths and walking stick, Mohandas Gandhi is an international symbol of nonviolence, freedom, simplicity and peace. Tracing Gandhi's evolution from a shy boy in India to a courageous, world-traveling spiritual and political leader who worked tirelessly to help India achieve independence from England, GANDHI FOR KIDS will inspire young readers to make connections between his ideas and contemporary issues such as bullying and conflict resolution, healthful eating from local sources and more. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

KID BEOWULF: The Blood-Bound Oath by Alexis E. Fajardo (Graphic Novel)
Inspired by the epic poem "Beowulf," this fun new series follows the adventures of 12-year-old twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel as they travel to distant lands and meet fellow epic heroes! In book one of the series, our heroes' destiny is tied to the past, when a prince named Hrothgar begins a quest for power --- one that leads him to a fiery dragon, an enchanted sword and an oath sworn in blood. But when Hrothgar breaks his oath he breaks his kingdom, and the only thing that will save it is a family he’s forgotten and heroes not yet born… Reviewed by Michael Lee Harris.

DOLLARS & SENSE: A Kid's Guide to Using --- Not Losing --- Money by Elaine Scott and David Clark (Nonfiction)
Many things come with instructions, but unfortunately money isn’t one of them. DOLLARS & SENSE is a basic operating instruction manual for money that will teach readers about the history of money, the way our American economy works, and how to make important decisions about personal finance. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

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