New Release: New Kid by Jerry Craft

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062691201
ISBN-13: 978-0062691200

Purchase here!

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New Release: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Lexile Measure: 0500
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 4, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524719803
ISBN-13: 978-1524719807

Purchase from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Too Big by Judy Dearborn Nill

You’ll find the topics of bullying, peer pressure, friendship and learning to accept who you are wrapped up in a fabulously engaging story with Too Big by Judy Dearborn Nill.

Shelby Bradshaw considers skipping the fifth grade and going right to middle school. Academically that won’t be a problem, but it’s really to escape all the teasing she has endured since her growth spurt. She’ll miss being with her best friend Zoe, but maybe it will all be worth it.

Though there are many teaching points and topics for discussion, the young reader will also discover a great plot and interesting characters. They might know a Shelby or a Zoe or a Marissa or a Deke or a Kenny. They might have experienced some of what these characters have. Misunderstandings happen. People aren’t always who you think they are. Sometimes actions have bad consequences. Maybe a good idea ends up not being so good later.

Too Big tackles real issues that kids are dealing with and handles them without trivializing them or the real feelings young people must cope with. Too Big is an awesome book. I’m so glad the author asked me to review it. I’ll be looking for more of her work in the future.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Paperback
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing; Large type / large print edition edition (October 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616338075
ISBN-13: 978-1616338077

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Coming in November!: Cici’s Journal by Joris Chamblain & Aurelie Neyret

Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back?

In a graphic novel interwoven with journal notes, scrapbook pieces, and doodles, Cici assembles clues about the odd and wonderful people she’s uncovered, even as she struggles to understand the mundane: her family and friends.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: First Second (November 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162672248X
ISBN-13: 978-1626722484

 

Purchase here

Operation Christmas Spirit by Vicki Watson

A rascally pony, two run-down carts, and a pile of moldy harness seemed like a strange start to a journey full of ups and downs that led Rosie to the most meaningful Christmas of her life. But looking back, she knew it all began that fall day at the livestock auction.

When Billy King asks questions about the biblical Christmas story, his curiosity inspires Rosie and the other children to dive into Scripture for the answers. Together they come up with a secret plan for a unique Christmas celebration–Operation Christmas Spirit.

Operation Christmas Spirit is the eighth book in the Sonrise Stable series, heartwarming stories of an extended homeschooling family as they live, learn, and love together. Mixing adventure, life lessons, and realistic horse stories, the series is a must for readers who enjoy family values, Christian faith, and, of course, horses!

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 1 – 6
Series: Sonrise Stable (Book 8)
Paperback
Publisher: Sonrise Stable Books (September 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984724273
ISBN-13: 978-0984724277

Purchase here!

New Release: Thornhill by Pam Smy

Parallel plotlines, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.

Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s closing down for good. But when a bully goes too far, Mary’s revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute. Determined to befriend the mysterious, evasive girl she sees there, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s history and uncover its secrets.

Ella’s story is told through striking, bold art; Mary’s is told through diary entries. Each informs the other until the two eventually intersect to reveal the truth behind Thornhill’s shadowy past, once and for all. Strikingly told and masterfully illustrated, Pam Smy bends genres and expectations alike.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 29, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162672654X
ISBN-13: 978-1626726543
Purchase here

Pam Smy studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art, part of Anglia Ruskin University, where she now lectures part-time. Pam has illustrated books by Conan Doyle, Julia Donaldson, and Linda Newbury, as well as Bob Cattell’s Butter-Finger series for Frances Lincoln. She lives in Cambridge.

Results Are In!

As part of the Author Fair I participated in, visitors voted on which of my story ideas I should work on next. Here are the winners listed by popularity.

Picture Book/Early Readers

  1. Re-imagined Little Red Riding Hood with a modern girl who outwits the wolf.
  2. On a cold Christmas Eve, a tiny buck is frightened away from his home by a bear. He’s gone so far that he doesn’t know the way home, but then he remembers something his mother always told him and her wisdom help guides him home.
  3. An ingenious turkey comes up with ways to avoid becoming Thanksgiving Day dinner.
  4. Five-year-old Beatrice and her make-believe friend Charlotte go on an adventure where they imagine the lawn mower is really a dinosaur eating up everything and they must escape.
  5. A young boy comes up with a plan to save Christmas when Santa cancels the holiday because there are too many kids on the naughty list.

Middle Grade/Tween

  1. When an eleven-year-old victim of excessive bullying commits suicide, the residents of her small town are left with the struggle of maintaining the status quo or changing how they treat each other.
  2. A time travel series where two or three kids travel to the past via a certain object and meet historical figures along the way, helping to solve some problem. Once the problem is solved, the object brings them back home.
  3. A time travel story where a child journeys to the future and helps an older person, discovering at the end that the person she helped was her older self.
  4. A mystery about private school kids on a field trip who work to uncover a missing artifact or find a student who goes missing.

Young Adult and Adult

  1. Modern day Romeo and Juliet story.
  2. Thriller about a wife who attempts to murder her husband and then disappears. With the help of a private investigator who is his former girlfriend he works to track down his wife.
  3. A mystery with a love triangle set in the 1970s.
  4. A story of three sisters from a dysfunctional family each coping with a crisis and how those crises draw them together.

Please vote for your favorites in the comments section of this post. Thanks.