New from Kevin Henkes: Sweeping Up the Heart

A novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship that tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever.

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father–a cranky and stubborn English professor–has decided Florida is too much adventure.

Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 19, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006285254X
ISBN-13: 978-0062852540

Purchase here!

New from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Here are a few new books from Macmillan Children’s that caught my eye:

 

Howard Carter was obsessed with mummies. He met his first when he was a boy in England and lived near a mansion filled with Egyptian artifacts. Howard dreamed of discovering a mummy himself–especially a royal mummy in its tomb, complete with all its treasures. When he was seventeen, he took a job with the Egypt Exploration Fund and was sent to Egypt to learn about archaeology and excavation sites. And his mummy hunt was on! Howard discovered many amazing artifacts, but he searched for years before coming upon the most famous mummy of all, King Tut.

 

A timely, poignant tale of family, sacrifice and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels.

Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of Europe. Now Ahmed’s struggling to get by on his own, but with no one left to trust and nowhere to go, he’s starting to lose hope.

Then he meets Max, a thirteen-year-old American boy. Lonely and homesick, Max is being bothered by a bully at school, he doesn’t speak a word of French, and just can’t seem to do anything right. But with one startling discovery, Max and Ahmed’s lives collide, banding the boys together to help Ahmed survive.

As their friendship grows, Ahmed and Max defy the odds, learning from each other what it means to be brave, and how hope can change your destiny.

Set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, award-winning author Katherine Marsh delivers a gripping, heartwarming story of resilience, friendship and everyday heroes.

Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.

Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.

Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Visit Macmillan Children’s at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/macmillanchildrens

All Because of Chickens by G. L. Miller

chickens

 

Returning to the family homestead intensifies twelve-year-old Sammy’s longing for the family heritage—farming. But Dad’s ultimatum, “… no crops, no animals, no barn…” shows Dad wants nothing to do with farming, for himself or Sammy. Then why did Dad insist Sammy join a farming club?

Permission slips for Ag club summer projects are due. Sammy defends his project choice with, “Technically, Dad, chickens are birds not animals.” Miraculously, he wins Dad’s approval.

Sammy’s problems begin with the early arrival of his peeps and the loss of his best pals.   His ingenuity to care for his chicks, make a new friend, and design a compost bin win him a new name. His biggest challenge—can he butcher his roosters?

Summer’s many adventures include solving a mystery, fighting a hawk, and being disqualified at the County Fair.

At the end of the project, has he won…or lost…the thing he wanted most—Dad’s change of heart about farming?

Excerpt

During a lull in the suppertime conversation, Sammy found the courage to broach the subject. “Dad, Mr. Conklin said we had to bring our signed summer project paper to next week’s meeting.”

“And what have you chosen to do?” asked Dad, sipping his coffee.

“Raise chickens,” mumbled Sammy. Afraid of Dad’s reaction, he toyed with the last of the peas on his plate.

“What?” Dad almost sloshed his coffee as he set down the mug. “I thought you understood there would be no animals.”

“Yes,” Sammy admitted, “but I thought—”

Sammy saw Dad’s angry frown and tightly drawn lips. He decided to try a different approach. “Dad, I’m confused. You’re the one who wanted me to join the Ag club of CAYC, the County Agriculture Youth Club. You said you belonged as a boy. Surely you remembered there were summer projects?”

In silence Dad swallowed another sip of coffee. “I remembered,” he said. “But, I was hoping you would get interested in growing flowers for your mother or vegetables for the kitchen. Couldn’t you do that as your project?”

“Well, you said there would be no farming, either,” Sammy pointed out.

“What I meant by that was fields of plants, not just a few around the house or in a small garden.”

“In that case, yes, I probably could.” Then, with heroic effort he blurted, “But that really wouldn’t be any fun. All plants do is sit there. You have to water them and feed them and weed them. And they still…just sit there.”

“You have to feed and water chickens, too,” Mom gently reminded. “And clean their house and take care of them.”

“At least they move. And I could play with them. I know they’d be work, but I hope maybe some fun, too.”

“What made you decide on chickens?” she asked.

“Well,” said Sammy, “first I thought of a foal, but I knew Dad wouldn’t approve of that,” he added quickly, stealing a glance at his father. “Besides, we don’t have a barn or any place to put a young horse. True, during the summer he wouldn’t need much more than a lean-to. Still, I would hope to have him longer than just this summer…” Sammy’s voice trailed off.

“Then I considered a puppy.” How am I going to explain this to Mom? Sammy took a drink from his water glass and quickly got his thoughts together. “I would probably want to have him in the house, though. You know, to play with and sleep on my bed.   But dogs get fleas and shed their hair so I didn’t think you’d permit that.”

Mom’s smile confirmed his supposition. “So that’s when you thought of the chickens?” she asked.

Sammy nodded.

“But they’re still animals,” prodded Dad.

Turning his attention back to Dad, Sammy defended himself. “Not really, Dad. Technically, they’re birds.”

Sammy watched the astonishment in Dad’s face turn to amusement.

Technically, they are not birds, they are fowl,” Dad replied.

Embarrassment tightened Sammy’s jaw. “You’re laughing at me.”

Sammy felt Dad’s hand gently clasp his own, causing him to focus on what Dad was saying.

“Never, Sammy. I would never laugh at you. I love you. You are growing up and using words that surprise me.   I enjoy your ingenuity. I’m laughing in delight of you, but never at you.”

Sammy grinned and ducked his head.

Mom pushed back her chair and stood up. “Let me get dessert, and then you can tell us more about this project.”

“I’ll get my stuff.” Sammy ran to his room for his club materials and the form he and Gran had filled out earlier. He also swooped up his drawings and the copies of the Internet pages. Spreading everything out in front of his dad, he explained what Mr. Conklin was encouraging them to do.

“And Gran said I could use that old lumber behind her shed to make the house.   I mean, coop,” Sammy corrected himself.

“I thought I smelled my mother in this,” muttered Dad.

“Oh no, Dad,” Sammy hurried to set things straight. “I thought of all this myself. When I told her today, Gran asked me the same things you did. All she did was help me to look up some information on her computer and to fill in my form.”

Sammy looked through the papers he’d put on the table. Choosing two, he placed one before Dad.

“See, I’ve even drawn some plans for their coop,” Sammy said. Putting the second page on top, he explained, “And I have enough money in my bank to pay for the chicks, their equipment, and part of their food. I plan to sell their eggs to get more food money.”

Sammy watched Dad’s face for signs of approval. He didn’t realize he was holding his breath until Mom spoke.

“How many peeps are you thinking of getting?” she asked.

“Mr. Conklin said we can buy as few as twenty-four or twenty-five,” Sammy answered. “He’s bringing catalogs to the next meeting so we can see what breeds are available. But, I think I already know what kind I want.”

Sammy searched through his computer printouts. Pulling a couple of pictures from the stack, he handed one to Mom.

“Gran and I looked at different kinds on the computer,” he said. “These Golden Comets seemed to be the most interesting. You can see in the picture that the roosters are white and the hens are red.” Sammy chuckled, and then added, “With that sort of help, I won’t be asking a rooster why it isn’t laying an egg.”

“Good thinking,” agreed Dad. “A beginner needs all the help he can get.”

“That’s what Gran said,” admitted Sammy.

AVAILABLE AT:

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Circle and Square by Sally O Lee

csicon

Sally O. Lee is back with another imaginative, unique creation. When circle meets square, circle is curious if square is always the same: brushing his teeth, bouncing a ball, at bathtime, and in other situations. Square assures circle that he’s always the same no matter what he’s doing. Simple in nature, this story is one of friendship and acceptance. Parents could even use this book as a teaching point for how their love remains constant no matter what happens.

A delightful story coupled with Lee’s adorable artwork is waiting for your young reader in Circle and Square.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 34 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 12, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482676850
ISBN-13: 978-1482676853

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

Golden Daffodils by Liam Maher

A touching story that celebrates the beauty of nature and true friends is what you’ll discover in Golden Daffodils by Liam Maher.

Paddy, the gardener, looks after his beautiful flower garden. Each year he hopes to take home first prize at the Spring Flower Show. His feathered friend, Tupo Hoopoe encourages him with wonderful compliments. One day Tupo Hoopoe spies a fairy in the garden. She drops her bag of magic fairy dust when a bee frightens her away. Tupo Hoopoe decides to help Paddy by sprinkling the magic dust over the daffodils. But the morning of the Spring Flower Show comes and the beautiful golden daffodils have been stolen. Tupo Hoopoe races to get them back in time.

Golden Daffodils by Liam Maher is the perfect story for anyone who appreciates nature and adventure. Maher has taken his love of gardening and turned it into a lovely story for young readers to enjoy.  Readers get a chance to experience the special bond between Paddy and Tupo Hoopoe. They witness the great lengths that Paddy’s feathered friend is willing to go to not only to try and help him win first prize, but also to get the daffodils back once they are stolen.

Marina Movshina created the artwork for Golden Daffodils. I’ve seen some of her work in the past, and she does another wonderful job with this one. her soft, warm colors blend so nicely with the beautiful story that Maher created.

I’ll definitely be sharing this story with my girls, both of whom help me in the garden.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10:1616330732
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616330736
  • SRP: $10.95

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide my review.

Scarecrow Finds a Friend by Blume J. Rifken

Scarecrow Finds a FriendA delightful seasonal tale of friendship is what you and your young reader will discover in Scarecrow Finds a Friend by Blume J. Rifken.

It’s just after harvest time and Scarecrow is dreaming about Tally the friendly witch and the day she came to grant him a Halloween wish. When he is suddenly woken from his dream, he finds Tally has returned and she has a problem: her flying powers are weakening from granting too many wishes. So Scarecrow devises a plan to steal the wishbone from the Thanksgiving Day turkey to help Tally get her powers back.

My daughters adored this story and begged me to read it again. At 32 pages it is long enough to attract children who are already reading on their own, but not so long that children who are still being read to will get bored. The story will fill your child with the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn.

Carl W. Wenzel provided fun and colorful illustrations that left my children asking questions about the characters and happenings–a true sign that the illustrator has brought a story to life. The cover art–which works so well with the purple cover–is actually an illustration from Page 29. From the organge patch on Scarecrow’s coat to the pink flower decorating Tally’s hat, Wenzel’s attention to detail compliments the story perfectly.

An enjoyable and entertaining seasonal read that explores friendship and working together, Scarecrow Finds a Friend will engage young readers and make them want to read about Tally and Scarecrow time and again.

Reviewer’s note:  Since the time of my original review that appeared at The Book Connection on August 25, 2008, this book has been brought to several school visits and always been a big hit.  Last year, I brought it with me to my daughter’s second grade classroom along with scarecrow garden picks decorated with Smarties candies tied to the arm in rafia.  The children loved it.  In June, when school let out, many of the students told me they still had their scarecrows and remembered my visit.

Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Whirlpool Press
  • ISBN-10: 0979694809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979694806
  • SRP:  $14.95 (U.S.)