Middle Grade Fiction

How I Became a GhostHow I Became a Ghost
By Tim Tingle
Ages 10 & up

Issac, a young Choctaw boy, begins to have horrible premonitions that foretell the deaths of many of his neighbors. Realizing that these visions are a premonition of his own death, Issac and his family begin one of the most perilous journeys in American history as they are forced onto the Trail of Tears. In a story that is at once, stark, heartfelt, magical and terrifying, Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost will stay with you long after you put the book down. CHELSIE


The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon
By Kelly Barnhill
Ages 9-14

In which a story is told of a witch named Xan and a magical child called Luna. In which a perfectly humongous dragon called Fyrian fits in a perfectly tiny pocket. In which a monster named Glerk who is older than the hills and forgets more than he remembers. In which a town forgets itself and loses its light. In which a good boy named Altain becomes a good man and fights a malevolent witch. In which author Kelly Barnhill takes the reader on a magical journey about what we choose to forget or remember. BREIN



ApolloApollo: The Brilliant One (Olympians #8)
By George O’Connor
Ages 9 & up, graphic novel

The Olympians series continues with this latest installment, Apollo. As always, O’Connor’s strength lies in his ability to make these larger-than-life characters seem as relatable as any mortals. This book is, in a word, “brilliant.” CHELSIE



The Skeleton TreeThe Skeleton Tree
By Ian Lawrence
Ages 8-14

Two boys are stranded in the Alaskan wilderness when their boat capsizes. Alone and afraid, the young strangers are forced to co-exist if they are to survive. This thrilling story, reminiscent of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet is exciting, spiritual and entertaining. BREIN



By Sara Pennypacker
Ages 9-12

Pax the fox and Peter the boy have the sort of strong bond that only the very best of friends can have. When war uproots and separates them, they each must learn to live without the other, in unfamiliar and sometimes frightening surroundings. While striving to be reunited, Pax and Peter each confront questions of whom to trust and whom to fear. As the action alternates between Pax and Peter, they each grow, challenge themselves, and discover who they really are. Sparingly but hauntingly illustrated by Jon Klassen, Pax is a beautiful middle grade novel about finding one’s place in the world. CHERYL



The War That Saved My LifeThe War that Saved My Life
By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ages 9+

10 year-old Ada, born with a club foot and kept confined to her home by her cruel mother, finds self-worth and salvation when she flees her abusive home with younger brother Jamie to join a group of children being sent from London to the countryside during World War II. Beautifully written, brimming with compassion and depth of character, this is historical fiction at its best. SHARON



Castle HangnailCastle Hangnail
By Ursula Vernon
Ages 9-13

A spooky comedy in the vein of Eva Ibbottson, featuring a spirited and adorable pint-sized witch. KEVIN



Stella by StarlightStella by Starlight
By Sharon Draper
Ages 9+

Sharon Draper’s latest historical fiction, set in depression-era North Carolina, is an inspiring story about the power of community and finding one’s own voice! CHELSIE



The MarvelsThe Marvels
By Brian Selznick
Ages 10+/span>

The latest from Brian Selznick is a masterful blend of pictures and text that enchants, intrigues and excites! A wonderful story about family, friendship, and the power of fiction to transport and transform. CHELSIE/span>



The Hired GirlThe Hired Girl
By Laura Amy Schlitz
Ages 10+/span>

Mistreated, book-loving, 14 year old Joan Skraggs escapes her tyrannical father and the Pennsylvania farm for life as a hired girl to an upper-class, educated, Jewish family in Baltimore. Comic and poignant by turns. MARCELA/span>



I Will Always Write BackI Will Always Write Back
By Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
Ages 10+/span>

In their own voices, pen pals Caitlin and Martin (a Pennsylvania girl and a boy from Zimbabwe) tell of their 6-year correspondence which changes their lives and transforms their understanding of the world. MARCELA/span>



Jinx's FireJinx’s Fire
By Sage Blackwell
Ages 11-14/span>

Fans of fantasy, adventure and snarky humor will enjoy this final installment of the Jinx Trilogy, where the title character ventures out for the ultimate quest! ALLISON/span>



By Pam Muñoz Ryan
Ages 10+

A harmonica found long ago in a forest in Germany connects the powerful stories of: Friedrich Schmidt in 1933 Germany, threatened by the Nazi Party; Mike Flannery in 1935 Pennsylvania, an orphan during the depression; and Ivy Maria Lopez in 1942 California, facing school segregation and more. A gem of a book! SHARON



The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener
By Jonathan Auxier
Ages 10 & up

If you are looking for a creepy middle grade novel to get you in the Halloween mood check out The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. Irish siblings, Molly and Kip, are in need of employment after being separated from their parents and find themselves jobs as servants for the Windsor family at their English manor home. From the beginning, things don’t seem right. The home is in terrible condition, the family seems pale and sickly compared to their portrait, the house is overshadowed by a menacing tree that grows right through the walls and the inhabitants are plagued by horrific nightmares. Supernatural forces blend well with the themes of the power of greed and the difference between stories and lies to propel this story to an exciting conclusion. Be forewarned, some characters meet an untimely demise… JAMIE



Guys ReadGuys Read: Funny Business
Edited by Jon Scieszka
Ages 8 & up

For this anthology, John Scieszka had assembled a superteam of children’s and young adult writers together, including such names as Mac Barnett, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, and Kate Dicamillo (as well as six others), all for the purpose of making you laugh. The stories range in style and subject matter, hand-picked not only to give something for everyone but also to broaden your horizons, so expect a variety of stories ranging from the sweet to the gritty to the outlandish. A special mention goes to the Jack Gantos story at the end of the collection, “The Bloody Souvenir”, which is my favorite of the bunch. A word of warning though, this story is not intended for anyone squeamish or with a weak stomach. It gets disgusting. KEVIN



The Music of DolphinsThe Music of Dolphins
By Karen Hesse
Ages 8 & up

Mila is happily living in the sea with the pod of dolphins that has been her family as long as she can remember, when she is found and thrust into the world of humans. There she discovers friendship and music as well as difficult decisions and a painful betrayal that will pull her between two worlds. The Music of Dolphins is an inspirational story about what it means to be human and free. CHELSIE



Belly UpBelly Up
By Stuart Gibbs
Ages 10 & up

I am always on the lookout for three things: good middle-grade fiction, good mystery novels, and books that make me laugh. On all three counts, this book delivers! Set at FunJungle, America’s wackiest (and seediest) new zoo-themed amusement park, the story starts when Henry the Hippo, the park’s very unpleasant mascot, is found belly up in his pool. It’s not long before Teddy Fitzroy, a twelve-year-old boy living at the park, learns that the death may not have been an accident, and that more than a few people may have wanted Henry dead. To solve the mystery, Teddy must use all his wits and powers of obnoxiousness to solve the case before he ends up like Henry himself. This is a great book for middle-graders, and should appeal to fans of Carl Hiassen, Mac Barnett, or Jack Gantos. KEVIN



Popularity PapersThe Popularity Papers, Volume One
By Amy Ignatow
Ages 9-12

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are fifth graders with one goal: become popular by the time they enter Junior High or die trying. This book chronicles the duo’s various observations, experiments and misguided attempts at achieving popularity through knitting, Eskirma, and a particularly hair-raising (or rather, hair-erasing) dye job. Will they succeed? Will they become popular? Will they even still be speaking to each other by the end of the year? Fans of Babymouse and Dork Diaries will find the same amount of wacky school adventures plus a surprising amount of heart in The Popularity Papers. CHELSIE



Ruby Redfort Look Into My EyesRuby Redfort: Look into my Eyes
By Lauren Child
Ages 10-13

For readers how want their girl detectives super-smart, super-cool, and almost unbearably sassy, Lauren Child brings you the adventures of Ruby Redfort. Thanks to her incomparable code-breaking skills, Ruby is recruited by Spectrum, a sorta-crazy secret crime-solving agency, as their top teen agent and is assigned to solve a series of break-ins, led by a group of weird and nefarious masterminds. Funny, creative and eccentric, with mind-bending mysteries, entertaining catastrophes, and some baffling surprises, Take Your Last Breathis the perfect summer read. KEVIN



Alvin HoAlvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances
By Leonore Look
Ages 7-9

If you’ve been keeping up with Alvin you know that our second-grade hero with anxiety disorder encountered death in his previous book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, while on a school field trip visiting the homes of Concord’s famous forebears. In this book Alvin’s grandfather’s best friend dies, setting off a chain of events, misunderstandings, and insights, at once touching and comical. Alvin Ho books are funny, and this one is no exception. As in all the books, Alvin’s family and friends play pivotal roles, providing merriment, mild mischief, and loving guidance to help Alvin reason out good decisions. Note also that Alvin spends his free time playing — indoors and outside-not glued to a screen. Don’t be “allergic” to the title. Give Alvin a chance to bring heart and hilarity to a young (or adult) reader. JANET



Cold CerealCold Cereal
By Adam Rex
Ages 10 & up

I’m an avid fantasy reader, but sometimes one epic saga can start to feel much like another. Elves, dwarves, sweeping vistas, high -minded protagonists, saucy barmaids, etc, etc. Adam Rex, being a huge and obvious nerd, clearly feels the same way I do since with The Cold Cereal Saga, he has penned a quite unique and totally weird fantasy novel. Those who have read The True Meaning of Smekday will probably be familiar with Rex’s style of humor and sense of the absurd, but nothing short of Lord of the Rings can prepare you for the sheer epic-ness in store, starting out a somewhat typical “kid moves to a new town” story, Cold Cereal quickly takes the reader in to an ongoing struggle between diminishing magical creatures of the world and an ancient evil conspiracy of cereal manufacturers. That’s where the story starts, and before long an astonishing assortment of characters crops up, including wizards, fairy queens, shaved sasquatches, six-foot tall rabbits, and monarch-punching goblins. If it sounds strange, it is. But despite the humorous touch, this is a true fantasy book and an all-around great read. KEVIN



Enna BurningEnna Burning
By Shannon Hale
Ages 10 & up

I have a fascination with fire, but that’s not why I love this book (though the word “burning” drew me to it, I must admit). Enna finds something that gives her the ability to start a fire without a spark. The more Enna uses the power, the more difficult it becomes for her to control it, and without control, the fire will eventually consume her. This is my favorite book in Hales’ Bayern series (they do not need to be read in order). It has an amazingly strong female protagonist, secondary characters that are hard not to love, and a heart-warming ending. No pun intended. ANGIE



Emerald AtlasThe Emerald Atlas
By John Stephens
Ages 9-12

I love fantasy novels, and sometimes I think the real magic of the genre is in the details. The Emerald Atlas starts slow, and it takes its time to develop wonderful characters and a believable, well-detailed world. This is not to say it’s a slow-moving book. Atlas is filled with action: battling sorcerers, sinister monsters, desperate fights for survival. The heroes possess great depth and resolve, and the villains are so utterly odious you find yourself booing and hissing whenever they appear. The Emerald Atlas is a perfect book for anyone who misses Harry Potter, or just for anyone who wants a funny, thoughtful, and warm yet totally epic adventure. KEVIN



Everything for a DogEverything for a Dog
By Ann Martin
Ages 10 & up

Three narrators: Bone, a stray dog; Charlie, a boy who loses his older brother in a freak accident and seeks solace in his brother’s dog; and Henry, who longs for a dog of his own, especially after his best friend moves away. How these characters intersect and how the love for a dog unites them is the secret revealed in this skillfully written and moving tale. MARCELA



The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
By Jacqueline Kelly
Ages 10 & up

This 2010 Newbery Honor Book was my favorite read of last year. It’s the summer of 1899 in a small Texas town and 11 year old Calpurnia Tate wants nothing more than to be the young naturalist she is at heart, exploring the flora and fauna of her surroundings, recording her observations in the notebook just given to her by her favorite brother Harry, and assisting her cantankerous Granddaddy with his scientific endeavors. But being the youngest and only girl among 7 children, and challenging her mother’s traditional views of appropriate activities for a girl, means life is never dull. This thoroughly engaging read is filled with humor and charm and a heroine you will cheer for. SHARON



The Fairy RebelThe Fairy Rebel
By Lynne Reid Banks
Ages 9-12

This was one of my favorite books when I was a young girl; I think I ended up buying it three times because I read it so much. The Fairy Rebel is the story of an unlikely friendship between Tiki, a tiny pink-haired fairy, who is a bit of a troublemaker, and Jan, a young woman who yearns for a baby girl for herself and her husband. When the Fairy Queen finds out that Tiki has defied her laws by consorting with humans, she is furious, and Jan and Tiki, with the help of Tiki’s friend Wijic, must use all of their wits to defeat her. A charming and heartfelt story of what it means to stand up for yourself no matter what the cost, and what it means to be a true friend. MAUREEN



Faraway IslandA Faraway Island
By Annika Thor
Ages 9-12

Twelve-year-old Stephie’s experiences as a post-Kristallnacht Jewish refugee from cosmopolitan Vienna resettled in a remote area of rural Sweden are poignantly realized in their specific historical context and as the universal adolescent yearnings that unite Anne Frank and today’s middle-school girl. Placed in a different family than her younger sister Nellie, Stephie encounters additional challenges ranging from the rigid, narrowly Protestant personality of her adoptive mother to the anti-foreign, anti-Jewish prejudice of several villagers and schoolmates. Her concerns about her absent parents’ fate are intertwined with her jealously of Nellie’s seemingly effortless adjustment to her new family. MARCELA



The False PrinceThe False Prince
By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Ages 10 & up

A fantasy series with no magic?! What could possibly be interesting about that? Well, apparently quite a bit! Jennifer A. Nielsen’s series debut is impressively scaled down for a fantasy novel: taking place in a limited number of locations, with only a few major characters, no magic creatures and no epic battles. So then, what makes it worth reading? Well, a well-developed setting, an excellent, twisty plot, and fascinating fully articulated characters, including protagonist, Sage, one of the most entertainingly unscrupulous characters in young adult literature since Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus (another series you should read, BTW). Not to mention plenty of sword-fighting, royal conspiracies, and turns that will keep you guessing, all with an exciting ending that wraps up the first book nicely and leaves you curious to the continue the series. KEVIN



By Andrew Clements
Ages 8-12

I love all of Andrew Clements’s books, they all feature strong, capable kid characters; complex, interesting teachers and lessons that go well beyond the classroom. Frindle is the best-known of Clements’s works though and for good reason! Misunderstood 5th grader Nick Allen is labeled by his teachers as a “troublemaker” and “disruptive”, but really he just gets carried away sometimes. One day, after English class, Nick decides that since words get their meaning from people, he is going to start calling his pen a “Frindle.” Soon the entire school is using “frindles” and the word spreads to other schools and nearby towns. Before Nick knows it, he’s started a national trend! This creative novel about the power of words and creativity is one of our favorite school stories from the great Andrew Clements! CHELSIE



The Game of Sunken PlacesThe Game of Sunken Places
By M. T. Anderson
Ages 11 & up

Wow! This book is weird! But in the greatest ways – eccentric characters, strange goings-on, and a fabulous off-beat humor throughout the entire story, no matter how dire the circumstances become. The story begins when two friends decide to stay with an eccentric Uncle for a short vacation, but when they find an old board game in the enormous Victorian mansion where they are staying, strange things begin happening. Let me repeat that, VERY STRANGE things begin happening. It may be too late when the boys find out that they both are enrolled in a dangerous game of life and death and they have no idea 1) What the object of the game is, 2) What the rules to the game are, and 3) Who their opponents are. BUT, the biggest selling-point of this story is that it is guaranteed to rock your world not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES! Three amazing plot twists come at you from nowhere- ZING! BANG! KA-POW! So if you’re in the mood for a strange and very entertaining adventure, pick up this book! LUKE



Half MagicHalf Magic
By Edward Eager
Ages 9-12

One listless summer afternoon, four children discover an old coin on a sidewalk and soon learn that it possesses the power to grant wishes. When their wishes result in wild, unpredictable misadventures through time and around the planet, the children gradually realize that the coin is only half magic and thus they must be very careful in their wish-making. Delightfully written, with simple, appealing illustrations, Half Magic is a charming, sweetly funny book that you will read with great pleasure many times over. CHERYL



H.I.V.E.The Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E. Book 1)
By Mark Walden
Ages 10 & up

If you haven’t gotten hip to HIVE yet, let me lay it out for you. A school for aspiring supervillians inside a volcano. Bizarre techno-gadgetry and kung-fu action. Characters looking to find their place in the world as they struggle against the artificiality of concepts such as “good” and “evil” while challenging and being challenged by the expectations and agendas of the generation before them… maybe? In any case, it’s great fun, action-packed and filled with unforgettable characters and set pieces throughout the whole series. KEVIN



Herbert's WormholeHerbert’s Wormhole
By Peter Nelson
Grades 4 & up

Have you ever had one of those summers where your mom makes you go outside to play with Herbert, one of the kids next door? You know, the summer where he creates a wormhole that sends you both into a future filled with crazy aliens (maybe from Australia?), and all kinds of new gadgets? You remember right? That summer where you end up battling some wicked aliens, saving the planet, and then somehow finding your way back home in time for dinner? Yeah, those are my favorite kind of summers too. With sarcastic wit and funny illustrations, Peter Nelson creates one of my favorite summer reads. If you are a fan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you have to check this out. ANTHONY



Home of the BraveHome of the Brave
By Katherine Applegate
Ages 10-14

Kek, a boy from Africa, is sent to live in America after his mother, the only surviving member of his immediate family goes missing. Written in sparse, but elegant lyrical verse, the novel explores the humor and heartbreak of the immigrant experience and takes us inside Kek’s mind as he struggles to negotiate the modern world. Although this story opens the door for a discussion of the political unrest in Sudan, it does so in as delicate a way as possible with such an emotionally charged subject. Readers are guaranteed to fall in love with this bright character who refuses to let go of hope. ELIZABETH



By Terry Pratchett
Grades 5 & up

I love robots, spies and time travel. This book had none of those, but it makes up for it with tidal waves, ancient gods, raiders, and a young boy named Mau. Throw in a shipwrecked girl, and a long-lost civilization and you have one of my favorite books in this store. It is clever, witty, and a great novel for adults, too. Oh, and did I mention it comes with a surprise ending inside? ANTHONY



By René Goscinny
Ages 4-6

Nicholas is French. Nicholas is one of the gang. Nicholas is hilarious. Told from the perspective of Nicholas himself, this book is a collection of tales about school, life, and daily adventures. Nicholas has friends aplenty, ranging from Cuthbert, the teacher’s pet to Matthew, who just can’t seem to answer a single question the teacher asks, correctly. As for the rest of the gang: Jeremy is training to win the Tour de France, Alec is forever stuffing his face with sweet treats, and Eddie is trying to punch your nose out. Simply put, nothing could be better. MANDY



The No. 1 Car SpotterThe No. 1 Car Spotter
By Atinuke & Warwick Johnson Cadwell
Ages 8-12

Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is the No. 1 Car Spotter in his village, maybe in the whole world! He can identify the cars that whiz past his remote African village by sound alone! No 1 is also a whiz at solving problems. Whether it?s getting his family?s goods to market after their cart breaks, finding ?lipstick? at the fancy goods stall for Auntie or getting help for his grandmother when she falls ill, No 1 is plucky, resourceful and always ready to face challenges head-on! Fans of Atinuke?s Anna Hibiscus will love this new series, set in a more rural part of Africa, but with the same thoughtful, optimistic and heartfelt sentiment. No1 is No 1! CHELSIE



Okay for NowOkay for Now
By Gary D. Schmidt
Ages 10-14

It’s 1968, the Vietnam War is raging, and Doug Swieteck is an eighth grader with problems: his family has just been forced to move – again – to tiny Marysville, New York. His father and both his brothers are bullies (one brother is serving in Vietnam), the gym teacher and the principal at his new middle school are hostile, and sometimes he can’t keep his big mouth shut. But he’s got help in the unlikely combination of Yankee legend Joe Pepitone, the Moon Shot, a Broadway playwright, Audubon’s Birds of America, and the game of horseshoes. Add an empathetic librarian, a supportive teacher, and a smart girl, and Doug is on his way to unexpected maturity and healing. Mr. Schmidt creates characters the reader remembers long after the book ends. JANET



Olive's OceanOlive’s Ocean
By Kevin Henkes
Ages 10 & up

Less a coming of age novel than a becoming self-aware story, Olive’s Ocean features sensitive 12-year old Martha whose first ritual summer at “Godbee’s” cottage involves her in a series of emotional crises. Her first crush and first kiss are bestowed on an unworthy boy. She is increasingly aware of her grandmother’s age and fragility and fears that this may be their last summer together. Martha is also concerned that her father’s decision to return to law practice after two years off pursuing his writing dreams and being a full time parent will change the family dynamic. Underlining and permeating Martha’s awareness of mortality is her obsession with the recent accidental death of classmate Olive, whose writing ambitions and sensitivity paralleled Martha’s. All of these issues come together in this very short and very special lyrical novel, a Newbery honor book by Kevin Henkes. MARCELA



Ronia The Robber's DaughterRonia the Robber’s Daughter
By Astrid Lindgren
Ages 8-12

Ronia is born during a terrible thunderstorm, the first child of the chief of a band of robbers all overjoyed at her arrival. She grows up learning to jump, dance and yell as well as any of the rest of the robber band. Although adored and spoiled by all around her, Ronia feels most happy during her solitary explorations of the forest around her home. On one of these she meets Birk, the son of her father’s greatest rival. The two quickly become friends. As their friendship grows so does the animosity between their fathers, which erupts into a bitter feud. Forbidden to see each other, Ronia and Birk run away together to the forest that they both love. There they face storms, hunger and fearsome creatures. Join Ronia and Birk in this exciting and fantastical adventure about the power of friendship and importance of staying true to oneself. Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is often overlooked next to Lindgren’s better know Pippi Longstocking series; however, it is truly a classic in its own right, a book I personally have re-read nearly every year since I first read it at 9 years old. REBECCA



Saffy's AngelSaffy’s Angel
By Hillary McKay
Ages 10 & up

In Saffy’s family, both of the parents are artists and all of the children are named after colors that appear on their mom’s color chart: Cadmium, Indigo, Rose and Saffron. At least, that’s the story they’re told. By the time Saffy is old enough to read, she notices that “Saffron,” in fact, is missing. Stunned, she starts asking questions, and discovers she belongs to the family in a much different way than she’d always believed. Determination to learn as much as she can about the mother she never knew takes Saffy on a journey through loss, friendship, adventure, and, finally, home. After you read Saffy’s Angel, you’ll want to follow this quirky family through the entire series. Each book is full of warmth, heart, and hope. ELIZABETH



Origami YodaStrange Case of Origami Yoda
By Tom Angleberger
Grades 4-8

Join Tommy as he sets out to discover the truth behind Origami Yoda, an oracle finger puppet operated by none other than Dwight, possibly the weirdest most clueless kid in middle school. You know, the kid eating glue in the corner or making jokes that no one else understands, that’s Dwight. So if it’s really him doing the advice giving, why is Origami Yoda always right??? Tommy has compiled a notebook of evidence and needs your help to decide: is Origami Yoda real or not? ELIZABETH



Tuck EverlastingTuck Everlasting
By Natalie Babbitt
Ages 10 & up

When asked what my favorite book written for children is, Tuck Everlasting always tops my list. A beautifully written story of 10 year old Winnie Foster, who is kidnapped and then befriended by Jesse Tuck and his family. The family has a secret, a secret they will go to any extremes to protect. The Tucks drink from a spring that allows them to live forever, without aging or injury. So even though Jesse Tuck has been alive for 104 years, in body and spirit he is still a 17-year old. Jesse wants Winnie to wait 7 years and then drink from the secret spring, so he can have a wife and they can enjoy life eternally together. But is the ability to live forever a blessing or a curse? This captivating story gives the reader much to ponder. SHARON



Un Lun DunUn Lun Dun
By China Mieville
Ages 10 & up

Pet milk cartons that follow you around. Books that read themselves. Black Window spiders that live in Webminster Abbey. Propheseers. Half ghosts. World hoard Pit Librarians. Puzzleborough postal workers. Umbrellas and rebrellas. Sentient, carnivorous Smog. All just normal life in UnLunDun. You can get to UnLunDun from London, but not via Expedia or your travel agents, You must read the book. Deeba, our heroine, is the Unchosen One. With the help of the most inventive characters and creative wordplay since Alice fell down the rabbit hole and Milo drove through the phantom tollbooth, Deeba manages the almost Unimaginable in a manner that’s hightly Unlikely. But then, that’s UnLunDun. Book now. As you’ll see; pun intended. JANET



Wolf BrotherWolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness 1
By Michelle Paver
Grades 5 & up

If you’re like me, you may fantasize about one day walking into the wild, flint knife fastened firmly to your side, befriend/trained wolf scouting ahead for a trail…and that’s it. Can you survive with only a sharp knife and even sharper wits? Can you make a shelter? Find food? Find water? Find a path that will lead you someplace better? “Someday,” you think…”someday I’m going to find out…” Well, in the meantime, read this book! Through the adventures of Torak, Ren & Wolf, not only will you glean important survival skills like tracking a wild animal (and what to do once you’ve found them), but you’ll also experience a dark and mystical story of long forgotten times, when people formed tribes that lived only by the laws of the forest. Michelle Paver is a fabulous writer and her words and descriptions will pull you right into the action from the very first page! What’s that? You can’t read?!? Then listen to the audiobook read by the award-winning actor who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies (his name is Ian McKellen, and he’s awesome!). LUKE



The Wolves of Willoughby ChaseThe Wolves of Willoughby Chase
By Joan Aiken
Ages 10 & up

In a world beset by roaming wolves, howling winds, and sly characters, Miss Bonnie and Sylvia, two cousins reared in different worlds, must come together to out-wile their frigid governess, who wishes to banish them to the unknown and steal their family fortune. Set in the icy 19th century English countryside, this story is a charming mix of friendship, strength, and wit, softened by helpful stowaways, artistic doctors, and a goose-boy who bakes delicious cakes. MANDY



By R.J. Palacio
Ages 9 & up

Empathy, kindness and compassion, and the lack of them, are at the core of this remarkable middle-grade novel , and are dealt with in a way that most kids will relate to. Starting a new school can be difficult for anyone, but for 10 year old August , it is much more of a challenge. Born with a craniofacial abnormality, he is acutely aware of the stares and shocked reactions his deformed face elicits from people. When his mother informs the homeschooled August that he will be starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he doesn’t want to go, aware of the potential taunts and rejections that await him. Filled with humor and heart, Wonder offers a perceptive view of the often treacherous waters of middle school, as the chapters are narrated by August , his sister, and friends, exploring their emotions and actions, revealing their vulnerabilities and strengths. It’s ultimately a triumphant year for August and an opportunity for readers to grow along with him, his family, and friends.SHARON