The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
by Sheila Turnage
Mo and Dale are back in this sequel to Three Times Lucky. This time the Desperado Detective Agency is exploring the paranormal. When Miss Lana and Grandma Miss Lacy purchase the supposedly haunted Old Tupelo Inn, they take it upon themselves to figure out who the ghost is and what happened. Along the way they learn more about themselves and their families than they had expected. The culminating gala does not disappoint. This story is full of life truths cloaked with humor. Highly recommended to grades 4-8. It is not necessary to have read the first one, but it will help you appreciate the characters more.
by K.A. Holt
When Timothy steals a wallet to pay for his baby brother’s medicine, he is caught and sentenced to a year’s probation and house arrest. One of the conditions of his probation is to keep a journal and that is what we are reading. It is written in free verse poetry which helps to convey the power and depth of his emotions. Through the year we learn more about Timothy, his baby brother Levi, and the various adults in his life who do their best to care for him. As we watch Timothy process the curveballs that life throws him, we learn alongside him about what is truly important. This moving story shows the potential damage of a wrong decision even if it is for good reasons. Highly recommended for grades 5-8.
ARC provided by publisher.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm
Ellie is confused when her mom brings home a scraggly thirteen year old boy, until she realizes that it is actually her scientist grandfather who has found a way to reverse the aging process. He is still a cantankerous old man, just in a teenage body, and hilarity ensues when he enrolls in Ellie’s middle school. There are serious questions asked here too though, about life and death and what immortality would mean. Ellie learns a lot more about her grandfather and herself as she helps him on this journey of scientific discovery. Recommended for grades 5 -8.
by A.L. Sonnichsen
Kara has grown up living in a small apartment in Tianjin, China, with her Mama who rarely leaves the apartment. Her Daddy is in Montana, and though Kara thinks it would be easier to just go there, Mama says they can’t. The reason, as Kara finds out, is that Mama never legally adopted Kara. A neighbor found baby Kara abandoned on the street due to a birth defect on her right hand. Mama took her in and raised her, but never did anything official. Kara speaks English better than Chinese and has never been to school or out of her neighborhood. When everything comes crashing down around them, it is up to Kara to pick up the pieces and turn her life into something worth living. A powerful and moving story told in free-verse poetry based on the author’s own experiences in China. Highly recommended to grades 5-8.
A Time to Dance
by Padma Venkatraman
Dancing is Veda’s life. Ever since a she a spiritual experience at one of Shiva’s temples as a young child, there is nothing more that she wants in the world. On the way home from winning at a Bharatanatyam dance competition, she is in a horrific accident and loses her right leg below the knee. It is through hard-work and perseverance, plus strength she didn’t know that she has, that she learns to dance again. Told in powerful free verse poems, we grow and change along with Veda as she learns more about herself, her family, her friends, and the true power of dance. A gorgeous and moving story. Recommended to grades 5-9.
by Sarah Mlynowski
Nory’s father is the headmaster of the prestigious Sage Academy. Her brother and sister both attend it and excel at their magic skills. For Nory, though, things are different. She is a Fluxor, meaning that she has the ability to turn into animals. Her animals, however are never quite right. Instead of a perfect kitten for the test, she becomes part kitten, part beaver. Or part dragon. Or a skunk-elephant combo. This is frowned upon by the magic world and especially by her father. She ends up at Dunwiddle Magic School, where they have a special class for Upside-Down Magic. There she meets other students whose magic isn’t quite right. All Nory wants is to fix her magic and learn to be normal. But is normal really all that it’s cracked up to be? A fun new twist on magic schools, perfect for students who don’t quite fit the mold. Recommended for grades 2-6.
ARC provided by publisher
Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat
by Gail Jarrow
Grades 5 & up
I do love a good medical mystery! The disease known as Pellagra was characterized by a rash, diarrhea, and then going crazy right before one died from it. Not fun at all. Prevalent in southern Europe at the end of the 1800s, doctors were surprised to find it growing stronger in the United States in the early 1900s. Originally thought to be caused by toxins in moldy corn, this book chronicles the variety of theories and experiments that lead to the discovery of a cause and and then a cure for this devastating disease. A fascinating read for grades 5 & up.
by Bobbie Pyron
If Nate can count on one thing, it is his bad luck. His toast is always burnt, he calls the coin toss wrong every time, and no one wants him on their team. But all that changes when he is struck by lightening on his 11th birthday. His bad luck streak has reversed itself, and good luck follows everything he does. This brings a new found popularity — instead of Gen, his one true friend, he finds the coolest kids in his class want him on their team. As Nate explores the limits of this luck, he enjoys it more and more. But will his friendship with Gen survive this lucky streak? A fun book about friendship, good luck, and what is truly important in life. Highly recommended to grades 3-7.
by Katherine Applegate
When Jackson was in first grade, he had an imaginary friend named Crenshaw. Crenshaw was a giant cat who loved purple jelly beans just like Jackson. This was also the year that Jackson and his family spent 14 weeks living in their car. Both his parents have several part time jobs, but his dad has Multiple Sclerosis, and sometimes the money runs short. They have been living in their apartment for several years now, but things have gotten bad again. They are low on food, the rent is late, and they are about to sell most of their belongings in a yard sale. And Crenshaw is back. Jackson is not happy to see his old imaginary friend and worries that he is losing his mind. He has enough worries already, trying to take care of his sister and other things at home. But with all the difficulties going on, maybe there is a reason Crenshaw came back now. As Jackson faces Crenshaw, he also faces the reality of his life. Told with humor, this touching story is about coming to terms with the ups and downs that life has in store for us. Highly recommended for grades 3-7.
ARC provided by publisher.
by Victoria Jamieson
When Astrid’s mom takes Astrid and her best friend Nicole to a Roller Derby bout, Astrid is fascinated with this new (to her) sport. She immediately signs up for a roller derby summer camp and doesn’t understand why Nicole would rather go to dance camp. Astrid feels betrayed by Nicole, especially when she learns that Nicole is friends with Rachel, Astrid’s elementary school tormentor. Staying true to herself, Astrid throws herself into Roller Derby camp. She learns important lessons about teamwork and friendship, and gains the strength she will need to make it through middle school. An empowering look at what can happen when best friends grow apart.
This graphic novel will appeal to fans of Smile, Sisters, and El Deafo, as well as to sporty girls looking for a book that speaks to their middle school experiences. Highly recommended for grades 4-7.