Best New Books for Kids and Teens | September 2016

INTRO

You may have noticed that we’ve done things a bit differently this time.  Rather than send out individual lists for various age groups, we’ve created a combined list.  This is the plan for future months as well.

There are a couple of reasons for the switch.  First, and most importantly, a combined list will save a bit of time.  Our family is expecting a new arrival in February.  I’ve been looking for little time saving measures, so that when family life gets really busy early next year, I'll be better prepared to keep on top of this website.  I've also been meaning to put together some special lists.  I hope to squeeze a few of those in soon.

Second.  Truthfully?  I sometimes struggle to find ten great books per month for each age group.  Certain types of books just don’t have plentiful outstanding releases each month – board books for babies, for example.  I’ll try to stick to around ten recommended books per month for each age group, but sometimes there will be fewer, and ooh… sometimes more.  But I promise I’ll try not to get carried away. smiley

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

BABIES AND TODDLERS

My favorite baby and toddler books this month are Fire Engine No. 9, Jingle Baby, and TouchThinkLearn: ABCFire Engine No. 9 was actually published a year ago as a picture book, but now it’s out in board book form, and rightly so as it’s a book that’s perfectly suited to a younger audience in addition to preschoolers.  It is awesome.  If you have a little one who likes vehicles, give this one a try for sure.  The Indestructibles book Jingle Baby promises to be as eat-proof as other books in the series, and this time focuses on the joys of the holidays.  (Hooray!  I can almost smell the hot chocolate.)  

Finally, Xavier Deneux of the TouchThinkLearn series is my new favorite author for little ones.  I recommend checking out his books on Amazon, especially those with extra product images and a “Look Inside” feature, such as TouchThinkLearn: Baby Animals (Amazon link).  I love the minimal style of his lovely illustrations, his books’ tactile features, and since he’s a French author, I’m going to go with his je ne sais quoi.  (If you didn’t take French 101 in high school, the literal translation is “I don’t know what.”  Merriam-Webster describes it as “a pleasant quality that is hard to describe.”)  I think this mystery element just might be a touch of genius.  His transitions, his connections, his playful or thoughtful portrayal of concepts all demonstrate intelligence from my point of view.  But… you should see for yourself.  Did you look?  I was right, wasn’t I?  laugh

Cityblock Book Cover
Cityblock (Alphablock)
by Christopher Franceschelli
illustrated by Peskimo
Audience: Babies and Toddlers
Published: September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

Cityblock explores city life in an exciting and unique way, from up in a high-rise building to down in the subway. Divided into three sections—things that go, things to see, and things to eat—it features 24 different aspects of city living. As with the other acclaimed books in the series, die-cut...READ MORE

Hand in Hand Book Cover
Hand in Hand
by Rosemary Wells
Audience: Babies and Toddlers
Published: September 6, 2016

Be my teacher from day one. 
Be my sky, my moon, my sun.

The bond a parent and child share is special. In this sweet and heartfelt picture book, renowned author-illustrator Rosemary Wells celebrates all that parents do with and for their children from the very beginning: talking and walking,...READ MORE

Jingle Baby Book Cover
Indestructibles: Jingle Baby
by Kate Merritt
illustrated by Amy Pixton
Audience: Babies and Toddlers
Published: September 6, 2016

Jingle Baby is the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for baby’s first Christmas. The tree, the decorations, the gingerbread house, the gathering of family and friends—it’s a lovely story of sharing holiday traditions.

And this book holds up to even the stickiest of candy-caned fingers: It’s 100 percent baby-proof, chew-proof, rip-proof,...READ MORE

Touch think learn ABC Book Cover
TouchThinkLearn: ABC
by Xavier Deneux
Audience: Babies and Toddlers
Published: September 6, 2016

Using the same innovative production technique and brilliant aesthetic cheered by parents, educators, and children alike in the acclaimed TouchThinkLearn series, here is an alphabet that literally adds a new dimension to learning. Raised die-cut pieces nestled in mirroring indented cut-outs engage readers on both visual and tactile levels. An...READ MORE

You Are Two Book Cover
You Are Two
by Sara O'Leary
illustrated by Karen Klassen
Audience: Babies and Toddlers
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews

A baby’s second year is full of memorable milestones. Walking, running, understanding more words, speaking their names, and forming first memories are all exciting achievements. You Are Two picks up where You Are One left off and looks back on each of these moments and more, inviting little ones and their parents to celebrate...READ MORE

Fire Engine Number 9 Book Cover
Fire Engine No. 9
by Mike Austin
Audience: Babies and Toddlers,
Audience: Preschool to Grade 2 -- Picture Books
Published: September 22, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

Told almost entirely in sound words, this day-in-the-life look at firefighters and their fire truck will appeal to the youngest vehicle enthusiasts and to parents with a penchant for exuberant read-aloud sessions. With art reminiscent of Donald Crews’s transportation books, Mike Austin evokes the excitement of a 911 call as...READ MORE

PICTURE BOOKS

Ach, there are loads of great picture books out this month.  I’m never going to be able to narrow it down to a few for the spotlight.  (And by the way, there are plenty more excellent picture books out this month.  You take a peek at our book release calendar for some highlights.)

Oh!  Okay.  King Baby.  So, I asked you to visit Amazon to check out Xavier Deneux, but please, also take a look at Amazon’s preview for King Baby.  It soo humorously depicts a baby as a benevolent ruler, graciously attending to his loyal subjects.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.  I think this would be an excellent book to share with the brother or sister of a new baby.  Also, I’d bet it would make a great baby shower gift.

Another  picture book that really got me this month is In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson.  Okay, I know I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, but in general, illustrator Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations don’t usually do it for me.  Pinkney is a Caldecott award winning illustrator.  Matter of fact, it seems he’s won just about every award an illustrator can win, but for my tastes, his illustrations seem a touch old-fashioned.  Oh, did I mention the man is 76?  I’m going to be in trouble for sure.  Anyhow, a lingering glance at In Plain Sight revealed that the book is full of heart.  It looks at the loving relationship between a grandfather and a little girl through the lens of a simple game that they play.  The grandfather pretends that he’s lost something in the room they’re in; the little girl helps him find it.  It’s a beautiful testiment to the strength of the bond between grandparent and grandchild, and shows how little stuff is needed in order to enjoy time with family.  The expressive and richly detailed artwork perfectly illustrates this heartwarming story.

This month I went ahead and added a couple of picture books that are meant, not so much for the preschool to 2nd grade set, but usually for around 2nd to 5th grade.  I’ve never listed these awesome books because I wasn’t sure if people would get confused when encountering books for 2nd to 5th graders in areas marked “Preschool to Grade 2 (Picture Books).”  I know I'd feel lost.  I’ve added notes to each individual web page for these books, letting readers know that the books are intended for an older audience.  Hopefully that’ll suffice.  These books really are worth receiving special attention.  This month’s older audience picture books are Giant Squid and Freedom Over Me.

Also, please don’t miss ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky – engaging and unique, A Child of Books – magical, and the fall books, Wonderfall, Bella's Fall Coat and Yellow Time.  Don’t you love fall?  The smell of the leaves, hot apple cider, corn mazes, and all topped off with Halloween?  So many good times ahead!!

Hank's Big Day Book Cover
Hank's Big Day: The Story of a Bug
by Evan Kuhlman
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

Perfect for reading aloud, this spare, charming picture book about a day in the life of a pill bug in suburbia is also about an unusual friendship. 

Hank is a pill bug with a busy life—for a pill bug, that is. His daily routine involves nibbling a dead leaf,...READ MORE

Rescue Squad No. 9
Rescue Squad No. 9
by Mike Austin
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

In this companion book to Fire Engine No. 9, Rescue Squad No. 9 must spring into action when a young sailor and her dog are stranded during a storm! 
 
Follow the crew as they scramble aboard their helicopter and speedboat, racing to the rescue through the waves and winds. The high...READ MORE

King Baby Book Cover
King Baby
by Kate Beaton
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

All hail King Baby! He greets his adoring public with giggles and wiggles and coos, posing for photos and allowing hugs and kisses. But this royal ruler also has many demands, and when his subjects can't quite keep up, King Baby takes matters into his own tiny hands.

Created by...READ MORE

Turn on the Night Book Cover
Turn On the Night
by Geraldo Valerio
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

A little girl falls asleep and in her dream becomes a huge gray wolf, like the one in her bedtime story. Out the window she leaps, and a marvelous nighttime adventure unfolds. She visits the rooster in his coop, and invites him to hop upon her back and together they...READ MORE

Leave Me Alone Book Cover
Leave Me Alone
by Vera Brosgol
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting.

One day, a grandmother shouts, "LEAVE ME ALONE!" and leaves her tiny home and her very big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to...READ MORE

In Plain Sight Book Cover
In Plain Sight
by Richard Jackson
illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

Sophie lives with Mama and Daddy and Grandpa, who spends his days by the window. Every day after school, it's Grandpa whom Sophie runs to.

"Here I am, Grandpa!"

"Ah, Sophie, how was your day?"

As Sophie and her grandpa talk, he asks her to find items he's...READ MORE

Wonderfall Book Cover
Wonderfall
by Michael Hall
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

This beautiful and informative picture book follows a single tree through the fall season, from the end of summer to winter’s first snowfall. A great read-aloud for home and the classroom by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and Red: A Crayon’s Story.

Wonderfall follows a single tree through...READ MORE

Ada Twist Scientist Book Cover
Ada Twist, Scientist
by Andrea Beaty
illustrated by David Roberts
published September 6, 2016

The creators of the New York Times bestselling picture books Rosie Revere, Engineer andIggy Peck, Architect are back with a story about the power of curiosity in the hands of a child who is on a mission to use science to understand her world. Ada Twist, Scientist, from powerhouse team Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, is a...READ MORE

Owl Sees Owl Book Cover
Owl Sees Owl
by Laura Godwin
illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

Fans of the classic picture book Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson will adore this utterly simple picture book in which a baby owl goes off on his first adventure. 
 
With just three or four words per page, this story follows a baby owl one night as he leaves...READ MORE

Penguin Problems
Penguin Problems
by Jory John
illustrated by Lane Smith
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

A penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like—and it isn’t all fun and games. A hilarious first collaboration from Jory John (All my friends are dead. and Quit Calling Me a Monster!) and Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales).
 
...READ MORE

A Child of Books Book Cover
A Child of Books
by Oliver Jeffers
illustrated by Sam Winston
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.

A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and...READ MORE

Yellow Time Book Cover
Yellow Time
by Lauren Stringer
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal

Lauren Stringer celebrates the coming of autumn in this exuberant, joyful ode to that magical time when the leaves are changing color and the animals are preparing for winter.

Children and animals alike excitedly anticipate yellow time, when the trees release their colorful leaves to blanket the earth, crows...READ MORE

Bella's Fall Coat Book Cover
Bella's Fall Coat
by Lynn Plourde
illustrated by Susan Gal
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image School Library Journal

Bella loves the sights and sounds of fall--the crinkle-crackle of fallen leaves, the crunch of crisp, red apples, the honking and flapping of migrating geese. She wants the season to last forever. She also wants her fall coat--the one her Grams made especially for her--to last forever. But the coat...READ MORE

ABC The Alphabet From the Sky Book Cover
ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky
by Benedikt Gross,
by Joey Lee
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Discover the alphabet from a bird's-eye view!

Geographer and designer duo Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee have taken the alphabet to new heights—literally! Using satellite imagery and computer technology, the pair has discovered "accidental letters" all over the world: in roads, rivers, buildings, lakes, and more. Take a journey...READ MORE

The Journey Book Cover
The Journey
by Francesca Sanna
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Booklist Star Image School Library Journal

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. This book will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Francesca is...READ MORE

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon Book Cover
Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon
by Torben Kuhlmann
published September 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? 

Torben Kuhlmann's stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! 

On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on...READ MORE

Giant Squid Book Cover
Giant Squid
by Candace Fleming
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book Star Image School Library Journal

The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures in the world. As large as whales, they hide beyond reach deep within the sea, forcing scientists to piece together their story from those clues they leave behind.

An injured whale's ring-shaped scars indicate an encounter with a giant squid....READ MORE

Freedom Over Me Book Cover
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
by Ashley Bryan
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Horn Book

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.



Imagine being looked up...READ MORE

BEGINNING READERS

For early readers this month, there’s a new book in the beloved Mr. Putter and Tabby series.  Mo Willems is BACK in two collaborations with other great artists.  Elephant and Piggie act as hosts in the stories Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!  We are Growing! and Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! The Cookie Fiasco.  There is a new book in the popular and highly rated Dory Fantasmagory series.  Also, Juana and Lucas, a big hit with critics, offers lifelike characters in a compelling story.

Fancy Nancy Best Reading Buddies Book Cover
Fancy Nancy: Best Reading Buddies (I Can Read Level 1)
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 2
by Jane O'Connor
illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 6, 2016

Ooh la la—Fancy Nancy is so lucky! She and her reading buddy, Violet, read together every Monday. But when a few Mondays go by without being able to meet, Nancy begins to miss her new friend. Will Violet and Nancy find a way to read together even if they’re not...READ MORE

Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye Book Cover
Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye: TOON Level 2
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by Geoffrey Hayes
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

Why won't Benny help? Penny found a dead salamander, but her brother Benny is refusing to help her bury it. Is it silly to hold a service for Little Sallie, or could this tiny salamander mean something more to the siblings? Geisel Award–winner Geoffrey Hayes shares this gentle tale of...READ MORE

Book Uncle and Me Book Cover
Book Uncle and Me
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Uma Krishnaswami
illustrated by Julianna Swaney
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image School Library Journal

Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something....READ MORE

Mr. Putter and Tabby Hit the Slope Book Cover
Mr. Putter & Tabby Hit the Slope
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 2
by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Arthur Howard
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 13, 2016

Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, like winter. But when the snow is deep outside and there’s nothing to do inside, even a cozy winter day can be a little slow. Not for long! When Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog, Zeke, pull two sleds out of the garage,...READ MORE

We Are Growing Book Cover
Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! We Are Growing!
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by Mo Willems
illustrated by Laurie Keller
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist

Walt and his friends are growing up fast! Everyone is the something-est. But . . . what about Walt? He is not the tallest, or the curliest, or the silliest. He is not the anything-est! As a BIG surprise inches closer, Walt discovers something special of his own!READ MORE

The Cookie Fiasco Book Cover
Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! The Cookie Fiasco
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 1
by Mo Willems,
by Dan Santat
illustrated by Dan Santat
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 20, 2016

Four friends. Three cookies. One problem.

 

Hippo, Croc, and the Squirrels are determined to have equal cookies for all! But how? There are only three cookies . . . and four of them! They need to act fast before nervous Hippo breaks all the cookies into crumbs!READ MORE

Dory Dory Black Sheep Book Cover
Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Abby Hanlon
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 20, 2016

Dory the rascal turns learning to read into a hilarious adventure through the power of imagination 
 
Ever since Dory met Rosabelle, a real true friend whose imagination and high spirits match her own, school has been pretty good. But now the class is learning to read, and it's...READ MORE

Juana and Lucas Book Cover
Juana and Lucas
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Juana Medina
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers
Published: September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Horn Book

Fans of Judy Moody and Clarice Bean will love Juana, the spunky young Colombian girl who stars in this playful, abundantly illustrated new series.



Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love...READ MORE

GRADES 4 TO 6

Oh boy!  If you have a 4th to 6th grader, you’re in for a treat!  There are a bunch of great books out this month for the 4th to 6th grade audience, and just in time for back to school independent reading assignments.

The Best Man has received rave critical reviews and high praise from initial readers (here’s a succint summary and review on the American Library Association’s Booklist).  The story chronicles the events of a young man’s life between one wedding when he was in first grade, to a decidedly less embarrassing one when he’s in sixth.  In between, the story takes on bullies, shows the power of positive male role models, and offers lots of laughter over the blunders of a boy making his way to middle school.

Raina Telgemeier, graphic novelist extraordinaire, has a new book out this month.  When Ghosts starts out, Cat’s family is moving to a seaside town.  It is thought that the salty air will help younger sister Maya's cystic fibrosis.  Cat thought it was bad enough that she’d have to leave her friends behind, but things take a turn for the worst when she discovers that the town is home to ghosts.

The now 78-year-old author of Newbery winner Sarah, Plain and Tall has just released a new book called The Poet’s Dog.  In the story, two children are caught in a snow storm, but are taken in by a very special dog.  This book has received outstanding reviews.

Also, Two Naomis looks touching and true to life.  The story is about two girls, both named Naomi whose divorced parents begin to date.  The two girls couldn’t be more different, but when the parents sign the girls up for a class together, they must find a way to join forces.

The Best Man Book Cover
The Best Man
by Richard Peck
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos

Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of...READ MORE

Ghosts Book Cover
Ghosts
by Raina Telgemeier
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Kirkus

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea....READ MORE

The Poet's Dog Book Cover
The Poet's Dog
by Patricia MacLachlan
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.

Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read...READ MORE

Two Naomis
Two Naomis
by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

A realistic contemporary story of two girls, both named Naomi, whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that...READ MORE

Frazzled Book Cover
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
by Booki Vivat
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis—and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.

From debut author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, Frazzled dives right into...READ MORE

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo Book Cover
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
by Drew Weing
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

Charles just moved to Echo City, and some of his new neighbors give him the creeps. They sneak into his room, steal his toys, and occasionally, they try to eat him.

The place is teeming with monsters!

Lucky for Charles, Echo City has Margo Maloo, monster mediator. No matter who’s...READ MORE

Catching a Storyfish Book Cover
Catching a Storyfish
by Janice N. Harrington
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Keet knows the only good thing about moving away from her Alabama home is that she’ll live near her beloved grandfather. When Keet starts school, it’s even worse than she expected, as the kids tease her about her southern accent. Now Keet, who can “talk the whiskers off a catfish,”...READ MORE

Big Nate Revenge of the Cream Puffs Book Cover
Big Nate: Revenge of the Cream Puffs
by Lincoln Peirce
published September 6, 2016

It's one, two, three strikes, you're out, as the Cream Puffs seek sweet revenge!

Here come the Cream Puffs!  Nate and his baseball team, saddled with the most embarrassing moniker in Little League history, want to show the world they’re not just a bunch of cupcakes. But it won’t...READ MORE

Finding Wonders Three Women Who Changed Science Book Cover
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
by Jeannine Atkins
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
 Star ImageBooklist Star Image The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A gorgeously written novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about...READ MORE

Howard Wallace, P.I. Book Cover
Howard Wallace, P.I.
by Casey Lyall
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“…Lyall’s debut is a winner.” —Publishers Weekly

“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”
“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”
“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”
I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”

Twelve-year-old Howard...READ MORE

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade Book Cover
The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Doug Holgate
published September 6, 2016

A very funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel, now a New York Times bestseller!

"Terrifyingly fun! Delivers big thrills and even bigger laughs."--Jeff Kinney, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 
The zombies are disappearing. This might seem like a good thing, since zombies eat your brains, but...READ MORE

TWEENS

This is an amazing month for tween book releases.  There are a few I’m especially itching to read, but there are many more I plan to get to as well.

First of all, do not miss The Inquisitor’s Tale.  The story takes place in medieval France and is told by ten different narrators, including a butcher, a nun, and a librarian.  The actual tale is of three gifted children – one with visions of the future, one with tremendous strength, and one with healing magic.  The children are accompanied by their guardian, a holy greyhound.  Religious questions surround the story as some debate whether or not the children could be called saints when one of them is Christian and one is Jewish.  Though the story looks at some serious religious matters, the balance comes about with fanciful and playful elements such as boisterous knights, dark and gloomy forests, and farting dragons.

In Mark of the Plague, apprentice apothecary Christopher Rowe returns in this second book in The Blackthorn Key series.  This time he faces an epidemic of the Black Death.  There are puzzles to solve, ciphers to decode, and murderous conspiracies threatening to tip the scales toward evil.  I can’t wait to get ahold of this one.

Finally, Ghost by Jason Reynolds actually came out at the end of August, but I (cough) overlooked it last month.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight the book because it looks FANTASTIC.  It’s about Castle Crenshaw, nicknamed Ghost, who has been running since his dad pulled a gun on him and his mom a few years back.  That experience has left its scars and affected his behavior.  Now he has a chance to compete with an elite track team, but only if he can stay out of the fights he’s always getting into.  Can he make it without blowing up, or will he just explode and destroy his chances with the team? 

The Inquisitor's Tale Book Cover
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz
illustrated by Hatem Aly
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Horn Bok  

An exciting and hilarious new medieval adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons, from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm.

 

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of...READ MORE

Mark of the Plague Book Cover
Mark of the Plague (Blackthorn Key Book 2)
by Kevin Sands
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image School Library Journal

Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious...READ MORE

Ghost Book Cover
Ghost
by Jason Reynolds
published August 30, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds...READ MORE

Mighty Jack Book Cover
Mighty Jack
by Ben Hatke
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because...READ MORE

Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry Book Cover
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry
by Susan Vaught
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

“A provocative, sensitive, and oh-so-timely read.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Ambitious, thought-provoking, and very readable.” —Booklist (starred review)

A mysterious note takes Dani Beans into the secrets of Ole Miss and its dark past in this compelling new middle grade novel from the author of Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy.

“Sooner or later,...READ MORE

Snow White Book Cover
Snow White: A Graphic Novel
by Matt Phelan
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly  

Award-winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan delivers a darkly stylized noir Snow White set against the backdrop of Depression-era Manhattan.

The scene: New York City. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar...READ MORE

The Secret Keepers Book Cover
The Secret Keepers
by Trenton Lee Stewart
illustrated by Diana Sudyka
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Publishers Weekly

A heart-pounding mystery adventure laced with magic and humor by the author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Mysterious Benedict Society

 

A magical watch

A string of secrets

A race against time

 

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and...READ MORE

Unbound Book Cover
Unbound: A Novel in Verse
by Ann E. Burg
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

The day Grace is called from the slave cabins to work in the Big House, Mama makes her promise to keep her eyes down. Uncle Jim warns her to keep her thoughts tucked private in her mind or they could bring a whole lot of trouble and pain.

But...READ MORE

Dive! Book Cover
Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific: The Incredible Story of U.S. Submarines in WWII
by Deborah Hopkinson
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Horn Book

Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific tells the incredible story of America's little known "war within a war" -- US submarine warfare during World War II.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US entered World War II in December 1941 with only 44...READ MORE

Presenting Buffalo Bill Book Cover
Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West
by Candace Fleming
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Everyone knows the name Buffalo Bill, but few these days know what he did or, in some cases, didn't do. Was he a Pony Express rider? Did he serve Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn? Did he scalp countless Native Americans, or did he defend their rights?

This,...READ MORE

The Creeping Shadow Book Cover
The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. Book Four)
by Jonathan Stroud
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist

After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes,...READ MORE

The Evil Wizard Smallbone Book Cover
The Evil Wizard Smallbone
by Delia Sherman
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

In a hilarious tale reminiscent of T. H. White, a lost boy finds himself an unlikely apprentice to the very old, vaguely evil, mostly just grumpy Wizard Smallbone.

When twelve-year-old Nick runs away from his uncle’s in the middle of a blizzard, he stumbles onto a very opinionated bookstore. He...READ MORE

TEENS

For sure, this month in the teen section, I will be running for Crooked Kingdom.  It’s the second in the bestselling Six of Crows duology, which takes place in the same world as the author’s bestselling Grisha trilogy.  You can not go wrong with Leigh Bardugo’s books. 

I’m equally excited to dive into The Reader.  It’s an exciting blend of fantasy, mystery, action and adventure.  And it got awesome reviews!

Crooked Kingdom Book Cover
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Book 2)
by Leigh Bardugo
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

The highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly...READ MORE

The Reader Book Cover
The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold Book 1)
by Traci Chee
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImagePublishers Weekly

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart andShadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin...READ MORE

The Forgetting Book Cover
The Forgetting
by Sharon Cameron
published September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day...READ MORE

And the Trees Crept In Book Cover
And the Trees Crept In
by Dawn Kurtagich
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal  

A stunning, terrifying novel about a house the color of blood and the two sisters who are trapped there, by The Dead House author Dawn Kurtagich

 

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, it's immediately clear that the "blood manor" is cursed. The creaking of the house and the...READ MORE

Falling Over Sideways Book Cover
Falling Over Sideways
by Jordan Sonnenblick
published September 27, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

It's not easy being Claire. (Really.)

Claire's life is a joke . . . but she's not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she's dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there's a boy, Ryder,...READ MORE

The Female of the Species Book Cover
The Female of the Species
by Mindy McGinnis
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Booklist

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and riveting contemporary YA novel that blends the unflinching honesty of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak with the relentless pacing and alternating perspectives of Gone Girl. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago,...READ MORE

Lucy and Linh Book Cover
Lucy and Linh
by Alice Pung
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageBulletin of the Center for Children's Books Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

Gilmore Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat in this witty novel about navigating life in private school while remaining true to yourself.
 
Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school,...READ MORE

Girl Mans Up Book Cover
Girl Mans Up
by M-E Girard
published September 6, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like...READ MORE

Three Dark Crowns
Three Dark Crowns
by Kendare Blake
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImageHorn Book

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. 

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to...READ MORE

A Shadow Bright and Burning Book Cover
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)
by Jessica Cluess
published September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publishers Weekly  

"Vivid characters, terrifying monsters, and world building as deep and dark as the ocean."
--Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen

 
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. 
Forced to...READ MORE

Kingdom of Ash and Briars Book Cover
Kingdom of Ash and Briars
by Hannah West
published September 15, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in...READ MORE

Empire of Storms Book Cover
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass Book 5)
by Sarah J. Maas
published September 6, 2016

Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas's epic fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at...READ MORE

The Fever Code Book Cover
The Fever Code (Maze Runner, Book Fivel)
by James Dashner
published September 27, 2016

All will be revealed in the fifth book in James Dashner’s #1 New York Times   bestselling Maze Runner series. This is the story that fans all over the world have been waiting for—the story of how Thomas and WICKED built the Maze. You will not want to miss it.

    Once...READ MORE

Swarm Book Cover
Swarm (Zeroes Book 2)
by Scott Westerfeld,
by Margo Lanagan,
by Deborah Biancotti
published September 27, 2016

X-Men meets Heroes when New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld teams up with award-winning authors Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti in the second book of an explosive new trilogy about a group of teens with amazing abilities.

They thought they’d already faced their toughest fight. But there’s no relaxing for the reunited Zeroes.
...READ MORE

The Memory of Things Book Cover
The Memory of Things: A Novel
by Gae Polisner
published September 6, 2016

"[A] gripping, emotional story set in the part of history we’ll never forget." - New York Daily News

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across...READ MORE

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Hello there!

Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of three -- a teen daughter, a preschool-aged son, and a newborn boy.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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