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The Hearts We Sold

The Hearts We Sold cover

The Hearts We Sold

By Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Action & Adventure; Science Fiction; Horror; Social Themes: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

Grades: 10 & up

 

Dee Moreno is out of options. Her home life sucks (to put it mildly), and she’s about to get booted from her boarding school–the only place she’s ever felt free–for lack of funds. But this is a world where demons exist, and the demons are there to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true.

 

When Dee finally summons the courage to make a deal with one of these devils, she finds it may be more than she bargained for. The demon she approaches quickly informs her that he doesn’t trade in the usual appendages, he’s only interested in her heart. He’ll put her body in a kind of stasis for two years, and she’ll become part of his crew of “heartless”–teen soldiers sent to the demons’ home world to fight their enemies. All of the heartless have their reasons for making this deal, but it begs the question: what are you willing to give up to achieve your heart’s desire?

Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars coverDefy the Stars

By Claudia Gray

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grades: 10 & up

 

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

 

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

 

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

 

PRAISE

★ “Nuanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Gray’s characters are nuanced, her worldbuilding is intelligent, and the book’s conclusion thrills and satisfies while defying expectations.” —Publishers Weekly

The Wild Robot

wild robotThe Wild Robot

By Peter Brown

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Adventure: Science Fiction, Adventure: Survival

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

[button link=”http://www.allthewonders.com/podcasts/peter-brown-lets-get-busy-episode-247/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is—but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

 

As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home—until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

 

PRAISE

★ “A WALL-E-esque tale of wilderness survival and friendship…  Brown’s first attempt at writing for an older audience is a success…  Readers will take a shine to Roz, and an open ending leaves room for more robot adventures.” —Booklist

 

★ “Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling…  Thought-provoking and charming. ” —Kirkus

 

★ “Brown convincingly builds a growing sense of cooperation among the animals and Roz as she blossoms in the wild. The allegory of otherness is clear but never heavy-handed, and Roz has just enough human attributes to make her sympathetic while retaining her robot characteristics. Brown wisely eschews a happy ending in favor of an open-ended one that supports the tone of a story that’s simultaneously unsentimental and saturated with feeling.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Set in the not-so-distant future, this thoughtful story unfolds slowly, matching Roz’s pace as she observes and integrates into island life. The environmental and technological dangers introduced halfway through are impactful; they threaten the tightly knit community so carefully cultivated by Roz and the animals…  Short chapters and read-aloud-worthy third-person narration pair beautifully with Brown’s grayscale illustrations. Grounded in striking, eye-catching compositions, his artwork combines geometric shapes and organic forms and textures, providing context and building atmosphere.” —School Library Journal

Are We There Yet?

are we there yetAre We There Yet?

By Dan Santat

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Family Life: Transportation and Travel

Grades: PreK-1

 

[button link=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PR4590_Are_We_There_Yet_3p.pdf”]Road Trip Activity Kit[/button]

 

“Are we there yet?”

 

Every parent has heard this classic kid question on a long car ride—and after reading this astonishingly inventive new book (that even turns upside down for several pages!), you’ll never look at being bored the same way again.

 

Let’s face it: everyone knows that car rides can be boring. And when things get boring, time slows down. In this book, a boy feels time slowing down so much that it starts going backward—into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs! The boy was just trying to get to his grandmother’s birthday party, but instead he’s traveling through Ancient Egypt and rubbing shoulders with Ben Franklin. When time flies, who knows where—or when—he’ll end up.

 

PRAISE

 

★ “A car trip to visit Grandma on her birthday feels like “an eternity.” What happens when you just get too bored? Most parents on a car trip have heard the titular question, but in Caldecott medalist Santat’s hands, the familiar trip becomes an unforgettable romp through time and space…  Employing both comic-book-style panels and full-bleed spreads, the mixed-media illustrations are full of humor, and the changes in point of view keep the telling dynamic and engaging…  A multilayered, modern-day parable reminding readers there’s no greater gift than the present. ” — Kirkus

 

★ “’Be patient,’ writes Caldecott Medalist Santat (The Adventures of Beekle), dedicating the book to his son. ‘We have all the time in the world.’ His own patience is what harnesses the energy of his riotous story and gives it a laser focus. It’s a remarkable feat—a turbocharged adventure that’s also a meditation on the relative nature of time.” — Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Let the interactive reading begin! The words begin to spiral around a spread featuring the boy’s glazed expression, forcing the book to be rotated and read upside down. Suddenly the slow-moving time transports the car back in history, placing it alongside a steam locomotive, a pirate ship, a jousting knight, and the newly build Sphinx in Cairo…  The gambit to get kids involved in the story works, and Santat’s rich illustrations—ranging from double-page spreads to comic-style panels—carry it home.” — School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Deceptive

deceptiveDeceptive

An Illusive Novel

By Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Adventure: Superheroes/Villians, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Conflict Resolution, Teen Life: Personal Development

Grades: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-episode-5/”]Listen to interview with author[/button]

You don’t belong with us.

 

These are the words that echo through the minds of all immune Americans-those suffering the so-called adverse effects of an experimental vaccine, including perfect recall, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind control, and the ability to change one’s appearance at will.

 

When great numbers of immune individuals begin to disappear, fear and tension mount, and unrest begins to brew across the country. Through separate channels, superpowered teenagers Ciere, Daniel, and Devon find themselves on the case: super criminals and government agents working side by side. It’s an effort that will ultimately define them all, for better or for worse.

 

Pairing high-stakes action with a compelling cast of superhuman characters, Emily Lloyd-Jones’s thrilling sequel to Illusive will have readers on the edge of their seats.

 

Illusive

Jones_IllusiveHCIllusive

By Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Adventure: Superheroes/Villians, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Conflict Resolution, Teen Life: Personal Development

Grades: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-episode-5/”]Listen to interview with author[/button]

 

When the deadly MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers, and Americans suffering from these so-called adverse effects were given an ultimatum: Serve the country or be declared a traitor.

 

Some people chose a third option: live a life of crime.

 

Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist. She’s also a thief. After crossing a gang of mobsters, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super powered criminals on a job that most would have considered impossible: a hunt for the formula that gave them their abilities. It was supposedly destroyed years ago–but what if it wasn’t?

 

Government agents are hot on their trail, and the lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race that could cost them their lives.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

★ “Boasting a complex plot, heart-stopping bursts of action, and questions regarding human nature, Lloyd-Jones’ thought-provoking, multifaceted narrative neatly sidesteps categorization as just another superhero or dystopian novel–though fans of both will be drawn to the material and be pleasantly surprised. An impressive debut guaranteed to disappear from the shelves before your very eyes.” – Booklist, starred review

 

“Superpowered teens screw up repeatedly in this crime-caper debut… Lloyd-Jones relishes the details of criminal undertakings and con jobs but also builds a believable world of haves and have-nots, unaffected and immune… [Entertaining] and unpredictable.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

“Multiple plot twists and the present-tense narrative heighten Ciere, Devon, and Daniel’s sense of paranoia as they struggle to survive in a world in which it is often difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys. A thrilling read.” – School Library Journal

 

“Ciere is an everyman heroine. Strong enough to survive on her own, yet still shy and vulnerable around the new boy, she is an appealing and approachable character…A fun and engaging read that instantly hooks. A sequel to this debut novel would be very appreciated.” – Voices of Youth Advocates

Zombie Baseball Beatdown

Zombie Baseball Beatdown

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Sports: Baseball/Softball; Adventure: Science Fiction; Personal Development: Diversity/Friendship/Sports/Teamwork/Competition

Grade: 3-7

 

[button link=”http://media.hdp.hbgusa.com/titles/assets/reading_group_guide/9780316220781/EG_9780316220781.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

The zombie apocalypse begins on the day Rabi, Miguel, and Joe are practicing baseball near their town’s local meatpacking plant and nearly get knocked out by a really big stink. Little do they know the plant’s toxic cattle feed is turning cows into flesh-craving monsters! The boys decide to launch a stealth investigation into the plant’s dangerous practices, unknowingly discovering a greedy corporation’s plot to look the other way as tainted meat is sold to thousands all over the country. With no grownups left they can trust, Rabi and his friends will have to grab their bats to protect themselves (and a few of their enemies) if they want to stay alive…and maybe even save the world.

 

 

PRAISE

“Printz-winning Bacigalupi writing a middle-grade zombie novel? Yes, it really happened, and yes, it’s pretty darn good….Simultaneously smart, funny, and icky, this book asks a tough question: Is it worth looking the other way in order to save yourself?”– Booklist

 

“[Introduces] reluctant readers to activism through literature…. a dark comedy with a bit of heart.”– The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

“A high-energy, high-humor look at the zombie apocalypse….a signal alert to young teens to think about what they eat….sure to be appreciated by middle school zombie cognoscenti.”– Kirkus Reviews

 

“Batting comes in handy beating down zombies….Will appeal to reluctant readers.”– Library Media Connection

 

“Defies the expectations of the comedy-horror genre, turning this zombie novel into an effective bit of social commentary while staying true to the story’s grisly and goofy roots….Casual readers will have a blast, and those who look deeper will learn something, too.”– Publishers Weekly

 

“It’s a testament to the author’s skill that [the characters] express values of courage, friendship, and integrity as naturally as they toss off hilarious observations….[A] fast-paced home run.”– School Library Journal

 

VIDEO