Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group's updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

The Loose Ends List

Loose Ends ListThe Loose Ends List

By Carrie Firestone

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Family, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 7th & up

 

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O’Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie’s closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie’s plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret “death with dignity” cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way—and give the O’Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

 

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

 

PRAISE

 

★ “While readers know from the very beginning how this story will end, they will be surprised to discover that the journey is far more about life than death. Maddie’s first-person account is filled with humor and fun, introducing readers to a raunchy, heartwarming, and endearingly dysfunctional family. The story is made all the richer by a cast of quirky supporting characters that includes her two gay uncles, a sweet and slutty cousin, her larger-than-life grandmother, and a small handful of terminal patients and their families who are celebrating and grieving alongside them. Best of all is the achingly romantic love story that unexpectedly blossoms between Maddie and a fellow shipmate and lends the story much-appreciated moments of passion and levity. A poignant and important story about compassion, love, and the decision to live life on your own terms—right up to the very last minute: all aboard.” —Kirkus

The Best Worst Thing

Best Worst ThingThe Best Worst Thing

By Kathleen Lane

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-kathleen-lane/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

Front door locked,
kitchen door locked,
living room windows closed.
Nobody in the closet,
nobody under the beds.

 

Still, Maggie is worried. Ever since she started middle school, she sees injustice and danger everywhere—on the news, in her textbooks, in her own neighborhood. Even her best friend seems to be changing.

 

Maggie believes it is up to her, and only her, to make everything all right. Can she come up with a plan to keep everyone safe?

 

The Best Worst Thing is a perceptive novel about learning the limits of what you can control, and the good—sometimes even best—things that can come of finally letting go.

 

PRAISE

★ “Though there are no tidy beginnings or endings in Maggie’s swirling first-person narrative, Lane crafts a powerful portrait of a girl wrangling with deeply relatable concerns, which will easily resonate with readers confronting a complex and uncertain world.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “The protagonist is able to use the strength she finds in a budding friendship to foster a positive change in her perspective of the world. Not only can this book serve as bibliotherapy for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and high anxiety, but readers of all kinds will also find much here to ponder and discuss. VERDICT Thoughtful characterization and relatable themes make this a strong purchase.” —School Library Journal

Silence is Goldfish

Silence is GoldfishSilence is Goldfish

By Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Teen Life: Personal Development, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: 7th & up
[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-annabel-pitcher/”]LB School Podcast[/button]

Fifteen-year-old Tess doesn’t mean to become mute. At first, she’s just too shocked to speak. And who wouldn’t be? Discovering your whole life has been a lie because your dad isn’t your real father is a pretty big deal. Terrified of the truth, Tess retreats into silence.

 

Reeling from her family’s betrayal, Tess sets out to discover the identity of her real father. He could be anyone–even the familiar-looking teacher at her school. Tess continues to investigate, uncovering a secret that could ruin multiple lives. It all may be too much for Tess to handle, but how can she ask for help when she’s forgotten how to use her voice?

 

In a brilliant study of identity, betrayal, and complex family dynamics, award-winning author Annabel Pitcher explores the importance of communication, even when we’re faced with unspeakable truths.

 

PRAISE

★ “Tess’s silence presents myriad challenges, including the loss of a best friend and some intense bullying, but it also brings new confidence…  It’s a painful but rewarding story of an insecure teen finding her voice.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Stream-of-consciousness narration revealing Tess’ internal struggle gives way to silent dialogue with a goldfish-shaped flashlight in her pocket. ‘Mr. Goldfish’ becomes her confidant and anchor as she tries to pinpoint signs of Jack’s unfatherly behavior, ‘swimming’ through the air in her imagination and providing enthusiastic commentary. Tess, a big—some might say fat—white girl, invites readers into her alienation with a sort of savage intimacy. Pitcher delivers a story of betrayal and miscues among family and friends with a realistic blend of humor and gravity as Tess slides toward mental instability. An unflinchingly honest portrayal of anguish.” —Kirkus

Mayday

maydayMayday

By Karen Harrington

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Guidance/Health: Disease/Sickness, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

 

Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice.

 

Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate (“Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?”). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It’s not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn’t say.

 

PRAISE

★ “Wayne’s convincing narration perceptively captures the tribulations of young teens, and even though his problems aren’t commonplace, surprisingly, the resolutions are. Perhaps best of these is Grandpa’s advice: ‘Before you go taking the bull by the horns, make sure it’s your bull.’ A fine character-driven tale that slowly grows to a crescendo of satisfaction. ” —Kirkus

 

★ “Compelling…  Harrington deftly depicts the delicate dance of family and friends trying to handle the aftermath of near tragedy, their efforts further complicated once Wayne uncovers an important secret his grandfather is keeping. Wayne is an appealing protagonist with a strong voice who develops believably over the difficult months, as do the other characters. A well-done book on all levels.” —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

Thunder Boy Jr.

TBJThunder Boy Jr.

By Sherman Alexie

Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Character Development, Personal Development: Friendship, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

 

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name…a name that is sure to light up the sky.

 

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie’s lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales’s striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

2016 Boston GlobeHorn Book Picture Book Honor Book

 

★ “While the effervescent illustrations and boisterous tone are dynamite on their own, Alexie and Morales’ story offers a breezy, matter-of-fact introduction to a tradition—replacing a child’s name—that will likely be new to many readers. Even if little ones don’t pick up on the cultural significance, they’ll be entranced by the brilliant illustrations and Thunder Boy’s rollicking determination to branch out on his own.” — Booklist

 

★ “Alexie demonstrates his familiar gift for storytelling, using seemingly uncomplicated language to tell a layered and emotional story that retains tension despite being full of love…  Plenty of kids will recognize the shared-name dilemma, and even those free of the anxiety of name influence will recognize Lightning’s jubilance at being recognized and understood by his father.”— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

★ “It is Dad who comes up with just the right name, rather a diversion from the book’s theme of self-definition but unmistakable in its acknowledgment of the bond between father and son. Despite the dad-pleasing message, the book is too funny and real to veer into parental self-congratulation, and Morales’s illustrations (made from “the remains of an antique house”—you’ll have to read the note) give great life and specificity to Thunder Boy’s Lightning’s family.” — The Horn Book

 

★ “An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and son.” — Kirkus

 

★ “Alexie’s first picture book showcases his ear for dialogue and sideways sense of humor, and Morales uses voice balloons and other comics elements to complement the characters’ dynamic poses. Thunder Boy’s energy is irresistible, as is this expansive portrait of a Native American family.” — Publishers Weekly

 

★ “An enchanting and humorous picture book about a little boy frustrated with his name…  This has all of the qualities of a classic story like Goodnight Moon and is destined to be a modern classic, with youngsters wanting repeated readings.” — School Library Journal

 

VIDEOS

Stef Soto, Taco Queen

Stef SotoStef Soto, Taco Queen

By Jennifer Torres

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Issues: Friendship, Family & Parents

Grades: 3-7

 

[button link=”http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/podcasts/index.html?podcast=658&channel=5″]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

Seventh grader Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as the “Taco Queen” at school.

 

But just when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion. In this fun and multicultural middle grade novel, Stef will discover what matters the most, and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla.

I Promise

https://i0.wp.com/www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/I-Promise.png?resize=214%2C300&ssl=1I Promise

By David McPhail

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Guidance/Health: Emotions, Personal Development: Lessons/Responsibility

Grades: PreK–3

What’s a promise?

When Baby Bear asks Mother Bear this important question, she promises her cub that she will feed him, play with him, and do everything she can to keep him safe. But Baby Bear has more questions: What happens if you break a promise? Can his mother promise that he will always be happy?

In this sweetly poignant story from celebrated artist David McPhail, a loving parent has just the right words for explaining that some things in life simply can’t be promised—but family love is forever.

 

ALSO FROM DAVID MCPHAIL

all the awake animals

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

Wolfie the Bunny

wolfieWolfie the Bunny

By Ame Dyckman

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Humor, Family Life: Adoption/Multiple Births

Grades: PreK-1

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-ame-dyckman-zachariah-ohora/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

Families of all kinds will delight in this sweet tale of new babies, sibling rivalry, bravery, unconditional love…and veggies!

 

The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?

 

PRAISE

★ “This gets all the elements of the successful picture book just right: a familiar scenario (sibling rivalry), a scary adversary, a display of courage, and a happy ending. And then there’s the art!…A crowd-pleaser for crowds big and small.” — Booklist

 

★ “Interspecies adoption puts a fresh spin on the new-baby theme…A treat of a picture book.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “More laughs come from the irresistible contrast between Dot’s sweet bunny countenance and her furious glares of rage… Wolfie proves he’s not only trustworthy but full of love.” —Kirkus Review

 

★ “The text is seamlessly integrated with the illustrations and uses various fonts to good effect. OHora’s acrylic paintings are the heart of this tale. They clearly show everyone’s feelings from fear to sadness to joy to anger to love and everything in between, and there are brilliant bits of humor and whimsy added to the mix. VERDICT: A great book for one-on-one sharing that’s also sure to be a storytime hit.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEOS