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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

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

Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing coverEvery Exquisite Thing

By Matthew Quick

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development & Identity; Poetry; Vocabulary; Mental Health

Grades: 10th & up

 

<a class=”lb-school-library-button” href=”http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/podcasts/index.html?channel=5&podcast=536″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Listen to Author Interview</a> <a class=”lb-school-library-button” href=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PR4664_EveryExquisiteThing_EG_Final.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Educator Guide</a>

Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.

 

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

 

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.

 

PRAISE

★ “Quick continues to excel at writing thought-provoking stories about nonconformity.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “This will find a dedicated audience among teen readers.” —School Library Journal

 

★ “All of the elements of this novel work together to make this an outstanding coming-of-age story…This is a book that readers will want to read twice to take it all in.” —VOYA

 

VIDEO

No Better Friend

No Better Friend coverNo Better Friend

A Man, a Dog, and Their Incredible True Story of Friendship and Survival in World War II

By Robert Weintraub

Genre: Juvenile Non-fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Social Studies: Biographies, Social Studies: America

Grades: 5 & up

 

<a class=”lb-school-library-button” href=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PR4663_NoBetterFriend_EG_Final.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Educator Guide</a>

A middle-grade edition of the New York Times bestselling No Better Friend-the extraordinary tale of friendship and survival in World War II.

 

No Better Friend tells the incredible true story of Frank Williams, a radarman in Britain’s Royal Air Force, and Judy, a purebred pointer, who met as prisoners of war during World War II. Judy, who became the war’s only official canine POW, was a fiercely loyal dog who sensed danger-warning her fellow prisoners of imminent attacks and, later, protecting them from brutal beatings. Frank and Judy’s friendship, an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances, is one of the great recently uncovered stories of World War II.

 

As they discover Frank and Judy’s story in this specially adapted text, young readers will also learn about key World War II moments through informative and engaging sidebars, maps, photographs, and a timeline.

 

PRAISE

“Well-written and engaging.” —Booklist

 

“Riveting and highly moving.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“An enormously readable account of animal and human companionship and survival; recommended for budding historians and fans of survival stories.” —School Library Journal

 

 

Girl in the Blue Coat

girl in the blue coatGirl in the Blue Coat

By Monica Hesse

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies; World History; WWII; Holocaust; Prejudice & Racism; Mysteries & Detective Stories

Grades: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/podcasts/index.html?channel=5&podcast=529″]Listen to Author Interview[/button][button link=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/PR4661_GirlintheBlueCoat_EG_3p.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

 

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person—a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

 

PRAISE

Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It’s an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope.”—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

 

“A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke’s coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true.” —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity

 

★ “[An] affecting novel…that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Her characters come alive, and…Hesse’s pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large.” —Booklist

 

★ “Riveting… a gripping historical mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “This fast-paced story is alternately touching, heart-pounding and wrenching-but always gripping. …a heartrending, moving story.” —VOYA

The Sweetest Sound

winston_thesweetestsound_hcjktThe Sweetest Sound

By Sherri Winston

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Issues: Friendship, Family; Religion: Christianity

Grades: 3-7

 

For ten-year-old Cadence Jolly, birthdays are a constant reminder of all that has changed since her mother skipped town with dreams of becoming a star. Cadence inherited that musical soul, she can’t deny it, but otherwise she couldn’t be more different – she’s shy as can be.

 

She did make a promise last year that she would try to break out of her shell, just a little. And she prayed that she’d get the courage to do it. As her eleventh birthday draws near, she realizes time is running out. And when a secret recording of her singing leaks and catches the attention of her whole church, she needs to decide what’s better: deceiving everyone by pretending it belongs to someone else, or finally stepping into the spotlight.

 

In a story filled with whimsy and hope, Sherri Winston inspires readers to embrace the voice within.

 

 

PRAISE

★ “A rich and winning first-person story about a deeply introverted black girl who nearly loses her gift because of her understandable but undermining fear. Readers will be rooting for both Cadence as she claims her gift and the community who supports her.” —Kirkus

 

 

ALSO BY SHERRI WINSTON

president sixth     president fifth

 

The Thing about Jellyfish

Benjamin_TheThingAboutJellyfish_Finalist copyThe Thing about Jellyfish

By Ali Benjamin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Guidance/Health: Death, Guidance/Health: Emotions, Personal Development: Loss, Family Life: Divorce/Stepfamilies, Science: Animals/Insects/Pets

Grades: 5 & up

 

[button link=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/PR4472_ThingAboutJellyfish_EG_Final.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

 

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory– even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

 

PRAISE

A 2015 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “An uncommonly fine first novel.” – Booklist

 

★ “A painful story smartly told, Benjamin’s first solo novel has appeal well beyond a middle school audience.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

★ “A shining example of the highs and lows of early adolescence, as well as a testament to the grandeur of the natural world.” – Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Authentic and poignant.” – School Library Journal

 

★ “This novel has it all: just-right pacing, authentic voices and characters, beautifully crafted plot, and superb writing.” – Voices of Youth Advocates

 

VIDEOS

Dinotrux Dig The Beach

dig the beachDinotrux Dig the Beach

by Chris Gall

Format: Picture Book

Curriculum Subjects: Adventure: Monsters, Humor: General, Personal Development: Friendship

Grade: PreK-1st

 

[button link=”http://www.chrisgallbooks.com/”]Visit Website[/button][button link=”http://www.chrisgallbooks.com/index.html”]Activity Kit[/button]

Fed up with steamy summertime Jurassic jungles, the mighty monsters are getting hot and grumpy, and they need a vacation…. Time to roll on down to the beach! Tyrannosaurus Trux might be able to “hang ten” on his surfboard, but not all of the trux feel so at home near the water. Can they organize their skills to dig up the beach and build the best sandcastle ever? Dive into the silliest, splashiest Dinotrux adventure yet to find out!

Minna’s Patchwork Coat

minnaMinna’s Patchwork Coat

by Lauren A. Mills

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: School, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods, Personal Development: Individuality, Personal Development: Friendship, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Native American Heritage, Guidance/Health: Death

Grades: 3-7

 

[button link=”https://www.scribd.com/doc/284077400/Minna-s-Patchwork-Coat-Common-Core-guide”]Educator Guide[/button]

In this charming historical novel, acclaimed artist Lauren A. Mills reimagines her beloved picture book, The Rag Coat, with fifty delicate pencil illustrations and an expanded story about a resilient little girl, her patchwork coat, and how the two bring a community together.

 

Minna and her family don’t have much in their small Appalachian cabin, but “people only need people,” Papa always reminds her. Unable to afford a winter coat to wear to school, she’s forced to use an old feed sack to keep her warm. Then Papa’s terrible cough from working in the coal mines takes him away forever, and Minna has a hard time believing that anything will be right again…until her neighbors work tirelessly to create a coat for her out of old fabric scraps. Now Minna must show her teasing classmates that her coat is more than just rags–it’s a collection of their own cherished memories, each with a story to share.

 

PRAISE

“Readers can immerse themselves in a culture and time where things moved at a slower pace and common sense values created from warmth and love are given room to exist and thrive. The delicate, ethereal pencil drawings provide an additional lens into this story. The emotions of the characters are sensitively rendered, and one can almost smell the pine-scented air and wood-burning fireplace. ” — School Library Journal