2015 Middle Grade



George Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545812542
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Published: Scholastic Press - August 25th, 2015

This monumental, pioneering middle grade book has been making waves--and it’s time to surf. George’s titular character is a transgender fourth grade girl whose unwavering faith in herself inspires and delights not only the LGBTQ audience but anyone who likes a good, hearty story about friendship, bravery, acceptance, and being true to who you are no matter what anyone else might say. The supportive relationship that George has with her best friend Kelly drives this book forward and reassures readers that with friends who encourage you to be your true self, anything is possible. 8+ ~Niki *Signed copies*

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596439733
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 29th, 2015

This incredible work of nonfiction chronicles the beginnings of Motown music and its growth into a powerfully influential sound we still hear in today’s contemporary music. Andrea Davis Pinkney takes the young reader on a journey from page one, the narrator’s cadence at times bouncy but at others somber, not shying away from painful honesty about the struggles that face black musicians on and off the stage. The book design also reflects the musical motion of its narrator’s tone. Page numbers are surrounded by what the reader could interpret as wheels, or records, connected by lines from sheet music. Ultimately a celebration of black musicians and their influence on the culture of sound, Rhythm Ride will have readers’ legs jiggling and toes tapping to the smooth Motown notes we all know and enjoy. 10+ ~Niki

Minna's Patchwork Coat Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316406215
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 3rd, 2015

For decades, readers have cherished local author-illustrator Mills’s award-winning picture book, The Rag Coat, so much that they wanted more—finally, Mills has obliged. In the early 1900s, Minna’s impoverished Appalachian family can’t afford a winter coat for her, meaning she can’t go to school and is an outcast among the other children. When, after tragedy, the sewing mothers of the community come together to quilt a coat for her out of scraps from their own children’s favorite old possessions, Minna faces an interesting dilemma. She loves the children from their mothers’ stories and has trouble reconciling the meanness they display towards her (and the prejudice some display towards her biracial friend) with their secret selves. This nuanced story about bullying has instant-classic appeal stemming from the setting’s rustic charm, the goodness of the characters, Mills’s deft and humorous wordplay, and—of course—the beautiful works of art that accompany the prose. This is the kind of book that’s guaranteed to be treasured. Ages 8-12 ~Ann

Baba Yaga's Assistant Cover Image
By Marika McCoola, Emily Carroll (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763669614
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 4th, 2015

A new Baba Yaga tale fit for aspiring heroines of the modern age. If you’re not scared of the terrors that lie in the woods or the witches that live in houses set on chicken legs, open up this colorful novel about Masha, a girl who feels disconnected from her father and his new family. She answers an ad in the newspaper to be Baba Yaga’s assistant but must complete three seemingly impossible tasks before she gets the job. With help from the memory of her grandmother, a few plucky Matryoshka dolls, and her own fairy and folk tale expertise, Masha approaches each task with wit and confidence. Emily Carroll’s signature spindly and spiky style and mastery of color add another dimension of eeriness and emotional vibrancy to McCoola’s text. 9+ ~Niki *Signed copies*

The Thing about Jellyfish Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316380867
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2015

A dazzling portrayal of one seventh grader’s attempt to cope with the accidental death of her best friend. Suzy, in an effort to explain the inexplicable, hypothesizes that Franny was stung by an incredibly rare jellyfish. Benjamin structures the book like a science report, with each section heading a part of the scientific method that Suzy faithfully follows to prove her conclusion. Readers will learn lots of incredible facts about jellyfish, the natural world, and world-class swimmer Diana Nyad in this fictional novel but also discover the many painful details that strained the relationship between Suzy and Franny leading up to Franny’s death. Suzy’s heartwrenchingly flawed yet wise voice is one to be shared. 8+ ~Niki *Signed copies*

The Marvels Cover Image
By Brian Selznick (Illustrator), Brian Selznick
ISBN: 9780545448680
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Published: Scholastic Press - September 15th, 2015

The perfect holiday gift, The Marvels first astounds and entertains the eye, with its gold and indigo cover reminiscent of vintage volumes with his luminous gilded edges, and then the mind, with its unique format. The first half is told in (mostly) wordless images, and the second half in prose. The first section follows the mythic theatre family, The Marvels, and their reign over London’s theatre scene from the late 18th century on. The second section jumps ahead to the 1990s to tell the story of Joseph, a boarding school runaway who seeks refuge with his idiosyncratic uncle Albert in London. Albert obsesses over the Marvels, and Joseph becomes entangled in solving the mystery of the Marvels: who were they really? Are they his relatives? And how is his uncle connected to them? Selznick confirms his mastery of both art and narrative in his latest endeavor. 8+ ~Niki *Signed copies*