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Our Librarian's 2017 Holiday Shopping List for Lower School Readers

Friday, December 1, 2017

“You forget everything. The hours slip by. You travel in your chair through centuries you seem to see before you, your thoughts are caught up in the story, dallying with the details or following the course of the plot, you enter into characters, so that it seems as if it were your own heart beating beneath their costumes.”


― Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary


This quote about reading from Madame Bovary, one of the many books from this year’s Holiday Shopping Lists, is the perfect summation of what it means to be immersed in reading a book. Several years ago, a parent asked me for some suggestions for a gift of a book. Over the years, my recommendations have grown to the three different lists—one each for Lower School- and Upper School-aged children and another for grown-ups. These are only suggestions, some from my own experience and research and likes as well as recommendations from colleagues and friends. Of course, you are more than welcome to indulge yourself in any or many of these selections and feel “…your own heart beating beneath their costumes” and my favorite part, “…dallying with the details.” If you have any questions about the lists or books, please contact me at jfung@manhattancountryschool.org.

2017 Holiday Shopping List for Upper School Readers

2017 Holiday Shopping List for Grown-Up Readers


 

PB – Picture Book, CB – Chapter Book, GN – Graphic Novel

BraveBrave by Stacy McAnulty - An empowering picture book for all kids that demonstrates to children that they can be real-life superheroes and that all kids have what it takes to be brave. Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are 
afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren't the only ones. Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what's right, even when it means facing consequences. Like superheroes, brave kids can save the world, just by being brave. Thoughtful text from Stacy McAnulty paired with vibrant illustrations from Joanne Lew-Vriethoff encourage kids to be brave in all the ways they can: trying new things, speaking their mind, confronting bullies, and more. This book will inspire kids to follow their hearts and to have courage, no matter the situation. (PB)

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell - Bestselling and award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell uses the ABC's to tell a hilarious, high-energy alphabetical adventure. It starts with an ALLIGATOR and a BEAR chasing a CAT. When a DRAGON (and a chicken and an egg!) join in pursuit, things start to get REALLY interesting. A wild and wacky chase through snow and ice, and to jungles and over mountaintops, leads the whole crew to a wonderful realization: They're better off as friends. From New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Honor recipient Patrick McDonnell comes an exciting new take on the alphabet book for everyone who has ever wondered what's just beyond the front door. (PB)

Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J Muth - Start your engines: The race is on! And Mama Lion and Tigey are off—with their cool goggles and snazzy sports car! Racing teams gather from far and wide for this madcap race. But who will take home the big trophy?  Will it be the playful Flying Pandinis? The mischievous Knitted Monkey crew? Or will Mama Lion and Tigey speed past the finish line in first place? While everyone hopes to win, it's the journey itself—filled with joy, beauty, fun, and friendships—that is the best prize of all. With cars inspired by the early days of Italian motor racing, and characters based on his children's beloved toy animals, Jon J Muth has created a uniquely spellbinding book that readers will return to again and again. (PB)

Baking with Dad by Aurora Cacciapuoti - A girl with scribbly red pigtails, big eyes, and a triumphant grin is delighted to bake a cake with her bald, bearded father. Eggs soar through the air, whisking and mixing take on the feel of a synchronized dance routine, and the two channel Carmen Miranda while gathering fruit as they don grass skirts and shake maracas. The result is a supremely messy kitchen and an over-the-top layer cake, a birthday surprise for a male adult; though he isn’t identified, there’s a clear suggestion that he might also be a father in this family. The sheer exuberance of this joyful tale should send readers straight to the kitchen. (PB)

Double Take! A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood - When it comes to opposites, it's all a matter of perspective! Lively text and fun retro art engage kids in the finer points of a favorite concept. Do you know opposites, yes or no? On. Off. Asleep. Awake. Opposites are a piece of cake . . . right? Not so fast! Time for a quick double take. Who knows what's BIG unless there is SMALL? Does SHORT mean a thing except next to TALL? What is ABOVE and what is BELOW? The answer depends on who wants to know! Writer Susan Hood and illustrator Jay Fleck lead us on a topsy-turvy fun-house journey into the concept of opposites and takes it to the next level—with detours into relative terms and points of view and a dollop of yin and yang for good measure. (PB)

Lines by Suzy Lee - It starts with a line. Whether made by the tip of a pencil
or the blade of a skate, the magic starts there. And magic once again flows from the pencil and imagination of internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee. With the lightest of touches, this masterwork blurs the lines between real and imagined, reminding us why Lee's books have been lauded around the world, recognized on New York Times Best Illustrated Books lists and nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international honor given to children's book creators. This seemingly simple story about a young skater on a frozen pond will charm the youngest of readers while simultaneously astounding book enthusiasts of any age. (PB)

Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker - When Molly and Mae meet at the train station, two journeys begin: a trip through the countryside and an expedition through the highs and lows of friendship. At first the way is scenic and smooth—and then something goes off track. Can Molly and Mae build a bridge of kindness back to each other? Capturing the playfulness, laughter, disagreements, and reconciliations familiar to all relationships, Molly and Mae is a loving portrayal of friendship in its sweetest form. (PB)

Can an Aardvark Bark? By Melissa Stewart - From award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins comes a noisy nonfiction exploration of the many sounds animals make. Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt. Lots of other animals grunt too…Barks, grunts, squeals—animals make all kinds of sounds to communicate and express themselves. With a growling salamander and a whining porcupine, bellowing giraffes and laughing gorillas, this boisterous book is chock-full of fun and interesting facts and is sure to be a favorite of even the youngest animal enthusiasts. (PB)

Give Me Back My Book!By Travis Foster - This book is full of wonderful WORDS and beautiful PICTURES! And it's EXCITING! And it's FUNNY! It might be the BEST BOOK EVER—if we could decide whose book it is. Redd and Bloo explore the way a book is made and accidentally build a friendship, too, in this tale told only in dialogue. Travis Foster and Ethan Long offer a hilarious story about the joy of reading, which brings people together in unexpected ways, proving that each book truly belongs to . . . the people who love it. (PB)

Accident! By Andrea Tsurumi - When a clumsy armadillo named Lola knocks over a glass pitcher, she sets off a silly chain of events, encountering chaos wherever she goes. But accidents happen—just ask the stoat snarled in spaghetti, the airborne sheep, and the bull who has broken a whole shop’s worth of china. In the tradition of beloved books like The Dot and Beautiful Oops, this charming, hilarious debut from author-illustrator Andrea Tsurumi shows that mistakes don’t have to be the end of the world. (PB)

Windows by Julia Denos - Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home. Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night. With a setting that feels both specific and universal and a story full of homages to The Snowy Day, Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale have created a singular book—at once about the idea of home and the magic of curiosity, but also about how a sense of safety and belonging is something to which every child is entitled. (PB)

Where’s Rodney by Carmen Bogan - Rodney is that kid who just can’t sit still. He's inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It’s that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same. (PB)

A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts - Finders keepers, right? When Ruben picks up someone's lost money, he finds out how hard it can be to do the right thing. Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben's mom sends him to Sonny's corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn't have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone's purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it's not one dollar or even five or ten—it's a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio's! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money? Presenting a relatable story told with subtlety and heart, the creative team behind Those Shoes pairs up again for a satisfying new picture book. (PB)

Feathers by Rémi Courgeon - Feather is about a musical girl who is also tenacious, tough, and a real fighter. Living in a household consisting of her father and three brothers, Feather often gets the short end of the stick, meaning the laundry, cooking, and grocery shopping. One afternoon, she gets a black eye and all her plans change. This is a great book about being a girl, taking charge, and realizing your dreams! (PB)

Bertolt by Jacques Goldstyn - This is a charming, touching story about an imaginative boy whose best friend is an oak tree named Bertolt. The boy admits to being an outlier among his peers, but insists that while he is alone, he is never lonely. Being independent suits him, and he considers his difference to be his advantage. A daily refuge is his tree, Bertolt, who provides him a literal and metaphorical vantage point from which to observe the world. Bertolt gives by simply being—he is host to the boy's imaginative adventuring. In springtime, when Bertolt's leaves are abundant and communities of animals make their homes in the tree's nooks and branches, the boy tucks himself away to observe everyday happenings, like the mischievous Tucker twins stealing bottles and the mailman setting down traps. He remains plucky and unbothered, even as he says goodbye to Bertolt for the winter season. After the last frost, when the trees are in bloom, the boy notices that Bertolt is yet bare, and comes to the conclusion that his tree must have died. The boy's strong spirit manifests itself in his desire to honor his friend's life and generosity, revealing to readers the real, sweet mutuality of this friendship. (PB)

The Book of Gold by Bob Staake - Young Isaac Gutenberg isn't a curious boy . . . that is, until he meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold. This special book, hidden somewhere in the world, holds all the answers to every question and turns to solid gold when opened. Isaac is determined to find the book—it will make him rich! He opens many books in his search, but quickly closes them when they don't turn to gold. That changes one day when he opens a book, looks at the page, and a question pops into his mind. From then on, he reads every word. Time passes and Isaac ages, but he still scours dusty attics and flea markets, crisscrossing the world, searching for The Book of Gold. This sweeping picture book asks important questions: Is searching for knowledge better than having it? How important is curiosity? And what makes a life meaningful? (PB)

What Am I Me? By Paige Britt - Presented as a thoughtful, poetic exchange between two characters -- who don't realize they are thinking and asking the very same questions -- this beautiful celebration of our humanity and diversity invites readers of all ages to imagine a world where there is no you or me, only we. If the first step toward healing the world is to build bridges of empathy and celebrate rather than discriminate, Why Am I Me? helps foster a much-needed sense of connection, compassion, and love. (PB)

Miguel and the Grand HarmonyCoco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt De La Peña - Miguel loves music and wants to be a musician more than anything, but his family prohibits him from pursuing his greatest love. La Música, who narrates in the first person, appears at the strum of a guitar, in wedding bells, in a static-y radio, in the strains of a single violin, whirling through town, joining musicians through the plaza, rising and rising, until Miguel’s abuelita storms out of a shop and demands the musicians stop. “You’ll upset Mamá Coco!” They fumble and stumble away. La Música notices a young boy staring at the guitars in the hands of the musicians, longing for music just as she disappears. Each time she appears again, she looks for the boy and finds him, secretly watching musicians on a hidden TV in his play area, “playing” his broom, but just as she’s about to whisper her name in his ear, his family pulls him away. La Música arranges a careful series of events to help Miguel indulge in music, and the surprise ending lingers in the air like an overheard harmony. Readers don’t learn exactly why Miguel’s family has forbidden music, and though this would be puzzling in a stand-alone book, this book is a side story about the characters in Disney Pixar’s Coco. The tenderness and emotional intelligence of this story serves as a great incentive to learn more about Miguel. (PB)

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca - If you like to think big, but some say you’re too small, or they say you’re too young or too slow or too tall...Meet Dr. Bath―the scientist who never lost sight of her dreams! As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered―brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness! The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is the second book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists! In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Dr. Bath herself! (PB)

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Davies - After magnifying the beauty of unseen organisms in Tiny Creatures, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton turn their talents to the vast variety of life on Earth. The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one—including us—is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one? In a beautiful follow-up, the creators of the award-winning Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes deliver an inspiring look at the extraordinary diversity of Earth's inhabitants—and the importance of their preservation. (PB)

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes - The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins. (PB)

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package: Tales from Deckawoo Drive by Kate DiCamillo - What will it take for a cynical older sister to realize she's a born accordion player—with music in her heart? Eugenia Lincoln is a practical person with no time for gee-gaws, whoop-de-whoops, or frivolity. When an unexpected package containing an accordion arrives at her house, she is determined to have nothing to do with it. But her plans to sell the accordion, destroy the accordion, and give the accordion away all end in frustration. How can Eugenia stop being tormented by this troublesome package? Might she discover that a bit of unforeseen frivolity could be surprisingly . . . joyous? (CB)

Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (Dog Man #3) by Dav Pilkey - He was the best of dogs... He was the worst of dogs... It was the age of invention... It was the season of surprise... It was the eve of supa sadness... It was the dawn of hope... Dog Man, the newest hero from the creator of Captain Underpants, hasn't always been a paws-itive addition to the police force. While he can muzzle miscreants, he tends to leave a slick of slobber in his wake! This time, Petey the cat's dragged in a tiny bit of trouble—a double in the form of a super-cute kitten. Dog Man will have to work twice as hard to bust these furballs and remain top dog! (GN)

Brave Red, Smart Frog: A New Book of Old Tales by Emily Jenkins - Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor. There once was a frozen forest so cold, you could feel it through the soles of your boots. It was a strange place where some kisses broke enchantments and others began them. Many said witches lived there—some with cold hearts, others with hot ovens and ugly appetites—and also dwarves in tiny houses made of stones. In this icy wood, a stepmother might eat a girl's heart to restore her own beauty, while a woodcutter might become stupid with grief at the death of his donkey. Here a princess with too many dresses grows spiteful out of loneliness, while a mistreated girl who is kind to a crone finds pearls dropping from her mouth whenever she speaks. With empathy and an ear for emotion, Emily Jenkins retells seven fairy tales in contemporary language that reveals both the pathos and humor of some of our most beloved stories. Charming illustrations by Rohan Daniel Eason add whimsical details that enhance every new reading. (CB)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison - This beautifully illustrated book introduces reader of all ages to 40 women who changed the world. Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things—bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn't always accept them. (Non-fiction)

Mama Africa: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song by Kathryn Erskine - Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award–winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid―a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations. Set defiantly in the present tense, this biography offers readers an intimate view of Makeba’s fight for equality. Kathryn Erskine’s call-and-response style text and Charly Palmer’s bold illustrations come together in a raw, riveting duet of protest song and praise poem. A testament to how a single voice helped to shake up the world―and can continue to do so. (PB)

The New Kid: The Carver Chronicles by Karen English - Third-grader Gavin and his friends aren’t sure what to make of the new boy in their class, Khufu. He sure doesn’t look or act like the other kids . . . and they suspect that he stole Gavin's bike! Meanwhile, Gavin’s Great-Aunt Myrtle is coming to stay with his family again, and Gavin is sure she’ll be teaming up with his big sister to boss him around the whole time. Offering spot-on storytelling, relatable characters and situations, and plenty of action, this gently humorous story about a diverse group of elementary-schoolers shows that even someone who seems strange can turn out to be a good friend, if you give them a chance. (CB)

I’m No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grownups by Chris Harris - Meet Chris Harris, the 21st-century Shel Silverstein! Already lauded by critics as a worthy heir to such greats as Silverstein, Seuss, Nash and Lear, Harris's hilarious debut molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way. With enthusiastic endorsements from bestselling luminaries such as Lemony Snicket, Judith Viorst, Andrea Beaty, and many others, this entirely unique collection offers a surprise around every corner: from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem, to the rhyming fact-checker in the footnotes who points out when "poetic license" gets out of hand. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, bestselling creator of beloved hits like It's a Book and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. It's a mischievous match made in heaven! (Poetry)

Charlie and Mouse and Grumpy by Laurel Snyder - In this heartwarming sequel to Laurel Snyder's beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers enjoy a special visit from their grandpa, Grumpy. Follow along as they discuss being medium, pounce each other, sing the wrong songs, build blanket forts, and more. Paired with effervescent illustrations by Emily Hughes, this touching, funny celebration of imagination and bonding will enchant readers young and old. (CB)

Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson - Tired of being bullied, middle-school underdogs "Pottymouth" and "Stoopid" finally fight back with the power of funny. David and his best friend Michael were tagged with awful nicknames way back in preschool when everyone did silly things. Fast-forward to seventh grade: "Pottymouth" and "Stoopid" are still stuck with the names--and everyone in school, including the teachers and their principal, believe the labels are true. So how do they go about changing everyone's minds? By turning their misery into megastardom on TV, of course! And this important story delivers more than just laughs—it shows that the worst bullying doesn't have to be physical...and that things will get better. (CB)

Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic by The British Library -  As the British Library unveils a very special new exhibition in the UK, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, readers everywhere are invited on an enchanting journey through the Hogwarts curriculum, from Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology to Defense Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, and more in this book uncovering thousands of years of magical history. Prepare to be amazed by artifacts released from the archives of the British Library, unseen sketches and manuscript pages from J.K. Rowling, and incredible illustrations from artist Jim Kay. Discover the truth behind the origins of the Philosopher’s Stone, monstrous dragons, and troublesome trolls; examine real-life wands and find out what actually makes a mandrake scream; pore over remarkable pages from da Vinci’s notebook; and discover the oldest atlas of the night sky. Carefully curated by the British Library and full of extraordinary treasures from all over the world, this is an unforgettable journey exploring the history of the magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. (Non-fiction)

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag - Thirteen-year-old Aster is of age to find the animal that will deem him worthy to take its shape as a shape-shifter. There’s just one problem. Aster doesn’t want to shape-shift—he wants to do witchery, which is forbidden for boys. Aunt Vervain teaches witchery to the girls, and Aster hides, taking careful notes—but he’s caught. His mother tells him a family secret: his grandmother’s male twin was attracted to witchery. After dabbling in forbidden magic, he morphed into something terrible, caused a disaster in their village, and was cast out. Though Aster’s horrified, he can’t resist practicing magic alone in the woods. To his delight, it works, but he’s seen by Charlie, a black girl from outside his community, and eventually she becomes the confidante and adviser he’s needed. On the night of the Finding, a boy is taken by a mysterious creature. Aster knows he can help with witchery, but he’d have to admit how much he’s learned. Ostertag’s story is straightforward, acting as a parable for gender conformity that’s pitched just right to middle-grade audiences. Her panels are clear, colorful, and friendly, and her worldbuilding flawless, Aster’s magic-working community sitting cheek by jowl with Charlie’s suburb. Characters are all different races: Aster’s mother appears white, his father appears Asian, and Aster has darker skin than his mother but has her red hair. With charming artwork, interesting supporting characters, natural-feeling diversity, and peeks of a richly developed world, this book leaves readers wishing for more. (GN)

Strong in the New PrettyStrong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker - Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100-percent themselves. Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images. A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person. (Non-fiction)

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins - In the irresistible first novel by the author of The Hunger Games, a boy embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny —and find his father. New cover art coming July 1st! In the first novel of the New York Times bestselling series by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, young Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building and hurtles into the dark Underland. This strange world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it—until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever. (CB)

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill - From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own. (GN)

The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos - In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone's only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he'll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild. But just as it seems the boys' dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild. Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.This start of a thrilling new series is sure to be a hit with readers who like their fantasies clever and action-packed, with tons of humor and heart. (CB)

Wonderlingby Mirá Bartok - Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name—a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck—it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home's loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name—Arthur, like the good king in the old stories—and a best friend. Using Trinket's ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur's true destiny. Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this high adventure fantasy is the debut novel of award-winning memoirist Mira Bartók and has already been put into development for a major motion picture. (CB)

The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley - The worlds of three Harlem kids collide in an intriguing historical mystery. Jin spends most afternoons minding Halmoni and Harabeoji's bodega until a mysterious black girl from her class sticks a free MetroCard to a jar of pickles. Cautious but intrigued, the Korean-American girl confronts Alexandra at school to try and join in on the secret acts of charity. Although Alex has enjoyed her independent, low-key philanthropy, meeting Jin helps her expand her good deeds around the neighborhood. On their way to drop food off at the homeless shelter, a small black boy in an oversized coat attempts to steal a loaf of bread. Elvin's failed bread-heist introduces him to two new, generous friends. When he shares that his grandfather fell into a coma after an attack in the community garden where a rare painting was found, the trio sets out to unearth the truth. Tarpley welds the past and present perceptions of Harlem in her latest book. Jin, Elvin, and Alex cherish their community while respecting their different approaches to justice for its residents. The history, urban planning, and out-of-touch politics wrapped around the neighborhood can be applied to any inner city. The young detectives' curiosity, passion, and belief in one another carry the plot smoothly from start to finish. A story that motivates justice and inspires kindness, this will have readers hoping for another outing with these appealing protagonists. (CB)