Jackson and his family are homeless again and may be forced to live in their mini-van. Crenshaw is an imaginary friend who helps Jackson deal with the troubles he and his family are facing. Applegate’s treatment of homelessness and its effect on families is sensitive and compassionate. This book will shed light on a serious problem facing many families. While serious, the book manages to find the humor and joy in life and in friendships both real and imaginary. Grades 4 through 6.
Rick Riordan is back with another series sure to delight his young fans. The Sword of Summer is the first book in a new trilogy by this perennial favorite author among middle grade readers. Magnus Chase, orphaned and alone lives on the streets of Boston. When a distant uncle tracks him down to tell him he is the son of a Norse God his adventure begins. Filled with humor, trolls, giants, monsters, villains and heroes this book will have readers wanting more. Grades 4 through 6.
Fannie Lou Hammer was the youngest of 20 children born to sharecroppers in Mississippi. She became a champion of the Civil Rights movement and the Freedom Summer of 1964. She even spoke at the Democratic National Convention. This richly illustrated picture book introduces readers to an amazing and unforgettable woman and celebrates the spirit of the Civil Rights movement. All ages.
When a squirrel finds an acorn in the woods he claims it for himself calling out “‘Finder Keepers!” He marks the spot with his red hat. When the wind blows the hat away where will it land? Each page in this delightful picture book shows a new woodland animal with the red hat. And the hat has many uses. Will the squirrel find his acorn again? And his hat? With a twist at the end, this book is sure to become a favorite. Ages 2-6
What do you do when your best friend moves far away? In this charming picture book, Maine author and illustrator Russ Cox shows readers how to channel sadness and boredom into something out of this world. Sheldon and his dog Jet decide to build a rocket ship. Young readers will delight in their adventures. A fun read-aloud best for children ages 4-8.
Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor
As the title suggests, this is a picture book of nature’s contrasts. Explore visual paintings of animals active during the day (diurnal), those active at night (nocturnal), and those that are active at twilight/sunrise (crepuscular). This would be a very useful classroom resource with which kids can identify creatures, both familiar and unfamiliar, and can compare and contrast. Also useful are the latter “Fun Facts” which include additional information pertaining to the animals depicted in the book. Appropriate for children ages 3-5
Noisy Bird Sing-Along by John Himmelman
Connect kids with nature and get in tune with the noises and calls generated by various birds. This is sure to make readers and listeners hoot with laughter! This is not only a fun story, but it is also a great introduction for young children to informational books and to develop their active listening skills. Appropriate for children ages 4+
With a team composed of mice brothers, Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Mo, little sister Flo feels compelled to give them a hand in their search to catch a tiger by a toe. Molk has a fresh, engaging, and clever spin on this classic nursery rhyme that is full of humor, sibling escapades, and action. Appropriate for children ages 3+
Cast Off by Eve Yohalem
Avid fans of authentic historical adventure will be captivated by Yohalem’s rich details portraying mutinous life on board a merchant ship in the seventeenth century, and completely satisfied with its high seas adventure and two energetic, tween-aged main characters.
Petra and her family were once wealthy in Amsterdam but with the recent absence of her mother, her father has regresses into an abusive alcoholic, and life turned a bit darker for Petra. She escapes this reality and enters another by stowing away on a ship heading to the East Indies. She is discovered by Bram, an illegitimate boy of mixed-race heritage whose sole desire is to work hard for the ship’s captain, who might in turn, legitimize papers for Bram’s heritage so as to permit him to travel into Europe to learn more of his parents. Shared in alternating points of view, find out who gets keelhauled, how they fare when battling pirates, and if the captain survives a mutinous crew in this nautical-rich story. Appropriate for children ages 10+
Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala
Chronicled by Talia’s tween voice, this story is both expressive and haunting. Following her dear mother’s battle with cancer, Talia is begrudgingly towed from her beloved home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts to Churchill, Manitoba in Canada due to her father’s annual whale watching assignment, where he can study beluga whales. Because there is no one to watch Talia while her father is away on this dangerous mission, she is informed that she must stay with Sura, a local Inuit woman, whom Talia’s never met before in this isolated, arctic landscape. Fearful of losing her father as well, and unsuccessfully trying to heal with her mother’s “jar of secret wishes”, Talia’s quiet, contemplative story is alive with vivid descriptions as Hautala explores growing pains, loss, grief, and shares a quiet message that is quite healing. Appropriate for children ages 9+