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Merry Reading, 2018!

December 15, 2017

School Library Journal is a trove of literacy treasures from the newest book reviews to library news. I have the privilege of subscribing thus staying abreast of the best books available and current library trends. In each issue, there are dozens of recommended books listed for each age group, but I narrowed the list to share with you. Most selections are scheduled for release early 2018, but no worries. You can pre-order the book and have it delivered to your house the first day of availability.  A fun way to build excitement toward reading in your home is to share the following images and summaries with your family and order one, or more, that sparks interest.  Then, count down the days upon arrival! If you can't wait for delivery and looking for last minute gifts, be sure to peruse through previous posts or click the links to BRIGHTLY at the end of this blog.

 

I hope you find the perfect books for your growing readers and for yourself. Happy Christmas and Merry Reading for 2018!

 

Click images to purchase at discount prices through Leana's Books and More

 

Picture Books:

 

Ages Toddler-Preschool

Every child who has ever crept up behind someone and shouted "roar!" will enjoy this utterly adorable story with a gentle final twist. Everyone knows that tigers are sleek, silent, and totally terrifying . . . most tigers, that is. 

 

Little Choo wants to be just like his dad, Papa Pufferbelly, but there's more to becoming Big Choo than he ever expected! He'll need all of his bravery, speed, strength, and smarts to roll on the main line. And Little Choo learns the biggest lesson of all, that if at first you don't succeed, maybe try a different way, but always try again!

 

Ages PreSchool-Grade 2

The rain had stopped and the sun was coming out. And Ava knew that meant one thing…A RAINBOW!

And not just any rainbow—this was the most beautiful rainbow Ava had ever seen. She wished that it could stay up in the bright sky forever. When the rainbow was still there the next day, and the next day, Ava realized it was true—the rainbow had decided to stay! Everyone loved the rainbow as much as Ava. And she was happy.

But when people start to lose interest in the rainbow, Ava learns that sometimes the rare and special things in life are the most valuable and precious of all.

In the tradition of Alison McGhee's Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.

 

By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn't matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn't matter how many legs you have.

 

Don't worry that there won't be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.

 

Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain.

A simple housecat named Simon encounters some bigger cats: Lion, Puma, Panther, Tiger, and Cheetah. Each of the big cats has something to say about Simon not being "cat" enough. According to them, he just doesn't measure up. He doesn't have Lion's mane or Cheetah's spots. He doesn't sleep in trees like Panther or climb mountains like Puma. He's small and fuzzy, not big and strong. But ultimately, Simon shows the big cats that he's just like them . . . only smaller.

A celebration of both individuality and community, I Am a Cat is a strong debut that shows we're all more alike than we think . . . if we look closely enough.

A visit to the library can be full of surprises. When the librarian is late for story time, the children go off to look for her and follow mysterious paw prints to find a bear sitting at her desk. Is the bear a new librarian? Not exactly. The new LiBEARian opens a book about bears and utters a loud growl. The kids love it Then the real librarian appears and sends the bear back into the book he came from. A fun twist at the end rounds out this winsomely illustrated tale of a universal childhood experience--story time at the library--infused with magic.

 

Chapter Books:

Gr.1-3

Late one evening as the stars begin to twinkle, Harper and her friends are flying on the scarlet umbrella when they see a girl running on air, skipping along a tightrope. She leads them to the Circus of Dreams, suspended in the air by hot air balloons.

 

There, they meet the mermaid acrobat, the spectacular circus baker, the mysterious fortune teller and the acrobatics troupe, all more spectacular than one could dream.

 

But as they learn more about the Circus of Dreams, Harper learns a secret about her past that is more than magic. . . .

 

Harper and the Circus of Dreams continues the adventures of Harper and her friends in a magical mystery like no other. An enchanting story of friendship, music, and magic featuring a diverse cast, brought to life through stunning illustrations, this is a book to be shared and treasured.

 

Two pugs. One beloved toy bunny. What could go wrong?
Sunny's new little sister, Rosy, is getting her paws into everything. When Rosy takes Sunny's favorite toy, Mr. Bunny, and loses him, Sunny is barking mad. 
But when Rosy sets off on her own to find and rescue Mr. Bunny, Sunny starts to worry. Rosy's never been outside by herself before. Sunny will have to gather all the canine courage she has and go after them -- before Rosy and Mr. Bunny are both lost fur-ever 

 

 Gr. 2-5

It's the first week of school, and Peachy couldn't be happier. This year, she can finally join the school newspaper She's always pictured herself as a star reporter, writing articles that make a difference. But when Peachy goes to sign up--and drags her hyper best friend, Keen, along with her --- they learn that the paper has shut down for good. No one's reading the news anymore Peachy is crushed. 
Just then, Keen gets a text alert, and Peachy's wheels start turning. What if the newspaper were published to student's tablets Peachy is determined, and Keen is hungry --okay, kind of determined but mostly hungry--and they set off to make it happen. But most of the students they try to recruit are more interested in other clubs, and all of the teachers are too busy to be their advisor. Plus, Peachy & Keen get in a huge fight. Will Purrfect 9 Magazine be doomed before it even begins--along with their friendship?

Animal lover and kid scientist Olga is back Great for fans of the acclaimed graphic novels Real Friends and Invisible Emmie.

In this second installment of a series Franny K. Stein creator Jim Benton called "great, kooky, monstrous fun," Olga wants to leave earth in search of Meh's home planet, but first she'll have to discover why Meh is acting so strange.

Olga: We're Out of Here is jam-packed with facts and fun: Elise Gravel's classic comic illustrations, hilarious word bubbles, space travel facts, and a diverse cast of memorable characters.

Brightly.com put Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere on their "Ultimate Summer Reading List for 9- to 12-Year-Olds."

And Kirkus said of it: "A visually interesting mix of illustration and story, punctuated by numerous lists, comic panels, and cartoon diagrams and led by a smart female protagonist. A bubble-gum crowd pleaser with wide audience appeal."

 

Middle Grade:

Gr. 4-6

A room locked for fifty years.
A valuable peacock ring.
A mysterious brother-sister duo.
Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She's hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together. 
While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward -- and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist 
But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?

 

Gr. 3-6

Your name is Fidge and you're nearly eleven. You've been hurled into a strange world.
You have three companions: two are unbelievably weird and the third is your awful cousin, Graham. You have to solve a series of nearly impossible clues.
You need to deal with a cruel stuffed animal dictator and three thousand Wimbley Woos (yes, you read that sentence correctly). 
And the whole situation -- the whole, entire thing -- is your fault. 
Wed Wabbit is an adventure about friendship, danger, and the terror of never being able to get back home again. And it's funny. It's seriously funny.

 

Gr. 4-7

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

 

Donovan Curtis has never been what anyone would call "gifted." But his genius friend Noah Youkilis is actually supergifted, with one of the highest IQs around. After years at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, all Noah dreams of is the opportunity to fail if he wants to. And he's landed in the perfect place to do it--Donovan's school.

Almost immediately, Noah finds himself on the wrong side of cheerleading captain Megan Mercury and alpha jock Hash "Hashtag" Taggart. Sticking up for Noah lands Donovan in the middle of a huge feud with Hashtag. He's told to stay away from the sports star--or else.

That should be the end of it, but when a freak incident suddenly makes Donovan a hero, he can't tell anyone about it since Hashtag is involved. So Noah steps in and becomes "Superkid." Now he's gone from nerd to titan at school. And it may have gone more than a little bit to his head.

This funny and heartwarming sequel to Ungifted, which has become a word-of-mouth hit, cleverly sends up our ideas about intelligence, heroism, and popularity.

 

Young Adult:

Gr. 7 and Up

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens' classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the "proper" life she has built for herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn't like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can't seem to escape her past ... or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London's East End to become the adopted "nephew" of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his "aunt" are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is a jacketed hardcover with decorative embossing.

 

No Filter is a 40-day devotional that will gives girls a glimpse into the lives of 1 Girl Nation as Lindsay, Carmen, Kayli, and Lauryn Taylor share what they have discovered about live, love, identity, faith, and so much more. The common theme running through their stories is how their relationship with Christ has taught them to live with authenticity. Their hope is that more girls will discover the freedom of living with No Filter.

In a culture obsessed with picture perfect moments, it's tempting to present only the best of ourselves to the world around us. We put filters on our images, brush away imperfections and anxiously await affirmation from others. But this is not how we were created to live. We were made to thrive in the freedom of grace. We were made to shine in the light of infinite love. We were made to live beautifully authentic lives. Only when we see ourselves through the lens of God's truth can we truly know what it means to walk this journey with confidence and purpose.

 

Gr. 8 and Up

 

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

 

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
The city's elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most nefarious criminals.

 

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.
The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

 

In this second DC Icons book--following Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer--Bruce Wayne is proof that you don't need superpowers to be a super hero, but can he survive this game of tense intrigue, pulse-pounding action, and masterful deception?

 

Make reading a family event this Holiday Season. Click the links below for more gift ideas!

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for 6-to 8- Year-Old Readers

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for 9- to 12-Year-Old Readers

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Book-Crazy Teens

 

New Adult Books to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

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