• Middle Grade Books Coming Out in 2021 That I'm Looking Forward to! Middle Grade Anticipated Releases for January-March - Middle Grade books coming out in January 2021, February 2021 and March 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  middle grades

    Anticipated Middle Grade Releases: June-December 2021

    At the beginning of the year I shared a list of middle grade books releasing for the first few months of the year and now I wanted to do a new list for books releasing in the second half of the year!

    I really like middle grade books as an adult which I think is a good thing because then I can proof-read a lot of books for my kids.

    There are a number of books coming out in the next few months that are a continuation of a series and I’m doubly excited about most of these because they are in series that I’ve really been enjoying.

    Before we dive into the list though, I want to give an honorable mention to The Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery, I recently read this book and it just came out in April but I didn’t have it on my previous anticipated releases list because I didn’t know about it then. If you have a kid that likes mysteries, that one was a lot of fun!

    If you know about more middle grade books that are being released in the next half of the year, let me know!

     

    Middle Grade Books Coming Out in 2021 That I'm Looking Forward to! Middle Grade Anticipated Releases for June-December - Middle Grade books coming out in the second half of 2021

     

    Anticipated Middle Grade Releases: July-December 2021

     

    JUNE 2021 RELEASES

     

    We are Dude Perfect fans in our family so this one is on our to-buy list!

     

    Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff

    You may know Dude Perfect from their mind-blowing, world record-breaking, viral trick shot videos and hilarious Overtime videos! NOW, with the guys’ new, massive, photo-intensive book Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff, you’ll experience a behind-the-scenes look at their stunts and their personal lives, PLUS step-by-step instructions so you can attempt their tricks at home!

    At Dude Perfect, we do everything we can to bring families closer together, and that’s why we’re excited to share this book with you. Follow our step-by-step instructions to have your own Dude Perfect–style fun!

    Tweens and teens, ages 8 to 12, will enjoy complete panda-monium with this in-depth look at Dude Perfect: five guys who are kickin’ it, throwin’ it, tossin’ it, and shootin’ it for more than 55 million YouTube subscribers and more than twelve billion views.

    With an oversize format and fun, informative graphics, Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff includes . . .

    • Step-by-step instructions to perform your own real life trick shots using everyday objects.
    • A behind-the-scenes view of those hilarious Overtime videos and extreme sports moments.
    • Dude Perfect teaching about what a blast patience, perseverance, teamwork, friendship, and faith can be.
    • Fun science facts behind the seemingly impossible tricks—because really, how did they do that?!
    • Infographics with “No way!” truths from the inspirational to the absurd.
    • A deeper look into each Dude’s personal life, including stats, favorite stunts, and insights.

    Each trick in Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff is the perfect combination of challenging and doable to keep your young reader off-screen for hours. This interactive book is a great gift for birthdays, Easter baskets, holiday gift giving, or just because.

    Whether your own trickster wants to perform solo, challenge a friend, or host a family date night, this visually engaging book is a slam dunk for anyone who is young at heart.

     

    JULY 2021 RELEASES

    I can tell you right now, I have a kid that I plan on buying this for and then having them use it in our homeschool in the fall.

     

    Anxious For Nothing: For Young Readers

    Written for kids ages 8-12, this Bible-based book draws on content from Max Lucado’s bestselling book Anxious for Nothing to help young people overcome the anxiety and pressures of today’s world and come to a deeper understanding of God’s constant, loving presence.

    In this chaotic age of social media, packed schedules, and an increasing awareness of the world’s problems, it’s normal for young people to feel overwhelmed sometimes. But the good news of the gospel has not changed. This encouraging, let’s-start-now book is the perfect tool to help tweens take control of their feelings and choose to focus on God’s truth.

    This much-needed book adapts content from You Are Not Alone as well as from Anxious for Nothing, which has sold over 900,000 copies. With the warmth and authenticity that has made him a beloved pastor and writer, Max Lucado offers young readers:

    • biblical hope and powerful strategies to help them flourish under the mounting struggles of the middle grade years
    • encouragement that God is near, He cares, and He listens
    • truths to claim for themselves in difficult moments
    • practical ways to work through their worries and rely on God’s faithfulness

    This special edition of Anxious for Nothing also includes:

    • a note to kids from the author
    • age-appropriate application questions, journal prompts, and activities that guide kids in Christ-focused mindfulness
    • callouts and infographics featuring key verses, facts, and takeaways
    • sidebars addressing technology-related stress

    Practical, motivating, and biblically grounded, Anxious for Nothing (Young Readers Edition) is a timely book for any tween who sometimes feels overwhelmed, lonely, or anxious, or who simply wants to know more of God’s abundant joy and peace.

     

    AUGUST 2021 RELEASES

     

    The Enola Holmes series is in the upper middle grade range in my opinion but I have read the first book and really enjoyed it. I’m actually planning on reading the rest of the series this summer in anticipation of this release!

     

    Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

    Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

    The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

     

    My kids love the I Survived series and have learned so much history as a result. I love that they are coming out with a graphic novel of this one!

     

    I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

    A gripping graphic novel adaptation of Lauren Tarshis’s bestselling I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001, in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

     

    The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan. The next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again. Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series comes to vivid life in bold graphic novels. Perfect for readers who prefer the graphic novel format, or for existing fans of the I Survived chapter book series, these graphic novels combine historical facts with high-action storytelling that’s sure to keep any reader turning the pages. Includes a nonfiction section at the back with facts and photos about the real-life event.

     

    SEPTEMBER 2021 RELEASES

     

    Oh man, the first book, Pax, had me tearing up, I’m slightly afraid what this one will do to me (in a good way, mostly).

     

    Pax, Journey Home

    It’s been a year since Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have seen each other. Once inseparable, they now lead very different lives.

    Pax and his mate, Bristle, have welcomed a litter of kits they must protect in a dangerous world. Meanwhile Peter—newly orphaned after the war, racked with guilt and loneliness—leaves his adopted home with Vola to join the Water Warriors, a group of people determined to heal the land from the scars of the war.

    When one of Pax’s kits falls desperately ill, he turns to the one human he knows he can trust. And no matter how hard Peter tries to harden his broken heart, love keeps finding a way in. Now both boy and fox find themselves on journeys toward home, healing—and each other, once again.

     

    Brian Selznick’s books are so unique! They are massively thick but that is because more than have the pages are sketches. And not just illustrations to enhance the story, many of the pages tell the story in between the text pages. I am so excited that he is coming out with another book!

     

    Kaleidoscope

    A ship. A garden. A library. A key. In Kaleidoscope, the incomparable Brian Selznick presents the story of two people bound to each other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their relationship is a mystery about the nature of grief and love which will look different to each reader. Kaleidoscope is a feat of storytelling that illuminates how even the wildest tales can help us in the hardest times.

     

    Possibly my favorite book find this year has been this series! Inspired by young Agatha Christie, Aggie Morton is a mystery solver! I love the line up of characters/suspects at the beginning of each book, it’s such a fun addition.

     

    Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden

    Aspiring writer Aggie Morton is ready to enjoy an invigorating trip to a Yorkshire spa, where her widowed mother can take the waters and recover from a long mourning period. Having solved yet another murder and faced extreme peril with her best friend Hector over Christmas, Aggie’s Morbid Preoccupation is on alert when rumors abound about the spa’s recently deceased former patient . . . and then another body appears under mysterious circumstances. Together with Grannie Jane, and often in the company of George, a young patient at the spa, Aggie and Hector take a closer look at the guests and staff of the Wellspring Hotel, and venture into the intriguing world of the local undertaker. Has there been a murder—or even two? As Aggie and Hector ignite their deductive skills, their restful trip takes a sudden, dangerous turn.

     

    OCTOBER 2021 RELEASES

     

    Admittedly, I’ve only read book one in this series and this is book five coming out this fall but the first book was a five star for me and I’ve heard such good things about the rest of the series. Mostly from my daughter, it’s her favorite series of all time.

     

    The Shattered Castle

    King Jaron has outwitted the Prozarians and returned to his own kingdom with one secret in his pocket that not even his friends know about. He’s hoping that secret will help him finally bring stability to Carthya.

    But a surprise attack on his own land — on the castle itself — reminds Jaron that nothing is easy. The Prozarian Monarch threatens to crumble Jaron’s entire kingdom. And that’s not the only thing in danger: With old enemies and new rumors circling around him, even Jaron’s relationship with Imogen is uncertain.

    This former False Prince will need his best tricks and many allies at his side to hold Carthya together.

     

    Like Aggie Morton, Myrtle Hardcastle is another middle grade mystery series I found and have loved this year! And I really appreciate the puns in each of the titles in this series.

     

    Cold-Blooded Myrtle

    Myrtle Hardcastle—twelve-year-old Young Lady of Quality and Victorian amateur detective—is back on the case, solving a string of bizarre murders in her hometown of Swinburne. 

    When the proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead on the morning his annual Christmas shop display is to be unveiled, it’s clear a killer had revenge in mind. But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant? Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist. When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the display to foretell the crime, Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a cold case—and the motivations of a modern murderer. 

     

    Leave a comment below if you know of other middle grade books coming out in the second half of 2021!

  • 12 of the best middle grade books being released in 2021 from March through to June
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  middle grades

    12 of the Best Middle Grade Releases 2021: March – June

    There are so many good sounding books coming out this year!

    I keep thinking I’ve heard of them all when new ones are announced.

    There are lots of middle grade books being released from March through to June but these are ones that I’ve heard about and are currently on my radar. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means.

    I shared a list of books coming out from January through to March already. And then I saw more March releases so I have added them to this list.

    Are there some middle grade books you know of coming out in the next few months that sound good? Let me know so I can read them!

    If you are interested in picture books, I’ve been making monthly lists of anticipated releases:

     

    12 of the best middle grade books being released in 2021 from March through to June

     

    12 of the Best Middle Grade Releases 2021: March – June

     

    The Elephant in the Room

    March 2nd

    It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

    The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

     

    Houdini and Me

    March 2nd

    Eleven-year-old Harry Mancini is NOT Harry Houdini–the famous escape artist who died in 1926. But Harry DOES live in Houdini’s old New York City home, and he definitely knows everything there is to know about Houdini’s life. What is he supposed to do, then, when someone starts texting him claiming that they’re Houdini, communicating from beyond the grave? Respond, of course.

    It’s hard for Harry to believe that Houdini is really contacting him, but this Houdini texts the secrets to all of the escape tricks the dead Houdini used to do. What’s more, Houdini’s offering Harry a chance to go back in time and experience it for himself. Should Harry ignore what must be a hoax? Or should he give it a try and take Houdini up on this death-defying offer?

    Dan Gutman is the award-winning author of series including My Weird SchoolThe Genius Files, and the baseball card series, including Honus & Me. He uses his writing powers for good once again in this exciting new middle grade novel.

     

    Across the Pond

    March 16th

    Callie can’t wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she’s going to live in a real-life castle!

    But as romantic as life in a castle sounds, the reality is a little less comfortable: it’s run-down, freezing, and crawling with critters. Plus, starting off on the wrong foot with the gardener’s granddaughter doesn’t help her nerves about making new friends. So she comes up with the perfect solution: she’ll be homeschooled. Her parents agree, on one condition: she has to participate in a social activity.

    Inspired by a journal that she finds hidden in her bedroom, Callie decides to join a birding club. Sure, it sounds unusual, but at least it’s not sports or performing. But when she clashes with the club leader, she risks losing a set of friends all over again. Will she ever be able to find her flock and make this strange new place feel like home?

     

     

    Wicked Epic Adventures: Another Wallace the Brave Collection (Volume 3)

    March 23rd

    The world of Wallace The Brave is one of imagination, discovery, and wonder, as Wallace and his friends explore the coastal surroundings of Snug Harbor, Rhode Island, uncovering new mysteries, adventure, and mischief wherever they turn. Brought to life by the wonderfully detailed ink-and-watercolor art of Will Henry, Wallace The Brave (named the 2018 Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year) will delight young readers as well as their parents, who will recognize a camaraderie and heart similar to classic strips like Calvin & Hobbes.

     

    Science Comics: The Digestive System: A Tour Through Your Guts

    March 23rd

    In Science Comics: The Digestive System, visit the inside of your mouth, stomach, liver, intestines, and other organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract! Your guide to the gut is a friendly bacterium who will take you on a journey beyond imagination. Uncover how food is transformed into nutrients! Explore strange and dangerous glands! Behold the wonders of saliva, mucus, and vomit! Writer Jason Viola and illustrator Andy Ristaino provide a trip to the toilet you will never forget!

    Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic―dinosaurs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, robots, and more! Whether you’re a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these graphic novels are for you!

     

    This is a new series that sounds really good!

    The Case of the Missing Cheetah (Secret Spy Society)

    March 23rd

    The first book in a highly illustrated new chapter book series about three delightfully mischievous young girls and some of the most enigmatic women in history who worked as spies.

    It’s a dark and stormy night when three sleuthing little girls get pulled into a web of mystery. They have mistakenly uncovered a secret society of some of the most famous female spies in history. A glamorous spy named Josephine Baker enlists the girls to find out who has kidnapped Chiquita, her precious pet cheetah. Do the girls have what it takes to become spies themselves?

    Debut author-illustrator Veronica Mang has created a playful pastiche full of masters of disguise, martial artists, codebreakers, and double agents in the first of this new illustrated chapter book series. Secret Spy Society: The Case of the Missing Cheetah introduces young readers to three delightfully mischievous girls and some of the most enigmatic and unforgettable women in history.

     

    We Belong

    March 30th

    Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.

     

    I read the first book in this series last month and plan on reading the second this month so I can be ready for book three when it’s out!

    The Messengers (Greystone Secrets #3)

    April 6th

    As book three of the Greystone Secrets series opens, the Greystone kids have their mother back from the evil alternate world, and so does their friend Natalie. But no one believes the danger is past.

    Then mysterious coins begin falling from unexpected places. They are inscribed with codes that look just like what the Greystones’ father was working on before he died. And with the right touch, those symbols transform into words: PLEASE LISTEN. And FIND US, SEE US, HELP US. . . .

    The coins are messengers, telling the Greystones and their allies that their friends in the alternate world are under attack—and that the cruel, mind-controlling forces are now invading the better world, too.

    After another spinning, sliding journey across worlds, the Greystone kids must solve mysteries that have haunted them since the beginning: what happened when the Gustanos were kidnapped, what created the alternate world, and how a group of mismatched kids can triumph once and for all against an evil force that seems to have total control.

     

    How did I not know that the author of one of my favorite picture books, Extra Yarn, had a history mystery series??? I need to read these asap.

    Mac B.: Kid Spy – Mac Saves the World

    May 4th

    The Queen of England calls on her trusty spy, Mac B., once again. This time, Mac must navigate secret tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall in order to retrieve cheat codes from a Soviet scientist. Floppy disk in hand, our hero finds himself trapped in East Germany, stuck between the wall and the Stasi. How will he escape? Well it is 1989, and walls do fall down.

     

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy

    May 4th

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy is an accessible book for children to learn about systemic racism and racist behavior. For the awkward questions white and non-black parents don’t know how to answer, this book is an essential guide to help support communication on how to dismantle racism amongst our youngest generation.

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy creates a safe, judgment-free space for curious children to ask questions they’ve long been afraid to verbalize. How can I have white privilege if I’m not wealthy? Why do Black people protest against the police? If Black people can say the N-word, why can’t I? And many, many more.

    Young people have the power to affect sweeping change, and the key to mending the racial divide in America lies in giving them the tools to ask honest questions and take in the difficult answers. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy is just one way young readers can begin to short circuit racism within their own lives and communities.

     

    Sunshine

    May 18th

    Set in the northern Minnesota wilderness, a timeless novel about a boy and his imaginary dog explores the legacy of guilt and blame—and what really constitutes a family.

    Newbery Honoree Marion Dane Bauer evokes the “summer that changed everything” in the life of a boy growing up without a mother. Since as far back as Ben can remember, it’s been him, his devoted dad, and Sunshine—Ben’s little dog, who rarely leaves Ben’s side. It was Mom who did the leaving, and Ben’s about to spend a whole week with his suddenly present mother in the wilds of northern Minnesota. On the remote island she calls home, Ben will learn to camp, canoe, weather the elements, and weigh a burning question: when will she come back to where she belongs? A must-read for dog lovers, children of divorce, and the imaginative and outdoorsy, Sunshine is a poignant, ultimately hopeful story about self-discovery, facing big realities, and finally, forgiving the things—and people—you can’t forget.

     

    I enjoyed book one of this series and need to continue on!

    The Map of Stories (Pages & Co. #3)

    June 1st

    Tilly and Oskar embark on an impromptu trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in search of an elusive group of bookwanderers called the Archivists, who they believe are the key to restoring the balance and saving the British Underlibrary.

    Along the way, the friends realize that something strange is happening in the world of bookwandering: books are disappearing, people are forgetting their favorite stories, and stories are trying to drag Tilly into them.

    With a mysterious set of clues and some surprising new faces, Tilly and Oskar will need the help of some of their dearest fictional friends to be able to solve the mystery . . . and save bookwandering forever.

     

    If you are looking for similar lists, here are some to check out:

  • New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

    March is another great month for new picture book releases!

    I have enjoyed making these monthly lists again this year. In case you missed it, you can see the picture books I have been excited to read with my kids from previous months:

    And if you have kids that read middle grade (or are an adult that reads middle grade, I am!) here are some new releases for middle grade books as well.

    If you know of any good books being published this year I would love it if you would let me know, I would like to check them out!

     

    New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

     

    You Were Created

    March 1st

    When Justice approaches her teacher, Ms. DoWright, with tears in her eyes, upset about a recent argument with friends, an important conversation about kindness and acceptance is immediately underway in this faith-based children’s book, You Were CreatedYou Were Created, by Alicia Kennedy, shares the heartfelt story about a group of children who discover that their differences embody special qualities God has created in them to make them unique. Readers will learn the valuable lesson that they were created with purpose, especially for this world, and will be encouraged to embrace one another’s differences, a timeless lesson all children deserve to uncover.

    Allergic: A Graphic Novel

    March 2nd

    A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

     

    At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with the new baby they’re expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

    Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

     

     

    If You Give a Girl a Bike

    March 8th

    If you give a girl a bike, she will ride and ride and ride. She may also ask for a skateboard, climbing shoes, and a surfboard!

    Follow these adventurous girls as they learn new sports. They may fall every now and then, but they aren’t afraid of a few scrapes or bruises!

     

    The Story of Anne Frank: A Biography Book for New Readers

    March 9th

    Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who lived during World War II, when people like her were killed just for being Jewish. Anne and her family were forced to hide in a tiny, secret space to try and survive, and Anne began keeping a diary to practice her love of writing and pass the time.

    In her writing, she described what life was like as a Jewish person during the war. She also wrote about her hopes, dreams, and the future she wanted when she could live a normal life again. Even though she was scared, Anne believed in the goodness of people and never gave up hope that life would get better again.

     

    Kafka and the Doll

    March 9th

    Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers. In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks.

    The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.

     

    Cartwheels: Finding Your Special Kind of Smart

    March 9th

    Lively Sloane loves to make up dances, put on shows, and do art. But as she heads into first grade, nothing frustrates her more than reading. In math, the numbers go together right in her brain, but no matter how hard she looks at letters, and no matter how many times her teacher and parents say “focus,” she would much rather do cartwheels. She feels sad that she isn’t keeping up with her class and isn’t reading the “right way.” Then, she finds out that she has dyslexia. Join Sloane on her journey to learn to read, gain confidence, and find her own special kind of smart.

     

    I grew up on the Highlights Hidden Picture pages and I want to get this book for nostalgia’s sake but also because I think my kids would really like it!

    The Hardest Hidden Pictures Book Ever

    March 9th

    Hidden Pictures puzzles just got even harder! This collection includes all types of challenging Hidden Pictures puzzles, including photo puzzles, puzzles without clues, unscrambles, and more. Find more than 1,500 objects hidden in 125+ pages of puzzles. A great gift for anyone who loves a puzzle challenge!

     

    Little Dandelion Seeds the World

    March 15th

    Did you know dandelions thrive on all seven continents? The cheery blooms are among the most resilient and adaptable in the world. In this lyrical book, learn how the crafty plant travels on the wind and hitches rides in all manner of ways in order to spread far and wide. Includes a map and backmatter on dandelions.

     

    Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up

    March 16th

    After a long sleepy winter, the trees, flowers, and animals are getting ready for a busy spring. Discover all the different ways nature wakes up when spring arrives in this fresh and fun story of a family exploring their garden. 

    With further non-fiction information about animals and plants at the back, this picture book is the perfect introduction to the science behind spring.

     

    Coquí in the City

    March 16th

    Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him–including the love he has for Coquí–wherever he goes.

    A heartfelt picture book based on the author-illustrator’s own experiences, about a boy who moves to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico and realizes that New York City might have more in common with San Juan than he initially thought.

     

    My Little Brave Girl

    March 23rd

    The world is big, my little brave girl.
    It’s all here for you.
     
    A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl—or woman—is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

     

    Watercress

    March 30, 2021

    Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.

    At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.

     

    Hugo and the Impossible Thing

    March 30th

    Hugo has one goal – to conquer the Impossible Thing.

    At the edge of the forest stood the Impossible Thing. All the animals in the forest often wondered what was beyond the Impossible Thing, but since everyone said getting through it would be impossible, no animal ever tried.
     
    Until a brave little dog named Hugo decides he just might be up to the challenge. With determination and some unexpected help from his friends, Hugo learns that what may seem impossible might just be possible after all.

     


     

    Once again, here are some more great lists of books being released this year:

  • 2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

    I’m excited to share a list of books that are coming out in February that sound really good!

    In case you missed it, I recently shared a post that had January’s new picture book releases as well as middle grade novels that are being released in the first few months of 2021.

    Once again, I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so.

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

     

    2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

     

    Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket

    February 1st

    Sadie Sprocket is a girl with a big dream—to go to Mars! No one has been to Mars (yet!), so of course that’s where Sadie sets her sights. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals. Together they build a rocket and prepare for the historic journey. And then finally—blastoff!

    Sadie and her team make it to Mars, but what will they encounter when they leave the ship? And will they travel home safely as the world watches?

    With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. The book includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.

     

    I loved Miracle Man by this author and am excited to get my hands on this one!

    Go and Do Likewise!: The Parables and Wisdom of Jesus

    February 2nd

    But Jesus was going somewhere.
    His journey to find those most in need of him began anew each morning.
    Jesus walked . . . and ever since, people have followed him.
     
    Through parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, the lost sheep and the beatitudes, Jesus taught his disciples the redeeming power of sacrificial love and showed mercy to everyone around him—especially the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden.
     
    In this inspirational and richly illustrated book, John Hendrix brings to life the wisdom of Jesus. Interweaving hand lettering with his signature, award-winning art style, Hendrix captures the spirit of Jesus’s timeless message that will resonate with readers of any Christian faith.

     

    Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

    February 2nd

    Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

    News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.

     

    Love Gave: A Story of God’s Greatest Gift

    February 2nd

    From author and spoken word artist Quina Aragon comes this one-of-a-kind poetic picture book for children. Love Gave tells the story of the incarnation and the good news of Jesus Christ in language kids can understand.

    Children will hear how God created us to be His friends, but because of sin, we were separated from Him. Out of love, God gave us Jesus who died and rose again to solve our sin problem and restore our friendship with God.

    The final page provides a clear explanation of the gospel and an invitation for children to trust their heart to God and accept His gift of eternal fellowship. This is a book your whole family will enjoy and is sure to become a favorite for years to come.

     

    What’s Inside A Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature

    February 2nd

    Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers–from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry.

    In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers.

     

    Goodnight, Astronaut

    February 2nd

    Scott Kelly was born for adventure. But exploring takes a lot of enery–and sleep is the super fuel to turbocharge dreams. Luckily, sleeping can be exciting if you’re drifting off in the right place.

    Scott has fallen asleep at the bottom of the ocean, in the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet, in a yurt on Mount Everest, and of course in space! Join Scott on his many adventures, and maybe they’ll inspire dreams of your own!

     

    The Secret Fawn

    February 2nd

    A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard — is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

     

    Flashlight Night: An Adventure in Trusting God

    February 2nd

    Flashlight Night is narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose?

    When the boy worries that God isn’t responding to his prayers, he and his mom climb the stairs and visit the chalkboard wall at nighttime with a flashlight. She shines the light on some prayers and turns it off at other times, pointing out that the prayer (and his faith) is still there, and in God’s hands.

    “Sometimes we see His yes,” Mom says.
    “And sometimes we just don’t.
    But just because it hasn’t happened,
    doesn’t mean it won’t.”

    Even when it’s dark and dim
    and when I cannot see,
    I choose to place my trust in Him
    And I know God’s close to me.

     

    How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten): A Polite Predators Book

    February 2nd

    Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions — many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans.

     

    Milo Imagines the World

    February 2nd

    Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.

     

    The Owl Who Asks Why

    February 2nd

    Little Owl and Little Wolf have so many questions for their parents. “Why can’t we move our eyes?” “When will I no longer be a pup?” But owls don’t ask “Why?” They ask “Whooo?” And wolves don’t ask “When?” They ask “Hoooow?” Mom and Dad say it’s silly to even consider asking those sorts of questions.

    Feeling teased and misunderstood, Little Owl and Little Wolf decide to run away from home for good. After straying too far from the path, the pair discovers that they’re lost in the forest and begin to wonder if they’ve made the right decision by leaving the pack. Little Owl and Little Wolf realize that the only way to make it back to their families is to not be afraid to ask the right questions, their own way.

     

     

    Paris by Phone

    February 9th

    When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafés, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can’t wait to show her around.

    The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There’s something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine’s best–her own mother?

     

    Headstrong Hallie!: The story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard”

    February 15, 2021

    Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn’t afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn’t hire women, thinking they couldn’t handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn’t know Hallie or how determined she could be.

    This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.

     

    Shy Willow

    February 16th

    Willow is shy. VERY shy.

    Her home is in an abandoned mailbox, and she’d rather stay put. Outside kids scream and soccer balls collide, trees look like monsters, and rain is noisy in a scary kind of way. It’s much nicer to stay inside, drawing. But then a young boy drops a letter in Willow’s mailbox: it’s a note to the moon asking for a special favor. Willow knows that if she doesn’t brave the world outside, the letter will never be delivered, and the boy will be heartbroken. Should she try? Can she?

    Cat Min delivers a breathtakingly illustrated story about shyness, the power of empathy, and what it means to make a friend.

     

    Mars! Earthlings Welcome

    February 23rd

    Meet Mars! The red planet. Planet Marvelous. Favorite sibling of Earth (or so he claims). Sometimes they’re close (just 34.5 million miles apart). Sometimes they need space (250 million miles apart)! Earth and Mars have a lot in common―clouds, mountains, polar icecaps. And while Earth has Earthlings, Mars makes a persuasive case for why people should make the journey to spend time with him. His day is 7 minutes longer! He is home to the largest volcano in the whole solar system. He’s, well, marvelous.

  • January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

    Last week I shared a list of middle grade books coming at in the first few months of the year and this week I thought I would share some new picture book releases that sound really good.

    Originally I was going to make this list include picture books that were coming out January through to March but I got started with the list and realized there were enough good sounding books to make separate monthly lists!

    I actually did this a few years ago and so I guess this year I am bringing back the monthly picture book releases lists.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so!

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

    I’ll have the list of February picture books up in about two weeks so be sure to check back soon!

     

    January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

     

    I am raising three different kids from three different races, we love to recognize and celebrate the differences.

    Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

    January 5th

    A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

    Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.

     

    This book looks so cozy!

    Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness

    Behold, the powers of your blanket are REAL.

    Readers will learn how to make their own snuggly, cuddly cocoon and all the things you can do when you feel safe and warm. Your blanket might take you to space, under the deep blue sea, or anywhere you can imagine. But what happens when you leave your blanket? Not knowing is scary, but also exciting!
     
    This adorable and exuberant story is filled with open-ended questions that encourage readers to be true to themselves, both inside and outside of their blankets.

     

    I can totally picture my daughter on the cover of this book.

    Outside, Inside

    January 5th

    Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.

    Everybody who was outside . . .

    . . . went inside.

    Outside, it was quieter, wilder, and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, and we grew.

    We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us.

    While the world changed outside, we became stronger on the inside and believed that someday soon spring would come again.

     

    I like owls and I like picture books that have lots of facts and good information.

    So You Want to Be an Owl

    January 12th

    Welcome to Owl School! Professor Olaf Owl is here to tell you everything you need to know about being an owl, from hunting to camouflage to seeing in the dark. Study hard, and soon you’ll be a first-rate member of Team Owl! This engaging nonfiction picture book is full of vibrant, humorous illustrations and owl lessons that will have readers eagerly practicing their hoots, toe swivels, and alertness (even if they can’t grow feathers).

     

    I’m excited for another great sounding picture book biography!

    She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer

    January 19th

    Ever since Williamina Fleming was little she was curious, and her childhood fascination with light inspired her life’s work. Mina became an astronomer in a time when women were discouraged from even looking through telescopes. Yet Mina believed that the universe, with its billions of stars, was a riddle—and she wanted to help solve it.

    Mina ultimately helped to create a map of the universe that paved the way for astronomers. Newbery Honor–winning Kathryn Lasky shares her incredible true story.

     

    I love helping my children have a strong vocabulary and this book sounds like a good one for it!

    Seaside Stroll

    Go on a snowy, sandy shore walk in a story where every single word starts with the letter S!

    Explore the beach in winter in this story told through clever language. During a sunset beach saunter, a girl stumbles and drops her doll into a tidal pool. Soaked! Celebrating the natural silence of an off-season location, the surf and sand are brought to life through this engaging story.

     

    Oooh, this is a good one after the last year!

    Windows

    January 19th

    Out the window, I can see
    a new world looking back at me.
    The streets are still,
    there are no crowds …
    but looking up, I see the clouds.

    Told through the voices―and windows―of children from around the world, this story’s comforting message and bright illustrations bring hope into your home even as our world changes outside. The book’s beautiful design reveals similarities―“In different windows everywhere, I see rainbows, hearts, and teddy bears”―that can comfort and unite us, even in hard times.

    Author Patrick Guest was inspired to write this story when he was forced to isolate from his family as a medical worker. His lyrical writing gives hope to our shared experience. In addition, Jonathan Bentley, award-winning illustrator of more than 30 children’s books, infuses the book with warmth and delight.

    When you look out your window, don’t forget that we’re all looking out―together.

     

    This one sounds really sweet.

    Love

    January 19th

    Everyone loves everyone in Tess’s house, but when Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family’s love might not stretch that far. Mom explains that love is like a string, it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings! Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky. But what happens when a string breaks?

    Love is the third in a trio of feel-good picture books from author Corrinne Averiss (Joy (2018), Hope (2019)) – a pure delight from start to finish. A wonderful story that subtly tackles difficult topics of death, grief, separation, and overcoming anxiety.

     

    Bear Island

    January 26th

    Louise and her family are sad over the loss of their beloved dog, Charlie. “Life will not be the same,” Louise says, as she visits a little island that Charlie loved.

    But on a visit to the island after Charlie’s death, something strange happens: She meets a bear. At first, she’s afraid, but soon she realizes that the bear is sad, too. As Louise visits more often, she realizes that getting over loss takes time. And just when she starts to feel better, it’s time for Bear to bed down for the winter.

    Once again, Louise believes that life will not be the same. But sometimes, things can change for the better, and on the first warm day of spring, her family welcomes a new member. Here is a lovely, poignant story about loss and healing that will bring comfort to even the youngest readers.

     

    Marsha is Magnetic

    January 26th

    Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped.
     
    Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method.
     
    With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong?

    In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

     

     

    As someone who is NOT a hugger I want this book for myself!

    Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It)

    January 26th

    Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.

     

    A Best Friend for Bear

    January 26th

    Bear is in his room. He is sad. He wants a best friend to play with. “Go outside,” says Daddy. “You’ll meet a friend to play with.”
    Bear takes his ball and goes to the forest. But where will he find a best friend? He looks everywhere(behind the trees, between bushes, etc.).
    Rabbit sees Bear and Bear says he is looking for a best friend. So Rabbit joins in on the search. Owl flies down and asks what they are doing.

    So Owl joins in the search but only sees Fox & thinks she can help. Squirrel sees them and she joins in the quest to go to Fox.
    Badger is the last one to join them. But when they got to Fox’s house, Fox tells them Owl was wrong and she doesn’t know where to find a best friend.

    Bear is sad. As he sits on the rock, Squirrel tells him he is not alone, all the animals are there. Bear thinks about it and he lights up. He realizes he not only found one best friend but 5!

     

    What’s the Matter, Marlo?

    January 26th

    Marlo and Coco are best friends. They do everything together―they read together, laugh together, and play games together. After all, they’re best friends. And that’s what best friends do.

    But one day, when Coco asks Marlo to play, he doesn’t answer. Instead, Marlo turns away ignoring Coco, until he’s lost in his anger. Coco is worried about her friend, but then she remembers she can always find Marlo.

    In this charming, thoughtful picture book, author-illustrator Andrew Arnold explores empathy and sadness, and how friends can help each other navigate big emotions. Because that’s what best friends do.

     

    We just spent all of November and December listening to Rend Collective’s A Jolly Irish Christmas Volume 2 album and so now I want to visit Ireland and this book sounds like a fun alternative for the moment.

    The Great Irish Farm Book

    January 31st

    Everything your child needs to know about Irish farms!

    Did you know that there are almost 2,000,000 pigs in Ireland?

    And that sheep have rectangular pupils, which means they have amazing vision?

    Would you believe only 10 per cent of the milk produced in Ireland is consumed here?

    And that hens are pregnant for 21 days, but a horse can be pregnant for up to 345 days?

    How about the fact that despite our love of spuds, grass is Ireland’s top crop, covering 3,700,000 hectares, while potatoes cover only 9,000 hectares?

    From the farmer’s day to the changing of the seasons, from animals and crops to machinery and technology, and from ancient times to the modern day, The Great Irish Farm Book will take you on a fascinating journey through life on an Irish farm.

     

    Do you know of any good sounding picture books coming out in January? (Or other months of the year?)

    Check back soon for February’s list!

  • Middle Grade Books Coming Out in 2021 That I'm Looking Forward to! Middle Grade Anticipated Releases for January-March - Middle Grade books coming out in January 2021, February 2021 and March 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  middle grades

    Anticipated Middle Grade Releases in 2021: January-March

    For the first time this year I am paying attention to release dates of new books.

    I am blaming it on the fact that for the last year I have been in the depths of BookTube sharing about what I’ve been reading and hearing about the books everyone else is excited about.

    I shared on my YouTube channel about some of the books I am excited to read in the first bit of this year and I thought it would be fun to make a list of solely middle grade books that are coming out this year that I am excited about.

    Obviously I’ve never read any of these books before so I can’t say they are great but they are either on this list because the description sounds really good or I’ve read something by the author or a previous book in the series. I’ll try to make share why each book sounds interesting to me.

    Do you know about any good sounding middle grade books that are coming out this year? If I’ve missed a good one, let me know! I would also love to hear if there are some from this list that sound good to you!

     

    Middle Grade Books Coming Out in 2021 That I'm Looking Forward to! Middle Grade Anticipated Releases for January-March - Middle Grade books coming out in January 2021, February 2021 and March 2021

     

    Anticipated Middle Grade Releases in 2021: January-March

     

     

    I love Gary D. Schmidt’s writing and am looking forward to this book!

    JUST LIKE THAT

    January 5th, 2021

    Following the death of her closest friend in summer 1968, Meryl Lee Kowalski goes off to St. Elene’s Preparatory Academy for Girls, where she struggles to navigate the venerable boarding school’s traditions and a social structure heavily weighted toward students from wealthy backgrounds. In a parallel story, Matt Coffin has wound up on the Maine coast near St. Elene’s with a pillowcase full of money lifted from the leader of a criminal gang, fearing the gang’s relentless, destructive pursuit. Both young people gradually dispel their loneliness, finding a way to be hopeful and also finding each other.

     

     

    I’m always drawn to middle grade books with kids that like science because both of my kids love it!

    Clues to the Universe

    January 12, 2021

    The only thing Rosalind Ling Geraghty loves more than watching NASA launches with her dad is building rockets with him. When he dies unexpectedly, all Ro has left of him is an unfinished model rocket they had been working on together.

    Benjamin Burns doesn’t like science, but he can’t get enough of Spacebound, a popular comic book series. When he finds a sketch that suggests that his dad created the comics, he’s thrilled. Too bad his dad walked out years ago, and Benji has no way to contact him.

    Though Ro and Benji were only supposed to be science class partners, the pair become unlikely friends: Benji helps Ro finish her rocket, and Ro figures out a way to reunite Benji and his dad. But Benji hesitates, which infuriates Ro. Doesn’t he realize how much Ro wishes she could be in his place?

    As the two face bullying, grief, and their own differences, Benji and Ro must try to piece together clues to some of the biggest questions in the universe.

     

     

    We listened to Barbara O’Connor’s “Wish” as a family and love it. I’m hoping this one is just as good!

    Halfway to Harmony

    January 12, 2021

    Walter Tipple is looking for adventure. He keeps having a dream that his big brother, Tank, appears before him and says, “Let’s you and me go see my world, little man.” But Tank went to the army and never came home, and Walter doesn’t know how to see the world without him.

    Then he meets Posey, the brash new girl from next door, and an eccentric man named Banjo, who’s off on a bodacious adventure of his own. What follows is a summer of taking chances, becoming braver, and making friends―and maybe Walter can learn who he wants to be without the brother he always wanted to be like.

    Halfway to Harmony is an utterly charming story about change and growing up.

     

     

    This book sounds fun, it reminds me a lot of the game, Outfoxed, my kids have played for years, I especially think my son will like this one.

    The Animal Rescue Agency #1: Case File: Little Claws

    January 12, 2021

    When an animal is in trouble, there’s only one place to turn: the Animal Rescue Agency!

    Dashing Esquire Fox used to organize the world’s most elaborate chicken raids until the day she encountered Mr. Pepper. Meeting the blustery old rooster changed her heart, convincing her to turn from a life of crime and instead form the Animal Rescue Agency, which masterminds rescue operations across the globe.

    Esquire and her unlikely chicken business manager coordinate their far-flung agents to get them to the Arctic. In that frozen land they learn that what happened to the polar bear cub was no accident—and that saving him will pit them against the scariest predator in the world: a human.

     

     

    I love dystopian books plus it sounds like this one is written in verse!

    Alone

    January 12, 2021

    When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

    With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.

    As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?

     

     

    This is a debut novel that I’m interested in!

    365 Days to Alaska

    January 19, 2021

    Eleven-year-old Rigel Harman loves her life in off-the-grid Alaska. She hunts rabbits, takes correspondence classes through the mail, and plays dominoes with her family in their two-room cabin. She doesn’t mind not having electricity or running water—instead, she’s got tall trees, fresh streams, and endless sky.
     
    But then her parents divorce, and Rigel and her sisters have to move with their mom to the Connecticut suburbs to live with a grandmother they’ve never met. Rigel hates it in Connecticut. It’s noisy, and crowded, and there’s no real nature. Her only hope is a secret pact that she made with her father: If she can stick it out in Connecticut for one year, he’ll bring her back home.
     
    At first, surviving the year feels impossible. Middle school is nothing like the wilderness, and she doesn’t connect with anyone . . . until she befriends a crow living behind her school. And if this wild creature has made a life for itself in the suburbs, then, just maybe, Rigel can too.

     

     

    My daughter loves fantasy books so I’m always looking for new ones for her to read!

    Amari and the Night Brothers

    January 19, 2021

    Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

    So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

    Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

     

     

    This is book five in the Greenglass House series – I’ve only read book one but I enjoyed it!

    The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book: A Greenglass House Story

    February 23, 2021

    The rain hasn’t stopped for a week, and the twelve guests of the Blue Vein Tavern are trapped by flooded roads and the rising Skidwrack River. Among them are a ship’s captain, tattooed twins, a musician, and a young girl traveling on her own. To pass the time, they begin to tell stories—each a different type of folklore—that eventually reveal more about their own secrets than they intended.

    As the rain continues to pour down—an uncanny, unnatural amount of rain—the guests begin to realize that the entire city is in danger, and not just from the flood. But they have only their stories, and one another, to save them. Will it be enough?

     

    This is book three in the series. Rae loved book one and got book two for Christmas.

    Never Grow Up

    February 23rd

    When Kari Baxter is assigned an essay about what she wants to be when she grows up, her mind goes blank. She doesn’t want to grow up; she wants everything to stay just like it is. But Kari comes to realize that while making time stand still isn’t possible, she can enjoy every moment with her best family ever.

    Meanwhile, Ashley Baxter feels the same way. She is worried her siblings are growing up too fast. When she wins the role of Wendy in her school performance of Peter Pan, Ashley gets an idea. Maybe she and her siblings can pledge to never grow up at all!

    This third story in the Baxter Family Children series shares the reassuring message that even though growing up can be tough, family and friends are always there with support and love.

     

     

    Jennifer A. Nielsen has really proven herself as an author to me so I’m excited about this one!

    RESCUE 

    March 2

    Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon’s father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he’ll never return. All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there’ll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all.

    Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg’s lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother’s barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to neutral Spain, whereupon one of them has promised to free Meg’s father. Captain Stewart was meant to take that family on their journey, but too injured to complete the task himself, he offers it to Meg, along with a final code from Papa to help complete the mission — perhaps the most important, and most difficult, riddle she’s received yet.

    As the Nazis flood Meg’s village in fierce pursuit, she accepts the duty and begins the trek across France. Leading strangers through treacherous territory, Meg faces danger and uncertainty at every turn, all the while struggling to crack her father’s code. The message, as she unravels it, reveals secrets costly enough to risk the mission and even her own life. Can Meg solve the puzzle, rescue the family, and save her father?

     

     

    This is book two in a series, so we’ll check out book one first but this one sounds fun!

    WINTERBORNE HOME FOR MAYHEM AND MYSTERY

    March 2

    Five orphans. Two sword-wielding vigilantes. One mansion. No rules.

    April thought she had her happy ending. After all, she has her new house and new friends and new guardian. But she also has a very big new secret.

    The kids of Winterborne House are the only ones who know that Gabriel Winterborne—famous billionaire and terrible cook—is really a sword-wielding vigilante.

    What they don’t know is that he’s not the only one.

    When a masked figure breaks in, looking for something—or someone—it’s clear that Gabriel has met his match, and now no one is safe. April and her friends will have to solve a decades-old mystery in order to hang on to the most important thing in the world: each other.

     

    Golden Gate

    March 16th

    After thwarting a notorious villain at an eco-summit in Paris, the City Spies are gearing up for their next mission. Operating out of a base in Scotland, this secret team of young agents working for the British Secret Intelligence Service’s MI6 division have honed their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

    Fourteen-year-old Sydney is a surfer and a rebel from Bondi Beach, Australia. She’s also a field ops specialist for the City Spies. Sydney is excited to learn that she’ll be going undercover on the marine research vessel the Sylvia Earle. But things don’t go exactly as planned, and while Sydney does find herself in the spotlight, it’s not in the way she was hoping.

    Meanwhile, there’s been some new intel regarding a potential mole within the organization, offering the spies a lead that takes them to San Francisco, California. But as they investigate a spy who died at the Botanical Gardens, they discover that they are also being investigated. And soon, they’re caught up in an exciting adventure filled with rogue missions and double agents!

    This mission is hot! The City Spies are a go!

     

     

    I am so very excited about this book, we love The Wingfeather Saga!!

    Wingfeather Tales: Seven Thrilling Stories from the World of Aerwiar

    March 23, 2021

    Immerse yourself in a land of bomnubbles and quarreling cousins, sea dragons and book publishers, thieves and Fangs and secret maps. Here within these pages lie six stories of the distant past, lost adventures, forgotten songs, and heartbreaking histories. The Shining Isle is restored, but Aerwiar is vast–and these authors have tales yet to tell:

        Explore the inner walls of Yorsha Doon, just West of the Woes of Shreve, on the edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, from the eyes of young Safiki in “The Prince of Yorsha Doon” from the creator of Aewiar, Andrew Peterson.
        Jennifer Trafton’s warm and whimsical writing brings to life a publishing nightmare populated by the many beasts of Skree in “The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe.”
        Learn the origins of Ollister Pebmrick’s mysterious entry in the Creaturepedia about his encounter with a raggant in “Willow Worlds” by N. D. Wilson.
        Travel with young Podo Helmer on an epic hunt for sea dragons in “From the Deeps of the Dragon King” from A. S. Peterson.
        Jonathan Rogers presents “The Ballard of Lanric and Rube,” sung by Armulyn the Bard, tale-spinner of the imaginary Shining Isle of Anniera, in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.
        Discover what life was like for Maraly and Gammon in post-war Skree in “Shadowblade and the Florid Sword”—the first-ever Wingfeather comic—by Andrew Peterson.
        Douglas McKelvey’s epic, heartbreakingly hopeful novella “The Places Beyond the Maps” recounts a father’s journey to redemption.

    You’ll also find delightful illustrations by Justin Gerard, Hein Zaayman, Cory Godbey, John Hendrix, Nicholas Kole, Aedan Peterson, Joe Sutphin, Jay Myers, and Doug TenNapel.

    Enter a rich, imaginative world that becomes more real, more mysterious, more dangerous, and more beautiful with each story’s telling.