Hidden Gems of July

July 16th, 2017 by

These past few weeks have been just AWESOME for new releases. We’ve got the conclusion to Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series, Worlds Collide. Serafina is back in Serafina and the Splintered Heart, courtesy of Robert Beatty. Even Geronimo Stilton sailed in at the end of June in The Ship of Secrets. But if you’re interested in reading about completely new characters and plots, there’s something for everyone!

Check out these three hidden gems of the summer (official descriptions from the book publishers):

If you shout “Hooray!” for Historical Fiction:

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English

It’s 1965, Los Angeles. All 12-year-old Sophie wants to do is write her book, star in the community play, and hang out with her friend Jennifer. But she’s the new black kid in a nearly all-white neighborhood; her beloved sister, Lily, is going away to college soon; and her parents’ marriage is rocky. There’s also her family’s new, disapproving housekeeper to deal with. When riots erupt in nearby Watts and a friend is unfairly arrested, Sophie learns that life — and her own place in it — is even more complicated than she’d once thought.

If you’re in the Contemporary Fiction Club:

You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis

Twelve-year-old Olivia Hales has a foolproof plan for winning a million dollars so that she and her little sister, Berkeley, can leave behind Sunny Pines Trailer Park.

But first she has to:
· Fix the swamp cooler and make dinner and put Berkeley to bed because her mom is too busy to do all that
· Write another letter to her dad even though he hasn’t written back yet
· Teach Berk the important stuff, like how to make chalk drawings, because they can’t afford day care and Olivia has to stay home from school to watch her
· Petition her oddball neighbors for a circus spectacular, because there needs to be something to look forward to at dumb-bum Sunny Pines
· Become a super-secret spy to impress her new friend Bart
· Enter a minimum of 14 sweepstakes a day. Who knows? She may already be a winner!

Olivia has thought of everything… except herself. Who will take care of her when she needs it? Luckily, somewhere deep down between her small intestine and stomach is a tiny voice reminding her that sometimes people can surprise you — and sometimes your family is right next door.

If you’re a Fantasy Fanatic:

The Song From Somewhere Else, written by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold

Frank thought her summer couldn’t get any worse — until big, weird, smelly Nick Underbridge rescues her from a bully, and she winds up at his house.

Frank quickly realizes there’s more to Nick than meets the eye. When she’s at his house, she hears the strangest, most beautiful music, music which leads her to a mysterious, hidden door. Beyond the door are amazing creatures that she never even dreamed could be real. For the first time in forever, Frank feels happy… and she and Nick start to become friends.

But Nick’s incredible secrets are also accompanied by great danger. Frank must figure out how to help her new friend, the same way that he has helped her.

Personally, I’m the most excited about You May Already Be a Winner… but let’s face it, The Song From Somewhere Else and It All Comes Down to This are both getting onto my to-read pile. How about you? Leave a comment below about the book you’re most excited to read!

— Nancy

Nancy would very much like to win the lottery so she can spend all of her time reading and hanging out on the Internet. She would also buy a bakery and eat cake. Lots of cake.

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Book Quote Trivia Quiz

June 18th, 2017 by

Ahem. Can we all agree that highlighters are super fun and the best stationery thingy? Okay, maybe highlighters are tied with a multiple color click pen. But definitely in the Top 10 on a back-to-school shopping list. Well, one of my favorite things to do when I read is highlighting interesting sentences in a book*. I even do this when I read ebooks on my computer or smartphone!

*Only do this with your own books, obviously. Only monsters highlight library books! Don’t be a monster.

Could you recognize a book by just one, two, or three sentences? Take this quiz and find out!

"In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."

"Monday morning found Tom miserable."

"You can always trust a dog that likes peanut butter."

"I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that."

"'Is the spring coming?' he said. 'What is it like?'"

"Some people spend all their time on a vacation taking pictures so that when they get home they can show their friends evidence that they had a good time. They don't pause to let the vacation enter inside of them and take that home."

"People are more than just the way they look."

"When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running towards is an illusion."

"Sitting in cold wet britches for an hour was no fun even in a magic kingdom."

"'Words,' he said, 'is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life.'"

 

— Nancy

Confession: Nancy would have gotten a 0/10 on this quiz if she hadn’t written it herself.

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New Summer, New Books: June 2017 New Releases

June 4th, 2017 by

If the sun blasting into my window has anything to say about it, it’s SUMMER! Do you have your summer reading book list all set? If not, you’ve come to the right place: Here’s a list of new books releasing in June.

You might be indignantly waving your summer reading list at your screen… Well, get ready to make room for some additions! My personal top picks are noted with a ❤️ … but everything on this list is bookshelf worthy!

Note: This list features stand-alone novels and does not include any sequels in well-known series. I would love to go on and on and on about my excitement over Jaleigh Johnson’s The Quest to the Uncharted Lands (second companion book to The Mark of the Dragonfly) and others, but then you’d be reading this blog post until July.

Click on the plus signs next to the book titles to read the full descriptions from the publishers:

Don’t Drink and Read: Laughing Causes Milk Out the Nose

  

❤️ Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten
 Lint Boy and Lint Bear live in their cozy dryer home, carefree and happy — until the day Lint Bear is snatched away by a cruel woman with a vendetta against dolls! Can Lint Boy unite a group of lost dolls to vanquish the villain and save his brother?

This magical story is showcased in the stunning full-color art of this young graphic novel. A gently gothic, age-appropriate blend of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, Lint Boy is a compelling tale of good vs. evil that will leave readers spellbound.

Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

David and his best friend Michael were tagged with awful nicknames way back in preschool when everyone did silly things. Fast-forward to 7th grade: “Pottymouth” and “Stoopid” are still stuck with the names — and everyone in school, including the teachers and their principal, believe the labels are true.

So how do they go about changing everyone’s minds? By turning their misery into megastardom on TV, of course! And this important story delivers more than just laughs — it shows that the worst bullying doesn’t have to be physical… and that things will get better.

Official Notice to Parents:
There is no actual pottymouthing or stupidity in this entire book!
(Psst, kids: That second part might not be entirely true.)

The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr by Lucie Papineau and Caroline Hamel

North America, late 19th century: A little boy is born whose destiny will prove exceptional. Traveling across the Northeast, he will show extraordinary physical strength. Soon, his exploits will spread around the North American continent, then Europe, making him truly the strongest man in the world!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, open this book and be amazed by this incredible story!

These Main Characters Could Be Your BFFs

  

❤️ Let’s Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker

If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, 6th grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent.

But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met — she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze.

Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes?

Superstar by Mandy Davis

Lester’s first days as a 5th grader at Quarry Elementary School are not even a little bit like he thought they would be — the cafeteria is too loud for Lester’s ears, there are too many kids, and then there’s the bully.

Lester was always home-schooled, and now he’s shocked to be stuck in a school where everything just seems wrong. That’s until he hears about the science fair, which goes really well for Lester! This is it. The moment where I find out for 100% sure that I won.

But then things go a bit sideways, and Lester has to find his way back. A touching peek into the life of a sensitive autism-spectrum boy facing the everydayness of elementary school, Superstar testifies that what you can do isn’t nearly as important as who you are.

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

David Da-Wei Horowitz has a lot on his plate. Preparing for his upcoming bar mitzvah would be enough work even if it didn’t involve trying to please his Jewish and Chinese grandmothers, who argue about everything. But David just wants everyone to be happy.

That includes his friend Scott, who is determined to win their upcoming trivia tournament but doesn’t like their teammate — and David’s best friend — Hector. Scott and David begin digging a fallout shelter just in case this Cold War stuff with the Soviets turns south… but David’s not so convinced he wants to spend forever in an underground bunker with Scott. Maybe it would be better if Hector and Kelli Ann came with them. But that would mean David has to figure out how to stand up for Hector and talk to Kelli Ann. Some days, surviving nuclear war feels like the least of David’s problems.

The Last Page Might May You Say, “Whoa.”

  

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker

When Felix Yz was 3 years old, a hyperintelligent 4th-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix — now 13 — won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them… but it may end up killing them both instead.

This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual — time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?

Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too.

❤️ The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu

Clover and Danny are the kind of best friends who make each other even better. They’re so important to each other that Clover believes they’re symbiotic: her favorite science word, which describes two beings who can’t function without the other. But when Danny comes down with a mysterious illness that won’t go away, the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. So Clover decides to take matters into her own hands by making lists — list of Danny’s symptoms, his good days, his bad days.

As the evidence piles up, only one thing becomes clear: Danny is only better when Clover is around.

Suddenly it feels like time is running out for Clover and Danny to do everything they’ve planned together — to finally see snow, to go on a trip with the suitcase they picked out together. Will science be able to save Danny, or is this the one time when magic can overcome the unthinkable?

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it’s even more important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik — a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out, is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: The Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.

Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made — and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.

My Summer Vacation: (Vicarious) Heart-Pounding Adventures

  

Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman

Mystery turns to mortal danger as one young man’s quest to clear his father’s name ensnares him in a net of deceit, conspiracy, and intrigue in 1750s England.

Caleb has spent his life roaming southern England with his Pa, little to their names but his father’s signet ring and a puppet theater for popular, raunchy Punch and Judy shows — until the day Pa is convicted of a theft he didn’t commit and sentenced to transportation to the colonies in America. From prison, Caleb’s father sends him to the coast to find an aunt Caleb never knew he had. His aunt welcomes him into her home, but her neighbors see only Caleb’s dark skin. Still, Caleb slowly falls into a strange rhythm in his new life… until one morning he finds a body washed up on the shore. The face is unrecognizable after its time at sea, but the signet ring is unmistakable: It can only be Caleb’s father. Mystery piles on mystery as both church and state deny what Caleb knows. From award-winning British author Tanya Landman comes a heart-stopping story of race, class, family, and corruption so deep it can kill.

❤️ Joplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

While cleaning out her reclusive grandfather’s house, Joplin discovers pieces of a broken platter in a cookie tin. After having the platter repaired, Joplin wishes that she could both find a friend at school, and befriend the girl pictured in the platter. The next day, Joplin befriends a boy named Barrett, and also notices a girl outside her apartment. A girl who looks remarkably like the girl in the platter…

The girl introduces herself as Sofie, and she has a terrible secret. Cursed to grant wishes for the owner of the platter for all of time, she has been trapped for centuries. Joplin and Barrett vow to help her, but freeing Sofie is more complicated than they could have imagined, and the three friends end up against a sinister foe who could put them all in terrible danger.

The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon by Greg Pizzoli

British explorer Percy Fawcett believed that hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest was an ancient city, lost for the ages. Most people didn’t even believe this city existed. But if Fawcett could find it, he would be rich and famous forever. This is the true story of one man’s thrilling, dangerous journey into the jungle, and what he found on his quest for the lost city of Z.

What books are on your summer reading list? Did any of my awesome recommendations get added? Let me know in the comments below!

— Nancy

As the last category suggests, the most thrilling activity Nancy partakes in during the summer is turning on the air conditioner and curling up with a good book.

Ten Images to Sum Up A Reader

May 24th, 2017 by

Psst. Hey, you. Yeah. You over there. Looking at this blog post. You might be visiting Kidsmomo because your teacher or another grown-up told you to. Or maybe you happened here by accident. But I know what you’re here for. You’re here for some sweet, sweet, book recommendations. I know, because when you see something like this…

… you think, Yup. I could totally sit there for hours with a book.

And in those hours, you may ponder, I should get cards like this printed up:

After reading a particularly sad book, you’ll shift in your seat and think, I could really use a pillow like this:

But because you’re tough, you wipe away your tears and pick up the next book from your always-growing TO READ pile. You think fondly about an excellent mantra:

And how do you get those many lives? By visiting a bookstore, or…

And you always end up leaving the library like Lisa Simpson:

Because books are like delicious (and healthy!) snacks:

If only potato chips were as healthy as reading books.

If someone could cartoon-ify readers, we’d look like this:

Okay, maybe this cartoon takes the word “devour” a little too seriously.

Even when you’re grounded and sent to your room:

Cat optional

You know that it’s not all that bad, because:

You know who had a problem with souls? Voldemort. And no one wants to be that guy!

— Nancy

Nancy realized you might actually looking for some sweet book recommendations, so look no further — wait, look one more link further: click here!

Meet Nancy »

 

All images taken from the Interwebs.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere: Book Review

May 8th, 2017 by

You learn a lot about the main character, Olga, just by looking at the cover of Elise Gravel’s new book, Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere:

 

  • She’s grumpy
  • She likes animals
  • This book includes science — weird science
  • Some humans annoy her (keep in mind Olga is human too)

If just one portion of this book cover entices you, then you should definitely read Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere!

The book is half-illustrations, half-text, and all-fun! Olga, is a sarcastic, witty, science-loving girl who aspires to be a zoologist — a scientist who studies animals. Fortuitously, Olga discovers a funky potato-shaped pink creature (seen on the cover of the book), which she names “Meh” after the sound it makes all the time. Meh is smelly, furry, has a skinny tail and spindly feet, farts and burps a lot, and is about the size of a small pig.

Olga carefully catalogs her scientific observations on Meh and when she realizes she can’t match Meh to any existing species in any book, she names it olgamus ridiculus. With the help of the local librarian, new friends, and other quirky characters in her town, Olga is on a mission to study Meh. She even learns a thing or two from “the Lalas,” two girls her age who love make-up, boys, and just don’t seem “get” her.

But where does Meh come from? What does it eat? Can Olga take care of it properly? Read the book to find out!

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere is perfect for fans of Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary, or Wimpy Kid. It’s a very quick read, and the drawings and observations in the book will probably make you laugh out loud. I loved how Olga truly loves all animals, no matter how large, small, or creepy crawly:

This book is brand-new on shelves, but I’m excited to see what other nerdy adventures are in store for Olga in the future! Will she find other animals, and what will happen to Meh? I hope we find out in the rest of the series!

— Nancy

Nancy does not like slugs, but she does not mind drawings of slugs. Most of the time.

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Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King: Book Review

April 23rd, 2017 by

Most people know that recycling and reducing waste is important, but for some reason, there’s always that one annoying person who doesn’t do their part. 🙁 Eleven-year-old Obe Devlin, the main character of Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King, is NOT that person. Recycling and reducing the amount of plastic in the world really matters to him, especially on his ancestral land of Devlin, which is now being taken over by housing developments.

New neighbors aren’t the only addition to Obe’s life. While he picks up trash in the local creek, he discovers a new animal: part dog, part pig, very slimy, and most interestingly… it loves to eat plastic. Obe names his new friend Marvin Gardens, after the property in the game Monopoly. Could Marvin Gardens be the solution to the plastic problem on Earth?

In addition to discovering an entirely new species (and keeping it secret), Obe has to deal with math homework, his dad who just doesn’t understand him, and a former best friend who has turned into his bully. Keeping Marvin Gardens a secret turns out to be an excellent idea, especially when Obe discovers that Marvin’s extremely smelly poop could be toxic. But Obe can’t keep Marvin a secret forever, especially with all the construction happening in his neighborhood. What happens when other people find out about him? Could Marvin Gardens be the solution to the plastic problem on our planet? Will ex-best-friend Tommy ever stop being a jerk? Read Me and Marvin Gardens to find out!

I have to admit this book took me by surprise because even though there aren’t any big action scenes, I kept turning every page because I needed to know what would happen to Obe and Marvin. My only concern was that some questions are left open-ended at the end of the book — but that means there could be a sequel! Right, Amy Sarig King? Right?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and any reader who cares about the environment and the fate of our planet should check it out. It’s a great read if you’re ever feeling lonely and want to know if picking up litter will actually make a difference in the world — turns out it could, especially if you end up finding a fantastical animal like Obe does!

— Nancy

Nancy gets annoyed by people who litter, and fervently prays that one day the litter will magically awake and attack the litterbug.

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Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly: Book Review

April 11th, 2017 by

I’m a big fan of the one and only 🎶 “Tale As Old As Time” 🎶 — meaning the movie Beauty and the Beast. When I discovered YA author Jennifer Donnelly was writing the companion book, Lost in a Book, I couldn’t wait to read it!

Warning: There are some spoilers for the movie Beauty and the Beast (both the animated and live action versions) so if you haven’t seen it yet… get thee to the movie theater (or streaming site, for the animated film)! This book is recommended for 10- to 14-year-olds and is perfect for fans of either version of the movie, fantasy books, and classic mythology — especially the Greek myth of Persephone visiting the Underworld.

Lost in a Book takes place just after Belle runs away from the castle, only to be attacked by wolves and saved by the Beast. Belle and the Beast are slowly becoming friends, and all of the servants in the castle are kind to her, but she still feels lonely and longs for more.

In the prologue of Lost in a Book, we meet Love and Death: two sisters who politely bicker over the fate of all beings. They have waged a bet on who will capture Belle first: Will Belle fall in love first, or will she die? Love is confident that she will win, but Death sneakily decides to stack the odds in her own favor, sending Belle the magical book Nevermore.

Belle has always longed for 🎶 “more than this provincial life” 🎶 and Nevermore transports Belle to a world where she can travel to exotic locales, attend fancy balls, meet interesting people, and eat delicious food. But not all is as it seems in Nevermore

I don’t want to give away too much, so I won’t spoil any more of the book. Okay, just one more tidbit: The book does include a pretty intense chase scene that had me flipping pages very quickly — even though I knew Belle would survive, I was still stressed out for her!

The subtitle of Lost in a Book is “An Enchanting Original Story,” and that is precisely what the book is — just enchanting! It adds to the story of Beauty and the Beast, so if you’re a fan of either version of the movie or even the original fairy tale, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It was lovely to see the charming personalities of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip on the page. The author captured the cantankerous and pompous personality of Cogsworth perfectly, and it was nice to see the friendship between Belle and the Beast grow. While you can read the book on its own, you’ll probably enjoy it even more if you’ve seen the movie because there are some Easter-egg-like references.

Have you seen the movie or read the companion book? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

— Nancy

Nancy has been listening and singing along to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack longer than most of you have been alive. She’s old(er than you), and she loves loves loves musicals, to the chagrin of any hearing-capable people and animals nearby.

Meet Nancy »

March 2017 Must-Reads

March 27th, 2017 by

Ack, March ends in just a few days and this book list of new releases is long overdue! Without further ado, check out these March (and a few February) new releases that we’re excited about. Prepare yourself for a MASSIVE book list — my personal top picks are noted with a ❤️… but seriously, everything on this list is bookshelf worthy!

Click on the plus signs next to the book titles to read the full descriptions from the publishers:

Fantastical Reads That’ll Have You Daydreaming

❤️The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter
Sophie Seacove is a storyteller. She tells stories of what the world would be like if madness hadn’t taken over. If her parents hadn’t sold her off as a servant to pay for their stupid vacation. If she wasn’t now trapped in a decaying mansion filled with creepy people and surrounded by ravenous sea monsters.

The mansion has plenty of stories, too: About fantastical machines, and the tragic inventor who created them. About his highly suspicious death. And about the Monster Box, a mysterious object hidden in the house that just might hold the key to escaping this horrible place — and to reuniting Sophie with her family.

But not everyone wants Sophie to have the Monster Box, and as she gets closer to finding it, she finds herself unspooling years-old secrets — and dodging dangerous attacks. Sophie needs to use her brains, her brawn, and her unbreakable nature if she wants to make it off this wretched island…and live to tell this story.

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land — and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
When Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother Nell’s house, there’s nothing good about it, except the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of the garden — but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace. She even finds a friend, a girl named Flo. But Flo doesn’t go to the local school, and no one in town has heard of her. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder: What is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith
Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists — until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself.
The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four 13-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil.

When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love… and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?

❤️Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood
Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.

Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her — but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

❤️Saturdays at Sea (Castle Glower #5) by Jessica Day George
After constructing a grand ship built from parts of the Castle, Celie, Lilah and Rolf are ready to set sail! But on its maiden voyage, the Ship steers them far off course into uncharted waters. Celie and her sister, Lilah, hope that the Ship is heading to the ancient island where unicorns once roamed, but as the journey grows longer and supplies run low, they could be in trouble. Can Celie and her family trust the Ship just as they’ve always trusted the Castle?

Note from Nancy: Check out my recent post about the new cover art for this series!

Tricked (Fairy Tale Reform School Series #3) by Jen Calonita
Things are changing at Fairy Tale Reform School.

At least, that’s what Gilly’s heard through the Enchantasia rumor mill. Word is, notorious trickster Rumpelstiltskin has taken over management from Headmistress Flora, and he’s locked down the school tighter than the Pied Piper’s pants. Not that this news concerns Gilly. She’s been released from FTRS and is now suffering through attending Jack of All Trades School, where she gets to learn about different kinds of shoe leather and ways to measure feet. Truly riveting stuff.

But when Gilly’s little sister Anna gets whisked off to FTRS thanks to her troublemaking new friends, Hansel and Gretel, Gilly knows she’s got to get Anna out of there. There’s only one thing to do; make some serious trouble and get thrown back into FTRS.

It’s time to out-trick a trickster.

New Series We’re Excited About

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch Series #1) by Brandon Mull
In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?

Dragon Captives (The Unwanteds Quests #1) by Lisa McMann
Identical twins Fifer and Thisbe Stowe have amazing yet uncontrollable magical abilities. They’re naturally more gifted than even their brother, Alex, the head mage of Artimé, could hope to be. But when they accidentally use their magic in the jungle of Artimé to strike down a beloved creature, Alex is furious and threatens to lock them away until they can learn to control their power.

The threat is soon forgotten, though, when Hux, the ice blue dragon, comes to Artimé bearing the horrible news that his siblings have been enslaved by the notoriously evil Revinir, ruler of the dragon land.

Seeking a chance to right their wrong and escape their brother’s wrath, Thisbe, Fifer, and their friend Seth sneak away to rescue the dragons from grave peril. Will their untrained abilities be enough to save the dragons — and themselves — when they come face-to-face with the Revinir?

❤️Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson
It is Earth year 2213 — but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a 150-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.

❤️Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere (Olga Series #1) by Elise Gravel
When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science — learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!

Contemporary Reads

Baseball Genius by Tim Green and Derek Jeter
Jalen DeLuca loves baseball. Unfortunately, his dad can’t afford to keep him on the travel team. His dad runs a diner and makes enough to cover the bills, but there isn’t enough to cover any extras. So Jalen decides to take matters into his own hands and he sneaks into the home of the New York Yankee’s star second baseman, James Yager, and steals a couple of balls from his personal batting cage. He knows that if he can sell them, he’ll be able to keep himself on the team.

But like the best-laid plans — or in this case the worst! — Jalen’s scheme goes wrong when Yager catches him. But Jalen has a secret: his baseball genius. He can analyze and predict almost exactly what a pitcher is going to do with his next pitch. He can’t quite explain how he knows, he just knows. And after proving to Yager that he really can do this, using a televised game and predicting pitch after pitch with perfect accuracy, the two agree to a deal. Jalen will help Yager out of his batting slump and Yager won’t press charges.

However, when he begins to suspect that the team’s general manager has his own agenda, Jalen’s going to need his friends and his unusual baseball talent to save not only Yager’s career but his own good name.

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
Annabelle Balog’s life is a mess. Literally. Her mother refuses to throw anything away. Life gets even more complicated when Grandma Nora decides to clean house against the wishes of Annabelle’s mother. Now Annabelle, who can usually be found trying to sneak her mother’s collections to the nearest dumpster, must decide if some things are worth saving.
❤️Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter
Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past — for only then can they really begin to build their future.
Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
Grandpa is Jack’s favorite person in the world. It doesn’t matter that he wears his slippers to the supermarket, serves Spam a la Custard for dinner, and often doesn’t remember Jack’s name. But then Grandpa starts to believe he’s back in World War II, when he was a Spitfire fighter pilot, and he’s sent to live in an old folk’s home run by the sinister Matron Swine. Now it’s up to Jack to help Grandpa plot a daring escape!
❤️The Goat by Anne Fleming
When Kid accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, she sees what looks like a tiny white cloud on top of their apartment building. Rumor says there’s a goat living on the roof, but how can that be?
A Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins
Eleven-year-old Derby Christmas Clark is a rambler of the road. She travels year-round in an RV with her father and younger brother, selling Christmas trees during the cold months and burgers and fries during baseball season. Derby always did prefer grease splatters to hauling trees, so she’s excited that summer will take her back to small town Ridge Creek, the Rockskippers, her best friend, and her surrogate mom, June. But this summer, a tragedy has changed Ridge Creek — and as Derby tries to help those she loves, long-held secrets are revealed.
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan — named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on Earth, his Earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover — from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
❤️Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail
Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything — and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously, Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J.’s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It’s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

Walk In Another Kid’s Footsteps

❤️Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calliope’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is — an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that they might be moving — again — just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

❤️Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kind-hearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so that he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Sometimes four can do what one cannot. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

Love, Ish by Karen Rivers
My name is Mischa “Ish” Love, and I am 12 years old. I know quite a lot about Mars.

Mars is where I belong. Do you know how sometimes you just know a thing? My mom says that falling in love is like that, that the first time she saw Dad, she just knew. That’s how I feel about Mars: I just know.

I’m smart and interesting and focused, and I’m working on getting along better with people. I’ll learn some jokes. A sense of humor is going to be important. It always is. That’s what my dad always says. Maybe jokes will be the things that will help us all to survive. Not just me, because there’s no “me” in “team,” right? This is about all of us. Together.

What makes me a survivor? Mars is going to make me a survivor.

You’ll see.

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
“My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl.

I’m Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool because I probably won’t get to save the world one day.”

Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts.

Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Liv to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy — it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Take Note of These Sequels

The Balance of Power (Zodiac Legacy Series #3) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore
Steven Lee always thought that having superpowers would make him happy, make life easier, and make everything more fun. He was wrong. Steven, now 16 years old, has spent years living with the power of the Tiger. But now, on the edge of a catastrophe that could destroy not only Steven and his super-powered friends, but every Zodiac in the world, Steven will have to decide just how far he’ll go to protect those closest to him. Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong bring the earth-shaking conclusion to The Zodiac Legacy!
Cavern of Secrets (Wing & Claw #2) by Linda Sue Park
Raffa Santana has spent all winter hiding in the harsh wilderness of the Sudden Mountains, and now it’s time to return home. Home, where his parents will help him fight back against the vile Chancellor who has captured and altered the wild creatures of the Forest of Wonders. Home, where Raffa’s beloved companion, Echo the bat, will recover from his mysterious sickness.

To get there, Raffa must make a treacherous journey across Obsidia. Along the way, he will discover a luminous plant that might be the key to saving the creatures stuck in the Chancellor’s grasp… if only Raffa can unlock the plant’s secrets and deliver the cure to the captive animals.

Jurassic Carp (My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Series #6) by Mo O’Hara
When Tom and his best friend rescued Frankie the goldfish from his evil-scientist big brother’s toxic gunge their new pet came back as a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH.

Frankie is good at saving the day, but can he become a real knight in shining armor during the medieval day reenactment joust?

Then, can the school survive two BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH? Find out when Tom’s evil big brother manages to clone a Jurassic Carp!

The Lost Staff of Wonders (Will Wilder #2) by Raymond Arroyo
Twelve-year-old Will Wilder is back to protect the town of Perilous Falls from another ancient evil — the fearsome demon, Amon.

When the storied Staff of Moses — responsible for summoning the plagues of ancient Egypt — vanishes from the museum in Perilous Falls, Will Wilder is suspect number one. Desperate to prove his innocence and stop the thief from unleashing terrors upon the town of Perilous Falls, Will must use his supernatural gift to locate the beast — but it’s nowhere to be found.

As the river runs with blood, sharp-toothed frogs surround his home, and clouds of swarming gnats choke the streets, Will must rely on his supernatural ability, everything he learned from his training, and help from his friends, siblings, and Great-Aunt Lucille to find the missing staff and unmask the hidden evil before time runs out for all of them.

Middle School: Escape to Australia by James Patterson
Rafe isn’t exactly considered a winner at Hills Village Middle School to say the least, but everything’s about to change: He’s won a school-wide art competition, and the fabulous prize is getting to jet-set off to Australia for a whirlwind adventure! But Rafe soon finds that living in the Land Down Under is harder than he could’ve ever imagined — his host-siblings are anything but welcoming, the burning temperatures are torturous, and poisonous critters are ready to sting or eat him at every step. So with the help of some new misfit friends, Rafe sets out to show everyone what he does best: create utter mayhem!
❤️The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #3) by Katherine Woodfine
When a priceless painting is stolen, our dauntless heroines Sophie and Lil find themselves faced with forgery, trickery, and deceit on all sides!

Be amazed as the brave duo pit their wits against this perilous puzzle! Marvel at their cunning plan to unmask the villain and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with — no matter what dangers lie ahead… It’s their most perilous adventure yet!

Payback (Masterminds Series #3) by Gordon Korman
After a serious betrayal from one of their former friends, the clones of Project Osiris are on the run again. Now separated into pairs, Eli and Tori and Amber and Malik are fighting to survive in the real world.

Amber and Malik track down the one person they think can help them prove the existence of Project Osiris, notorious mob boss Gus Alabaster, also known as Malik’s DNA donor. But as Malik gets pulled into the criminal world — tantalized by hints of a real family — his actions put him and Amber into greater danger.

Eli and Tori get sucked into even bigger conspiracies as they hunt down Project Osiris’ most closely guarded secrets — who does Eli’s DNA come from? With a surprising new ally and another cross-country adventure, the four will have to work together to overcome the worst parts of themselves if they are going to end Project Osiris once and for all.

Tornado Terror (I Survived True Stories #3) by Lauren Tarshis
The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 was the deadliest tornado strike in American history, tearing through three states and killing 700 people. Almost a century later, the Joplin Tornado was a mile-wide monster that nearly destroyed the heart of a vibrant city. The author of the New York Times best-selling I Survived series now brings you the vivid and true stories of two young people who survived these terrifying twisters, along with fascinating facts about tornadoes and profiles of the well-respected scientists and storm chasers who study them.

You did it! You made it to the end of the list! 🎉🎈🎆 There must be at least one (or two, or three, or 20) from this booklist that made it onto your must-read book list — let us know which one in the comments below!

— Nancy

Nancy is honestly a little overwhelmed with how many awesome books there are to read. She recommends all authors treat themselves to a little vacation and hold off publishing anything for a month, please. Thank you.

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Castle Glower Series: New Covers!

March 12th, 2017 by

Ever since I reviewed Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George years ago on the Kidsmomo podcast, I knew the Castle Glower series was destined for greatness! It’s been years since Tuesdays at the Castle was released and since then we’ve gotten the books for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and most recently, Saturdays at the Sea!

But wait — something’s different about Saturdays at the Sea: the book cover style! And it turns out the original books are also getting new covers:

Original Covers New Covers

Some thoughts on the new covers:

  • The new illustration style looks more modern and what art historians call a “painterly” style.
  • The series heroine, Princess Celia, is less visible in many of the covers — sometimes we just see the back of her head.
  • I think there is a bigger sense of danger and adventure.
  • The days of the week are now designed with embellishments and much bigger.
  • The griffin appears on different days now.
  • There is more color variation: With the original covers, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday always looked similar to me because they had a lot of green and blue hues.
  • Jessica Day George’s name is much easier to read now in the white text.

All in all, I love the new covers! My only complaint is that Saturdays at the Sea only has a new version — I would love to have seen what the original illustrator would have done!

Do you prefer the original covers or the new covers? Take the poll below and discuss with other readers in the comments!

Do you like the original or new covers more?

— Nancy

If this series were to star Nancy, then the series would end with the titles Sundays with Napping and Mondays with Coffee.

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Books to Prep for Your Exoplanet Visit

February 26th, 2017 by

NASA made a big announcement this week: Forty light-years away (a measly 235 trillion miles) from our planet, there are seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star called Trappist-1. Three of those planets are in the habitable-zone, which is the zone around Trappist-1 that could possibly sustain water.

What does this mean? Well, we’re not quite ready to climb into our space ships, take a nice nap in hyper-sleep, and wake up on a new planet — but it’s possible that human beings will eventually visit these exoplanets. In fact, NASA released some (fake) travel posters showing off the far-future vacation destinations, like this one:

Take a planet-hopping excursion through the TRAPPIST-1 system, where you can see other planets in the red sky. Credit NASA-JPL/Caltech

In honor of this scientific breakthrough, here is a booklist featuring kids just like you (well, occasionally with super powers and hefty responsibilities) growing up in space. (Book descriptions from the publishers.)

Stupendous Science Fiction Standalone Novels

   

The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh
The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh

Pattie and her family are among the last refugees to flee a dying Earth in an old spaceship. And when the group finally lands on the distant planet which is to be their new home, it seems that the four-year journey has been a success. But as they begin to settle this shiny new world, they discover that the colony is in serious jeopardy. Nothing on this planet is edible, and they may not be able to grow food. With supplies dwindling, Pattie and her sister decide to take the one chance that might make life possible on Shine.

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass

Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. This means that his older brothers took the really cool jobs before he was born. All Joss gets to do is deliver pies. That’s right: pies. Of course these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they’re still pies.

Joss is happy to let his older brothers shine. He has plenty to keep his hands full: trying to improve his bowling score, listening to his best friend Kal try (and fail) to play the drums, and exploring his ever-changing home: The Realms. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of an outspoken girl from Earth named Annika, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he’d imagined.

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam has always had trouble keeping his feet on the ground. Being 239,000 miles from earth doesn’t make it any easier.

Liam is too big for his boots. And his football strip. And his school blazer. But being super-sized height-wise has its advantages: He’s the only 11-year-old to ever ride the G-force-defying Cosmic rollercoaster — or to be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn’t all about being a grown-up.

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father’s life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Splendid Series in Space


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl series

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders series

Zachary Night has been waiting his whole life for this moment. Like his family before him, he’s finally headed to Indigo 8, a top secret training center where future Starbounders learn the skills to protect the galaxy. But being a Starbounder is no walk on the moon. No sooner has Zachary mastered the warp glove basics than a mission into space goes wrong and puts him and his new friends right in the line of fire. And when a plot to destroy Indigo 8 comes to light, Zachary will have to get back to Earth on his own and fast — before there’s no Earth left to go back to.

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking
George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
George series

George’s parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe. With Cosmos’s help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie, and Eric aren’t about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science.

Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
The Jupiter Pirates series

The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn’t your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy — one that will pit them against space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family — each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is, if they don’t work together, none of them may make it out alive.

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Moon Base Alpha series

Like his fellow lunarnauts — otherwise known as Moonies — living on Moon Base Alpha, 12-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time — and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies — a secret someone just might kill to keep…

The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves series

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short, routine voyage to log their required space time for summer quarter.

Routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last 60 years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. They soon find out exactly why the Tremist chose their ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees series

The fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet series

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

This is what the boy is told:

– He woke up on planet Trucon, inside of a fence line he shouldn’t have been able to cross.
– He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
– He has no memory.
– He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
– His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

– He has a message: “Guide the star.”
– Time is running out.

MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS series

In space. Underground. And out of time.

Christopher Nichols and his family live on a new planet, Perses, as colonists of Melming Mining’s Great Mission to save the earth. Dozens of families like Christopher’s have relocated, too, like his best friend Elena Rosales.

A communications blackout with Earth hits, and all of Perses is on its own for three months. It’s okay, though, because the colonists have prepared, stockpiling food and resources to survive. But they never prepared for an attack.

Landers, as the attackers are called, obliterate the colony to steal the metal and raw ore. Now in a race against time, Christopher, along with a small group of survivors, are forced into the maze of mining tunnels. The kids run. They hide. But can they survive?

Do you have a favorite book set in space or on another planet? Leave a comment below or send in a review!

— Nancy

Nancy would much rather travel into space than the deep ocean, but really, she’s perfectly content right where she is now. On her couch.

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