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      The Queen Bee and Me

      by Gillian McDunn

      Apr 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Meg has been best friends with Beatrix forever. Everyone at school wants to be like confident, decisive Beatrix, and Meg has always felt the same. But this year, Meg wants to take a science course instead of dance class. She’d rather do what makes her happy—not what Beatrix wants.

      When a quirky girl named Hazel moves to town, Meg is partnered with her on a science project about bees. Meg learns a lot about being Queen Bee—in a hive and in middle school. As Beatrix is less than welcoming to Hazel, Meg feels her loyalty fraying. Choosing Hazel could mean ending her oldest friendship—a choice more difficult than Meg ever expected.

      When You Trap a Tiger

      by Tae Keller

      Mar 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Some stories refuse to stay bottled up…

      When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal—return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health—Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice…and the courage to face a tiger.

      Author’s note.

      Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

      by Jason Reynolds

      Feb 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—
      Talking about boogers.
      Stealing pocket change.
      Skateboarding.
      Wiping out.
      Braving up.
      Executing complicated handshakes.
      Planning an escape.
      Making jokes.
      Lotioning up.
      Finding comfort.
      But mostly, too busy walking home.

      Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

      Beverly, Right Here

      by Kate DiCamillo

      Jan 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live, and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her— and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes.

      In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.

      Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

      by Celia C. Pérez

      Dec 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

      Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn’t love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn’t know they needed: sisterhood.

      Birdwatching tips. Information about crystals. Cookie recipe. Writing tips. Instructions for DIY badges. Author’s note. Bibliography.

      The Good Thieves

      by Katherine Rundell

      Nov 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack’s spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

      Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel is a heist as never seen before—the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Hero Next Door

      by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

      Oct 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes teach martial arts. Others talk to ghosts. A few are inventors or soccer players. They're also sisters, neighbors, and friends. Because heroes come in many shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: they make the world a better place

      Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, this vibrant anthology features thirteen acclaimed authors whose powerful and diverse voices show how small acts of kindness can save the day. So pay attention, because a hero could be right beside you. Or maybe the hero is you.

      Foreword. Contributor bios. About We Need Diverse Books.

      Finding Orion

      by John David Anderson

      Sep 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      An unforgettable story of family, loss, and jelly beans, from the beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted.
      Rion Kwirk comes from a rather odd family. His mother named him and his sisters after her favorite constellations, and his father makes funky-flavored jelly beans for a living. One sister acts as if she’s always onstage and the other is a walking dictionary. But no one in the family is more odd than Rion’s grandfather, Papa Kwirk. He’s the kind of guy who shows up on his motorcycle only on holidays, handing out crossbows and stuffed squirrels as presents. Rion has always been fascinated by Papa Kwirk, especially since his son—Rion’s father—is the complete opposite. Where Dad is predictable, nerdy, and reassuringly boring, Papa Kwirk is mysterious, dangerous, and cool.
      Which is why, when Rion and his family learn of Papa Kwirk’s death and pile into the car to attend his funeral and pay their respects, Rion can’t help but feel that that’s not the end of his story. That there’s so much more to Papa Kwirk to discover.
      He doesn’t know how right he is.
      The beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted returns with an unforgettable tale of love and laughter; of fathers and sons; of what family truly means; and of the ways in which we sometimes need to lose something in order to find ourselves.

      Silver Meadows Summer

      by Emma Otheguy

      Aug 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer—and life as she knows it—is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene. Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become. But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and—to everyone’s surprise—Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?

      Further information about poets mentioned in the book.

      The Next Great Paulie Fink

      by Ali Benjamin

      Jul 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she is a complete outsider: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they've known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a shock of their own: Paulie Fink--the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius--is gone this year. As stories of Paulie's hijinks unfold, his legend builds, until they realize there's only one way to fill the Paulie-sized hole in their class. They'll find their next great Paulie Fink through a reality-show style competition, to be judged by the only objective person around: Caitlyn, who never even met Paulie Fink. Who was this kid, anyway—prankster, performance artist, philosopher, or fool? Caitlyn's quest to understand Paulie is about to teach her more about herself than she ever imagined.

      Lenny's Book of Everything

      by Karen Foxlee

      Jun 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Lenny Spink is the sister of a giant. Her little brother, Davey, suffers from a rare form of gigantism and is taunted by other kids and turned away from school because of his size. To escape their cruel reality, Lenny and Davey obsess over the entries in their monthly installment of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia set. Lenny vows to become a beetle expert, while Davey decides he will run away to Canada and build a log cabin. But as Davey’s disease progresses, the siblings’ richly imagined world becomes harder to cling to in this deeply moving and original novel about grief, family, and wonder.

      Caterpillar Summer

      by Gillian McDunn

      May 2019

      Upper Elementary & Junior High

      Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a "meltdown", Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.
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