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      The Space We're In

      by Katya Balen

      Feb 2020

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Frank loves soccer, codes, riding his bike, and playing with his friends. His brother Max is five. Max only eats foods that are beige or white, hates baths, and if he has to wear a t-shirt that isn’t gray with yellow stripes he melts down down down.

      Frank longs for the brother he was promised by his parents before Max was born—someone who was supposed to be his biggest fan, so he could be the best brother in the world. Instead, Frank has trouble navigating Max’s behavior and their relationship. But when tragedy strikes, Frank finds a way to try and repair their fractured family and in doing so learns to love Max for who he is.

      In her debut novel, Katya Balen uses her knowledge of autism and experience working with autistic people to create an intriguing and intense yet always respectful family story.

      Do Fish Sleep?

      by Jens Raschke

      Jan 2020

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Sick since even before Jette can remember, her brother Emil now has died. The feelings that losing him evoke in her are huge and confusing. Most simply, it feels as though a dark raincloud has descended over her family. And then there's the ridiculous fact that nobody seems to know what happens after you die, and yet adults often talk as if they do. Told in the first-person voice of a wry, observant 10-year-old girl, Do Fish Sleep? by Jens Raschke is an honest, darkly funny look into loss, memory, and the search for answers. Originally performed as a one-girl play, Do Fish Sleep? was a breakout success at the box office, and received both the 2012 Mülheimer Children’s Theater Prize and the 2014 MDR Children’s Radio Play Prize. Do Fish Sleep? has been a best-seller in Germany since publication and has been translated into several languages.

      Two-color illustrations.

      Bernard Pepperlin

      by Cara Hoffman

      Dec 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      The drowsy Dormouse has been stuck inside a perpetual Sunday afternoon with the Hatter and the March Hare for what seems like forever. But when a girl in a blue dress crashes the Hatter’s tea party, the Dormouse feels more awake than he has in a long time. He wishes he could follow her and be a part of her adventure.

      As luck would have it, a surprising twist of fate sends the Dormouse on an adventure of his own, where he must not—cannot—fall asleep. For he is destined to save a magical world outside Wonderland, and it will take all his courage (and a few new friends) to do it.



      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Weird Little Robots

      by Carolyn Crimi

      Nov 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Nine-year-old Penny Rose has just moved to a new town, and so far the robots she builds herself are her only company. But with just a bit of magic, everything changes: she becomes best friends with Lark, has the chance to join a secret science club, and discovers that her robots are alive. Penny Rose hardly remembers how lonely she used to feel. But then a fateful misstep forces her to choose between the best friend she’s always hoped for and the club she’s always dreamed of, and in the end it may be her beloved little robots that pay the price. Quirky and wonderful, this illustrated chapter book from Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken shows that making your own space and a true friend in the world is a kind of magic all its own.


      Black-and-white illustrations done in ink, pencil, and gouache.

      Oh, Rats!

      by Tor Seidler

      Oct 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Phoenix is a pretty big deal in his neck of the woods: The biggest in his litter with the most lustrous fur and by far the bushiest tail, he’s one of the most sought-after squirrels in New Jersey—which makes his kidnapping by hawk even more dramatic.

      Luckily, the hawk doesn’t have the best grip. Unluckily, he drops Phoenix on a freshly-tarred street in downtown Manhattan. Now stripped of his gorgeous golden-brown coat, Phoenix looks like nothing more than a common sewer rat. Fortunately for Phoenix, it’s not a pack of sewer rats that find him (they’re a notoriously surly bunch), but rather wharf rats.

      Taken in by siblings Lucy and Beckett, Phoenix is welcomed into a rat pack living in abandoned piers on the Hudson. But when they learn of plans to demolish the piers, Phoenix is swept up in a truly electrifying scheme to stop the humans from destroying his new friends’ home.



      Black-and-white illustrations rendered in pencil and gouache.

      Astronuts Mission One: The Plant Planet

      by Jon Scieszka

      Oct 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      This laugh-out-loud, visually groundbreaking read launches a major new series by children's literature legend Jon Scieszka. Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, a spectacular gatefold, plus how-to-draw pages in the back, it's an outer space adventure that demonstrates a giant leap for bookmaking and a giant leap for any kid looking for their next go-to series. AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are animals that have been hybridized to find other planets for humans to live on once we've ruined Earth. So off they rocket to the Plant Planet! Will that planet support human life? Or do Plant Planet's inhabitants have a more sinister plan? AstroNuts Mission One is a can't-put-it-down page-turner for reluctant readers and fans ready to blast past Wimpy Kid.



      Full-color illustrations.

      Shout Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts

      by Esta Spalding

      Sep 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      The plucky Fitzgerald-Trout siblings (who live on a tropical island where the grown-ups are useless but the kids can drive) are back! After losing the boat that had become their home, oldest Fitzgerald-Trout, Kim, has put finding a home back on her to-do list. When her sixth-grade history assignment offers a clue about the ruins of a volcanic house built by an explorer on Mount Muldoon, she and her siblings set out to find it.
       
      The castle they discover surpasses their wildest dreams. But having a permanent home offers more challenges than the Fitzgerald-Trouts expect, especially when they begin to suspect their home is haunted. The siblings must figure out how to fix the cracks in their family foundation before one of them is lost for good.


      Black-and-white illustrations created with traditional and digital media.

      Solving for M

      by Jennifer Swender

      Sep 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      When Mika starts fifth grade at the middle school, her neat life gets messy. Separated from old friends and starting new classes, Mika is far from her comfort zone. And math class is the most confusing of all, especially when her teacher Mr. Vann assigns math journals. Art in math? Who’s ever heard of such a thing?
      But when challenges arise at home, Mika realizes there are no easy answers. Maybe, with some help from friends, family, and one unique teacher, a math journal can help her work out problems, and not just the math ones.
      Debut author Jennifer Swender delivers poignant prose and illustrator Jennifer Naalchigar brings Mika’s journal to life in this perfect equation of honesty plus hope that adds up to a heartwarming coming-of-age story.

      Author’s note. Black-and-white illustrations.

      Captain Rosalie

      by Timothée de Fombelle

      Aug 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      While her father is at war, five-year-old Rosalie is a captain on her own secret mission. She wears the disguise of a little girl and tracks her progress in a secret notebook. Some evenings, Rosalie’s mother reads aloud Father’s letters from the front lines, so that Rosalie knows he is thinking of her and looking forward to the end of the war and to finally coming home. But one day a letter comes that her mother doesn’t read to her, and Rosalie knows her mission must soon come to an end.

      Full-color illustrations done in watercolor, pencil, and ink.

      A Wolf Called Wander

      by Rosanne Parry

      Jul 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter. Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable 1000 miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home. “The Real Wolf Behind the Story.” Further information about wolves, and about flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Author’s note. Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Runaways

      by Ulf Stark

      Jun 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      Grandpa hates being in hospital. He thinks only of the place he was happiest—the island where he used to live. He wants to go back, but they won't let him out of the hospital. So Gottfried Junior, his namesake, helps Grandpa make a plan to run away. They think of everything. Their deception is so complete that when Gottfried Junior finally decides to tell the truth, no one believes him.

      Full-color illustrations.

      The Lost Girl

      by Anne Ursu

      May 2019

      Intermediate Readers Plus

      When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together. When fifth grade arrives, however, it is decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.

      Black-and-white illustrations.
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