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      Here in the Real World

      by Sara Pennypacker

      Apr 2020

      Intermediate Readers

      Ware can’t wait to spend summer “off in his own world”—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called “normal” kids do.

      On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot. Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.

      But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights’ Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot. But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

      I, Cosmo

      by Carlie Sorosiak

      Mar 2020

      Intermediate Readers

      Ever since Cosmo became a big brother to Max ten years ago, he’s known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they’ve had together dancing—and make them forget about the “d” word that’s making them all cry.

      Told in the open, optimistic, unintentionally humorous voice of a golden retriever, I, Cosmo will grab readers from the first page—and remind them that love and loyalty transcend whatever life throws your way.

      Sauerkraut

      by Kelly Jones

      Feb 2020

      Intermediate Readers

      HD Schenk is a maker—an inventor, someone who builds cool stuff. He’s got a plan for the summer: he’ll build his own computer and enter it in the county fair. Then everyone will know who he is and what he can do. To earn enough money for the parts he’ll need, HD has promised to clear out his uncle’s overflowing basement. No big deal, right? But there’s more in that basement than HD bargained for. On his first trip down there, a voice only he can hear starts talking to him. About…sauerkraut?

      Who knew the ghost of his great-great-grandmother was haunting an old pickling crock? She’s got a grand plan, too. She wants HD to help make her famous recipe for sauerkraut and enter it in the county fair so that she can be declared pickle queen. After some initial shock, HD is willing enough to help. This ghost is family, after all. But only HD can really see and hear his Oma, which is going to make it hard for her to win on her own…

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Distance between Me and the Cherry Tree

      by Paola Peretti

      Jan 2020

      Intermediate Readers

      There are a lot of things ten-year-old Mafalda cares a lot about. Like, counting the stars in the night sky, playing soccer, and climbing the cherry tree outside her school. Mafalda even goes so far as to keep a list of all these things, because soon she won’t be able to do them anymore—because she’s going blind.

      Even with her bad eyesight, Mafalda can see that people are already treating her differently—and that’s the last thing she wants. So, she hides the fact that her vision is deteriorating faster than anyone predicted, and she makes a plan: When the time is right, she’ll go live in the cherry tree, just like her favorite book character. But as Mafalda loses her sight, surprising things come in to focus. With the help of her family and friends both old and new, Mafalda discovers the things that matter most.

      The Very, Very Far North

      by Dan Bar-el

      Dec 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      In the Very, Very Far North, past the Cold, Cold Ocean and just below the hill that looks like a baby whale, you’ll find Duane and his friends.

      Duane is a sweet and curious young bear who makes friends with everyone he meets—whether they’re bossy, like Major Puff the puffin, or a bit vain, like Handsome the musk ox, or very, very shy, like Boo the caribou. For these arctic friends, every day is a new adventure!

      Black-and-white illustrations rendered in charcoal and digital.

      Stay

      by Bobbie Pyron

      Nov 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Piper’s life is turned upside down when her family moves into a shelter in a whole new city. She misses her house, her friends, and her privacy—and she hates being labeled the homeless girl at her new school. But while the shelter, Hope House, offers her new challenges, it also brings new friendships, like the girls in Firefly Girls Troop 423 and a sweet street dog named Baby. So when Baby’s person goes missing, Piper knows she has to help. But helping means finding the courage to trust herself and her new friends, no matter what anyone says about them—before Baby gets taken away for good.

      Told in the alternating perspectives of Piper and Baby, this uplifting friendship tale celebrates the importance of hope, the power of story, and the true meaning of home.

      The Girl Who Sailed the Stars

      by Matilda Woods

      Oct 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a “bold and brave son,” so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona’s birth became a disappointment—especially to her sea captain father, who doesn’t believe there’s a place for girls aboard ships.
      But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father’s ship just as he’s about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona’s father is furious. Can she prove to him that she’s worth his love and pride, even though she’s not the bold and brave son he was promised?
      This follow-up to The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker carries just as much heart and charm as Matilda Woods’s first novel. The characters, story, and illustrations will dazzle readers.

      One-color text and illustrations.

      Knights vs. Monsters

      by Matt Phelan

      Sep 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Award-winning creator Matt Phelan’s Knights vs. Monsters is a highly illustrated, fast-paced adventure full of uproarious knightly hijinks, surprising secrets, and terrifying monsters. When a magical boat sweeps the Knights of the Round Table off to Scotland, they take on the evil Queen Morgause and her horde of monsters. With art on nearly every page, including an epic fight scene depicted in several graphic-novel style spreads, this engaging story is ideal for reluctant readers, aspiring knights, and fans of Gordon Korman’s Masterminds. In a starred review, Kirkus called the first book in the series, “Epic—in plot, not in length . . . and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’s Arthurian exploits.”

      “A Note from Queen Morgause” with further information on Scottish tradition and legend. Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Lost Boy's Gift

      by Kimberly Willis Holt

      Aug 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Ten-year-old Daniel moves across the country in the wake of his parents’ divorce. He’s leaving behind his dad and his friends, but taking his anger with him. Little does Daniel know what awaits on While-a-Way Lane, his quirky new neighborhood. There he meets Tilda Butter who is gifted with the ability to communicate with animals. Though Daniel’s reluctant to let Tilda in at first, he ultimately opens up to a special friendship and the hope of a new start.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      One-Third Nerd

      by Gennifer Choldenko

      Jul 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he’s over a lot. And then there’s Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment. Recently, Cupcake has a problem—she’s peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn’t stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Max and the Midknights

      by Lincoln Peirce

      Jun 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers—the Midknights—Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Friendship War

      by Andrew Clements

      May 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      Grace and Ellie have been best friends since second grade. Ellie’s always right in the center of everything—and Grace is usually happy to be Ellie’s sidekick. But what happens when everything changes? This time it’s Grace who suddenly has everyone’s attention when she accidentally starts a new fad at school. It’s a fad that has first her class, then her grade, and then the entire school collecting and trading and even fighting over…buttons?! A fad that might also get her in major trouble and could even be the end of Grace and Ellie’s friendship.

      Author’s note. Excerpt from The Losers Club.
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