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      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.

      The Topeka School

      by Ben Lerner

      Dec 2019

      Adult Crossover High Plus

      Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting “lost boys” to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart—who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father’s patient—into the social scene, to disastrous effect.

      Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane’s reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan’s marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.

      Home in the Woods

      by Eliza Wheeler

      Dec 2019

      Primary

      Eliza Wheeler’s gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of what happens when six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mom must start all over again after their father has died. Deep in the woods of Wisconsin, they find a tar-paper shack. It doesn’t seem like much of a home, but they soon start seeing what it could be. During their first year, it’s a struggle to maintain the shack and make sure they have enough to eat. But each season also brings its own delights and blessings—and the children always find a way to have fun. Most importantly, the family finds immense joy in being together, surrounded by nature. And slowly, their little shack starts feeling like a true home—warm, bright, and filled up with love.

      Author’s note. Full-color illustrations created with dip pens, India ink, and watercolors.

      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 Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier

      by Ian Urbina

      Dec 2019

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation. Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways—drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

      “Appendix: Reining in the Outlaw Ocean.” Notes. Further reading. Black-and-white photographs.

      Strike Zone

      by Mike Lupica

      Dec 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Twelve-year-old star Little League pitcher Nick Garcia has a dream. Several, in fact. He dreams he’ll win this season’s MVP and the chance to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He dreams he’ll meet his hero, Yankee’s pitcher Michael Arroyo. He dreams they’ll find a cure for Lupus so he sister won’t have to suffer. But mostly, he dreams one day his family can stop living in fear of the government. For one kid, it’s almost too much to bear.

      Luckily, Nick has his two best friends Ben and Diego to keep him balanced. But when Nick notices a mysterious man lurking on his street corner, he senses a threat. Suddenly, his worst fears are realized, and just when it seems there’s no one they can trust, an unexpected hero emerges and changes everything.

      Who Put This Song On?

      by Morgan Parker

      Dec 2019

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she’s in therapy. She can’t count the number of times she’s been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her “weird” outfits, and been told she’s not “really” black. Also, she’s spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there’s that, too.

      Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat—and it’s telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself? Life may be a never-ending hamster wheel of agony, but Morgan finds her crew of fellow outcasts, blasts music like there’s no tomorrow, discovers what being black means to her, and finally puts her mental health first. She decides that, no matter what, she will always be intense, ridiculous, passionate, and sometimes hilarious. After all, darkness doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Darkness is just real.

      Nic Bishop Big Cats

      by Nic Bishop

      Dec 2019

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      With grace, guile, and unstoppable power, big cats are admired for their speed and strength. Although they are related to house cats, these magnificent creatures are nothing like our pets! With breathtaking full-page images, Sibert Medal-winning photographer Nic Bishop introduces readers to a variety of beautiful and stealthy big cats. The simple, engaging text presents both basic information and captivating details about the appearance, habits, and remarkable abilities of these amazing felines.

      Author’s note. Glossary. Suggestions for further reading. Index. Full-color photographs.

      The Long Ride

      by Marina Budhos

      Dec 2019

      Advanced Readers

      Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other. Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to “mix up the black and white kids.” Their parents don’t want them to be experiments. Francesca’s send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her.

      While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy—but it’s a relationship that can exist only at school.

      Author’s note.

      The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster

      by Cary Fagan

      Dec 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Hartley Staples, near-graduate of middle school, is grappling with the fact that his older brother has run away from home, when he finds a handmade postcard that fascinates him. And soon he spots another. Despite his losing interest in pretty much everything since Jackson ran away, Hartley finds himself searching for cards in his small town at every opportunity, ignoring other responsibilities, namely choosing a topic for his final project. Who is G.O. and why are they scattering cards about the town?

      Full-color collage art.

      Douglas

      by Randy Cecil

      Dec 2019

      Independent Readers Plus

      When Iris Espinosa goes to the cinema, she doesn’t expect to meet a small mouse. And she certainly doesn’t expect that mouse to stow away in her sweater pocket. At home, Iris is delighted by the mouse’s daring, which reminds her of the actor Douglas Fairbanks. And so begin the adventures of a sweet, plucky mouse named Douglas, who must overcome obstacles aplenty, from hungry cats to broom-wielding humans, as she journeys across the tall rooftops of Bloomville to return to her movie-theater home. Full of high-stakes chases, clever escapes, and valiant rescues, Randy Cecil’s story is a cinematic and meticulously crafted celebration of courage and friendship.

      Black-and-white oil illustrations.

      A Girl Named Anna

      by Lizzy Barber

      Dec 2019

      Paperbacks High

      Raised in a quiet rural community, Anna has always been taught that her Mamma's rules are the only path to follow. But, on her eighteenth birthday, she defies her Mamma for the first time in her life, and goes to Astroland. She’s never been allowed to visit Florida’s biggest theme park, so why, when she arrives, does everything about it seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives that same day—a letter addressing her by a different name?

      Rosie has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes as the funds dedicated to the search dry up, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth herself. But can she find the answer before it tears her family apart?
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