National Book Award Finalist: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Patricia McCormick is no stranger to transforming traumatic true-life experiences into digestible and empathetically rendered fiction. A former journalist, she tackled hard-hitting subjects in her previous four books, from cutting (CUT) and drug addiction from the addict’s sibling’s point of view (MY BROTHER’S KEEPER) to an American soldier’s guilty conscience during the Iraq war (PURPLE […]

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano’s initial claim to fame was her starring role on “Sesame Street” as Maria. Two picture books later, Manzano has written her first novel inspired by events in her own life. Loosely following what transpired in 1969 when a Puerto Rican activist group called the Young Lords attempted to take over a church in order to […]

Three YA Anthologies Featuring Stories About Bullying and More

Featuring stories written by more than 35 of the biggest and best names in YA fiction, these three themed anthologies are an invaluable resource for the classroom and home library. While one collection focuses mainly on the effects of bullying on today’s teens, and another contains meditations on fate and the unknown, the third presents […]

David Levithan’s Latest YA Novel: Every Day

David Levithan is the king of boundary-stretching novel concepts. His first novel, Boy Meets Boy, busted the world of gay teen lit wide open with its hopeful and upbeat vision of a reality in which homosexuality is not only accepted but delightfully normal. The Lover’s Dictionary traces the course of a relationship via a series of dictionary entries. Written […]

Middle-Grade Nonfiction Round-Up

The beginning of the school year is almost here and it’s time to stock up on meaningful and well-written nonfiction titles for your classroom or library. Here are four recently released or upcoming titles that are inspiring as well as informative: Moonbird by Phillip Hoose (Claudette Colvin; The Race to Save the Lord God Bird; We Were There, Too!). B95 […]

Rebecca Rupp’s After Eli – A Novel About Death and Moving Forward

Oh, brother. Literally. It always amazes me when an author writes about a sensitive subject with aplomb—and in a way that kids can easily grasp, no less. Not by being overly dramatic. Not by tiptoeing around the issue. But by simply telling it like it is, how it actually happens. Rebecca Rupp (The Dragon of Lonely Island; Sarah […]

Pre-Pub Alert: Newbery Medal Winner Rebecca Stead’s New Book!

You devoured First Light. You jumped for joy when When You Reach Me won the Newbery. If both A and B are true, you’re bound to adore Liar & Spy. Why? Because Rebecca Stead knows how to pen a sweet-ish yarn with just the right mixture of middle-school angst, smarts, and yearning without all the heavy baggage found in titles geared toward […]

Red Heart Tattoo – A Timely Read by Lurlene McDaniel

I don’t know what’s happening in your neck of the woods, but in mine every conversation seems to be about some aspect of the shooting at the midnight showing of the latest Batman flick in Aurora, Colorado. Questions are flying. What kind of lunatic could do a thing like this? Why aren’t there stricter gun-control […]

Seraphina – Rachel Hartman’s Killer Fantasy Debut

The ARC of Seraphina has been on my shelf for a while. Truthfully, I wasn’t planning to read it. Why? I’m not a big fan of fantasy (I know. Pshaw!). I’m more of a realistic fiction girl. But when the starred reviews started piling up and the praise poured in, I thought, “Why not see what the […]

On the Day I Died: Ghost Stories Perfect for Reading (and Telling) Around the Campfire!

In the Author’s Note following On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave, Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost; The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School; Lowji Discovers America  ) remembers fondly the times her mother would freak out Candace and her sister by telling them ghost stories before bedtime about people they knew or superstitions and legends they […]