Posted in Adventure, Fiction, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Tween Reads

BOOK BLITZ! NatGeo Explorer Academy Forbidden Island

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A heart-pounding final showdown changes the life of Cruz Coronado forever in the seventh and final book in this thrilling fact-based fiction series.

Amid assignments that take the Explorer Academy recruits from the iceberg-filled waters of Antarctica to the bone-dry deserts of Argentina, Cruz Coronado is scrambling to complete the last piece of the cipher. With Nebula agents and the elusive explorer spy still out there, his opportunity to recover his mother’s world-changing formula is slipping away. But as Cruz has learned from his time aboard Orion, true explorers must never give up.

Even after completing dozens of high-risk missions and traveling to all seven continents, Cruz could never prepare himself for one ultimate surprise.

Explorer Academy features: Gripping fact-based fiction plot that inspires curiosity with new technology and innovations; amazing inventions and gadgets; a cast of diverse, relatable characters; secret clues, codes, and ciphers to track down within the text; vibrant illustrations; elements of STEAM; National Geographic explorer profiles in the "Truth Behind" section.

Check out the Explorer Academy website featuring videos, comic shorts, games, profiles of real-life National Geographic Explorers, chapter excerpts and more. 
 


Praise:

"Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology."  
Booklist

"A perfect blend of adventure with real science and technology!"
New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

"A fun, exciting, and action-packed ride that kids will love."
—J.J. Abrams, director and screenwriter of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lost, Alias

"Inspires the next generation of curious kids to go out into our world and discover something unexpected.”
—James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and acclaimed film-maker

 

About the Author

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TRUDI TRUEIT has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction. Her love of writing began in fourth grade, when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to be a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in kids nonfiction encompasses books on history, weather, wildlife, and earth science. She is the author of all the narratives in the Explorer Academy series, beginning with Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. Trueit was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Everett, Washington.

 


GIVEAWAY

  • Three (3) winners will receive the COMPLETE 7-book Explorer Academy series and an Explorer Academy map, showing all the places around the world that Cruz and his classmates visit over the course of the series!
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/27 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below

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Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Teen, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

The LEGO Engineer will take your builds to new heights

The LEGO Engineer, by Jeff Friesen, (Nov. 2022, No Starch Press), $24.99, ISBN: 9781718502505

Ages 10+

I am always looking for good LEGO books for my library. We have a weekly LEGO build that the kids love, and I like to make sure I have books around that will inspire them. Jeff Friesen is always a good purchase for me: I’ve got The LEGO Castle Book and LEGO Space Projects and they are chock full of block-spiration. Friesen’s newest, The LEGO Engineer, is another win; this time, taking on some of the most incredible engineering feats ever created, including cable-stayed bridges and a LEGO South Beach, in all its colorful glory. There are over 30 models, all beautifully photographed by Friesen, and include step-by-step illustrated instructions and a wealth of engineering know-how to make your builds as realistic as can be. It’s a beautiful coffee table book for LEGO enthusiasts and it’s a challenging book of ideas for LEGO fans and future engineers. An excellent choice for collections where LEGO books are popular.

Want to see more of Jeff Friesen’s work? Follow his Instagram page. Want more LEGO learning? Visit LEGO’s education page for free lesson plans.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Odder will melt your heart

Odder, by Katherine Applegate/Illustrated by Charles Santoso, (Sept. 2022, Feiwel & Friends), $16.99, ISBN: 9781250147424

Ages 8-12

Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate does it again. Odder is the “Queen of Play”: a curious young otter who loves to play in the water and wander where she really shouldn’t. While splashing in the water with her best friend, Kairi, they have a run-in with a hungry great white shark, and Odder is injured. Rescued by the same humans that saved her as an otter pup, the story takes an introspective turn as Odder confronts truths about herself and life in the ocean. Inspired by the true story of a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that rescues otters, Applegate creates movement and emotion through her verse: “…there is time for a bit of deep diving / wave chasing / tail spinning / smooth gliding / bubble blowing / FUN”; “She doesn’t just swim to the bottom, / she dive-bombs. / She doesn’t just somersault / she triple-doughnuts. / She doesn’t just ride the waves, / she makes them”. Applegate makes strong points about conservation and throughout the story and in her author’s note, which provides background on her inspiration for Odder. Charles Santoso’s black and white illustrations guarantee that you’ll need to stock your nonfiction section with more books on otters; kids will fall in love with gentle story. A glossary helps readers with new vocabulary. Visit Katherine Applegate’s author website for more about her books and educator resources.

Education.com has some otter-related coloring sheets and worksheets for a book club or STEM extension activity.

Odder has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade

The BIG Adventures of Babymouse is here! (And there’s a Giveaway!)

Fan favorite Babymouse is back with a new series, and it’s BIG! The full-color series is an bigger volume – 9.8″ x 7.9″ – than the original Babymouse books and the middle grade adventures, so it’ll stand out on shelves for sure.

The BIG Adventures of Babymouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker (Book 1), by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm,
(Sept. 2022, Random House Books for Young Readers), $20.99, ISBN: 9780593430903

Ages 7-10

Babymouse’s imagination runs wild in this hilarious new story. When Babymouse is tired of her messy whiskers, she dreams up what life would be like if she didn’t have them at all – and her whiskers have their own idea of how to stay in the picture! Dreaming up fairy tale scenarios and waking up each day to a new whisker-related adventure, there are genuine laugh-out-loud moments: the interplay between Babymouse and the omniscient narrator; Babymouse and her nemesis, the locker; Babymouse as Rapunzel. The message for Babymouse and readers: be careful what you wish for, and be proud of who you are, messy whiskers and all. Artwork is the boldly outlined work that Babymouse readers know and love. Color really makes this a book that attracts readers, moving away from the pink, black and white artwork of the original series. If your newer readers don’t know Babymouse, this is a perfect time to introduce them to this loveable tween and her group of friends. Create a display for all ages that includes the original graphic novels, the middle grade series, and put BIG Adventures front and center.

Visit Jennifer Holm’s webpage for more resources, information about her books, and a video on Babymouse’s origin.

 

JENNIFER L. HOLM and MATTHEW HOLM are the sister-and-brother team behind the Eisner Award–winning Babymouse graphic novel series and the New York Times bestseller Sunny Side Up. Jennifer is the author of many acclaimed novels, including three Newbery Honor winners, Our Only May Amelia, Penny from Heaven, and Turtle in Paradise. Matthew Holm is a graphic designer and freelance writer. They are also the creators of the Squish series. To find out more, visit Babymouse.com and facebook.com/babymousebooks.

Want a chance at winning your own copy of The BIG Adventures of Babymouse: The Messy Whisker? Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

U.S. addresses only, please, and no PO Boxes. Please give someone a chance: if you have win a giveaway in the last six months, please don’t enter. Thank you!

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction

Raising Don: Meet your newest favorite animal

Raising Don: The True Story of a Spunky Baby Tapir, by Georgeanne Irvine with The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press, (Oct. 2022, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press), $14.99, ISBN: 9781943198146

Ages 6-10

The San Diego Zoo was thrilled when Don the tapir was born in 2018: he was the first baby tapir born at the Zoo in more than 30 years! But Luna, Don’s mother, wanted no part of her calf, so it was up to the Zoo staff to raise little Don. Don was bottle-fed and belly-rubbed by wildlife care specialists, bullied by some animals, and befriended by others, including a capybara named Bristle, who became Don’s best friend while at the San Diego Zoo. A true story, captured in full-color photographs and lively, upbeat, informative storytelling. Back matter includes a section on fun facts about tapirs, where tapirs live in the world, and threats to wild tapirs. Endpapers feature Don’s footprints! An adorable add to animal collections.

Raising Don is the newest nonfiction title from San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press; books published spotlight different animals from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

A fairy tale retelling of the Japanese “Cinderella” within the Eva Evergreen universe

Alliana, Girl of Dragons, by Julie Abe, (Aug. 2022, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), $16.99, ISBN: 9780316300353

Ages 8-12

In a Cinderella-inspired Japanese fantasy tale, Alliana is an orphan living with her cruel stepmother and stepsiblings, with only her Grandmother Mari providing any affection. When Grandmother Mari dies, Alliana is bereft and alone in a hostile home, until she rescues a baby nightdragon and meets Nela, an apprentice witch. Alliana and Nela become fast friends and the nightdragon, whom Alliana names Kabo, give her hope of escaping her home living the life she dreams of: attending the Royal Academy. Alliana, Girl of Dragons is set in the world of Julie Abe’s Eva Evergreen universe and is filled with rich fantasy worldbuilding and elements of Japanese culture. Fairy tale readers will recognize elements of the Cinderella tale, including references to Alliana being a “girl of dust”, a royal ball, and Alliana’s secret attendance. The story explores friendship and found families, resilience, and greed. Readers do not need to be familiar with Eva Evergreen – I wasn’t! – to enjoy this adventure. Filled with dragons and magic, Alliana, Girl of Dragons is a great book to recommend to fantasy readers, readers who enjoy new takes on classic fairy tales, and anime and manga fans, who will also enjoy the manga artwork that sets off every chapter and places readers in Abe’s world.

 

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

New nonfiction for Back to School

So the kids have been back to school for a minute. My Corona Kids are back in the library in full force – where were you all Summer, my friends? – and roaming the nonfiction stacks in search of stuff that interests them. I love this time of year, because this is the time where kids come in looking for nonfiction that relates to things they may be starting to learn about, or come across in school; whether other kids are talking about things they pick up on, they’ve seen something either in the halls or the library, or just noticed on TV. They’re in a learning frame of mind, and want nonfiction that sparks their brains. I’ve got some good picks here to share.

National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $24.99, ISBN: 9781426372797

Ages 7-10

This is a no-fail, no-brainer purchase: it’s NatGeo Kids and it’s dinosaurs. Both are easily the rock stars of my nonfiction collection. The Dinosaur Atlas is everything my kids (my own and my Corona Kids) love: full-color artists’ renderings of dinosaurs (now with feathers!), vibrant color photos of fossils and fossil sites, and readable maps to highlight where featured dinosaurs lived. Organized into periods of time: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, the “Preshistoric Planet” section is further organized into habitats, dinosaurs, and life in each era. “Finding Fossils” organizes dinosaur-centric areas of the world and further breaks down into spotlights on locations and the dinosaurs who roamed them. Fast facts, paleontologist profiles, and dino timelines run throughout the book; phonetic spelling helps reader pronounce each name. Back matter includes a Dino Dictionary, glossary, and further reading resources. This oversized reference is magic for dinosaur collections and is an essential purchase.

 

Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More!, by National Geographic Kids, (Aug. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426372803

Ages 7-10

Nat Geo Kids’s Can’t Get Enough series has a new home run: Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff is loaded with photos, facts, games, and jokes about space. Great for trivia and STEM/STEAM groups: quiz your kids on astronaut facts or print out pictures of clocks to illustrate how long a day is on other planets; Try It Out! spreads help guide you and your readers through outer space crafts like a scale model of the solar system. Keep one in reference for yourself and put one in circulation. The Can’t Get Enough books are fun, loaded with facts, and just great purchases.

 

5,000 Awesome Facts About Animals, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 9781426372612

Ages 8-12

These facts books are a staple in my collection. My readers love fast, fun facts, accompanied by the gorgeous photos of adorable animals. This is an animal fan’s dream; a trivia fan’s delight, and a program backbone: Animal Jeopardy! Animal Question of the Day! Help, I need some extra facts for a report I’m writing on [insert animal here]! One of my Corona Kids was in last week and asked for “books with fun facts about animals”; books like this are tailor-made for those kids. Each section has a fun title to bring related facts together: “24 Burly Facts About Animal Tough Guys”; “100 Pup-ular Facts About Dogs”; “15 Facts About Animal Mascots to Cheer For”. Facts are fun and informative: Socks, the Clinton’s Presidential cat, was the first presidential pet to have a website, and the Obama’s dog, Bo, had  his own trading card. Ostriches flutter their wings to create a breeze to cool themselves down. A group of mountain gorillas is called a troop. You can have endless fun with this book, and your readers will love it.

 

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World, by Annette Roeder/Illustrated by Pamela Baron (Sept. 2022, Prestel Junior), $19.95, ISBN: 9783791375144

Ages 8-12

I love finding a good architecture book for middle grade. Recent picture book biographies like Maya Lin’s picture book biography, Maya Lin: Architect of Light and Lines, and Andrea Beaty’s Questioneers picture and chapter books have led to an interest in how buildings look. Plus, you know… LEGOs. The Power of Architecture showcases 25 modern buildings from all over the world: buildings like the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport (I can confirm, it’s a beautiful building) and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg Germany; the scrap metal lily pads of Dandaji Regional Market in Niger, Africa, and the sustainable, environmentally beneficial Tree House in Singapore. Beautiful illustrations give each building center stage and factual, interesting text describes the buildings and what inspired their architects. Thought-provoking questions and suggestions to inspire young architects and designers run throughout the book. The beginning spread shows each building’s location on a world map and a timeline lays out each building’s construction and a biography on each architect. Prestel Junior’s books bring together art and nonfiction in the best of ways and have quickly become stars in my collection. A good purchase if you have budding builders. Put this out during your LEGO challenges and see who it inspires.

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World was originally published earlier this year in Germany.

 

 

Sleuth & Solve: Science: 20+ Mind-Twisting Mysteries, by Ana Gallo/Illustrated by Victor Escandell, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781797214559

Ages 8-12

The latest Sleuth & Solve book from Ana Gallo and Victor Escandell is all about the “why”: what are the scientific causes to these 21 mysteries? Mysteries are classified by subject, with a key to the symbols used in the book. Each mystery has a difficulty grade from Easy to Difficult, and if you were interested in making this a STEM challenge (ahem!), each mystery has a point value. Mysteries are presented across every spread, with a flap disguising the solution: NO CHEATING! Mysteries include a little girl who swears she’s too sick to go to school – but what will her doctor say? Another mystery ponders whether a group of researchers will be able to set out on their journey to the polar ice caps; what does a flock of cranes have to do with this decision? The principles behind each experiment are revealed in the back matter. If you have a strong science experiment/science fair collection, this is a good one to consider.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Middle School, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Underwear can kill you and other Fake News!

Killer Underwear Invasion: How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories, by Elise Gravel, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797214917

Ages 8-12

Beneath the giggles – and there are many – lies a smart and frank discussion about fake news and disinformation. Elise Gravel breaks it down for middle graders in this graphic novel treatise on responsibly consuming media, with hilarious yet sobering examples. Gravel places fake news in an historical context by starting with a town crier announcing that “an evil magician has turned the king into a goat” and uses examples of politicians, puppy-pinching, and medicinal shampoo consumption to illustrate concepts like clickbait, conspiracy theories, and viral news stories. Her trademark colorful blob creatures lead readers through laugh-out-loud scenarios presenting readers with the whys, hows, and consequences of fake news. Gravel provides straightforward guidelines for readers to follow: thinking critically; checking sources and how to find reliable sources; separating fact from opinion, and more. An excellent introduction to being a smart media observer for middle graders and middle schoolers. A first purchase.

Get a free downloadable teacher’s guide on Chronicle’s Killer Underwear book detail page, and visit Elise Gravel’s webpage for free downloadables – her latest on Peer Review is a perfect accompaniment to Killer Underwear – and blog entries.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Blog Tour: HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL

Welcome to the How to Speak Animal Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of National Geographic Kids’ How to Speak Animal on August 16th and World Animal Day on October 4th, this week blogs across the web will feature special excerpts from the book, sharing fascinating insight into the secret language of animals of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever wondered why ants touch antennae when they meet, what it means when a cichlid fish pees, or why turkeys gobble, this is the blog tour (and book!) for you!

How to Speak… DOLPHIN

In the 1970s, researcher Dr. Louis Herman proved that dolphins could understand hundreds of commands. He did this by creating a sign language and teaching two bottlenose dolphins, Phoenix and Akeakamai, how to respond to those gestures. But this is just one way communication, meaning the human talking to the dolphin. A command is made, the dolphin understands, and it performs an action in response. It’s similar to how a dolphin trainer might teach a dolphin to do tricks.

Scientists continued to study dolphin communication. They learned that dolphins were naturally able to associate a sound with an object and were also able to mimic sounds. For example, each dolphin has a signature whistle that acts like a name. When a dolphin wants to get another dolphin’s attention, it can mimic its signature whistle. This discovery gave scientists further hope that one day we could “talk” to these marine mammals.

Today, Dr. Denise Herzing is a leader in dolphin communication. For more than 30 years, she’s been studying wild dolphins in the Bahamas. Her first goal was to bond with the wild dolphins. Then she developed an underwater keyboard that dolphins could touch with their snouts. Each of the four keys represented a different toy, such as a ball, and soon the dolphins learned how to use it. Finally, dolphins were “talking” to humans. But now it was the humans who couldn’t talk back.

Today, Herzing and her team of researchers use an underwater device called CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry). It can send out artificial whistle sounds that Herzog hopes the wild dolphins will learn and mimic. She will associate the whistles with an object, such as seaweed. It’s kind of like the people and the dolphins are creating a new language together. Eventually, this language would allow humans and dolphins to communicate back and forth with each other. So far, the dolphins have mimicked the whistles and then added on their own whistle afterward. Dr. Herzing is still researching what this could mean. While it is incredible progress, translating any animal’s communication will take a very long time.


BuyGoodreads

Learn about the secret language of wild animals in this exciting and informative guide from the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat and How to Speak Dog.

We know animals can’t speak and express themselves in the same way as humans … but even the smallest and quietest animals have incredible ways of communicating with each other. With wildlife veterinarian expert Dr. Gabby Wild as a guide, How to Speak Animal helps kids understand how animals communicate through sound, body language, and behavior. It’s full of expert insights and real-life stories of humans exploring ways to “talk” to animals, from teaching great apes sign language to speaking “dolphin.” Packed with super-engaging animal photography that helps illustrate key concepts, this fascinating bookprofiles more than 60 different creatures―from birds to mammals to reptiles and more―and their amazing ways of communicating with each other.

If you’ve ever wondered why gorillas beat their chests and make hooting noises, what it means when chameleons change color, or why some elephants twist their trunks together, this is the book for you!

 

About the Authors

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DR. GABBY WILD earned her bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master’s of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

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AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children’s book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.


GIVEAWAY

  • Five (5) winners will receive a copy of How to Speak Animal
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 10/2 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

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Blog Tour Schedule:

September 19th Susie’s Reviews and Giveaways
September 20th Pragmatic Mom
September 21st Mom Read It
September 22nd Randomly Reading
September 23rd YA Book Nerd

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Hope Wins: Inspiring personal stories from favorite authors

Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers, Edited by Dr. Rose Brock, (May 2022, Philomel Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9780593463932

Ages 8-12

The last couple of years have been really hard for kids. Hope Wins is a collection of personal stories from some of the best-known names in kidlit – R.L. Stine; Christina Soontornvat, and Tom Angleberger, to name just a few – on overcoming adversity and embracing hope. Dr. Rose Brock, co-founder of the North Texas Teen Book Festival, brings together 22 authors to tell their stories, and every reader will find something – someone – to speak to them here. Origami Yoda series author Tom Angleberger writes about discovering his place on the autism spectrum in “Major Malfunction”; Black Panther author and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winner Ronald L. Smith writes about the new world waiting for him when he got glasses in “The Boy in the Back of the Class”; Newbery Medalist Christina Soontornvat describes the grace of going high when others go low in “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in a Thai Restaurant”. Readers will love the feeling of being invited into each author’s life, of seeing these writers as children. Vashti Harrison’s gorgeous cover features a young brown-skinned girl holding aloft a banner with the title, Hope Wins; the authors selected are diverse and offer a wide worldview. An excellent choice for readers: if you haven’t purchased a copy yet, now is the time. Booktalk these stories with your readers and familiarize yourself with them. After two years of strife, we all need a little extra hope. Hope Wins is the middle grade companion to Dr. Brock’s 2019 YA anthology, Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Moments of Personal Inspiration.