Ready for more new books? I just love so many of these and hope you check them out to see if your kids and students will, too.
Recommended New Chapter Books, Fall 2018
Isabella spends one week with her dad and his girlfriend, the next week with her mom and her boyfriend. She hates it. She really hates exchange day when she switches. She feels like nowhere is home, she’s always visiting. And her parents, one who is white and one who is black, don’t get along. Tensions between the families get worse when both parents decide to remarry — on the same date. Add to this troubling race issues like the noose in her friend’s locker or when she and her stepbrother are pulled over because of he’s black and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sharon Draper writes a story that captures Isabella’s feelings of division as she searches for who she is in her own story.
Wow. I can’t recommend this book enough!! Marsh writes a stunning novel about two young boys from very different backgrounds — one is a refugee from Syria while the other is an American who has just moved to Belgium. Interwoven in this timely, poignant story are the big issues of refugees, prejudice, fear, friendship, and kindness. To avoid the overcrowded refugee centers, Ahmed hides in the basement of the house where Max lives with his family. When he’s discovered by Max, the boys develop a friendship; Max keeps Ahmed hidden from everyone. The boys come up with a plan to enroll Ahmed in Max’s school. And it works. But it can’t last forever. A local policeman suspects something and Max’s family will be moving back to the U.S. soon… Added to: Best Middle-Grade Chapter Books of 2018
Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
Marcus is an entrepreneurial kid who makes the most of his intimidating size. He’s also very protective of his brother with Down syndrome who faces prejudice at school. When Marcus gets suspended, his mother takes the brothers to Puerto Rico, the home country of their father who abandoned them years before. Even though they are only meant to visit relatives, Marcus hopes to find his father and reconnect. Instead, he finds a loving, extended family, the truth about his dad, and a growing sense of his own identity. Remarkable. I loved every moment of this story.
Langston is a former country boy who moves with his dad to Chicago in the 1940s. It’s a difficult transition. It’s made better when Langston discovers the integrated library where he also discovers himself through the poetry of Langston Hughes and others. This is a beautiful story of redemption, healing, and the power of words.
Billy, a boy who loves snakes, hates moving every few years, and sticks up for underdogs, wants to find his dad. When Billy learns his dad is in Montana, he decides it’s time to reintroduce himself. What he finds is his dad’s new family (who happen to be really nice) and a still-absent father. It isn’t until Billy returns to Florida that he actually meets his dad who is in Florida to stop a poacher from killing an endangered panther. When this pursuit turns dangerous, it’s up to Billy and his stepsister to save their dad from a hungry grizzly and blood-thirsty hunter. Well-written with great pacing and an interesting plot.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
I liked this plot-driven, spooky story. Not only are Cass’s parents’ ghost aficionados for their own TV show but after a terrible drowning accident, Cass sees ghosts. In fact, Cass’s best friend is a ghost named Jacob. When they all travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, Cass discovers that she isn’t the only one who can see ghosts and that she’s actually a ghost hunter. (Which Jacob doesn’t like at all!) But as she’s trying to figure out what this means, she’s terrorized by a sinister ghost called Raven in Red.
Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
Dog-lovers will love this warm-hearted, realistic story. Jessie is staying with her aunt and newly unfriendly cousin for the summer. She decides to make the best of the situation by helping Wes, the neighborhood dog walker, even though he doesn’t want her help. Wes reluctantly teaches her the “Rules of the Ruff” — rules that help one deal with dogs and, as it turns out, humans. This is especially helpful as the boy she plays soccer with ditches her to go out with a snotty friend of her cousin’s. Then when his mom starts to steal Wes’s dog walking business, Wes and Jessie decide to get revenge, rules or no rules, until Jesse realizes that the revenge business doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
Julie and her parents move into an old, haunted house where a young ghost girl is trapped. Julie and her new friend from town determine to figure out how to help the ghost girl. They’ll have to relive the moment when the girl’s family was murdered but change the ending. This is a not-too-scary ghost story because the ghost girl is a sympathetic character.
Edison Beaker Creature Seeker: The Night Door by Frank Cammuso
FANTASY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
To find their escaped pet hamster and missing Uncle Earl, Edison and his sister Tesla enter the realm of monsters. There, a guardian cat informs the siblings that someone (aka. them) must help retrieve the missing keystone to close the monster’s door into the human world. Betrayal, adventure, plot twists, and humor make this a fun, quick read.
Adventurers Guild 2: Twilight of the Elves by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
I don’t often LOVE the second book of a series but I totally do in this case. This second book is just as enthralling as the first with strong, interesting characters, an action-packed plot, and unexpected adventures as the Adventurers Guild quests with a group of elves in order to take back the elven city from the zombies. (If you haven’t read the first book, it’s called The Adventurers Guild.) If you like adventure and fantasy, don’t miss this amazing series!
Lord of the Mountain by Ronald Kidd
I didn’t think I’d like this story — but I was wrong. I found it heartfelt and absolutely fascinating– the history, the characters, the plot, and the themes of faith, music, and family. The story takes place in the south when records are a brand new thing and as a result of records, country and bluegrass music takes off. But for Nate, his preacher father says that music is a sin so Nate, a science and machine loving music fan, sneaks around to learn and absorb everything he can about all his non-church interests, especially music. Until he gets caught. His father’s increasing anger prompts Nate to leave home in search of a song and the reason his father hates music so much. (I can relate a little to Nate’s experience having a preacher father myself.) You’ll find yourself looking up some of the musical acts mentioned — The Carter Family, for one.