The first book I’d like to highlight this week is a 2017 RI Children’s Book Award nominee. For those of you who love action adventure, this book is for you! The good news is if you enjoy it, you can read Masterminds: Criminal Destiny and then Masterminds: Payback comes out in March.
Masterminds (Masterminds #1), (2015)
by Gordon Korman
Goodreads summary: From bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a thrilling new middle grade trilogy about a group of kids living in a Pleasantville-type town who discover a dark secret that connects them to some of the greatest criminal masterminds of their time.
Eli Frieden lives in the most boring town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. Only thirty kids live in the idyllic town, where every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a basketball hoop. Honesty and kindness are the backbone of the community. There is no crime in this utopia.
Eli has never left town…. Why would he ever want to? But everything changes the day he and his friend Randy bike to the edge of the city limits. Eli is suddenly struck with a paralyzing headache and collapses. Almost instantly, a crew of security—or “Purple People Eaters,” as the kids call them—descend via helicopter. Eli awakens in the hospital, and the next day, Randy and his family are gone.
As Eli convinces his friends Tori and Malik to help him investigate Randy’s disappearance, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. As the clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, the kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents. So they hatch a plan for what could be the greatest breakout in history—but will they survive? And if they do, where do they go from there?
This first book in a thrilling new series from the middle grade “mastermind” Gordon Korman is sure to be a hit with his myriad fans.
Watch the official Masterminds book trailer here.
Check out author Gordon Korman’s website.
This next book is on our HMS Mock Newbery list. It is a masterful tale of a Japanese family forced to go to an internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. You will fall in love with Manami and her dignified family.
Paper Wishes, (2016)
by Lois Sepahban
Goodreads summary: A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II–and the dog she has to leave behind.
Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family’s life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It’s 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn’t until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.
Read an interview with author Lois Sepahban here.
Check out author Lois Sepahban’s website.
I have not read this next book yet but look forward to it. Many others have it on their Mock Newbery list.
Hour of the Bees, (2016)
Goodreads summary: Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .
While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
Watch an Hour of the Bees book trailer here.
Read an interview with author Lindsay Eager here.
This book is the next best thing to having an author visit. With much humor you learn how a book starts from the author’s seed idea and finally gets into your hands. I’ll admit, after reading it with my son, I am utterly smitten. Our library will get a copy this month.
How This Book Was Made, (2016)
words by Mac Barnett, pictures by Adam Rex
Goodreads summary: You may think you know how this book was made, but you don’t. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How’d it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.
New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.
Watch the How This Book Was Made book trailer on author Mac Barnett’s website.
Read an interview with Mac Barnett and Adam Rex about making How This Book Was Made here. Bonus: there is a link to watch Mac Barnett’s TED talk!
This next title is a fun one that I’d like everyone in our school to be aware of. Full of humor and action, this hybrid series (five in all) is sure to make our readers happy!
NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society (NERDS #1), (2009)
written by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Ethen Beavers
Goodreads summary: Combining all the excitement of international espionage and all the awkwardness of elementary school, NERDS, featuring a group of unpopular students who run a spy network from inside their school, hits the mark. With the help of cutting-edge science, their nerdy qualities are enhanced and transformed into incredible abilities! They battle the Hyena, a former junior beauty pageant contestant turned assassin, and an array of James Bond–style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last.
Watch the NERDS book trailer here.
You may also enjoy Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm series. He has been lightly editing them and the covers have been updated. We have the series but will need to get the new versions for our library.
Watch the book trailer for The Sisters Grimm series here.