Breaking news: This Tuesday afternoon, May 2, author/illustrator Mark Parisi will do a whole-school author visit to introduce his new hybrid book series. He is on a book tour and Barrington Books (knowing about our voracious readers) is sending him over to meet us. As soon as I get a pre-order form from the bookstore, I’ll email it to you.
Marty Pants: Do Not Open! (Marty Pants #1), (2017)
by Mark Parisi
Goodreads summary: Move over, Wimpy Kid. Here comes the imaginative, the inquisitive, the unstoppable Marty Pants! Meet Marty in the side-splitting first book of a new series written by Mark Parisi, the award-winning cartoonist of the Off the Mark comic.
Marty Pants is different from your typical middle schooler. He has the soul of an artist, and as an artist, he notices things—the kinds of things other kids don’t seem to see.
So when Marty discovers a plot on his teacher’s computer to take over the world, Marty knows this is a danger he can’t just ignore. But no one, not his best friends Parker and Roongrat or his mother, father, sister, arch-enemy, Simon, or Chief of Police Pickels, believes him.
So, it’s up to Marty to save the world—his way.
This hilarious new series follows the endearing, frazzled, embarrassed, and, ultimately, fearless footsteps of literature’s most unlikely hero—Marty Pants.
One of my favorite moments from last week was a fifth grader discovering that A Series of Unfortunate Events (recently gaining popularity through the Netflix series) was actually based on books. A classmate and I animatedly explained that every book has 13 chapters and there are 13 books in the series because 13 is traditionally considered an unlucky number. That student happily took out The Bad Beginning to read the series for herself. This got me thinking that there may be other students who need to be introduced to this book series as well.
The Bad Beginning, (1999)
by Lemony Snicket
I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,
Watch the Netflix trailer for A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1.
This well done new picture book will have all our Wonder fans very excited. We just purchased it for our library so it will be ready to check out soon!
We’re All Wonders, (2017)
by R.J. Palacio
Goodreads summary: Over 5 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.
Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.
We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
Watch the book trailer for Wonder.
This next book is going on the Mock Newbery list for the fall.
Hello, Universe, (2017)
by Erin Entrada Kelly
Goodreads summary: In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends — at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.
Watch the Hello, Universe book trailer.
Attention, dancer readers: this biography is a recent Junior Library Guild pick added to our library collection.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Young Readers Edition, (2016)
by Misty Copeland and Brandy Colbert
Goodreads summary: Determination meets dance in this middle grade adaptation of the New York Times bestselling book. “Picture a ballerina in a tutu and toe shoes. What does she look like?”
As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.
When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.
With an insider’s unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional ballerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.
Life in Motion is a story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.
Watch a Life in Motion book trailer.
Check out the cover reveal for Jeff Kinney’s next Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.