Here are some books that have crossed our desks recently.
YOUNG ADULT/ MIDDLE READERS
"THE MISADVENTURES OF PHILLIP ISAAC PENN," by Donna L Peterson (ages 5-8): Pip (Phillip) doesn't seem to do anything right. He is shouted and screamed at, tormented and bullied. His family, teachers and friends seem to find no redeeming qualities in this little boy. What a sad, sad story with harsh situations for kids who really need affirmation of some kind.
"OKAY FOR NOW," by Gary D. Schmidt, (ages 10-14): This companion to "The Wednesday Wars," Schmidt's Newbery Honor winner, follows Doug Swieteck as he leaves his friends and moves with his family to the Catskills. "The Wednesday Wars" dealt with a young boy learning to love Shakespeare. In this book, Doug learns to love and develop his talent with the art of John James Audubon.
"SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT," by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (ages 10-14): Eleven-year-old Jack Martel is left in Acadia National Park by his dysfunctional mother. What was supposed to be a holiday ended up a hide-for-your-life and fear of being taken away as a foster kid. The memory of a small plastic elephant and helpful strangers cause his scary adventure to have a good resolution.
"EVERY DAY ON EARTH: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours," by Steve Murrie and Matthew Murrie, illustrated by Tom Bloom (all ages): Here are more than 200 facts about earth, space, technology, pop culture, food animals, sports and the human body that happen every day. Written in brief paragraphs, these trivia facts will fill a bunch of hot afternoons of reading. Cartoon-like illustrations add to the interest.
"THE VAMPIRE STALKER," by Allison van Diepen (ages 12 and up): Amy has fallen in love with a character from a book, a dashing vampire hunter named Alexander Banks. But then she meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he is Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in pursuit of a wicked vampire. Amy and Alexander team up to find the wicked Vigo.
"THIS GIRL IS DIFFERENT," by J.J. Johnson (ages 12-16): Evie starts high school for the first time after only having been home-schooled. She has trouble coping with the schedules and demands of teachers' rules and power. When Evie and her friends, Jacinda and Rajas, start an anonymous blog to give students a voice, it suddenly becomes a place for bullying and gets out of hand.
"THE MIDNIGHT TUNNEL: A Suzanna Snow Mystery," by Angie Frazier (ages 8-12): Set in 1905, Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, Suzanna works in her family's inn where her parents are trying to train her to become a well-mannered hostess. But Suzanna has different ideas. She wants to become a detective like her famous uncle. Suddenly, she has her chance at solving a mysterious case when one of the hotel guests goes missing.
"WHERE DO YOU STAY?" by Andrea Cheng (ages 8-12): After Jerom's mother dies, he stays with his aunt but he misses his old house with the piano and the garden in back. His cousins aren't too fond of a new person in the house either. Jerom meets Mr. Willie, who is a good listener and pays attention to the boy's needs. The dream is to move into Mr. Willie's old house, but a sign out front lists it for sale. Staying becomes a dilemma.
"SO MUCH CLOSER" by Susane Colasanti (ages 12 and up): Brooke's boyfriend, Scott, is moving to New York City for his senior year of high school and she follows him there. Almost immediately, problems start when Scott doesn't acknowledge her and failing grades don't reflect her genius-level IQ. Her anger leads to John, who tries to polish off the toughness, but Scott is still in her heart. This is a teen-love story with empowering conclusions.
"STAR TREK BOOK OF OPPOSITES," by David Borgenicht: Board book that pairs opposites words like happy and angry with stills form the 1960s-era TV show.
"CHARLIE THE RANCH DOG," by Ree Drummond and illustrated by Diane deGroat: Charlie is a hounddog who is king of the ranch but finds everyone is gone when he takes a nap.
"BAILEY" by Harry Bliss: In this picture book, Bailey is a dog is who excited to go to school and does typical dog things, like eat his homework, but has tries hard to fit in and make friends by the end of the day.
"ORIGINAL GANGSTER: The Real Life Story of One of America's Most Notorious Drug Lords," by Frank Lucas with Aliya S. King (nf); "FOXY: My Life in Three Acts, a Memoir," by Pam Grier with Andrea Cagan (nf); "VANISHING POINTS: Poems by Valerio Magrelli — A Bilingual Edition," translated by Jamie McKendrick (nf); "A SCATTERED LIFE," by Karen McQuestion (f); "EASILY AMUSED," by Karen McQuestion (f); "THE MAGIC OF RECLUCE: Special 20th Anniversary Edition," by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (f); "CLASS," by Cecily von Ziegesar (f); "THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL," by Michael David Lukas (f); "DISPLACED PERSONS," by Ghita Schwarz (f)
— compiled by Marilou Sorenson and Christine Rappleye