Middle Grade Monday – World Traveler Edition
Okay, not so much world traveler, but I did get on a plane today, which is a big deal for me. I’m in Michigan visiting some friends who have a 6 week old and a 2.5 year old, so all the snuggles for me! Meanwhile, here are some middle grades novels I’m looking forward to for the upcoming months.
The Flinkwater Factor by Pete Hautman
I’m a huge fan of Hautman’s YA novels, especially Rash, so I am really looking forward to this one. From the publisher:
Ginger must save her high-tech hometown from robots gone rogue in this hilariously quirky science fiction novel from National Book Award–winning author Pete Hautman.
Welcome to Flinkwater, Iowa, home of the largest manufacturer of Articulated Computerized Peripheral Devices in the world. If you own a robot, it probably came from Flinkwater.
Meet Ginger Crump, the plucky, precocious (and somewhat sarcastic) genius who finds herself in the middle of a national emergency when Flinkwater’s computers start turning people into vegetables. Mental vegetables, that is. In Ginger’s words, they’ve been “bonked.”
When Ginger’s father is bonked, she recruits her self-declared future husband, boy genius Billy George, to help her find the source of the bonkings. Soon they’re up against a talking dog, a sasquatch, and a zombie, while Flinkwater is invaded by an army of black SUVs led by the witless-but-dangerous Agent Ffelps from Homeland Security. Can Ginger get to the bottom of the bonkings, or will computer chaos reign forever?
A new book from the author of the Al Capone series, Jennifer Choldenko, is coming in August! News on Chasing Secrets, from the publisher:
San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people…but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.
The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.
I was so excited to hear (by way of Twitter) that a new chapter in the lives of Vonetta, Fern, and Delphine is on its way from the incomparable Rita Williams. On the upcoming Gone Crazy in Alabama:
Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.
Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven will be enjoyed by fans of the first two books, as well as by readers meeting these memorable sisters for the first time.
A new novel by the consistently fantastic Rebecca Stead is coming in August. On Goodbye Stranger, from the publisher:
This brilliant novel by Newbery Medal winner Rebecca Stead explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship.
Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?
Each memorable character navigates the challenges of love and change in this captivating novel.
Finally, I’m really excited for this new novel by Shelley Pearsall, The Seventh Most Important Thing. Her books have broad appeal with my students and it’s easy to understand why once you read them. From the publisher:
One Kid. One Crime. One Chance to Make Things Right.
It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service…working for him.
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine….
Inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton, award-winning author Shelley Pearsall has crafted an affecting and redemptive novel about discovering what shines within us all, even when life seems full of darkness.
Story Locale: Washington, D.C. in the 1960s.
Filed under: Middle Grade Monday
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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