Holiday House and Pixel + Ink Showcase: New titles from the first half of 2023
A thing I’ve had to learn to do over the past many years is to let go of books. When we moved back to Minnesota from Boston, we had more boxes of books than we did boxes of everything else. After we bought our first house, we moved those MANY books around so many times as we painted and redid floors and all the other stuff that comes with living in a home. Finally, I said ENOUGH! We donated the majority of our collection and since then I’ve been pretty good about sending books out of my home after I read them. I mean, we still have way more books than most people (without thinking on it too hard, I think we have 8 bookcases throughout our house), but those are the ones we HAVE to keep. Okay, so maybe I’m not as great at letting books go as I thought. Anyway. All this book mail comes in, I sort it, catalog it, read what I can, and send 100% of it back out the door to friends and to both my own school and my teen’s. At this point, I have to imagine the high school ELA department’s classroom libraries are just full of the books I make Callum haul in with no room for anything else.
Today’s giant box o’ fun is from Holiday House and Pixel + Ink. All descriptions are from the publisher.
For Lamb by Lesa Cline-Ransome (ISBN-13: 9780823450152 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 01/10/2023, Ages 14-17)
An interracial friendship between two teenaged girls goes tragically wrong in this powerful historical novel set in the Jim Crow South.
For Lamb follows a family striving to better their lives in the late 1930s Jackson, Mississippi. Lamb’s mother is a hard-working, creative seamstress who cannot reveal she is a lesbian. Lamb’s brother has a brilliant mind and has even earned a college scholarship for a black college up north— if only he could curb his impulsiveness and rebellious nature.
Lamb herself is a quiet and studious girl. She is also naive. As she tentatively accepts the friendly overtures of a white girl who loans her a book she loves, she sets a off a calamitous series of events that pulls in her mother, charming hustler uncle, estranged father, and brother, and ends in a lynching.
Told with nuance and subtlety, avoiding sensationalism and unnecessary brutality, this young adult novel from celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome pays homage to the female victims of white supremacy.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
The Carrefour Curse by Dianne K. Salerni (ISBN-13: 9780823452675 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 8-12)
The Addams Family meets The Westing Game in this exhilarating mystery about a modern magical dynasty trapped in the ruins of their once-grand, now-crumbling ancestral home.
Twelve-year-old Garnet regrets that she doesn’t know her family. Her mother has done her best to keep it that way, living far from the rest of the magical Carrefour clan and their dark, dangerous mansion known as Crossroad House.
But when Garnet finally gets summoned to the estate, it isn’t quite what she hoped for. Her relatives are strange and quarrelsome, each room in Crossroad House is more dilapidated than the last, and she can’t keep straight which dusty hallways and cobwebbed corners are forbidden.
Then Garnet learns the family secret: their dying patriarch fights to retain his life by stealing power from others. Every accident that isn’t an accident, every unexpected illness and unexplained disappearance grants Jasper Carrefour a little more time. While the Carrefours squabbles over who will inherit his role when (if) he dies, Garnet encounters evidence of an even deeper curse. Was she brought to Crossroad House as part of the curse . . . or is she meant to break it?
Written with loads of creepy atmosphere and an edge-of-your-seat magical mystery, this thrilling story reads like The Haunting of Hill House for preteens. Perfect for late-night reading under the covers.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Breaking the Mold: Changing the Face of Climate Science by Dana Alison Levy (ISBN-13: 9780823449712 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 02/21/2023 Series: Books for a Better Earth, Ages 8-12)
Sixteen scientists. Protecting our planet. Making science more equitable.
Scientists who collect microbes from surfers’ skin, who use radar sensors to gather data miles away, who combat inequality by pushing for cleaner air policies. Each with their own story, all working to make life better for future generations.
Celebrated author Dana Alison Levy profiles 16 people, all studying different elements of the earth’s landscape, animals, and climate, who defy stereotypes of who can be a scientist. From analytical chemists to volcanologists, from global experts to recent graduates, these scientists share what they were like as young people, how they got where they are now, and what they—and the rest of us—can do to help the planet.
Based on extensive interviews and featuring infographics and personal photos, Breaking the Mold offers a snapshot of the people and organizations fighting to make science more equitable. Back matter includes advice for readers interested in science careers, DIY projects, paths to community involvement, and more.
Books for a Better Earth are designed to inspire children to become active, knowledgeable participants in caring for the planet they live on.
Together For Never by Marilyn Kaye (ISBN-13: 9780823446124 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 03/14/2023, Ages 8-12)
The Parent Trap meets Mean Girls when two polar opposites are squeezed into a tiny vacation house just because their parents are dating.
Charlotte is the queen bee of her 8th grade class—popular, confident, always wearing the trendiest clothes—and judging others for what they wear. Lily is a loner who dreams of becoming a writer—and she wants nothing to do with Charlotte and her snobby crowd.
Then Charlotte’s divorced father starts dating Lily’s single mother. Neither one of the girls even notices—until the day they learn that they are going on vacation together. Worse than that, they’ll have to share a small bedroom for two whole weeks.
When The Parent Trap meets Mean Girls, can two girls ever make peace, or will they drag their vacations—and their parents’ romance—into disaster? Every teen girl’s nightmare becomes an entertaining, surprising and heartfelt story in the hands of seasoned middle grade pro Marilyn Kaye.
The Great Peach Experiment 3: Frozen Peaches by Erin Soderberg Downing (ISBN-13: 9781645951353 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 04/04/2023 Series: The Great Peach Experiment #3, Ages 8-12)
A frozen family “business trip” to Sweden’s Ice Hotel sets the Peaches on a new grand adventure.
The third book in The Great Peach Experiment, great for fans of The Penderwicks and The Vanderbeekers.
Cashing in on his family’s recent good-luck streak, ten-year-old Freddy Peach has been entering his family in a bunch of sweepstakes, but he doesn’t really expect to win. And then he does—a free family trip to the Ice Hotel in Sweden!
Since the Peaches are now the proud owners of their own bed-and-breakfast, they decide they can’t pass up on the opportunity. It’s research. They’ll learn more about what it takes to operate a successful hotel from one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.
But what the Peaches don’t know is that five families from five frozen locations have been brought together to compete for the honor of frozen best. They’ll face-off in a series of challenges from dog sled racing to ice carving to an ice-cold cook out. But when the going gets tough, the Peaches have always come together in the past? Why should this time be any different?
The third book in the Great Peach Experiment series, Frozen Peaches is a sweet treat, mixing humor, adventure, warmth (despite the cold) and a lot of heart to make another great book readers will be delighted to devour.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Betrayal by the Book (The Swallowtail Legacy #2) by Michael D. Beil (ISBN-13: 9781645950509 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 04/18/2023 Series: Swallowtail Legacy Series #2, Ages 8-12)
A writer’s conference brings twelve-year-old Lark’s favorite writer—and a suspicious death—to Swallowtail Island, in the second book in this middle grade mystery series by an Edgar Award-nominated author.
Swallowtail Island is hosting the Swallowtales Writer’s Conference. Lark’s ecstatic to be chosen as a “page” for her favorite author, Ann E. Keyhart.
But they say you should never meet your idols. When Keyhart arrives with her personal assistant in tow, she is nothing but a terror. And within a few hours, the assistant is dead! But the explanation isn’t sitting well. Not when lots of people had reasons to want to be rid of Keyhart, and especially not after it’s revealed the assistant recently completed a hot new novel and the file’s vanished from her computer.
Then Lark finds out the assistant had a bird—the match to the one she found hidden in her mom’s book—and she needs answers. It looks like Swallowtail Island still has secrets to reveal, and Lark’s going to uncover them.
A gripping new chapter in the Swallowtail Legacy series, Mike D. Beil spins another clever clue hunt that seamlessly slips in alongside the best classics of middle grade mystery.
Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream by Polly Farquhar (ISBN-13: 9780823452095 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 04/25/2023, Ages 8-12)
“Not since Ramona Quimby has a character marched right out of a book with so much bravado, humor, and heart.”—Barbara O’Connor, New York Times bestselling author of Wish
A headstrong girl’s quest to steal back her family’s dog goes awry in this humorous and compassionate novel.
Lolo is stuck in summer school with a teacher who is out to get her while her family is still reeling from her grandfather’s death. Even his dog is mourning, howling outside all night and every night. Finally, lovable old Hank is sent to a farm across the lake that takes foster dogs.
And it’s all Lolo’s fault.
Lolo knows she has to get Hank back. In a tippy canoe, Lolo crosses the almost-dried-out lake to steal her dog back. But she runs into Noah, a student in her summer school class and Hank’s new owner—and he loves Hank as much as she does.
As Lolo’s plan unravels and her uneasy alliance with Noah grows into a friendship, the question of what’s best for Hank becomes muddier. Can Lolo manage to do the right thing—for once?
Itch author Polly Farquhar returns to Ohio with a tale of a big-hearted girl searching for answers to tough questions in all the wrong places. Fans of Gary Schmidt will love Farquhar’s blend of honesty, humor, and heart.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Buffalo Flats by Martine Leavitt (ISBN-13: 9780823443420 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 04/25/2023, Ages 12-17)
Based on true-life histories, Buffalo Flats shares the epic, coming of age story of Rebecca Leavitt as she searches for her identity in the Northwest Territories of Canada during the late 1800s.
Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Leavitt has traveled by covered wagon from Utah to the Northwest Territories of Canada, where her father and brothers are now homesteading and establishing a new community with other Latter-Day Saints. Rebecca is old enough to get married, but what kind of man would she marry and who would have a girl like her—a girl filled with ideas and opinions? Someone gallant and exciting like Levi Howard? Or a man of ideas like her childhood friend Coby Webster?
Rebecca decides to set her sights on something completely different. She loves the land and wants her own piece of it. When she learns that single women aren’t allowed to homestead, her father agrees to buy her land outright, as long as Rebecca earns the money —480 dollars, an impossible sum. She sets out to earn the money while surviving the relentless challenges of pioneer life—the ones that Mother Nature throws at her in the form of blizzards, grizzles, influenza and floods, and the ones that come with human nature, be they exasperating neighbors or the breathtaking frailty of life.
Buffalo Flats is inspired by true-life histories of the author’s ancestors. It is an extraordinary novel that explores Latter-Day Saints culture and the hardships of pioneer life. It is about a stubborn, irreverent, and resourceful young woman who remains true to herself and discovers that it is the bonds of family, faith, and friendship—even romance—that tie her to the wild and unpredictable land she loves so fiercely.
Constellations by Kate Glasheen (ISBN-13: 9780823450718 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 05/23/2023, Ages 14+)
A debut graphic novel about a queer teen living in the margins who is determined to find their way ahead.
Are you supposed to be a boy or a girl?
It’s a question that follows Claire everywhere. Inescapable on the street, in school, and even at home. A black hole forever trying to pull them in. But as long as they have ride-or-die best friend Greg at their side and a drink in their hand, everything will be okay. Right?
Except, Claire can never have just one drink. And when harassment at school reaches a fever pitch, Claire begins a spiral that ends in court-ordered rehab. Feeling completely lost, Claire is soon surrounded by a group of equally messed up, equally hilarious new friends and, with the help of a patient counselor, finds a space to unpack all the bad they’ve experienced. But as Claire’s release gets closer so does the question: Can Claire stay sober and true in a world seemingly never made for them?
Set in 1980s Troy, New York, Constellations is a portrait of a queer teen living in the margins but determined to find their way ahead. Done in watercolor and ink, debut author-artist Kate Glasheen has created a world where strong lines meet soft color, and raw emotions meet deep thought in this story of hope, humor, and survival.
“A unique journey that doesn’t turn away from hard truths; courageously honest and vulnerable.”—Iasmin Omar Ata, the Ignatz Award winning creator of Mis(h)adra
A Starlet’s Secret to a Sensational Afterlife by Kendall Kulper (ISBN-13: 9780823453610 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 05/23/2023, Ages 14-17)
A budding starlet and her handsome-but-moody co-star go from bitter enemies to reluctant partners when they get tangled up in the disappearance of a beautiful young actress in 1930s Hollywood.
Eighteen-year-old Henrietta arrives in Los Angeles in 1934 with dreams of trading her boring life for stardom.
She’s determined to make it as an actress, despite her family’s doubts and rumors of would-be starlets gone missing. And by the skin of her teeth, she pulls it off! A serendipitous job offer arrives and Henrietta finds herself on a whirlwind publicity tour for a major film role—with a vexingly unpleasant actor tapped by the studio to be her fake boyfriend.
But fierce Henrietta has more in common with brooding Declan than she realizes. They both have gifts that they are hiding, for fear of being labeled strange: he is immune to injury and she can speak to ghosts. When the co-stars get tangled up in the disappearance of a beautiful young actress, they go from bitter enemies and pretend lovers to reluctant partners—and possibly even friends.
Together, they might be the only people in Hollywood who can do something about these poor missing girls. And in doing so . . . they might just fall in love for real.
This whip smart, seductive caper by the author of Murder for the Modern Girl has the perfect combination of romance, vengeance, and a hint of the supernatural, set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hand to fans of These Violent Delights and My Lady Jane.
The Sinister Secrets of Singe by Sean Ferrell, Graham Carter (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781645951834 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/06/2023 Series: The Sinister Secrets #1, Ages 10-14)
The Wild Robot meets Sweet Tooth in the first book in a sweeping adventure series packed with robots, smugglers, battles, and a lonely boy trying to find where he fits in the world.
Eleven-year-old Noah has grown up in a mysterious house that grows larger every night with only his mother and a robot-boy for company. He spends his days building robotic devices for the city of Liberty, a place he’s not even allowed to visit—not since his father almost destroyed it when Noah was only a baby.
When Noah discovers a message hidden in one of his father’s inventions, he decides to run away to find him. He’s sure that at his father’s side he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves. With the help of a band of smugglers (especially unofficial second in command, young Winona), he sails to Singe to rescue his father, who he’s certain is as misunderstood as he is, but the man he finds there is even more of a monster than his mechanical creations. And when Noah returns home, he accidentally leads his father’s robot army to Liberty once more.
Now, it’s up to Noah to rescue the city—but to do so, he’ll have to make a terrible choice.
Team Trash: A Time Traveler’s Guide to Sustainability by Kate Wheeler, Trent Huntington (ISBN-13: 9780823452279 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/13/2023 Series: Books for a Better Earth, Ages 10-14)
When a science project goes awry, two student activists travel through time to learn how to protect our Earth from plastic pollution in modern times.
Studious environmentalist Charlie is stuck with a science fair partner who seems like her complete opposite: Charlie wants to save the planet, and all Oliver wants is to doodle in his notebook. But when a mechanical mishap sends the two traveling back through time, they’ll have to work as a team to return to the present day.
In order for the time machine to send them back, the unlikely duo must gather data on recycling throughout the ages – from sustainable marketplaces in Edo Japan to garbage-gobbling pigs in 19th-century NYC. Yet the closer the team gets to the present day, the more that plastic presents a problem: they’re running out of time.
Harnessing their frustration over the daunting ecological future they’ve inherited, Charlie and Oliver discover the ways in which they can use their sustainability knowledge to return home and build a better earth.
In this sweeping educational adventure that transports readers across continents and centuries, Washington Post contributor Katie Wheeler invites readers into the history of recycling and how students can reduce plastic waste. Wheeler’s fresh journal-style graphic novel acknowledges the reality of plastic pollution while offering accessible activist solutions, playfully-illustrated sustainability tips, and an optimistic look into how modern scientists are combating waste.Books for a Better Earth are designed to inspire children to become active, knowledgeable participants in caring for the planet they live on.
102 Days of Lying About Lauren by Maura Jortner (ISBN-13: 9780823453627 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/20/2023, Ages 8-12)
After being abandoned by her mother in a most unusual place, a defiant heroine sticks to her plan for staying hidden—even though getting caught could mean saving her life.
Twelve-year-old Mouse calls an amusement park home.
Nobody notices her, and that’s the way she likes it. Mouse sweeps the streets and wears a uniform she “borrowed” and sleeps on the top floor of the Haunted House of Horrors. She knows which security guards to avoid, eats the bagel left out each morning for the Ghost of Summer (a popular theme park legend), and even has the taco guy convinced that her lunch is paid for. She has her special hiding methods down to a science.
But one morning, a girl named Cat comes looking for Lauren Suszek. Cat notices her, and Mouse doesn’t like it. Mouse cannot let this nosy pest find out who she really is! If Mouse gets discovered living in the park, Mama might come back for her, and Mouse doesn’t want that. Or—even worse?—Mama might not come back at all.
Mouse knows she can lose this girl without blowing her cover. She just has to follow her rules. A carefully constructed life in the park is all she needs. Right?
Anchored by memorable characters and an extraordinary setting, Maura Jortner’s brilliant debut novel is bursting with grit, humor, and heart.
Bizard the Bear Wizard by Chrissie Krebs (ISBN-13: 9780823451456 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/20/2023 Series: Bear Wizard #1, Ages 8-10)
An ordinary bear gains extraordinary magical powers in this hilarious early graphic novel reader.
Bear was just an average bear, until the day a tornado lodged an out-of-control wizard’s wand in his head. Now he looks a bit like a cross between a bear and a unicorn. He is none too pleased, but it seems he might be stuck with the wand for the foreseeable future.
Even worse, he now has the ability to grant wishes—something he wants no part of. He’d much rather spend his days dozing away. His friends give him a new name—Bizard the Bear Wizard—and he reluctantly accepts his new magical powers and starts granting wishes to everyone in the forest.
But when the evil wolf and his bad guys threaten them all, Bizard knows it’s time to embrace his magical destiny. Only he and his newly wanded head can save the day now. Along the way, Bizard’s friends, Fox, Owl, and Squirrel, all bring their own brand of kooky support to his antics as he uses . . . and accidently misuses, his powers.
From the talented author-illustrator Chrissie Krebs comes the first of two hilarious younger graphic novels about Bizard and his friends.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Filed under: new books
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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