Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth; illustrated by Ekua HolmesPoetry. With this book, you can travel through time and space by using an unexpected tool: poetry. Instead of the same old poems that have been used in countless classrooms, Out of Wonder offers you poems about 20 different poets from throughout history and around the world. Here you’ll find odes to long-departed poets (like Persian mystic Rumi and haiku master Bashō), as well as loving tributes to more modern poets such as Nikki Giovanni and Naomi Shihab Nye. And even if poetry isn’t your thing, you can admire the attention-grabbing collage art on every page of this imaginative, inspiring collection.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold; illustrated by Charles SantosoFiction. Bixby Alexander Tam (better known as Bat) has only one month to prove that he can take care of Thor, an orphaned baby skunk. Bat has autism, which sometimes makes it frustrating for him to get along with people -- but not with animals. So how can he make his mom see that he and Thor are meant to be together? Readers who enjoy this funny and heartfelt read about an animal-obsessed 3rd-grader might also like Claudia Mills’ Cody Harmon, King of Pets, while those looking for a slice-of-life story featuring an older character on the spectrum should try Phil Bildner’s A Whole New Ballgame.
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue; illustrated by Caroline HadilaksonoFiction. With seven kids, four parents, and three species of pet in one rambling house, the Lotterys are "a raggle-taggle, multiculti crew." And that's just how nine-year-old Sumac likes it. When the comfortable chaos of her household (founded after the two sets of parents won the lottery) is interrupted by the addition of a long-distant grandfather, Sumac is annoyed -- and she can't help but wonder if cranky old Grumps will ever fit in. Black-and-white illustrations help you keep track of all the characters in this offbeat family story that's perfect for fans of Dana Alison Levy’s Family Fletcher series.
Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas by Laura James; illustrated by Eglantine CeulemansAnimal Fantasy. Though he looks sharp in his dog-sized sailor suit, Pug would much rather cuddle up with a plate of jam tarts than go anywhere near water. Fancy Lady Miranda, however, has been invited to a party at the boating lake, and she doesn't do anything without her beloved dog by her side. Can the water-shy Pug find the courage to face a day full of aquatic exploits and unexpected mishaps? Find out in in this cartoon-illustrated chapter book, the 1st in a charming, laugh-out-loud funny series.
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada KellyFiction. There's nothing like getting stuck down a well to bring your friends together. Timid, insecure 11-year-old Virgil Salinas has two best friends -- Kaori, a self-styled psychic, and Gulliver, a guinea pig -- as well as a crush on Valencia, a deaf classmate who's looking for some new friends herself. After a prank by a bully leaves Virgil trapped in a well with only Gulliver and his Filipina grandma's folktales for company, Valencia, Kaori, and Kaori's sister Gen band together on a quest to find the missing boy. Shifting points of view let you peek into each character's mind in this authentic, suspenseful story of bravery and crisscrossed friendships.
Lola Levine is Not Mean! by Monica Brown; illustrated by Angela DominguezFiction. The whole thing was an accident! Spirited second-grade soccer player Lola never meant to injure her classmate Juan with that slide tackle, but now the other kids at school are calling her mean and refusing to play with her. While writing about all of this in her diary, Lola -- with some support from her best friend Josh and her creative, Peruvian-Jewish family -- works hard to figure out how she can make things right and get back on the field. Sketchy illustrations and an easy-to-read style make this 1st entry in the Lola Levine series perfect for new chapter book readers.
Skateboard Party by Karen English; illustrated by Laura FreemanFiction. Third-grader Richard lives for skateboarding, and he's excited to show off his flat-ground Ollie at his friend Greg's party. He's less excited about a note home from his teacher about his poor schoolwork. With brothers to annoy and skateboard tricks to learn, it's hard for Richard to remember how to spell "quotient," or when his report about howler monkeys is due. But it might be even harder to hide the teacher's note from his parents until after the party. Set at the same school as author Karen English's Nikki and Deja series, this 2nd book in the Carver Chronicles is perfect for readers who want funny, realistic, easy-to-read chapter books.
The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. KrosoczkaMystery. If you love Jarrett Krosoczka's Lunch Lady graphic novels, don't miss his chapter book debut about a mismatched pair of platypus police officers. Rookie Zengo and old-timer O'Malley aren't exactly thrilled about working together. But when they uncover a trail of illegal synthetic fish -- a trail that leads to Pandini, a rich and powerful businessman -- they'll have to overcome their differences in order to crack the case. Poking fun at cop shows and featuring likable animal characters, this new series starter is a great pick for fans of Bruce Hale's Chet Gecko mysteries.
Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Arthur HowardAnimal Fantasy. It's been a long time since it rained on Gooseberry Park, which is a major problem for motherly squirrel Stumpy, snack-loving bat Murray, and the other park-dwelling animals who need water to live. Worried about their friends, neighboring house pets Kona the dog and Gwendolyn the hermit crab decide to come up with a solution. Their plan -- which involves a raccoon, a crow, 200 owls, 20 packs of gum, and some drinking straws -- is clever, to be sure…but will it work? If you like this goofy, upbeat chapter book, be sure to go back and read Gooseberry Park, the first adventure starring these resourceful animal pals.
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems; illustrated by Tony DiTerlizziFiction. Pampered pooch Diva considers it her job to patrol the courtyard of the fancy apartment building where she lives. She never considers exploring further until she meets alley cat Flea, who is a devoted flâneur -- someone who roams the streets, seeing the sights. And there are so many sights -- after all, this is Paris! A satisfying tale of new friendship, Diva and Flea is filled with small moments of bravery, as well as lively, stylish illustrations. Chapter book readers who have happy memories of author Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series will relish this new animal duo.
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