The Starspun Web by Sinead O'HartWhat it’s about: In 1941, 12-year-old Tess de Sousa is uprooted from her happy home at Miss Ackerbee’s orphanage when she’s adopted by the sketchy, scheming Mr. Cleat, who wants to take advantage of Tess’ newfound ability to travel between parallel worlds.
What’s inside: a tarantula named Violet; an uncanny device called a Star-Spinner; a twisty, cross-dimensional adventure; and a brave, curious heroine who’s determined to find her way home.
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan AuxierWhat it's about: As a chimney sweep in Victorian London, orphan Nan Sparrow is used to loneliness and grimy, dangerous work. Then one day she's rescued from an accident by a strange creature -- a golem -- who becomes her loyal companion.
Why you might like it: Blending fantasy, history, and Jewish folktales, Sweep has something for lots of different readers.
Try this next: Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers, another historical tale offering a kid's rooftop view of a famous city.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian JohnsonWhat it's about: After finding intriguing clues in her grandmother's attic, bookish 12-year-old Candice and her new friend Brandon search for buried treasure in a small Southern town haunted by the ugly history of racism.
Why you might like it: Switching between Candice's present-day story and her grandmother's in 1957, this suspenseful puzzle mystery encourages you, just like the characters, to piece the clues together.
Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild by Catherine ThimmeshWhat it is: A fascinating, fact-filled book about how humans are helping to increase the threatened giant panda population by preparing panda cubs for life in the wild.
Art alert: Camp Panda is packed with photos of cute, fuzzy baby pandas, as well as memorable pictures of human scientists wearing panda costumes!
You might also like: Nancy F. Castaldo’s Back from the Brink, another hopeful book that explores efforts to save endangered species.
The Collectors by Jacqueline WestBe careful what you wish for: After Van, a hearing impaired kid with talent for noticing things, spots a strange girl and a silver squirrel diving for pennies in a fountain, he follows them back to the underground realm of the Collectors, who collect wishes and try to prevent their scariest consequences.
Series alert: This imaginative and fast-moving fantasy is followed by a sequel, A Storm of Wishes.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!