One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans What it's about: Either the dog or the family has to go! So says the landlord of the apartment where Liam and his family live with Cupcake, their German Shepherd who keeps peeing on the carpet. Can Liam and his younger sisters -- scientist Dakota and hug expert Izzy -- find a way to keep both their dog and their home?
Try this next: Karina Yan Glaser's Vanderbeekers series, for further slice-of-life stories about a quirky, pet-loving family.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha LeeWhat happens: When her brother Jun goes missing from his post in the Space Forces, 13-year-old fox spirit Min knows he must be in trouble -- and she's willing to scheme and shape-shift all the way to the terrifying Ghost Sector to find him.
Read it for: thrilling action, Korean mythology, and an imaginative outer-space setting.
Book buzz: This is the 1st science fiction book from Rick Riordan Presents, a collection of books chosen by the popular author himself.
Meena Meets Her Match by Karla ManternachStarring: third-grader Meena, who loves bright colors and making recycled art.
What happens: Lately, Meena's been feeling sick, and her best friend Sofia has stopped playing with her at recess. What's going on? Meena's not sure, but she refuses to let her colorful life turn gray.
For fans of: Sara Pennypacker's Clementine books, Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, and other stories starring upbeat, easy-to-like characters.
Click by Kayla MillerWhat it's about: Olive is friendly with lots of kids in her fifth-grade class, but when the school variety show is announced, everyone forms groups without her, leaving Olive to figure out if she's ready be a solo act.
For fans of: Shannon Hale, Victoria Jamieson, and Raina Telgemeier.
Series alert: If you like this relatable story about finding friendship and confidence, you won't have to wait long for more: the sequel, Camp, will be out in April.
Max & the Midknights by Lincoln PeirceWhat happens: Max, an apprentice troubadour who longs to be a knight, sets out on a quest to save the land of Byjovia from the wicked King Gastley.
Why you might like it: Max's quest leads to new friends, as well as battles, dragons, flying rats, and a surprising prophecy.
Author alert: If you've read any of the Big Nate books, you'll recognize the cartoon art and laugh-out-loud humor of popular author/illustrator Lincoln Peirce.
The Buddy Files: The Case of the School Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler; illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau What it's about: When therapy dog (and sometimes sleuth) Buddy joins his owner Conner for the fourth-grade sleepover in the school library, spooky things keep happening. Could the stories about a ghost in the school be true?
Read it for: suspense, secret codes, and characters you'll root for.
Series alert: You can jump right into this short 6th book in the Buddy Files series, or start at the beginning with The Case of the Lost Boy.
The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Kevin CornellIntroducing: Sugar, Dirt, Poppy, and Sweetie, four crime-fighting chicks who agree to help one very scared squirrel figure out what's chasing him...even if it lands them all in big trouble.
Who it's for: fans of author Doreen Cronin's J.J. Tully Mysteries, or anyone looking for a funny chapter book series -- this is the 1st of six books starring the Chicken Squad.
Try this next: Aaron Blabey's Bad Guys series.
My Dog is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy GreenwaldWhat it's about: Fifth-grader Jimmy is obsessed with crime TV and vampire books. His new dog, Abby, has long fangs and a nose for shady characters. When a rash of robberies breaks out in their neighborhood, Jimmy and Abby seize the chance to prove their worth as a crime-fighting duo.
Series alert: For more of Jimmy and Abby's quirky, fast-paced cases, pick up It's A Doggy Dog World, the next book in the Crimebiters! series.
Last Panda Standing by Jarrett J. KrosoczkaWhat it's about: Platypus police partners Zengo and O'Malley have to split up when Frank Pandini Jr., who's running for mayor of Kalamazoo City, asks Zengo to protect him from the masked, boomerang-throwing squirrels who keep attacking him.
Why you might like it: Like the other books in the Platypus Police Squad series, Last Panda Standing pairs outrageously silly cartoon art with a good old-fashioned mystery.
For fans of: Dav Pilkey's Dog Man books.
The First Case by Ulf Nilsson; illustrated by Gitte SpeeWhat it's about: Who stole Vladimir the squirrel's stash of nuts? Gentle, cake-loving toad Detective Gordon investigates, only to realize that his first suspect -- a hungry baby mouse named Buffy -- might make a great partner.
Read it for: a lovable odd-couple friendship and a cozy forest setting that you'll want to visit again and again.
Series alert: Luckily, you can visit again, because this is just the 1st book in the Detective Gordon series.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!
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