Melody Bird’s favorite place is the graveyard.  It’s full of history and beauty, not sadness, and it’s always peaceful and absent of shouting. After her parents split up because of Dad’s deceit, team MC—Melody and her mom Claudia—support one another. One day while walking in the graveyard with her dachshund Frankie, Melody discovers a house overgrown by weeds and vines. After some research, she learns that this is a plague house, a quarantine facility that is hundreds of years old. Melody can’t wait to share her find with her best friend, Matthew Corbin. Matthew has a fear of germs and a tendency towards obsessive compulsiveRead More →

Told in 33 chapters by seven voices, Linked by Gordon Korman shares the story of a swastika that sets in motion a series of unintended consequences.  Because the administration at Chokecherry Middle School believes that information is the best antidote to the poison of prejudice, the 600 students who attend are subjected to tolerance education. Still, the swastikas continue to show up. What initially seemed to be a sick joke turns into something more sinister. The persistence dredges up 40-year-old memories of the Ku Klux Klan in Shadbush County and the Night of a Thousand Flames.  Soon, the quiet town of Chokecherry, Colorado, is madeRead More →

When Alder Madigan and Oak Carson first meet as next door neighbors in a Los Angeles, California, neighborhood, the two fifth graders decide they don’t like one another. Complicating any chance at a friendship is the mystery of their mothers’ dislike for one another. However, as time and coincidences transpire, the two accept that change is hard and that sometimes, one thing—like anger or a tree—has to end to make room for something else. Furthermore, the universe appears to have other plans. Those realizations—in the midst of a kitten coincidence, an apparition of a house that isn’t there inhabited by Mort the opossum, and theRead More →

Set in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon is a horror story. Along with the Fantastic Four, readers will drown in a sea of scary. If you don’t believe monsters are real, wait until you experience the creepy encounters of Hermon’s characters! Since his mother died, Justin Vaughn believes that everybody leaves, nothing stays the same, and nothing fits anymore. One of his best friends, Zee Murphy is back after a long absence, but he has been changed by the trauma of his experience while lost. Now, along with two other friends—Lyric Rivers, who is loyal and believes that friends help and don’tRead More →

Like nightmares, scary stories are a sort of dress rehearsal for real-life fear, helping children learn to cope with the emotion in a low-stakes setting.  After all, the world can be a scary place where children will encounter frightful situations—such as getting lost, losing friends, being less loved than a sibling, or experiencing abandonment as a result of parental death or divorce.  Therefore, knowing how to confront fear can benefit children and help them cope with difficulty. Scary stories like Dan Poblocki’s Ghost Hunter’s Daughter, targeted for middle grade readers in the eight to twelve year old age group, not only help children forge resilience but give them a senseRead More →

In a word, Tim Tingle’s recent book, Doc and the Detective in Graveyard Treasure is a FUN book!  It features Timmy, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who is a twelve-year-old detective.  Made for action, Timmy finds waiting the most difficult part of detective work.  Tingle’s fast-paced writing style propels the reader into the midst of Detective Timmy’s life as he learns that sometimes bad ideas lead to good information and as he struggles to find proof for his hunches and suppositions. When a group of thieves start to prey on the elderly and Timmy’s friend, Dr. Moore gets targeted, Timmy can’t sitRead More →

In Small Spaces, the prequel to Katherine Arden’s newest book Dead Voices, Coco Zintner, Olivia Adler, and Brian Battersby were alone, lost, and running from Seth, also known as the smiling man, and from living scarecrows who hunted in a dark corn maze and who tried to drag them off and turn them into scarecrows, too, Good at playing chess and making plans, Coco is a careful and nervous girl.    Ollie, Coco’s best friend who lost her mother in an airplane accident, excels at math and wishes to be as fierce, reckless and brilliant as her mother the math professor and adventurer had been—“always laughing,Read More →

All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker tells the colorful story of Olympia, a twelve-year-old artist who is named after a painting by French painter Manet.  Olympia’s (aka Ollie) dad Graham is an art restorer and her mom Doll is a sculptor.  The family lives in the Soho neighborhood in Manhattan, New York. Ollie’s best friends are Alex, an agile young man who Spiderman’s his way up a wall and who practices jumps like a stuntman in training; and Richard, a monster aficionado fascinated by science who is developing a scrapbook that he calls the Taxonomy.  Using her sketching talent, Ollie will occasionallyRead More →

Sasquatch are real. So are mermaids and chupacabras. And the Unicorn Rescue Society has taken it upon itself to rescue any of these mythical endangered creatures that need help. Which is why Elliot and Uchenna, elementary-age members of the Unicorn Rescue Society, are on their way to the state of Washington, where the Sasquatch are in trouble. An evil corporation is after the trees in their habitat, and after them, too! Can Elliot and Uchenna stop to the Schmokes Brothers before it’s too late? This humorous and heartwarming story is full of facts about many creatures, both fictional and real; disguises; complicated vehicles; beautiful trees;Read More →