Into the Lion's Den by Linda FairsteinMystery. As the daughter of a police commissioner, Devlin Quick has crime-solving in her genes. After she and her friend Liza witness someone stealing a rare map from a book in the New York Public Library, Dev's sleuthing instincts take over. Since the police don't believe her, she's got to rely on her own skills, as well as some help from friends and family, to crack the case. Weird-but-true book facts and visits to NYC landmarks pepper the plot of this page-turner, the 1st in a series. While you wait for Devlin's next case, you may want to try bookish, city-wide mystery in Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Book Scavenger.
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan ShepherdHistorical Fiction. There are horses inside the mirrors at Briar Hill hospital. Only Emmaline, a very sick young patient, can see them, and peeking into their world offers her a welcome break from her loneliness and frustration. When an injured winged horse escapes from the mirror world into the hospital garden, Emmaline devotes herself to protecting the unusual visitor, even as her own health fails. Set in World War II England, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a quietly touching story that "blurs the line between real and imaginary" (Booklist), inviting you to dive deep into Emmaline's world.
Crenshaw by Katherine ApplegateFiction. Crenshaw is back, and he won't go away. The giant talking cat used to be Jackson's imaginary friend, back when Jackson was in first grade and his family lived in their minivan. Now, Jackson is almost in fifth grade, and though his family has a place to live, it's hard to find enough money for rent or food. Already worried about losing his home again, Jackson is baffled and annoyed by Crenshaw, who does cartwheels, demands purple jelly beans, and refuses to disappear, even though Jackson no longer believes in imaginary friends. Why has Crenshaw returned? You'll have to read this authentic, gripping, and offbeat book from Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate to find out.
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell BoyceFiction. After his skin suddenly turns from normal brown to broccoli green, 12-year-old Rory is quarantined in a London hospital. Even worse, he's forced to share a room with the only other green patient: Tommy-Lee, a mean kickboxer who gives Rory a hard time at school. The two enemies become friends, however, after they start to suspect that their new hue can only mean one thing: they're superheroes! To test their powers, they sneak out of the hospital and go on a series of nighttime escapades, including freeing zoo animals, breaking into Buckingham Palace, and other outlandish hijinks that are sure to please fans of Dave Barry and Tom Angleberger.
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones; illustrated by Katie KathFantasy. Moving to her family's newly inherited farm is tough for 12-year-old Sophie. She misses her life in Los Angeles, where she wasn't one of only three brown-skinned people in the neighborhood. Feeling lonely, Sophie writes letters to her Abuelita and Great-Uncle Jim (both deceased), as well as to Agnes, the peculiar owner of Redwood Farm Supply. Agnes teaches Sophie about poultry care -- a necessary skill, since chickens with paranormal abilities (invisibility, levitation, telekinesis) keep turning up on the farm. Quizzes, clippings, and expressive black-and-white drawings illustrate this funny, moving, and unique tale.
Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny LeeFiction. Though Benji is excited about getting a therapy dog, he isn't quite prepared for Parker Elvis Pembroke IV. Elvis, a giant, talking Newfoundland, is supposed to help Benji deal with his various medical issues (including seizures, allergies, and fainting under stress), but the dog's bold and bossy attitude also helps Benji find the confidence to make friends with some fellow misfits at school. The goofy, heartwarming, and drool-covered escapades of Benji and Elvis continue in a sequel, Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service. If you're curious about real-life dogs like Elvis, pick up Linda Tagliaferro's Therapy Dogs.
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