Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell BoyceScience Fiction. To most people, Sputnik looks like a cute dog -- only foster kid Prez can see that Sputnik is actually an alien in a kilt and aviator goggles. Sputnik can hear Prez's thoughts (handy, since Prez doesn't talk) and he's come to Earth with a mission: to find 10 reasons for saving the planet from its scheduled destruction. An expert list-maker after years of living with his forgetful grandpa, Prez joins Sputnik's quest, leading to a summer filled with gravity surfing, jailbreaking, lightsaber incidents, and other over-the-top adventures. Quirky and heartfelt, this science fiction story can be enjoyed by all kinds of readers.
The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13 by Honest Lee and Matthew J. GilbertFiction. In what's meant to be a generous decision, lottery-winning teacher Ms. Linda LaCrosse splits her winnings with everyone in classroom 13. That means a billion dollars EACH! With that much cash, the options for spending are endless, and though some of the kids' purchases seem cool -- Jayden clones himself, Emma buys tons of cats, and Dev builds a video-game world -- each of them goes outrageously, hilariously wrong. Unlike the characters, fans of this illustrated chapter book series are in luck: book two, The Disastrous Magical Wishes of Classroom 13, will be on shelves in September.
Orphan Island by Laurel SnyderFiction. "Nine on an island, orphans all, any more the sky might fall." Those are the rules. Each year, a boat delivers a new youngest child to the island and takes away the Elder, so that there are always nine orphans to share the cabins, the shabby books, and the food they gather from nature. When it's Jinny's turn to be the Elder, however, she decides to challenge the rules -- but is she ready to deal with the consequences? Anyone who's ever doubted the way things are done will relate to rebellious Jinny, while the mysterious island will leave you with lots of fascinating questions to talk about.
Focus on: Canadian Authors
One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly HorvathFiction. Primrose Squab's parents are back after a year of being lost at sea, and life is returning to normal -- or at least what passes for normal in the eccentric village of Coal Harbor, British Columbia. As a local logging company stirs up unrest, Primrose sets her sights on learning to cook, nudging along the romance between her Uncle Jack and Miss Bowzer, and making friends with Ked, new foster kid staying with Primrose's former foster parents. Sprinkled with recipes you can try (especially if you like mini-marshmallows), this witty and bittersweet sequel can be enjoyed by anyone, but will be more fun if you've already read Everything on a Waffle.
The Nest by Kenneth OppelFantasy/Horror. Steven's baby brother is sick, and while his whole family is worried, Steven is having dreams about an eerie winged creature who promises to help. At first he thinks the creature might be an angel, but as her behavior becomes more alarming -- and the unusual wasp nest on Steven's house grows larger -- Steven realizes that something more sinister than illness is threatening his family. While it begins as a realistic story, The Nest steadily grows creepier, building to a breathless, terrifying climax. For a less disturbing look at a similar situation, pick up David Almond's Skellig.
The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma TrevayneFantasy. The note on the body ends with a warning: "Tell no one!" As grave robbers in Victorian England, 11-year-old Thomas and his father have dug up a lot of bodies, but this one is unusual -- not only because of the note, but because it looks just like Thomas, right down to his birthmark. Determined to find the truth about the identical boy, Thomas is soon tangled up in a bizarre mystery involving faeries, spirits, séances, and secrets. Like Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, this creepy yet whimsical fantasy oozes with suspense.
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