The Firebird Song by Arnée FloresWelcome to: the dreary land of Lyrica, where an evil Spectress and her ash golems rule and only the lost princess can bring back the Firebird and restore hope -- but to do so, she must go on a dangerous quest with a new friend.
For fans of: Tui T. Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. Like Wings of Fire, The Firebird Song is action-packed and suspenseful.
Reviewers say: “A fast-paced, heart-squeezing adventure, perfect for fans of intricate fantasy worlds and memorable characters” (Booklist).
That Thing About Bollywood by Supriya KelkarStarring: eleven-year-old Sonali, who works hard at hiding how she feels.
What happens: She wakes up one morning to find that she’s living in a technicolor Bollywood world -- complete with emotional musical numbers and costume changes! But feeling your feelings is a lot harder in real life. Will Sonali learn to express herself to her friends and family?
Da Vinci's Cat by Catherine Gilbert MurdockIntroducing: Federico and Bee, tweens born five hundred years apart and brought together by a time-traveling wardrobe designed by Leonardo DaVinci.
Read it for: famous artists from history come to life, including a grumpy Michelangelo and a suave Raphael.
Reviewers say: “Thoroughly charming” (Kirkus Reviews).
No One Returns from the Enchanted Forest by Robin RobinsonWhat it is: a story about sisters fighting to protect their home and each other from a terrible fate.
Featuring: goblins, evil queens, and a mysterious forest that -- like the title says -- no one ever comes back from (or do they?).
Art alert: Lavish, colorful illustrations fill this graphic novel, including fantastical plants and characters.
Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich SmithWhat it is: an updated version of the classic Peter Pan story, which has all the thrilling fantasy of the original plus some exciting new twists!
Featuring: Muscogee Creek Lily, her white stepsister Wendy, and their mixed-race brother Mikey, who all arrive in Neverland only to discover that Peter Pan is not who he seems.
If You Like: The Mysterious Benedict Society
Pennybaker School is Revolting by Jennifer BrownFeaturing: aspiring magician Thomas and his neighbor Chip, whose friendship gets more complicated after Chip enrolls at the unusual Pennybaker School too.
For fans of: The Pennybaker School is Headed for Disaster, or other books featuring daring young sleuths and mysterious academies.
Art alert: This funny mystery features black-and-white illustrations that set the scene alongside the words.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris GrabensteinWhat it's about: After seventh-grade slacker Jake accidentally downs a bowl of experimental "Ingestible Knowledge" pills (they looked like jellybeans!), he suddenly becomes a full-on brainiac, devoting his newfound smarts to saving his middle school from a greedy principal.
Read it for: a funny celebration of geekiness starring a realistically diverse crew of kids.
Author alert: If you love the popular Mr. Lemoncello series, you don't want to miss this new book from author Chris Grabenstein.
York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura RubyWhat it's about: Long ago, when architects created New York City's solar streets, sideways elevators, and Underway trains, they built in the Old York Cipher, a city-wide puzzle leads to treasure. And now, treasure is just what seventh-graders Tess, Theo, and Jaime need to save their beloved old apartment building.
Who it's for: The trio's daring hunt for clues will intrigue mystery and fantasy fans alike.
Series alert: The adventure continues in The Clockwork Ghost and The Map of Stars.
The Unadoptables by Hana TookeWelcome to: the Netherlands in the 1890s, where a ragtag group of orphans with unusual skills are up against a dastardly villain.
What it’s about: The five main characters, led by twelve-year-old Milou, look for their birth parents and find family in one another along the way.
Is it for you? This historical story focuses more on adventure than on realistic adoption. Readers who want a more accurate story about adoption and belonging might try The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman.
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike HolmesThe setting: Stately Academy, an elite school that looks like a haunted house and happens to be full of secrets.
Starring: Hopper and Eni, twelve-year-old coders who are determined to figure out what’s going on the school.
Why you might like it: This graphic novel provides an exciting mystery and a bit of coding.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!