books designed for tweens and teens, but great reads for anybody
Looking Through Great-Grandmother's Eyes
Nine-year-old Piper Louise Conrad is sure that the summer of 1943 will be the worst summer of her life. The world is at war, her father is fighting in North Africa, and Piper must spend three whole months at her great-grandmother’s farm in Catlett, Virginia. Grandma Jessie doesn’t seem at all like the sweet old lady Piper’s mother described. She’s bossy and cranky. She doesn’t even seem to like Piper. But Piper is about to discover that she and her great-grandmother have more in common than she thinks. In fact, Grandma Jessie holds the key to a family history Piper never knew she had. Maybe, justmaybe, this summer might not be so bad after all.
A Chookamook Came Over for Breakfast
written by Cliff Davis
illustrated by Heidi Gibson
Lizzie Lewis hates breakfast. She’d rather eat candy and other sweet treats. But then Mama brings home a new box of cereal for Lizzie to try—magic cereal. With one bite, she finds herself shrunk down to a few inches high and entering the world of Breakfastland, where mountains are made of marshmallows and palaces are made of pancakes. There she meets the Chookamooks, tiny mouse-like creatures that help make breakfasts for the whole world. Can the Chookamooks teach Lizzie that breakfast isn’t so bad? Can she help save Breakfastland from the evil Dr. Darktooth?
To learn more about Cliff Davis and Heidi Gibson, click here.
Eric’s life sucks. Born without the use of his hands and treated like a burden by his adoptive parents, he finds himself haunted by frightening spirits—until an altogether different sort of spirit appears to him, in the form of an old man. The old man has a story to tell—the story of a boy named Phoenix . . .
After losing his mother when he was just three, Phoenix knows he has to fulfill her last wish: protect Hali, a young girl who came to Willow Oaks Orphanage along with Phoenix and his twin sisters. But fourteen years after her adoption, Phoenix has no idea where she is. To find her, and his own purpose, he’ll have to follow his instincts and heart—perhaps straight into the ocean. And along the way, the lives of Phoenix and Eric will intertwine in a way that Eric never imagined.
Max Brinkley's Military BRAT Mysteries: The Case of the DIng-Dong Ditcher
written by Kim Roedl
illustrated by Mindy J. B. Whitten
Eleven-year-old Army BRAT Max Brinkley is less than thrilled about his family’s latest military move—a move that will once again take him away from the people and places he has grown to love. Max feels like his world is already complicated enough as he deals with his father’s deployments and surviving middle school.
Things soon get interesting in the Brinkleys’ new small South Carolina town when a cunning ding-dong ditcher targets their quiet neighborhood. When his friend Finn Harper is named the culprit, it is up to Max and his genius seven-year-old brother Knox to figure out who’s really behind the pranks. And to do it, they’ll need the help of the cranky and mysterious war widow next door, Mrs. Needlemeyer. Can Max and his team solve the case to clear his friend’s name?
written by Steven Vaitonis
illustrated by Lindsay Wallen
When Kristen’s beloved Bear vanishes, she’s willing to do anything to find him. Looking under her bed for Bear, she finds a mysterious hole in the floor full of glowing light. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s falling into another world! She lands in West Wind, the place where all broken and unwanted toys live. And now, to find Bear, she must face explosions, magic teapots, forest mazes, flying furniture, talking boats, and a building that loves to play Monopoly. Along the way, she meets Cymryn the Tinker, serendipitous Stanley the talking toy, a wise teddy bear named Granther, and Mr. Benjamin, Recorder of Things Important and Trivial. Come along with Kristen on this fantastical journey as she discovers what it means to be a true friend!
Paperback available here ($12.95)
Kindle ebook available here ($4.99)
written by Harry Holmes
illustrated by Maryana Kachmar
Meet Morgan, a misunderstood porcupine with a big heart…and a very special dream. At first glance, Morgan seems to be a porcupine like any other. His sharp quills protect him from predators that roam the forested mountain where he lives. In fact, most of the other animals on the mountain avoid him, too. They’re afraid to get too close to his quills. Morgan’s only friend, Beav, lives a very different life, and Morgan cannot see him often. Misunderstood and lonely, Morgan longs for a friend to share a hug with him in spite of his quills.
After a chance encounter with a bear, Morgan finally makes up his mind: he must leave the forest and find a friend who won’t be frightened of him. Nervous, but full of curiosity, Morgan decides to follow his dream and go on a journey to make friends with a human. As he leaves his mountain home, he faces new obstacles and dangers, like powerful waterfalls, noisy roads, and speedy cars. At times, he thinks of turning back and giving up on his dream, but Morgan is no quitter. His courage is strong, and he’s determined to find a friend and make a new life outside the forest. Soon, he finds himself nearing human civilization. When he hears the cries of a young girl in trouble, will Morgan be able to help her—and finally make a human friend?
Joe and Urzab the Robot
written by Dorothy Fleming
illustrated by Maa Illustration
Joe is a rascally puppy who enjoys biting, chewing Mrs. Jennifer’s shoes, and peeing on her beautiful rug. Desperate, Mrs. Jennifer shouts to the sky, “I need help with Joe!” The last thing she expects is the sky to answer back. When a robot named Urzab shows up at Mrs. Jennifer’s door, she’s not sure what to think. He’s from planet Brillianti, and wants to take Joe there so he can learn to be a more loving puppy. Even though she’s skeptical, Mrs. Jennifer agrees, and Joe and Urzab set off on their journey. But Queen Mirthless has another plan when she intercepts their spacecraft, dumping Joe and Urzab into the Violent Ocean. From there, they’ll team up with dolphins, monkeys, pigeons, and a rat named Jerboa to battle a masked soldier with a whip, a dragon, a bird of prey, and Queen Mirthless herself.
Join Joe and Urzab as they try to find their way to safety before interplanetary war breaks out. Along the way, they might just develop a friendship that unexpectedly teaches them both how to love.
The Mystics' Treachery
Anna Volkov has a lot on her mind. Her father has just been appointed Russia’s ambassador to the UN, uprooting the family from Moscow to Manhattan—and with her relationship with her twin sister already on the rocks, it’s shaping up to be a lonely, boring school year.
However, when a strange old woman appears on the street one night to deliver a cryptic warning, Anna finds herself thrown headfirst into a war that has been raging in secret for hundreds of years—a power struggle between the evil Mystics, and the Aura Readers who oppose them. Unsure of whom to trust or what to believe, Anna must rely on her wits as she masters an ancient power, and put a stop to a conspiracy that could change her fate—and the fate of the world—forever.
PRAISE FOR THE MYSTICS' TREACHERY:
“In Anna, Michlowitz has created a brave, likable young heroine whose quest to learn her true identity leads her deep into dangerous intrigue. Michlowitz’s relish for Russian history shines through on every page.”
~ Lucy Turner, Educator at The Hill School, Middleburg, VA
The King of the Stars
written by Brandon Layne
In the land of Kama, the stars are magical and constellations determine the future. Stars can even grant a person the power of astromy, enabling them to manipulate elements of nature. However, only one person is destined to be king. But of course, not everyone believes in the stars, and dark forces lurk with their own plans for the world.
Brian, the teenage son of a legendary warrior, is fated to possess the gift of earth astromy, but he can barely lift a rock. With a villainous overlord ruling the town, Brian needs to develop his skills -- and quickly. But then a strange boy appears in the woods, and Brian has the feeling there's more to this kid than meets the eye. It's a race against evil and against the odds to rightfully throne the king of the stars.
PRAISE FOR THE KING OF THE STARS
“Brandon Layne has created an imaginative fantasy world that young readers will love.”
—Colleen R. Lee, school librarian
“Brandon’s book is a great read to stimulate the minds and imaginations of a technologically overloaded generation.”
—Amy Powroznik, art educator for grades K-5, Henrico County Gilman Award winner 2009
Happy Tails: Jitterbug Makes a Name for Herself
written by Joy Metzer
Jitterbug lives in a modest cabin in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The runt of a litter of dachshunds, she’s hopelessly at odds with her surroundings and can’t help but dream of making a name for herself in the big city. When opportunity knocks, Jitterbug escapes her pet carrier and lands herself in show business. Her impromptu adventure takes her across the country, acting on stage, on TV, and in commercials. But how fabulous is a life of work, work, work? And how long before she starts to miss home?
Peter Polo and the Snow Beast of Hunza
written by Craig Bradley
illustrated by Laurie Conley
Peter Polo has been waiting his whole life for this: The Great Khan has sent him on a dangerous quest to the far-off valley of Hunza. Peter finally has a chance to step out of his famous brother’s shadow and into the light of his own adventure. But the path to greatness is treacherous. Someone (or something) is causing the sacred snow leopards to disappear, and the people of Hunza fear the return of a legendary monster known as the Snow Beast. It’s going to take great courage for Peter and his friends to uncover the truth and save the people of Hunza . . . before it’s too late.
written by E.S. Christison
Briana, Princess of Predonia, has lived a happy and sheltered life. Then, in a single night, her father’s kingdom is overthrown, her family is murdered, and centuries of peace are violently shattered. Fleeing for her life, Brie is rescued by Flinton, Derek, and Kove, three powerful protectors who take her under their wing and bring her to their secret stronghold deep in the mountains. There, Brie learns about the Blameless, people who receive magical gifts from the gods after performing acts of unparalleled selflessness. Among the Blameless, Brie discovers an amazing new world, gaining witty and resourceful companions as she strives to master the mysterious power within her. She aims to seek justice for her family, and, one day, to take back her people’s freedom.