books designed for tweens and teens, but great reads for anybody
A Cabbit Tale
Meet Ace, a young and curious cat who loves his family. When Ace loses the precious stone his grandfather gave him, he must venture into the forbidden forest to retrieve it. Before he can get very far, however, his family sets out after him, determined to protect him against all odds. Along the way, Ace avoids a great winged beast and meets a woodland creature: a cabbit—half cat, half rabbit. What else lurks in these strange woods? Does Ace have what it takes to recover his stone, and perhaps solve another mystery along the way?
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.
An Evening Dream in Springtime: Memories of My Grandfather
written by Mika Matsuno
illustrated by Jack Lefcourt
Most Saturday nights, young Mika races to her grandfather’s house, where she finds him painting artful calligraphy. He chants strange words in a stirring voice, surrounded by a house filled with eccentric treasures. Mika later sifts through remembered moments as she pieces together a fuller appreciation of her grandfather. She recalls favorite passages from an ancient book, Grandfather’s collection of fine writing tools, and the red stamp marking his most distinguished art. Mika wonders how it would have sounded to hear her grandfather play the biwa. What else didn’t she know about this hardworking, dedicated, gentle man? Mika’s story invites us to wonder: Who were our grandparents? How will we hold them close when their house and most of their things are gone?
Grow with Me Poetry
Grow with Me Poetry uses poetry as a means of introducing children and early teens to the practice of mindfulness. In Grow with Me Poetry, you will find both a primer on mindfulness and basic meditation techniques, as well as a guide to incorporating that practice into your daily life. Through unique interactive exercises and discussion prompts, adults and children alike will have the opportunity to engage, to converse, to learn about each other, and ultimately, to grow. This book is sure to become a treasured keepsake on any family’s bookshelf!
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?
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.
John Marshall: Champion of Justice
written by Lynn Brackenridge and Barbara Schneider
illustrated by Dennis Auth
From his boyhood days on the Virginia frontier to his thirty-four years as chief justice of the United States, John Marshall was a person of intelligence, integrity, and vision. He was one of America’s Founding Fathers, and his leadership of the Supreme Court helped make the judiciary the powerful branch of government it is today. In this beautifully illustrated chapter book, you’ll get to know the man behind the historical figure. You’ll meet John Marshall the boy, soldier, husband, father, lawyer, congressman, community member, and chief justice. You’ll learn why John Marshall was beloved by those who knew him, and how he became a true Champion of Justice.
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
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.
Maddy and Mia: TriPaw Tales
written by Pamela Adler
illustrated by Monique Seibel
The family poodle has a litter of puppies, and Maddy’s parents say that she can choose one for her very own. Maddy instantly falls in love with the runt of the litter, who was born with only three legs. Little Mia becomes Maddy’s constant companion. When Finn and his family move in across the street, he joins Maddy and Mia on many of their adventures. Together, they learn the value of courage, acceptance, and friendship.
Maddy y Mia: Los Cuentos de Tres Patas
illustrated by Monique Seibel
The family poodle has a litter of puppies, and Maddy's parents say that she can choose one for her very own. Maddy instantly falls in love with the runt of the litter, who was born with only three legs. Little Mia becomes Maddy's constant companion. When Finn and his family move in across the street, he joins Maddy and Mia on many of their adventures. Together, they learn the value of courage, acceptance, and friendship.
Max Brinkley's Military Brat Mysteries: The Case of the Cursed Curtain Call
illustrated by Mindy J.B. Whitten
Seventh-grader Max Brinkley has absolutely no intention of trying out for the middle school play—until a chance encounter with eighth-grader Savannah Montgomery changes his mind. One audition later, Max is plunged into a world of cues, crushes, and questions, as a series of mysterious notes warn of a cunning plot to sabotage the play. Soon strange accidents begin to plague the rehearsals, and amid the chaos, Max becomes a suspect.
Max could never have imagined that a play would involve this much drama! Can Max and his mystery-solving crew—his neighbor Mrs. Needlemeyer, Max’s genius little brother Knox, and a surprising new friend—discover who is really responsible before the play’s opening night is ruined?
Find out in this second installment of Max Brinkley’s Military BRAT Mysteries!
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 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?
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
Every town in the kingdom of Ansel has a storyteller, a man who weaves threads of magic into stories to share with the men of the community—and only the men, for in Ansel, women are forbidden from learning to read.
Elbon doesn’t know why Storyteller chose him as an apprentice. After all, he has no family, no friends, and not much talent for hearing the words woven into the colorful threads strung on Storyteller’s magic harp. Still, Elbon does his best to make his teacher proud . . . even if he doesn’t feel confident that he can.
But when Elbon meets a frightened boy named Freddie who claims to be running away from home—and when agents from the royal palace arrive not long after in search of a missing princess—Elbon and his new friend must work together to uncover the secrets that have shaped both their lives . . . and maybe right a few ancient wrongs along the way.
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.
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.
Pirates and Spooks, Beware!
written by Susan Weiner
illustrated by Bobbie Kogok
Shiver me timbers! Pirates and parrots, mummies and mermaids—get ready for these fun and funky creatures to tickle your funny bone and send a chill down your spine! Between the lines of these eerie poems, a lady pirate fights her battles in stolen ball gowns, a cannibal decides to become a vegetarian, and a ghost hitches a ride in the family car. You’d better get started: it’s all hands on deck!
PRAISE FOR PIRATES AND SPOOKS, BEWARE!
“Pirates and Spooks, Beware! is a collection of refreshingly fun, funny, and sometimes rascally poems, sure to delight elementary and middle school readers (and their teachers)! This entertaining collection of works from clever and talented poet Susan Weiner lends itself to enjoyable reading and a deeper study of poetic conventions, all the while providing subtle vocabulary, geography, history, and even meteorology lessons. Each poem reads equally well both silently and aloud, and could also provide a wonderful ‘old school’ memorization activity at the end of the unit of study. (Slam poetry, anyone?!) These rhyming poems appeal to the reader while telling a story in the most charming way. The lovely illustrations make them come alive, and thanks to Ms. Weiner’s incredible imagination, we walk away smiling, thinking surely, ‘Why, pirates (and spooks) are just like us!’ Arghhh, matey . . . ENJOY!”
~ Pat Talbert Smith, former Head of St. Francis Episcopal Day School and former Lower School Head/Assistant Head of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, MD
“Many areas of study have been lost or seriously curtailed in the push to include the latest technology into classrooms across the country. One of these areas is poetry. Children do not read, study, or memorize much poetry as they have in past generations. Susan Weiner is doing her part in trying to alleviate this gap through this little volume of pirate poetry. Most kids go through a ‘pirate phase’ in their lives, and these poems capture the essence of the pirate lore quite fancifully. The fact that they also employ rhythm and rhyme are icing on the cake and serve to provide instruction in one of the basic skills of early literacy. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the drama and intrigue of pirates!”
~ Carol Parent, learning specialist and former school administrator and classroom teacher
The Ride of Molly Tynes: A Tale Passed Down
illustrated Emily Hurst Pritchett
When Molly Tynes learns of an impending attack on a neighboring town, she mounts her horse without hesitation, risking life and limb to warn and protect her community. Four mountains, rough trails, and wild animals stand between Molly and her journey’s end. Through this legendary tale of a courageous Civil War-era woman, the storytelling tradition of Southwest Virginia lives on.
PRAISE FOR THE RIDE OF MOLLY TYNES:
“The Ride of Molly Tynes is a tale well remembered and very well told. . . . Molly’s story will inspire parents and children alike to be their very best selves and to face hard times with bravery and confidence.”
— Susan Weiner, author of Pirates and Spooks, Beware! and Before the Foundation of the World
“I wish my grandma could have had stories like this to tell me when I was a child—the story of one young woman’s selflessness, daring, and bravery. Molly Tynes is an inspiration not only for young girls but for us all.”
— Ted Lewin, author and illustrator of more than 170 books for children
The Secret of the Legendary Tribe
by John Roche
When Marci’s brother, Hector, gets hurt in a car accident, it seems the doctors won’t be able to help him. Marci and her friends take matters into their own hands and search for a magical artifact, the ancient Spearhead, which is rumored to have healing powers. Unfortunately, the spearhead’s whereabouts have been lost to time—but these kids won’t let anything stop them! Join Marci, Kay, and Archie at landmarks around the nation’s capital as they hunt for clues and dodge their sinister competitors who have nefarious plans for the Spearhead. It might be the only thing that can save Hector.
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)
by K.E. Bonner
Every once in an eon, when the Earth eclipses the moon on a winter solstice, an immortal is born under a witching moon. Anne has always had the strangest feelings--memories she couldn’t place; strangers she inexplicably yearned for. After she rescues the enigmatic Phillip from a shipwreck, her comfortable life on the island of Cusabo is shattered, and the mystery of her destiny starts to fall into place. Anne leaves behind the life she’s always known and sets out with Phillip on an arduous journey to Amaranth, where her ancient family awaits her. But the path is dark and daunting, and Anne’s powers have only just begun to manifest.