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Middle Grade Monday – 5 to Watch For

I’ve been enjoying my ‘vacation’ so far, having a good time hunting for ARCs to request on Edelweiss and NetGalley. Here are 5 I’ve found for which I am super excited.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Return of the Padawan (Book 2) by Jeffrey Brown. I loved the first book and am excited to see what’s in store in the second. My students also love the first one. Here’s what NetGalley has to say:
Author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown returns in the highly anticipated sequel to the NY Times Bestseller Star Wars: Jedi Academy!

It’s time to return to middle school in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

After surviving his first year at Jedi Academy, Roan Novachez thought his second year would be a breeze. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Roan feels like he’s drifting apart from his friends, and it’s only made worse when Roan discovers he’s not the amazing pilot he thought he’d be. When the school bullies take him under their wing, he decides they aren’t so bad after all–or are they?

This year, Roan will have to face alien poetry tests, menacing robots, food fights, flight simulation class, online bullies, more lightsaber duels, and worst of all . . . a girl who is mad at him.

This incredible, original story captures all of the humor, awkwardness, fun, and frustrations of middle school–all told through one boy’s comics, journal entries, letters, sketches, e-mails, and more.

Smek for President by Adam Rex

In this much anticipated sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, Tip and J.Lo are back for another hilarious intergalactic adventure. And this time (and last time, and maybe next time), they want to make things right with the Boov.

After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious-but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight-and return home in once piece. 

The Circus Goes to Sea by Kate Klise with illustrations by M.Sarah Klise. Anything by the Klise sisters, with their quirky mysteries and detailed illustrations are an easy sell at my school. Can’t wait for this one.

The rascals hit the high seas in the third installment of the popular fully illustrated Three-Ring Rascals series.

For many years, Sir Sidney’s Circus has traveled by train. But one day a letter arrives from Miss Flora Endora Eliza LaBuena LaPasta, inviting the circus to travel aboard the SS Spaghetti. Who can resist? The Spaghetti is a floating palace of elegance and entertainment. There’s only one problem: Miss LaPasta doesn’t want Barnabas Brambles to come aboard because she’s heard he’s the meanest man alive. Lucky for Barnabas Brambles, his boss is Sir Sidney, the nicest man alive. Sir Sidney insists the entire circus, including Barnabas Brambles, accept the invitation. But Leo doesn’t like water. Elsa’s never been swimming. The Famous Flying Banana Brothers have no idea where they’ll put their trapeze–or their bunk beds. And what’s that large object up ahead in the water?

I love the Pals in Peril series – I book talk them to the sixth grade classes every year – they’re so fun! M.T. Anderson’s range is, frankly, amazing. He Laughed with His Other Mouths will be out in August.

In the sixth and final Pals in Peril adventure, Jasper Dash is off into the universe to search for his long lost father!
In the sixth and final Pals in Peril adventure, Jasper Dash is off into the universe to search for his long lost father!

In this action-packed conclusion to the celebrated Pals in Peril series, Jasper Dash soars to unprecedented heights—as in, intergalactic, out-of-this-world dimensions—in order to locate the father he’s never known. And if Jasper’s previous adventures are any indication, this is going to be one stellar expedition!

Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidentsby David Stabler, illustrated by Doogie Horner.

The kids who grew up to be president were like a lot of other children. Some struggled with schoolwork and got into fights; others pranked their teachers and infuriated their parents. William Howard Taft was forced to take dance lessons. Gerald Ford struggled with dyslexia. Teddy Roosevelt had a bedroom “museum” full of dead animals. Kid Presidents features 20 captivating true stories from the childhoods of American presidents, complete with lively text and more than 200 cartoon illustrations. Laugh-out-loud funny and packed with cool facts, it’s the perfect read for all young future leaders of the free world.

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