Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Middle Grade Monday – Upcoming Excitement!

I had the opportunity to do a little hunting on Netgalley and Edelweiss this weekend, and found a few items I’m super exited to see. Let’s dive in!

The first is a new middle grade by one of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Woodson. I got to meet her at one of my first North Carolina School Library Media Association conferences – more years ago than I care to admit. At the time I had only read If You Come Softly, but I knew I was in love. Her books really resonate with me, and they’re very popular with my students. I’m excited that her new one will be middle grade.


Here is the publisher’s summary:

In vivid poems, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South. Raised in South Carolina and later New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place, and describes the reality of living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.

Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories—something she’s always loved to do, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Readers will delight in witnessing this gifted author discover her love of stories and storytelling and seeing the first sparks of the writer she was to become.

 The next title is from one of my perennial favorites, Joan Bauer. Her novels feature strong lead female characters who deal with contemporary issues. From the publisher:

A new friend.  An empathetic horse.  A flower festival.  And all of this in a town where “Nothing Bad Ever Happens.”  No wonder Anna is enjoying her visit to her grandmother, Mim.  But then Anna sees something that she can’t ignore: a girl who seems to be being held against her will.  Anna can’t forget the girl’s frightened eyes.  She wants to do something about it, tell someone, but can she get anyone to take her concerns seriously?  What good will it do to say something if no one is listening?

Finally, the latest installment in Jasper Fforde’s Chronicles of Kazam comes out tomorrow in the UK, but we have to wait until October. If I don’t get an early review copy, I may explode. Read more about my love of all things Jasper Fforde here. From the publisher: 

Although she’s an orphan in indentured servitude, sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is pretty good at her job of managing the unpredictable crew at Kazam Mystical Arts Management. After all, she solved the dragon problem, avoided mass destruction by Quarkbeast, and helped improve the state of magic in the Kingdom of Snodd. Yet even Jennifer may be thwarted when the mighty Shandar emerges from his preserved state and presents her with an utterly impossible task-how can a teenage non-magician outsmart the greatest sorcerer the world has ever known? But failure has dire consequences, so Jennifer has little choice but to set off on a journey from which she and her traveling companions may never return.

Take 5: Mouth Watering Reads (Foodie Fiction for Teens)

Foodie Fiction are those yummy reads that somehow manage to incorporate food into the story.  Your main character can work at a restaurant.  They can bake.  They can participate in a cookie exchange.  (I did that once and I am really sorry to everyone that had to eat my cookies).  Or, as in the case of Taste Test by Kelly Fiore, they can be on a reality cooking show.  Sometimes, they even include recipes, like in Pie by Sarah Weeks (which is a really great foodie title for MG readers about, well, pie!).  Below are some mouth watering titles.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer 

“You don’t know which way a thing will come at you, but you need to welcome it with your whole heart which ever way it arrives.” 

I am a huge Joan Bauer fan and this is one of my favorite foodie titles.  Hope has bounced from town to town, and finds herself in a rural town in Wisconsin.  Like most small towns, this one is full of a charming cast of characters, corrupt politicians, and the boys that make you want to swoon. All the while Hope keeps serving up some great grub and challenging the status quo.

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

“It was funny, though, the things you didn’t learn about people until after they died.”

Quince works at a restaurant, though it is by no means your average restaurant.  It is, in fact, a vampire-themed restaurant. But what happens if some of the staff aren’t playing at being a vampire?  Written before vampires were cool and then overdone, this sexy paranormal is sure to tantalize.  Pun totally intended.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

“When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.”

But when D. J. does start finally talking, there’s a lot of stuff that gets said in this quirky, funny, touching novel.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

“It takes forty muscles to frown, and only twelve to jam a cupcake in your mouth and get over it.” 

Dream shattered Hudson is working in the diner when a rare second chance at her dreams comes about.  But in order to follow your dreams, you have to be willing to take chances, something the previously burned Hudson isn’t very good at.

She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva

“I think he might’ve said “I love you” as I walked out of the classroom, but the hallway was noisy, so I couldn’t be sure.” 

Maya has got to find a way to save her family’s restaurant. Which puts the scheming Camden on the menu.  The two of them cook up a plan: they will do homework for a fee.  Will their plan sizzle or burn?

See my previous list of Foodie Fiction titles dealing specifically with desserts: Sweet Reads

Please share your favorite foodie titles with us in the comments.

More Foodie Fiction:
Teen Read Fun Foodie Fiction
Eat This! Foodie Fiction for Teens 
Read It and Eat!
Foodie Fiction

Foodie Fiction (has a couple of graphic novels on the list)

Take 5: What’s On the Menu Today? Dessert! Check out these sweet reads

Since earlier today we mentioned Lisa Schroeder’s Cupcake Series, I suddenly have a craving for all things sweet.  Here is a look at what is on today’s menu, book covers with cakes and cupcakes.  Nom nom nom.  Oh, and one slice of pie.  Know any sweet reads?  Share with us in the comments. 

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
This is the story of Sheridan, the daughter of a master chef and a cake decorator who has some amazing talent of her own.  In fact, she is known around her small town as Cake Girl.  Unfortunately for her, her fabulous cake decorating mom took off quite a while ago and hasn’t really done a great job of keeping in touch.  When her father makes the announcement that he finally got his own TV show, Sheridan is terrified of making any changes and moving to New York City where her mom is sure to never find her.  As the countdown is on to film the pilot for her dad’s cooking show, things are really unraveling for Sheridan.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson
The only thing that makes St. Teresa’s Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane’s suddenly alone—and very confused. Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity—to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St. Teresa’s! (Goodreads)

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard’s goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster’s mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants-and put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging. (Goodreads)

Cupcake by Rachel Cohn (Cyd Charisse #3)
Gingerbread (Cyd Charisse #1) and Shrimp (Cyd Charrisse #2)
Follow the adventures of the rebellious spirit Cyd Chariss as she gets kicked out of boarding school, falls in love, and tries to make it on her own in New York City.

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.  And then, one by one, her old birthday wishes do come true.  Be careful what you wish for.

And 1 for Middle Grade Readers:

Pie by Sarah Weeks
When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.

The tween and I just finished listening to this on audio and it was really very good.