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Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday

Natalie C. Anderson

Forced to become a child soldier, a sixteen-year-old Somali refugee must confront his painful past in this haunting, thrilling tale of loss and redemption for fans of A Long Way Gone and What is the What

When Abdi's family is kidnapped, he's forced to do the unthinkable: become a child soldier with the ruthless jihadi group Al Shabaab. In order to save the lives of those he loves, and earn their freedom, Abdi agrees to be embedded as a spy within the militia's ranks and to send dispatches on their plans to the Americans. The jihadists trust Abdi immediately because his older brother, Dahir, is already one of them, protégé to General Idris, aka the Butcher. If Abdi's duplicity is discovered, he will be killed.

For weeks, Abdi trains with them, witnessing atrocity after atrocity, becoming a monster himself, wondering if he's even pretending anymore. He only escapes after he is forced into a suicide bomber's vest, which still leaves him stumps where two of his fingers used to be and his brother near death. Eventually, he finds himself on the streets of Sangui City, Kenya, stealing what he can find to get by, sleeping nights in empty alleyways, wondering what's become of the family that was stolen from him. But everything changes when Abdi's picked up for a petty theft, which sets into motion a chain reaction that forces him to reckon with a past he's been trying to forget.

In this riveting, unflinching tale of sacrifice and hope, critically-acclaimed author Natalie C. Anderson delivers another tour-de-force that will leave readers at the edge of their seats.

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Normal

Magdalena M. Newman

A beautifully illustrated and lyrical picture-book biography of eccentric and beloved writer Praised by R.J. Palacio as "wondrous"--this moving memoir follows a teenage boy with TC syndrome and his exceptional family from diagnosis at birth to now.

"This touching memoir is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the real-world experiences of a child with craniofacial differences and his extraordinary family. It's also more than that. It's a story about the love between a mother and a son, a child and his family, and the breadth of friends, helpers, and doctors that step in when the unexpected happens. It's a story that will make young readers reevaluate the word 'normal'--not only as it applies to others, but to themselves. Any book that can do that is pretty wondrous, as far as I'm concerned." --R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder


Normal. Who is to say what this word means? For Magda Newman, it was a goal. She wanted her son Nathaniel to be able to play on the playground, swim at the beach, enjoy the moments his friends took for granted. But Nathaniel's severe Treacher Collins syndrome--a craniofacial condition--meant that other concerns came first. Could he eat without the aid of a gastrointestinal tube? Could he hear? Would he ever be able to breathe effortlessly? But Nathaniel looks at "normal" from a completely different perspective.

In this uplifting and humorous memoir that includes black-and-white comic illustrations, mother and son tell the story of his growing up--from facing sixty-seven surgeries before the age of fifteen, to making friends, moving across the country, and persevering through hardships. How they tackle extraordinary circumstances with love and resilience is a true testament to Magda and Nathaniel's family, and to families everywhere who quietly but courageously persist.

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Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: the Body Under the Piano

Marthe Jocelyn

A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn't got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal -- including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends -- to solve the case before Aggie's beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn't commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General's Award--nominated author of historical fiction for children.

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Find Layla

Meg Elison

A neglected girl's chaotic coming-of-age becomes a trending new hashtag in a novel about growing up and getting away by an award-winning author.

Underprivileged and keenly self-aware, SoCal fourteen-year-old Layla Bailey isn't used to being noticed. Except by mean girls who tweet about her ragged appearance. All she wants to do is indulge in her love of science, protect her vulnerable younger brother, and steer clear of her unstable mother.

Then a school competition calls for a biome. Layla chooses her own home, a hostile ecosystem of indoor fungi and secret shame. With a borrowed video camera, she captures it all. The mushrooms growing in her brother's dresser. The black mold blooming up the apartment walls. The unmentionable things living in the dead fridge. All the inevitable exotic toxins that are Layla's life. Then the video goes viral.

When Child Protective Services comes to call, Layla loses her family and her home. Defiant, she must face her bullies and friends alike, on her own. Unafraid at last of being seen, Layla accepts the mortifying reality of visibility. Now she has to figure out how to stay whole and stand behind the truth she has shown the world.

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The Conference of the Birds

Ransom Riggs

The brand-new book in the #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series!

With his dying words, H--Jacob Portman's final connection to his grandfather Abe's secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly contacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor--Save the future of all peculiardom.

With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, of Abe's former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found.

With enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman's story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the newest installment of the beloved, #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.

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Down with the Dance

C. T. Walsh

Middle School Mayhem: Down with the Dance is the first book in this action-packed, hilarious series.

Meet Austin Davenport, whose fabulous luck landed him on this earth only eleven short months after his brother, Derek, putting them in the same grade. While Austin's brain power is unmatched, it appears as if his brother got all the athletic gifts and the family butt-chin, meaning their parents love Derek more than Austin, or so it seems.

Join Austin on his journey through the tumultuous waters of middle school as he navigates the swampy and undeodorized hallways and explores the depths of the cafeteria's seafood surprise.

Oh, and someone is plotting to take down the Halloween Dance, the one that Austin has his sights set on, so he can take Sophie Rodriguez, a girl way out of his league, but who doesn't seem to know it.

Can he stay one step ahead of the new principal who has it out for him? Will Austin figure out who the perpetrators are? Will he save the dance in time? Will he wear a diaper on a stakeout?

This first in a planned series of twelve will have you ROFLing like you never have before.

The funny and fast-paced nature of this series is meant for middle grade and early young adult readers.

Beware! This series has the tendency to turn reluctant readers into eager ones.

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The Day the World Stopped Turning

Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo's The Day the World Stopped Turning is a middle-grade novel about an extraordinary boy who sees the world differently.

In the unique landscape of the Camargue (France) during World War II, Lorenzo lives among the salt flats and the flamingos. There are lots of things he doesn't understand–but he does know how to heal animals, how to talk to them; the flamingos especially. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother. It’s there he meets Kezia, a Roma girl, who helps her parents run their carousel–and who shows him how to ride the wooden horse as the music plays.

But then the German soldiers come, with their guns. Everything is threatened, everything is falling apart: the carousel, Kezia and her family, even Lorenzo’s beloved flamingos. Yet there are kind people even among soldiers, and there is always hope. . .

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Dog Driven

Terry Lynn Johnson

From the author of Ice Dogs comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won't hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen.

McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness--a race she doesn't know if she can even see to run.

Winning would mean getting her disease--and her sister's--national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights.

A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness, Dog Driven is the story of one girl's self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.

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Heart of the Moors

Holly Black

From New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes a captivating original novel set between Disney's Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, in which newly-queened Aurora struggles to be the best leader to both the humans and Fair Folk under her reign; her beau, Prince Phillip, longs to get to know Aurora and her kingdom better; and Maleficent has trouble letting go of the past.

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Each Tiny Spark

Pablo Cartaya

From award-winning author Pablo Cartaya comes a deeply moving middle grade novel about a daughter and father finding their way back to each other in the face of their changing family and community.

Emilia Torres has a wandering mind. It's hard for her to follow along at school, and sometimes she forgets to do what her mom or abuela asks. But she remembers what matters: a time when her family was whole and home made sense. When Dad returns from deployment, Emilia expects that her life will get back to normal. Instead, it unravels.

Dad shuts himself in the back stall of their family's auto shop to work on an old car. Emilia peeks in on him daily, mesmerized by his welder. One day, Dad calls Emilia over. Then, he teaches her how to weld. And over time, flickers of her old dad reappear.

But as Emilia finds a way to repair the relationship with her father at home, her community ruptures with some of her classmates, like her best friend, Gus, at the center of the conflict.

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya is a tender story about asking big questions and being brave enough to reckon with the answers.

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Al Capone Shines My Shoes

Gennifer Choldenko

Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel.

It?s 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.

You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose?s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can?t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?
 

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