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Kids & Teens


We invite you to check out this month’s hottest new titles for kids and teens.

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reading recommendations

how to have a birthday

BY MARY LYN RAY; ILLUSTRATED BY CINDY DERBY

Untitled-design-1.pngJoyful and utterly unique, this vibrant picture book celebrates the best birthday gift of all: a whole day that is yours to unwrap.

Wise and infinitely cozy, Mary Lyn Ray’s simple text and Cindy Derby’s fluid, playful illustrations invite readers of all ages to view that most extraordinary of ordinary days in a simple but festive new light, as if for the first time. What makes birthdays special? Whether you are turning three or one hundred and three, whether you are feted by others or sing yourself happy, the anticipation and surprise of the day you were born never fail to deliver “that shivery feeling that belongs only to a birthday.” An ideal gift for new and expectant parents, for children marking a birthday or attending their first party—for everyone who was ever born! This exuberant celebration in words and pictures will leave you feeling a warm connection to the cycle of life and growth.

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pete the cat: making new friends

BY KIMBERLY DEAN & JAMES DEAN

pete-the-cat.pngPete the Cat makes his I Can Read Comics debut! From New York Times bestselling author-illustrator team James and Kimberly Dean comes the very first I Can Read Comics Level One book in the Pete the Cat series! 

In Pete the Cat: Making New Friends, Secret Agent Meow, also known as Pete the Cat, is ready to crack the case! Join Pete and Squirrel as they go on a mission to make new friends. 

Pete the Cat: Making New Friends is a Level One I Can Read Comic, which means it will introduce children into the world of graphic novel storytelling and encourage visual literacy in emerging readers.


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willodeen

BY KATHERINE APPLEGATE

willodeen.pngFrom #1 New York Times best-seller Katherine Applegate, a singular middle-grade novel about a girl who risks everything to help a handmade creature who comes to life.

The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .

Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.

When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.

A timely and timeless tale about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.

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the last kids on earth and the doomsday race

BY MAX BRALLIER; ILLUSTRATED BY DOUGLAS HOLGATE

last-kids.pngWith his zombie-controlling powers growing stronger, Jack Sullivan and his buddies are road-tripping toward the mysterious Tower, where they must once and for all stop Rezzoch the Ancient, Destructor of Worlds, from descending upon our dimension. But their journey is sidetracked when they are swept up by the Mallusk, an enormous centipede monster carrying the world's largest shopping mall on its back. 
 
On board, the kids discover a thriving monster society: Mallusk City! There, they encounter old allies—as well as old foes, who are ruling over Mallusk City with an iron fist. Beating these bad guys in battle is not an option, but beating them in an election is… so Jack runs for mayor of Mallusk City! At first, proving his leadership skills just means shaking monster hands, kissing monster babies, and promising to fill the water fountains with strawberry Nesquik. But when the Mallusk falls under attack, Jack must learn how to be a true leader—before it’s too late.
 
Told in a mixture of text and black-and-white illustration, this is the perfect series for any kid who's ever dreamed of starring in their own comic book or video game.

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pahua and the soulstealer

BY LORI LEE

pahua.pngPahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood--whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can't be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt's old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother's return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother's soul before it's too late. Little does she know she'll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .

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black panther the young prince

BY RONALD L. SMITH

black-panther.pngBlack Panther. Ruler of Wakanda. Avenger.

This is his destiny. But right now, he's simply T'Challa-the young prince.

Life is comfortable for twelve-year-old T'Challa in his home of Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African nation. When he's not learning how to rule a kingdom from his father-the reigning Black Panther-or testing out the latest tech, he's off breaking rules with his best friend, M'Baku. But as conflict brews near Wakanda, T'Challa's father makes a startling announcement: he's sending T'Challa and M'Baku to school in America.

This is no prestigious private academy-they've been enrolled at South Side Middle School in the heart of Chicago. Despite being given a high-tech suit and a Vibranium ring to use only in case of an emergency, T'Challa realizes he might not be as equipped to handle life in America as he thought. Especially when it comes to navigating new friendships while hiding his true identity as the prince of a powerful nation, and avoiding Gemini Jones, a menacing classmate who is rumored to be involved in dark magic.

When strange things begin happening around school, T'Challa sets out to uncover the source. But what he discovers in the process is far more sinister than he could ever have imagined. In order to protect his friends and stop an ancient evil, T'Challa must take on the mantle of a hero, setting him on the path to becoming the Black Panther.


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the hawthorne legacy

BY JENNIFER LYNNE BARNES

the-hawthorne-legacy-1.pngThe Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions—including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons. 

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, two of the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture—by any means necessary. 

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, Knives Out-like family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

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we are not broken

BY GEORGE M. JOHNSON

we-are-not-broken.pngThis is the vibrant story of George, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul -- four children raised by Nanny, their fiercely devoted grandmother. The boys hold one another close through early brushes with racism, memorable experiences at the family barbershop, and first loves and losses. And with Nanny at their center, they are never broken.

George M. Johnson capture the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America, and their rich family stories -- exploring themes of vulnerability, sacrifice, and culture -- are interspersed with touching letters from the grandchildren to their beloved matriarch. By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this personal account is destined to become a modern classic of emerging adulthood.

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beasts of prey

BY AYANA GRAY

beasts-of-prey.pngThere’s no such thing as magic in the broken city of Lkossa, especially for sixteen-year-old Koffi, who holds a power within her that could only be described as magic—a power that if discovered could cost her life. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, Koffi knows the fearsome creatures in her care and paying off her family's debts to secure their eventual freedom can be her only focus. But the night those she loves are gravely threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi finally unleashes the power she doesn’t fully understand, upending her life completely.

As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six—an elite warrior—and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, Ekon encounters not only the Shetani—a vicious monster that has plagued the city for nearly a century and stalks his nightmares, but Koffi who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior.

Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani could also be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon form a tentative alliance and together enter the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild, frightening magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.

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things we couldn't say

BY JAY COLES

things-we-couldnt-say.pngThere's always been a hole in Gio's life. Not because he's into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio's life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he's started to get his life together, she's back.

It's hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio's started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio's not sure . . . especially because he's not sure what he wants from anyone right now.

There are no easy answers to love -- whether it's family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn't Say, Jay Coles, acclaimed author of Tyler Johnson Was Here, shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity -- hoping at the other end he'll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.

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the welcome chair

BY ROSEMARY WELLS; ILLUSTRATED BY JERRY PINKNEY

the-welcome-chair.pngIn 1807, Sam Siegbert is born in southern Germany. Sam’s favorite pastime is carpentry, much to his father’s displeasure. His mother says he has a gift from God in his hands. After moving to America, he builds a wooden chair with the word WILLKOMMEN on the back. The chair’s back panel was later marked with welcomes by four generations of the family in four different languages.

After the family lost track of the old chair, the author created a new life for it among new owners from other corners of the world. All the families who loved the chair came to America, escaping religious conformity, natural disasters, tyrannies, war, and superstition. In its lifetime, the rocking chair, with its earliest word WILLKOMMENstood for openness, hospitality, and acceptance to all who owned it or rocked safely in its embrace.

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