Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Abrams. Copyright 2014
Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown
Grade level: I p. 231 Dewey: F
Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable.
But when Arty's family announces they're moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever-especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, "Mr. Death" isn't terrifying at all-he's actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Bloomsbury. Copyright 2014
The Map Trap by Andrew Clements
Grade level: I p. 130 Dewey: F
This map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning!
Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. Regular “point A to point B” ones, sure, but also maps that explain a whole lot more—like what he really thinks about his friends. And teachers. Even the principal.
So when Alton’s maps are stolen from his locker, there’s serious trouble on the horizon…and he’ll need some mad cartographic skills to escape it.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Atheneum Books. Copyright 2014
Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery by Heather Vogel Frederick
Grade level: IA p. 355 Dewey: F
An unsent letter in a first edition copy of Charlotte’s Web leads to a hunt for treasure in this heartwarming middle grade mystery from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.
Now that Truly Lovejoy’s father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy’s Books, a struggling bookstore that’s been in the family for one hundred years.
With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy’s Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edition of Charlotte’s Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What’s inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2014
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
Grade level: IA p. 218 Dewey: F
When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.
As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives … including her own.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Scholastic. Copyright 2014
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Grade level: I p. 226 Dewey: F
Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different - not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father.
When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose's father shouldn't have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.
Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose's point of view.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Macmillan. Copyright 2014
Hello I’m Johnny Cash by G. Neri
Grade level: I p. 40 Dewey: 782.42
There’s never been anyone like music legend Johnny Cash. His deep voice is instantly recognizable, and his heartfelt songs resonate with listeners of all ages and backgrounds. G. Neri captures Johnny’s story in beautiful free verse, portraying an ordinary boy with an extraordinary talent who grew up in extreme poverty, faced incredible challenges, and ultimately found his calling by always being true to the gift of his voice. A. G. Ford’s luscious paintings of the dramatic southern landscape of Johnny Cash’s childhood illuminate this portrait of a legend, taking us from his humble beginnings to his enormous success on the world stage.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Candlewick Press. Copyright 2014
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
Grade level: I p. 97 Dewey: 792.8
In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Chronicle Books. Copyright 2014
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with Great Whites of California Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy
Grade level: I p. 40 Dewey: 597.3
Up close with the ocean's most fearsome and famous predator and the scientists who study them--just thirty miles from the Golden Gate Bridge!
A few miles from San Francisco lives a population of the ocean's largest and most famous predators. Each fall, while the city's inhabitants dine on steaks, salads, and sandwiches, the great white sharks return to California's Farallon Islands to dine on their favorite meal: the seals that live on the island's rocky coasts. Massive, fast, and perfectly adapted to hunting after 11 million years of evolution, the great whites are among the planet's most fearsome, fascinating, and least understood animals
In the fall of 2012, Katherine Roy visited the Farallons with the scientists who study the islands' shark population. She witnessed seal attacks, observed sharks being tagged in the wild, and got an up close look at the dramatic Farallons--a wildlife refuge that is strictly off-limits to all but the scientists who work there. Neighborhood Sharks is an intimate portrait of the life cycle, biology, and habitat of the great white shark, based on the latest research and an up-close visit with these amazing animals.
Reprinted by permission of publisher, Macmillan. Copyright 2014
Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Grade level: PI p. 40 Dewey: 379.2
Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California. Reprinted by permission of publisher, Abrams. Copyright 2014