Staff: JANET'S PICKS

Janet likes historical fiction, humor, realistic stories, adventures.

JULY 23, 2021: (novel for for readers aged 10-14) Janet's pick this week was also liked by Nicholas B., a Storybook Cove reviewer. "Linked" by Gordon Korman is a serious book dealing with hate. A swastika is painted on the wall of a middle school in Chokeberry, Colorado. Even after a tolerance education project at the school, the symbol keeps appearing. The book is told from various students and their perspectives --- Michael, the head of the art club;  Link, the star athlete and prankster and his friends; Caroline, the seventh grade student council representative; and Dana, a Jewish student. This book shows how the students and the community react and move forward. As the cover says: "Past, present, future. Right, wrong. It's all connected."

JULY 16, 2021: Janet's pick this week is a mystery series called "The Treasure Troop" by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Tim Budgen. This presently 3 book series, with a definite 4th to come, is for 7 to 9 year old readers. 3 children are summoned to a law office to the reading of the will of Henry P. Summerling. Marly, Isla, and Sai had each known Harry in different ways and were shocked that he had left them "treasure". They have to work together to solve codes and follow clues. They become great friends and together make the "Treasure Troop". The books should be read in order and the 3rd book definitely ends in a cliff hanger!

JULY 9, 2021 Janet's pick this week is the young adult novel, "If You, Then Me" by Yvonne Woon. Xia, a very intelligent self-taught programmer, has made an artificial intelligence app that pretends to be an older "self" that gives advice to yourself. She gets accepted into the Foundry for her junior year in high school. Since she was young she has always dreamed of going to this school in the Silicon Valley for an intense year of learning on how to develop your product and market it. The winner of the class gets his or her product funded and launched. Can she make it in this cutthroat environment even with the help of her idol, Mitsy Erst? She also has an online crush who she discovers is also at the Foundry but which one is he, the boy she has come to like or the one she doesn't like?  Xia must make some difficult decisions about her future in this realistic novel.

JULY 2, 2021 Janet's pick this week is "Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey" by Erin Entrada Kelly. Marisol really really wants to climb the magnolia tree she has named Peppina which is in her backyard; but she is afraid of falling.  Can timid Marisol, with the help of her best friend,  Jada, reach her goal? You will be rooting for Marisol in this book perfect for 7 to 9 years olds.

JUNE 25, 2021 Janet's pick this week may put tears in your eyes, "Things You Can't Say" by Jenn Bishop. Besides being a friendship story, keeping old friends and getting new friends; this middle grade story examines the loss of Crew's dad and how grief and no understanding can effect our health and our decision making. Are there really things we can't say or do we just need to know how to say and ask them and to get help to do it.

JUNE 18, 2021 Janet's pick for Father's Day is the picture book, "My Dad" by Susan Quinn and illustrated by Marina Ruiz. The book explores all the activities the narrator enjoys doing with his dad. Ultimately the best thing about his dad is that his Dad is a special Dad to him.

JUNE 11, 2021 After having listened to the author speak about his research resulting in an historical fiction novel about his relative, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky known as "Annie Londonderry", Janet decided to pick "Spin" by Peter Zheutlin as her pick this week. Learn about this woman as she writes a letter to her granddaughter Mary, a distant cousin of the writer, Peter. Annie, scandously leaving her husbad and children behind in 1894 sets out on a bicycle (only newly being a mode of transportation for women) on a wager to circle the earth in fifteen months and also earn $5,000 en route. She was a woman of great bravery, inventiveness, and spirit. The author has spent many years sorting fact from fiction about a relative he only learned existed in 1995. The title, "Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story" lives up to its name as Annie was an expert at "spinning" the truth as she travelled by bicycle.

JUNE 4, 2021Janet's pick this week, in honor of pride month, is "She Drives Me Crazy" by Kelly Quindlen. Scottie, a high school basketball player, has broken up with her girlfriend and can't seem to get her out of her head and heart. Meet Irene, a very well-liked and popular cheerleader whom Scottie has not had good interactions with in the past. When their paths cross again, there just might be a way that Scottie can get back at her toxic ex by setting up a pretense relationship with Irene. Will the plan back-fire? This is a good light book for teenagers dealing with complicated relationships and the dating scene.

MAY 28, 2021--Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Ophie's Ghosts" by Justina Ireland. Set in 1922, Ophie's father has died tragically and she and her mom must work as maids in an old manor house in Georgia. Ophie realizes that she has an inherited ability to see ghosts. Can she or should she help these troubled spirits to make peace with their past and move on? The reader learns about black history and the racial injustices of the past in this historical mystery.

MAY 21, 2021--Janet's pick this week is "Aven Green Sleuthing Machine" by Dusti Bowling and illustrated by Gina Perry. Aven Green is the Aven Green from "Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus" and "Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus" only younger, a third grade student.  Aven's disability, being born without arms, is not a disability at all for her as she uses her new detective skills to solve 3 mysteries! You will love as a reader listening to her reasoning and her positive spirit This is the first book in a new chapter book series for 7 to 9 year olds featuring Aven Green.

MAY 14, 2021-- Graduation season is upon us and Janet's pick this week, "What the Road Said" by Cleo WSade and illustrated by Lucie de Moyencourt, is a great graduation gift.  This picture book involves questions and answsers between the "reader" and the "road". It ecnourages bravery and change and offers comfort and support for all of your life choices -- good or bad.  So put aside anxiety and move down the road to see what the world has to offer. 

MAY 7, 2021-- Janet's pick this week is "Flight of the Puffin" by Ann Braden.  This novel for children 10 and over connects 4 children in a special way. Acts of kindness can help others to feel strong and not alone. Meet Libby, a lover of art and expression who is misunderstood by her family and classmates; Jack, a self reliant "great kid" who is dealing with loss and wants to do what he thinks is correct in a school directive; Vincent who is bullied and just wants to be himself; and T who is homeless and  feels unloved and unwanted. This is a moving story that touches on uniqueness and coping skills. What we can do if we feel brave, loved and accepted.

APRIL 30, 2021-- Arbor Day Janet's picks this week are in honor of Arbor Day, April 30th. One such book is "Zee Grows a Tree" by Elizabeth Rusch & illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. A tree is planted when Zee is born and it grows and develops by her love. "Trees Make Perfect Pets" by Paul Czakak and illustrated by Cathy Gendron shows how one girl makes a tree a pet and once grown it becomes a friend for all. "Be a Tree" by Maria Gianferrari & illustrated by Felicita Sala compares people to trees. By working together as a forest and standing tall and strong we can build a community. "The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom" by Lira Judge is a beautiful poetry book and a nonfiction book with so much information. Did you know that trees can talk to each other? Arbor Day is a great day to protect and/or plant a tree.

APRIL 16, 2021-- New Middle Grade Novel  Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing. The Peach family's deceased mom's invention awarded the family money after she died and Dad feels that they should spend the summer doing what she had always wanted to do -- travel doing a food truck! Lucy, Freddy and Herb don't really care about a food truck but what they do care about is spending time with their father who has been absent (workaholic) after his wife died. Will this adventure bring them together? This is a book with great individual characters. You, the reader, get a chance to know each sibling's feelings and expectations. You will probably want to eat some pie!

APRIL 9, 2021-- Young/Middle Grade Novel  Did you know that the Niagara Falls International Suspension Bridge that connects the United States and Canada at Niagara Falls was begun by a kite flying contest to have the first cable strung across the gorge? Janet's young/middle grade novel pick this week is "Kite to Freedom" by Kathleen A. Dinan and illustrated by Iris M. Kirkwood, which not only tells how the bridge got started but how it played an important role in the "Underground Railroad" helping black people leave the U.S. to freedom in Canada. 

APRIL 2, 2021-- Picture Book  In honor of Children's International Picture Book Day, Janet's pick this week is "Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure" written and illustrated by Steve Light.  This picture book with a map on the end pages of  Whisker Hollows is about Bear and his tree friends going on a road trip to find a headlight for Bear's truck.  The tree brances are the roads!  Meet Adventurous Donkey, Cautious Mouse, Hungry RAbbit and Earnest Bear as the personalities add to the success of the adventure!

MARCH 26, 2021-- Picture Book  Janet's pick this week is "The Fort" by Laura Perdew and illustrated by Adelina Lirius.  There is a "fort" in the woods and a little girl is a "pirate" using it as a pirate ship.  A little boy meanwhile is a "prince" using it as a castle.  What happens when they try to use it at the same time?  This is a great book on imagination and sharing.

MARCH 19, 2021-- Mystery Novels for 10-12+: Janet's pick this week is an older title, "Greenglass House", the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery by Kate Milford. If you like mystery, ghosts, and a little magic, you will love this book and the other books in this series set in the world of Greenglass House. These middle grade and older books have kid detectives, storytelling characters, and lots of secrets!

MARCH 13, 2021-- Picture Book:  Janet’s pick this week is the picture book, Sam’s Treasure by Judy Frizzell and illustrated by Dick Frizzell.This comfy story is about a retired sea captain who finds many “treasures” along the beach after a storm. One treasure he finds ends up being especially unique.

MARCH 6, 2021-- TODDLER: Janet's pick this week is the board book, What Is Baby Going to Do?, written by Laura Knowles and illustrated by Juliana Perdomo. This book made the Parents Magazine's Best Book of the Year 2020 list. It is a lift the flap book which encourages the child to guess from a clothing clue to what the baby in the book will be doing next -- baby dressed in swimsuit -- lift the flap -- baby in a small pool. This interactive book is a fun way to develop language, fine motor, and creative skills.

FEBRUARY 26, 2021-- NOVEL FOR 10-12: "Sea in Winter" by Christine Day is Janet's pick this week. Maisie has suffered a knee injury which has impacted her dream to be a famous ballet dancer. She learns that life changes and she must work through it to something new even though she feels like her life has been destroyed. Besides growing emotionally with Maisie we learn about the Makah and Piscataway tribes.

FEBRUARY 12, 2021-- A PICTURE BOOK ABOUT PERCEPTIONS: Janet's pick this week is "Milo Imagines the World" by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Milo is taking a long subway ride with his sister.  He loves people watching and decides to draw where where he thinks the people are going.  He finds that his perceptions may not be correct.  This is a subtle picture book about not making presumptions based on appearnaces.

FEBRUARY 5, 2021-- A PICTURE BOOK ABOUT WAITING: Janet's pick is "Almost Time" by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney.  this picture book illustrated by G. Brian Karas shows a young boy waiting for the "sap" to run so that he can again have maple syrup on his pancakes, etc.  He is also waiting for his loose tooth to fall out. With his dad's support and love, he very patiently looks for signs of spring and wiggles his tooth.  bonus - you get to see the process of making maple syrup from tree to table.

JANUARY 29, 2021-- A SERIOUS NOVEL:  Janet's pick this week is "War Stories" by Gordon Norman. This is a serious book by Norman and not at all in the expected humorous vein of his many other books for 10-12 year olds.  This is a close look at war - the bravery - the death - the heroes - the consequences.  Trevor idealized his great grandfather, Jacob, called G.G., a World War II veteran.  Jacob, upon being asked to be a guest of honor commorating the U.S. freeing the village of Sainte Regine from the Germans, decided to accept the invitation and retrace the steps of the Bravo company from Fort Benning GA to Normandy France and onto Sainte Regine with his grandson, Daniel, and great grandson, Trevor. Not everyone feels that this is a time of celebration especially La Verite, a group that wants the truth to be told.  Real war is not a video game.

JANUARY 22, 2021-- A FUNNY PICTURE BOOK: Janet's pick this week is by the late award winning writer/illustrator Mordicai Gerstein. "Moose, Goose, and Mouse" is a funny rhyming picture book that can be shared with two to five year olds as a read-aloud and can also be a beginning reading book for older children. Mordicai asked Jeff Mack, an illustrator friend to help him work on a computer collage technique for the book and then had Jeff complete the illustrations when cancer forced him to stop working on the book. Go on an adventure with Moose, Goose and Mouse to see if their dreams come true.

JANUARY 15, 2021-- FIRST PICK OF THE NEW YEAR IS A POWERFUL HISTORICAL FICTION:   Janet's pick this week is "White Rose" by Kip Wilson.  This young adult book won an honor award from the Masschusetts Center for the Book and is now available in paperback.  Written in poetry, this moving book is about a real person, Sophie Scholl, who was part of the "White Rose", a German non-violent resistance group in Germany who challenged the Nazis.  She chooses to not stand by and see the injustices around her at great cost to herself.  You won't stop thinking about this powerful book.

DECEMBER 31:   Janet's pick this week is "I Can Make this Promise" by Christine Day. Edie, a 12 year old girl, knows that she is Native America but since her mom was "adopted" she doesn't know anything about her heritage until she discovers a box that just may hold the secrets she would love to know. She needs to trust her parents to learn her past. This is a story of friendship, creativity, and love. 

NOVEMBER 27  Janet’s pick this week is My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World “ by Rebecca Bond and Salley Mavor. Rebecca Bond’s poetic verse tells us of how children sleep throughout the world and Salley mirrors exquisite stitching work it’s truly remarkable. Everything has been crafted by hand. You can pour over the pictures for hours and learn many facts as to how we are all different and the same.

NOVEMBER 20  Janet's pick this week is the beautiful picture illustrated by Nomoco of the poem by Tomos Roberts called "The Great Realization". This hopeful poem shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought families closer and has gotten people to slow down and change their focus from "things" to people. What is most important to you?

NOVEMBER 13  Janet's pick this week is "Ellie's Dragon" by Bob Graham. Ellie finds a tiny dragon which grows up with her. Adults can't see Scratch but the children can! Bob Graham's books always convey a sense of goodness and peace. Children are "becoming" great sensitive individuals and learning to cope with their circumstances.

NOVEMBER 6  Janet's pick this week is the "Jasmine Green Rescues" series. This series is a little harder to read than the "Critter Club" series but easier than the middle grade series, "Vet Volunteers".  Jasmine is the daughter of a veterinarian and a farmer. She loves animals and rescues a piglet named Truffle, a collie named Sky, a duckling named Button and a kitten called Holly in the first 4 books of the series. This is a great series for your 8 to 10 year old animal lovers.

OCTOBER 30  Janet's pick this week is the newly released book for 9 to 12 year olds called "The Ghostly Tales of New England" by Carrie Juettner adapted from "A Guide to Haunted New England" by Thomas D'Agostino.  The book has 3 to 5 ghost stories from each of the 5 New England states.  These stories are concisely written to give the background to the ghost and the reason for remaining after death. The author speaks to the reader and I wouldn't consider them scary so much as spooky!  A simple map shows where the ghost stores took palce if you want to check them out yourself!

OCTOBER 23:  Janet's pick this week is "The Silver Arrow" by Lev Grossman.  this fun read aloud fantasy for 8 to 12  year olds deals with climate change, endangered animals, and endangered habitats in a very unique way.  Join Kate and Tom on their fantastical adventure aboard the Silver Arrow train (which talks)!

OCTOBER 16:  Janet's pick this week: The Truth Project  by Dante Medema, a teen novel in verse, texts and emails, tells the story of an Alaskan high school senior who's controlled and neat year becomes chaotic and messy when she learns that the only person she has known as "Dad" and her biological father are not the same person.  Medema's sparse writing delivers so much story, emotion and self-discovery.  Savor this book and look forward to the next by this debut author.  

OCTOBER 9:  Janet's pick this week is Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen, the fourth book in the Ascendance series.  This book begins with Jaron, the King of Carthya, taken hostage with his loyal friends and piarate allies and taken to Belland, a conquered land.  The captors and conquerors, the feared Prozarians, have Darious's sword and crown and accuse Jaron of faking his brother's death to gain the throne.  Darius is alive.  Is Jaron's throne and Carthya at risk from the rightful king or the Prozarians?  Will Jaron with his annoying and mischievous personality save the kingdom?

OCTOBER 2:  Have you heard of escape rooms? Janet's pick this week is a book series version of escape rooms in which you have to solve questions, look for clues, and ultimately escape the situation. You can set your own time limit based on your level of experience. Four titles in the Escape Game Adventure series by Melanie Vives & Remi Prieur and illustrated by El Gunto are: Trapped in Space, Mad Hacker,  Last Dragon, and Operation Pizza.

SEPTEMBER 25:
Janet's pick this week is to introduce a new graphic book series called Pea, Bee & Jay by Brian "Smitty" Smith. This is a young reader's series geared for children aged 6 to 10 about 3 friends with distinct personalities: a pea named Pea, a bumble bee named Bee and a blue jay named Jay. These books are full of humor and great friendship stories.

SEPTEMBER 18:
Janet's pick is Don't Stand So Close to Me by Eric Walters that deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.  13 year old Quinn relates her expereinces as the daughter of a doctor and her friends' experiences as they all cope with social distancing, not seeing loved ones, and missing their usual interactions.  How they have their 8th grade dance is unique and uplifting.  The book hleps explain terms such as "flattening the curve" and justifies the feelings kids are having at this time.

SEPTEMBER 11:
Janet's pick this week, "Newton and Curie the Science Squirrels" by Daniel Kirk, is a great STEM title. Learn about force and gravity and simple machines like levers and pulleys with Newton and his sister squirrel, Curie. Cheer for them when they use their new knowledge to get the fallen bird's nest safely back into the tree.

SEPTEMBER 4:

Janet's picks today will help you with teaching colors.  One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler is about a purple hippo trying to match her one red sock. The book is in rhyme and your child will begin to predict the next color she tries by rhyming, a great prereading skill.  Fussy Flamingo by Shelly Vaughan James and illustrated by Matthew Rivera is another picture book that can help with color learning.  A very fussy eater, Loa, a flamingo, needs to eat shrimp to get her feathers a pinkish color, but instead easts various other South American foods that change her feathers colors matching those foods.  When she finally tries shrimp, she loves them. An indirect lesson -- try it and you might like it!

AUGUST 28:

Janet's pick for this week is the Schneider Family Book Award winner for middle grade readers.  This award is for a book that "embodies an artistic expresson of the disability experience:. "song for a Whale" by Lynne Kelly is about Iris, a 12 year old deaf girl who is determined to communicate with Blue 55 a whale that "sings a song" that no other whale can hear.  Chapters of the book are the whale's thoughts and he will win your heart. You will cheer with Iris, a radio repair whiz, as she works to achieve her goal.

AUGUST 21:

Janet's pick for this week is "Butterfly Yellow" by award-winning author, Thanhha Lai. This story shows the determination of Hang to reunite with her brother, Ling, who had been airlifted from Vietnam 6 years ealier when he was 5 years old. Arriving in America from Vietnam with little knowledge of English and Texas, 18-year old Hang, with the reluctant help of LeeRoy, a want-to-be cowboy, is determined to pursue her goal. 6 years is a long time and things don't always work as planned.  Available in hardcover now; coming in paper on Oct.13.

AUGUST 14:

"The Summer We Found the Baby" by Amy Hest. Imagine finding a baby on the steps of the library. In this book we find how 3 children perceive this incident and how their perceptions are influenced by the happenings of the past summer. This is a sweet book about friendships and the need for "mothering" (to get and to give) and teachers - a great book about "point of view".

 

AUGUST 7:

Rain! Puddles!  Read these picture books, Soaked! by Abi Cushman and Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair to see how attitude makes all the difference in our perception of circumstances.  Is your cup half full or half emply?  These children and animals will make you smile.

JULY 31: 

Kitray by Gideo Marcus is a science fiction story set in the year 2846 of a nineteen year old girl who puts all of her savings into a salvaged Navy spaceship so that she can travel throughout the galaxy.  She and her crew of friends end up stranded in hyperspace and it takes all of her crew's epertise to attempt the way home.  The book has great characterization and the reader can feel the tension and acknowledge the "reasonably accurate science" needed to return to her planet, Vatan.

JULY 24: 

Do you remember Bob, the homeless dog who makes himself at home in Ivan’s cage in the Newbery award winning The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate?  Well now he has a home and a story of his own to tell in The One and Only Bob!  It’s a story of courage and rescues.

JULY 17:  

The Ascendance Series for 10-12 year olds by Jennifer A . Nielsen (The False Prince, The Shadow Throne, The Runaway King) is a fast-paced tale of deceit, adventure, heroism and the quest to save a nation.  We thought the trilogy would be enough, but more story needed to be told. The Captive Kingdom comes out in October. Cannot wait for you to see the new twists and ending (new beginning).

 

Linked Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338629118
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Published: Scholastic Inc. - July 20th, 2021

Mr. Summerling's Secret Code #1 (The Treasure Troop #1) Cover Image
By Dori Hillestad Butler, Tim Budgen (Illustrator)
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Published: Penguin Workshop - January 19th, 2021

The Hidden Room #2 (The Treasure Troop #2) Cover Image
By Dori Hillestad Butler, Tim Budgen (Illustrator)
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Published: Penguin Workshop - January 19th, 2021

Summer Island #3 Cover Image
By Dori Hillestad Butler, Tim Budgen (Illustrator)
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Published: Penguin Workshop - July 13th, 2021

If You, Then Me Cover Image
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - July 6th, 2021

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey Cover Image
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Published: Greenwillow Books - May 4th, 2021

Things You Can't Say Cover Image
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Published: Aladdin - March 2nd, 2021

My Dad Cover Image
By Susan Quinn, Marina Ruiz (Illustrator)
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Published: words & pictures - April 6th, 2021

Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story Cover Image
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Published: Pegasus Books - June 1st, 2021

She Drives Me Crazy Cover Image
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - April 20th, 2021

Ophie’s Ghosts Cover Image
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Published: Balzer + Bray - May 18th, 2021

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine Cover Image
By Dusti Bowling, Gina Perry (Illustrator)
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Published: Sterling Children's Books - April 13th, 2021

What the Road Said Cover Image
By Cleo Wade, Lucie de Moyencourt (Illustrator)
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Published: Feiwel & Friends - March 23rd, 2021

Flight of the Puffin Cover Image
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Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - May 4th, 2021

The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom Cover Image
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 2nd, 2021

Be a Tree! Cover Image
By Maria Gianferrari, Felicita Sala (Illustrator)
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Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - March 30th, 2021

Trees Make Perfect Pets Cover Image
By Paul Czajak, Cathy Gendron (Illustrator)
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The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie Cover Image
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Published: Pixel+Ink - April 6th, 2021

Kite to Freedom: The Story of a Kite-Flying Contest, the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, and the Underground Railroad Cover Image
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Published: Cross Your Fingers - March 25th, 2021

Road Trip! A Whiskers Hollow Adventure Cover Image
By Steve Light, Steve Light (Illustrator)
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Published: Candlewick - February 9th, 2021

The Fort Cover Image
By Laura Perdew, Adelina Lirius (Illustrator)
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Published: Page Street Kids - April 21st, 2020

Greenglass House Cover Image
By Kate Milford, Jaime Zollars (Illustrator)
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Published: Clarion Books - November 1st, 2016

Ghosts of Greenglass House Cover Image
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Published: Clarion Books - July 31st, 2018

Bluecrowne: A Greenglass House Story Cover Image
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Published: Clarion Books - January 14th, 2020