Middle Readers Bookstack :: Spring 2020 Children's Indie Next List

By Meadow Lark Store

By Meadow Lark Store

The List of Things That Will Not Change

Rebecca Stead

$16.99 $15.63

After her parents' divorce, Bea's life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other. When Dad tells Bea that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is thrilled. Bea loves Jesse, and when he and Dad get married, she'll finally (finally!) have what she's always wanted--a sister. Even though she's never met Jesse's daughter, Sonia, Bea is sure that they'll be "just like sisters anywhere." As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that making a new family brings questions, surprises, and joy, and readers will discover why the New York Times called Rebecca Stead a "writer of great feeling."

Chirp

Kate Messner

$16.99 $15.63

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she's recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she'd rather forget. Mia's change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram's thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram's farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she's been hiding--and find the courage she never knew she had? In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

Coo

Kaela Noel

$16.99 $15.63

In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate. Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt. Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex—and cruel—than she could have imagined. This remarkable debut novel will captivate readers from the very first line. Coo examines the bonds that make us family, the possibilities of love, and the importance of being true to yourself. Fans of Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, and Barbara O’Connor will devour this extraordinary story.

Black Brother, Black Brother

Jewell Parker Rhodes

$16.99 $15.63

From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition. Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best. Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don't look like him. They don't like him either. Dubbing him "Black Brother," Donte's teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey. When he's bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, "King" Alan, he's suspended from school and arrested for something he didn't do. Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden's help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what. As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest. Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy's fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Jessica Kim

$16.99 $15.63

One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian. On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her "Yu-MEAT" because she smells like her family's Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she's reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage. Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she's a girl named Kay Nakamura--and Yumi doesn't correct them. As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.

Aster and the Accidental Magic

Thom Pico and Karensac

$12.99 $11.95

A fun, action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl, her dog, and magic gone wrong! Quiet . . . birds . . . nature. . . . That's what Aster expects when her parents move their whole family to the middle of nowhere. It's just her (status: super-bored), her mom and dad (status: busy with science), her brother (status: has other plans), and . . . . . . magic? In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language . . . and the trouble she gets into is just starting. Maybe the middle of nowhere will be more interesting than Aster thought.

Bug Boys

Laura Knetzger

$13.99 $12.87

Join two bug friends as they learn about the science of the world around them and the meaning of friendship in this early graphic novel series perfect for fans of Narwhal and Jelly! Rhino-B is a brash, but sweet guy. Stag-B is a calm and scholarly adventurer. Together these two young beetles make up the Bug Boys, best friends who spend their time exploring the world of Bug Village and beyond, as well as their own - sometimes confusing and complicated - thoughts and feelings. In their first adventure, the Bug Boys travel through spooky caves, work with a spider to found a library, save their town's popular honey supply from extinction, and even make friends with ferocious termites! What challenges will these two earnest beetles face? Whatever it is, you can be sure that Rhino-B and Stag-B will face it together -- with the power of friendship behind them.

Efrén Divided

Ernesto Cisneros

$16.99 $15.63

“We need books to break open our hearts, so that we might feel more deeply, so that we might be more human in these unkind times. This is a book doing work of the spirit in a time of darkness.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México. Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

Here in the Real World

Sara Pennypacker

$17.99 $16.55

From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere. Ware can’t wait to spend summer “off in his own world”—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called “normal” kids do. On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot. Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge. But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights’ Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot. But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

Leslie Connor

$16.99 $15.63

A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award winner Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. This novel sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. An uplifting middle grade novel about recovery featuring strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him. It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death. Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming—and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival. Wasn’t one rescue enough? Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past. Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling... Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important... And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger... And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost?

The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories

Emily Winfield Martin

$18.99 $17.47