Young People's Pavilion: Some of the best new middle grade books

SQUISH #4: Captain Disaster by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
When trouble calls, there is a single cell who has the courage to do what's right….Squish!

"Even the mildest young boy will see something of himself in Squish. Super Amoeba is an energetic, good-hearted escapade, one that young readers will enjoy."—New York Times Book Review

From the acclaimed authors of Babymouse comes Squish—a comic-book-loving, twinkie-eating grade school amoeba trying to find his place in the world. In this fourth installment of this graphic novel series, it's soccer season! But the Waterfleas (hey, it could be worse—okay, maybe it couldn't) are getting pummeled game after game. Squish knows winning isn't everything, but it's something right? Can Squish turn the losing streak around when he becomes team captain? Will Pod figure out how to harness the power of lightning? And how can amoebas play soccer when they don't have any feet? Find out in the fourth electrifyingly hilarious, action packed Squish graphic novel adventure: Captain Disaster!

Just like Babymouse, Squish is smart and funny. Unlike Babymouse, Squish is GREEN and filled with superheroes, comics within comics, and gross-out science—each book includes a science spread in the back, full of real science activities! Squish #4: Captain Disaster is sure to be right for fans of Babymouse, Lunch Lady, Sidekicks, and Captain Underpants.

SUPER by Matthew Cody
A superpowered sequel to Matthew Cody's popular debut novel, Powerless.

Daniel Corrigan is as regular as can be, especially when compared to the Supers: kids in his new hometown with actual powers like flight and super strength. But Daniel's not powerless. Only he was able to stop the Shroud, a supervillian bent on stealing his newfound friends' powers. And thanks to him, his friends got to keep those powers. Now Daniel himself is starting to display powers, while at the same time, his friends are losing theirs. His friend Eric thinks Daniel is just becoming a Super himself, a late-blooming one. But Daniel worries there may be something more sinister at work, since his power-stealing ability is uncomfortably like the Shroud's. Of course, the Shroud is gone now . . . or is he? And could Daniel himself be his new vessel?

Matthew Cody latest novel is an homage to superheroes and comic books, great for all those comic fans (boys especially). With nonstop action and suspense, SUPER is perfectly paced for reluctant readers,

THE CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau; adapted by Dallas Middaugh; art by Niklas Asker
Modern-day classic The City of Ember returns as a stunning, full-color graphic novel.

"A satisfying mystery, a breathtaking escape over rooftops in darkness, a harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher." —Kirkus Reviews

In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau's story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly ten years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau's vision anew as artist Niklas Asker faithfully brings to life the glare of the lamps, the dinginess of the streets, and the brilliance of the first sunrise.

JOSHUA DREAD by Lee Bacon
A funny and smart superhero/supervillain series about growing up and surviving your (supervillain) parents for middle graders.

For Joshua Dread, middle school is proving to be, well, awkward. Not only do bullies pick on him, but do you see those supervillains over there trying to flood the world? The ones that everyone, including his best friend Milton, are rooting for Captain Justice to take down? They're the Dread Duo, and they just happen to be his parents. As if trying to hide his identity wasn't hard enough, Joshua has started leaving a trail of exploding pencils and scorched handprints in his wake, and only Sophie, the new girl in town with a mysterious past, seems unsurprised. When a violent attack at the Vile Fair makes it clear someone is abducting supervillains, and that his parents may very well be next, Joshua must enlist both Sophie and Milton's help to save them.

Well-written, fast-paced, and remarkably funny, Joshua Dread is the first in a series that will appeal far beyond its target audience. Clever and funny, it's a fast-paced read perfect for boys and girls, especially reluctant readers, who will love the conceit of a good kid with villains for parents.

FIVE ANCESTORS OUT OF THE ASHES #1: Phoenix by Jeff Stone
Filled with Jeff Stone's trademark action and intrigue, this new series mixes kung fu and bike racing.

It is 350 years after the events of The Five Ancestors. Phoenix Collins lives in Indiana with his grandfather who is teaching him kung fu. But Phoenix's real love is dirt-bike racing. When unsettling events reveal that his grandfather is not only one of the legendary five Cangzhen monks, but also almost 400 years old, Phoenix must race the clock if he is going to keep his beloved ancestor alive. Traveling to China, he meets an intriguing young woman who is a talented biker and a terrific mechanic. She offers to help him, but can she be trusted?

Readers will enjoy the cameos from Stone’s earlier series, and the strong girl character makes this a great book for both boys and girls. The non-stop action and fast paced plot of this page turner will be perfect for middle-graders, reluctant readers, and all bike racers!

CENTURY #4: Dragon of Seas by P.D. Baccalario; translated by Leah D. Janeczko
In the fourth installment of the Century Quartet, Italian author P. D. Baccalario concludes the mystery that took four cities and four extraordinary kids to solve.

Shanghai, September 19th—As the equinox approaches, Sheng, Elettra, Harvey, and Mistral know they must come together one last time. Armed with only a map and a top that seem to be broken, a collection of old coins, and a tile with four knives painted on it, the four kids meet in Shanghai to try to make sense of clues that their predecessors couldn't decipher. Meanwhile Sheng is haunted by a dream and by visions of a young boy who seems to understand their quest. The visions send the kids all over Shanghai, through abandoned water ducts and ancient tea houses, in search of the Pearl of the Sea Dragon, an ancient stone that they're sure is the last piece of the puzzle. But a germophobic supercriminal who never leaves his sterile Shanghai skyscraper will do anything to learn their secrets.

Fans of Blue Balliet, Trenton Lee Stewart, and Michael Scott will be drawn to this Da Vinci Code-like adventure for kids.


RECON TEAM ANGEL BOOK #1: The Assault by Brian Falkner

It's 2030, and humanity is losing the war against alien invaders. A Band of Brothers meets Ender's Game in this sci-fi military thriller perfect for kids who love playing Halo and Call of Duty!

A team of six has been chosen to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters in the heart of the Australian Outback. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien culture so that they can talk, act—even think—like their enemies. But from the start, the recon mission goes terribly wrong. It's only when they are close to discovering the shocking truth of the aliens' plans that the team is forced to question who among them is a traitor. Brian Falkner delivers a page-turning military thriller with his signature heart-pounding action and unique sci-fi twists.