In 1901, two boys become friends in eastern Canada. Benji is a black youth who intends to become a newspaperman. His pal is a red-haired Irish boy named Alvin. Alvin wants to become a scientist. The duo met at a forensics competition. Benji has landed an apprenticeship with a local newspaper and is always thinking of his next story. Alvin lives with his father and Grandma. While exploring the woods, they encounter the “Madman of Piney Woods,” who turns out to be a Civil War veteran who has become a hermit.
Cece was four when she got meningitis and lost her hearing. As she prepares for school, she gets a sonic ear which is a microphone and amplifier device. It works so well, she can even hear when her teacher goes to the bathroom. The sonic ear is a bulky box that she wears on her chest, it’s hot in summer and cold in the winter and pretty obvious. Throughout the book, Cece really just wants a true best friend, a sidekick. So she creates a superhero character for herself, El Deafo!
Just before Audrey’s mother was taken away on a truck to Abbott’s War, she told Audrey a story about another cow that escaped from a truck and lived in a forest. (Animals on the farm don’t know what Abbott’s War is; they just know it’s bad.) Audrey tells this story to her farm animal friends and when news comes down that Audrey is to leave the farm, Audrey and Eddie (a sheepdog) hatch a plan. On the day Audrey has to leave she escapes to the forest where a whole other set of problems (and friends) arise.
Minerva has been dropping hints for months that she wants a ukulele for her sixteenth birthday. Instead, her mom gives her a sweater. But when she answers the door for FedEx, she receives a gift from her father - whom she hasn’t seen or heard from since she was two. She and her friend audition at Get Happy where they will sing and perform at birthday parties, to earn money to buy the ukulele. Life starts looking up for Minerva, except that she can’t get her dad’s gift off her mind. Who is he, and why is he reaching out after all this time?
Edmund is an only child living in Manhattan with his parents. He is a talented artist, and with his photographic memory, he is able to make remarkable sketches of people. Hence, he is recruited by the police department to draw people he sees in art museums who might be part of an art theft ring. His police handler is Detective Bovano, who keeps Edmund safe during the investigation.
Max is almost thirteen when his parents go to India to start a theatrical company. The problem is, the ship they were supposed to sail on doesn’t exist. Max needs a way to make a living after they disappear, so he starts a business solving problems and recovering items for clients. And he investigates what happened to his parents. He uses a number of their theatrical costumes as he goes about this work around town, sometimes with comic effect.
Three seventh graders, Anna, Jose, and Henry, meet when they are snowed in at the Washington, D.C. airport. They discover that each of them has a connection to the Silver Jaguar Society, a secret society dedicated to protecting the world’s artifacts. When the flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner is stolen from the Smithsonian, the kids figure out the flag is at the airport and go after it and the thieves.
King Hades, Lord of the Underworld (and one cool dude), tells mortal readers about Odysseus’s long, torturous trip as he tries to sail home after the Trojan War. Readers who think they know the story should think again!
It’s the last day of summer, which means the last day of fun! Mr. Pants has his heart set on playing laser tag but Grommy, his little sister, has chosen to go to the “Fairy Princess Dream Factory" (UGH!) Mom has promised that if Mr. Pants doesn’t complain during Grommy’s fun time, then they can go play laser tag. Foot Foot, Mr. Pants other sister, does not make it easy for him to be patient and get along with his siblings. Go along with Mr. Pants and his cat family to see if he gets to play laser tag!
Darkus Knightley’s dad has been in a coma for four years. During that time Darkus has kept himself busy dad by studying his detective dad’s case files at night. Darkus is certain that there must be some clue to explain both his father’s current state, and the recent increase in crime. Mr. Knightley suddenly wakes, which seems somehow related to the release of a book called The Code. He fears that the freaky things The Code makes readers do is the work of a shadowy evil group called The Combination. Mr.