Monday, March 6, 2017

Author interview: Rebecca Donnelly

I've never done an author interview on this blog before, and I'm so pleased to host my very first with Rebecca Donnelly, who is not only a member of our North Country library family, but also my very favorite person to eat a bagel with.

Angela: You're a librarian, a tea connoisseur, and now, the author of a middle grade novel set to be published next month. Can you tell us a little more about that last thing?

Rebecca: I'd be happy to, if you're sure you wouldn't rather hear about how much tea I drink in a day.

How to Stage a Catastrophe is a middle grade novel about a group of kids and their beloved Juicebox Theater. The Juicebox is a children's community theater in the Florida panhandle, and it's in danger of closing. Sidney Camazzola, who prefers to stay behind the scenes, narrates the story as if it's a play he's directing, complete with asides and notes and a little bit of confusion. Luckily, his best friend Folly has a head for business, new girl Jelly Baby is the artistic soul of the theater, and lead actress Beatrice has enough determination for everyone. The book publishes April 1 from Capstone Young Readers. 

And how much tea do you drink in a day?

Just enough to dehydrate me and make me wish I drank more water.

Now I've painted myself into a corner. Pretend I asked the tea question later. :)

What is it about community theater that made you want to use it as a setting?

I was an uninvolved child in general. I read, I ate peanut butter M&Ms, I occasionally irritated my brother. The one activity I got into and really enjoyed was the children's theater in my hometown. It was a completely amateur group and cast only children. They did a lot of musicals, which I wasn't into, and one or two non-musicals, which I auditioned for. I played Miss Spider in James and the Giant Peach and Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Hold your applause.)

There are a lot of stories that take place, at least in part, in the school theater setting (Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead, or Drama by Raina Telgemeier) or in a professional or semi-professional theater (Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle or Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt). I chose a community theater because a) there aren't a lot of amateur community theater stories in children's literature (she says, hoping someone doesn't come along & prove her wrong) and b) I wasn't cool enough to be a school drama geek, so I don't really know what that's all about.

Something that happens to writers over time is that they discover what their central story really is. (Maybe that's a generalization, but it's true in my case.) Kate DiCamillo said that what she wanted out of every book is to get everyone together in the same room. Ann Patchett said that all her books involve two groups of people who can't stand each other coming together in some forced circumstances and having to deal with each other. My central story seems to be a group of people coming together to try to save something, in a way that possibly reminiscent of Scooby Doo. A theater is a great place to set a story like that, because that's what theater is: a group of people who come together to try to do something, to build something, and also, I think, so save something. Even if it's just saving you from the status quo.

Photo courtesy of the author.
Which is what writers do also, do they not? Tell me a little about your story as a writer.

There are two stories to that: one is the story of being a writer, and the other one is the story of pursuing publication. The first one is probably a lot like most writers, in that I've always loved writing, always wanted to be A Writer, whatever that means exactly. Someone who wears comfy sweaters, drinks tea (there it is again), and looks out the window all day. Sort of like librarians. What's funny is that I think when you're a very little kid, you don't just write stories, you write books. Everything you write ends up as a picture book, because little kids illustrate everything and because you can punch holes in it, tie it up with yarn, and hey presto, now it's a whole book. Then you grow up a little and you write short stories (or maybe novellas) because novels at that age are so long, and then maybe you make the switch back to writing books when you're old enough to sustain that effort. For me, that age was about thirty.

Thirty is also when I decided that I really did want to go after my sweater/tea/window dream lifestyle, after a few years feeling a little lost as a young mom. So I wrote a terrible adult novel, got a single rejection form the single agent I sent it to, and around the same time I was lucky enough to start working as a children's librarian in the same system as Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, author of Bad New For Outlaws, among other books. I was reading children's books voraciously in order to be a better librarian, and something clicked. This type of storytelling, where you can be silly and adventurous and very real at the same time, appealed to me. I started my first middle grade novel in 2009, and that was the one that got me my fantastic agent, Molly Ker Hawn, in 2013. It sold in six weeks, but it was never published due to some turnover at the publisher, so we went out again in 2014 with the book that became How to Stage a Catastrophe, which sold to Capstone in 2015. That's about eight years from the beginning of my writing career to publication, but who's counting?

I haven't written a poem in ten years, but now I want to write one called 
sweater/tea/window. So, that's my writing plan. What's next for you?

I'm working on another contemporary middle-grade about a couple of pairs of friends, a diary, and a few misunderstandings. I'm on my second draft, after getting some feedback from my agent about places where I could be more clear, or characters who could use a little shoring up. For example, my agent mentioned that a character I really love didn't seem very nice, and I thought, What are you talking about? She's great, she's just misunderstood. That's the point. And it turns out that she really didn't seem very nice, so I've rewritten a whole scene for her in which I hope she appears more as I want her to be. So that's now, and I'm not sure how long that will take.

Well, I wish you luck and all the tea you can drink. Thanks for joining us here! 

Thank you for having me!

For more information, you can visit Rebecca Donnelly's website or follow her on Twitter. Or both. I recommend both.

Friday, February 3, 2017

February Break @ Your Library

School breaks are a wonderful opportunity for public libraries to provide additional programming for children and families looking for something to do while on vacation. And this year, Senator Patty Ritchie is launching a contest for children in grades K-8 in Jefferson, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties that asks for essays describing why they like visiting their library over February break (February 20-25).

Edited to add: With that in mind, here's a quick look at what's going on in North Country libraries, by county, for school-age kids and their families.

This blog post is not a comprehensive program guide, so please contact your library directly for more details or if you're looking for programs for pre-K or teen audiences. 


Carthage Free Library
Saturday (2/18): Make and Take Craft, 1-3pm
Wednesday: Book Blast, 1-3pm
Thursday: Campfire Storytime, 10am-Noon
Saturday (2/25): Lego Challenge, 1-2:30pm

Hawn Memorial Library (Clayton)
Tuesday-Friday: Take It & Make It Crafts, during library hours
Tuesday-Friday: Kids' Movie and Popcorn, 1pm

Henderson Free Library
Daily drop-in craft, during library hours
Wednesday: Play Day @ the Library, 1pm

Macsherry Library (Alexandria Bay)
Monday: Student Acrylic Paint Class and lunch, 10am-1pm
Tuesday: Family Coloring with ice cream floats, 2pm 
Wednesday: Family Game Day, 2pm
Friday: Movie: 2pm
Saturday: Movie: 2pm

Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library (Watertown)
Tuesday: Tween Legos, 2-4pm
Wednesday: Life-size Tic-Tac-Toe, 2-3pm; Family Fun Night, 6:30pm
Thursday: Clue Party, 2-3pm
Friday: Movie, 2-3:30pm
Saturday (2/25): Lego Free Build, 2-3pm


Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library (Sandy Creek)

Thursday: Snowman Building Party, 12:30pm

Oswego Public Library
Saturday (2/18): Reading With Friends Leyende Con Amigos! 1:30pm
Thursday: Winter Vacation Lego Club, 1-3pm
Saturday (2/25) Beat The Winter Blues Family Zumba, 1:30pm

Pulaski Public Library
Tuesday: Lego Mania, 10am-Noon
Thursday: Lego Mania, 10am-Noon


Badenhausen Library (Brasher Falls)
Wednesday: Animal Craft, 2pm
Thursday: Lego Club, 10am

Hepburn Library of Lisbon
Wednesday: Lego Club, 10am-Noon
Tuesday: Lego Club, 10am; Movie, 2pm
Wednesday: Animal Craft, 10am

Norwood Public Library 
Friday: Peace Poetry Workshop, 1pm

Ogdensburg Public Library
Thursday: Family Book Club, 5pm
Friday: Visit from the Zoo, 2pm

(Don't see your library listed? Contact them directly and ask what they've got planned for February break!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Three Winter Crafts

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a crafty person. And anyone who reads this blog knows that if I'm doing a crafty post, it's probably Kristy from Theresa Free Library doing all the talking. Here she is, with her latest projects:

I wanted to share with you some photos and directions for a cute, easy, and practically free winter themed craft that any library can do this winter! 

I found it on Pinterest (of course!) 

The only item I had to buy was blue bristol board.    I used white bristol board circles instead of small paper plates, but only because I didn't have small paper plates on hand, and they didn't have any at the local dollar store.

Just make sure that there are no shredded library cards (or credit cards!) mixed in with your shredded paper.  Shredded plastic is sharp!

I also added a few trays of cotton balls, in case anyone did not want to use shredded paper.

I could not find seasonal cupcake liners at Walmart, so I went to the Christmas Tree Shop, where they were $1.00 per package (anywhere from 25 to 75 per package.)

Attached is a photo of the finished project, and a box of the materials I used.  The only thing not pictured is the white school glue.  The glitter glue is taking a while to dry, so I think that I will  have paper plates handy for kids to put their ornaments on to take home.

At the bottom of the box is a stack of cupcake liners that I already had in my craft drawer, in case anyone doesn't want Santa or upside-down elves on their ornament.

Gingerbread men

I did this one last year, and still have a small pile of cardboard gingerbread men in the storeroom, so I'm doing it again!

All you need is a gingerbread man (or lady) template - there are oodles on Pinterest - cardboard for the figures, and plenty of glitter and other bits to decorate them.  I happened to have bags of cake decorating sugar at home, so we used that.  Glitter glue works well because it minimizes the amount of powder glitter that will be flying around your library and grinding into your carpet.

Corrugated cardboard can be hard on your hands to cut, so it's best not to leave all the cutting on this one until the night before or the morning of.  (Not that I have EVER done that.)

Alternatively, you could cut your figures out of Kraft paper, and just leave them to dry for longer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New children's and YA books added to NCLS!

The Best Man, by Richard Peck. (Also available in audio.)

Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.

But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn't see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he's the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story.

In pages that ripple with laughter, there's a teardrop here and there. And more than a few insights about the bewildering world of adults, made by a boy on his way to being the best man he can be.

The Female of the Species, by Mindy McGinnis.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can't be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna's body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher's kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex's darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

The Forgetting, by Sharon Cameron.

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories — of parents, children, love, life, and self — are lost. Unless they have been written. In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten. But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever.

As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence - before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

The Forgetting Machine, by Pete Hautman.

Absentmindedness in Flinkwater, a town overflowing with eccentric scientists and engineers, is nothing new. Recently, however, the number of confused, forgetful citizens has been increasing, and no one seems to know why. Ginger Crump figures it's none of her business. She has her own problems. Like the strange cat that's been following her around—a cat that seems to be able to read. And the report for school due Monday. And the fact that every digital book in Flinkwater has been vandalized by a fanatical censor, forcing Ginger to the embarrassingly retro alternative of reading books printed on dead trees.

But when Ginger's true love and future husband Billy Bates completely forgets who she is, things suddenly get serious, and Ginger swings into action.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy.

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what's right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice's story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

Stalking Jack the Ripper, by Kerri Maniscalco.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscaclo impossible to forget.

The Swan Riders, by Erin Bow.

Greta Stuart has become AI. New transmitters have silvered her fingerprints. New receptors have transformed her vision. And the whole of her memory has become one book in a vast library of instant knowledge. Greta is ready to rule the world.

But the new technology is also killing her.

Greta is only sixteen years old, but her new enhancements are burning through her mortal body at an alarming rate. Of course the leader of the AIs, an ancient and compelling artificial intelligence named Talis, has a plan. Greta can simply do what he's done when the time comes, and take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, the utterly loyal humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

First though, Greta will have to find a way to stay sane inside her new self. Talis's plan for that involves a road trip. Escorted by Swan Riders, Greta and Talis set out on a horseback journey across the strange and not-quite-deserted landscape of Saskatchewan. But there are other people interested in Greta, people who want to change the world...and the Swan Riders might not be as loyal as they appear...

Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

(All descriptions from OverDrive)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New children's and YA e-books added to NCLS!

Beautiful Blue World, by Suzanne LaFleur.

Sofarende is at war. For twelve-year-old Mathilde, it means food shortages, feuding neighbors, and bombings. Even so, as long as she and her best friend, Megs, are together, they'll be all right.

But the army is recruiting children, and paying families well for their service. If Megs takes the test, Mathilde knows she will pass. Megs hopes the army is the way to save her family. Mathilde fears it might separate them forever.

This touching and suspenseful novel is a brilliant reimagining of war, where even kindness can be a weapon, and children have the power to see what adults cannot.

Children of Exile, by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Rosi must decide what she's willing to risk to save her family—and maybe even all of humanity—in the thrilling first novel of a brand-new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

For the past twelve years, adults called "Freds" have raised Rosi, her younger brother Bobo, and the other children of their town, saying it is too dangerous for them to stay with their parents, but now they are all being sent back. Since Rosi is the oldest, all the younger kids are looking to her with questions she doesn't have the answers to. She'd always trusted the Freds completely, but now she's not so sure.

And their home is nothing like she'd expected, like nothing the Freds had prepared them for. Will Rosi and the other kids be able to adjust to their new reality?

Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake - and her own.

The Last True Love Story, by Brendan Kiely.

From the critically acclaimed author of The Gospel of Winter and the coauthor of All American Boys comes a cool, contemplative spin on hot summer nights and the classic teen love story as two teens embark on a cross-country journey of the heart and soul.

The point of living is learning how to love.

That's what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn't actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure.

The thing about Corrina—her adoptive parents are suffocating, trying to mold her into someone acceptable, predictable, like them. She's a musician, itching for any chance to escape, become the person she really wants to be. Whoever that is.

And Hendrix, he's cool. Kind of a poet. But also kind of lost. His dad is dead and his mom is married to her job. Gpa is his only real family, but he's fading fast from Alzheimer's. Looking for any way to help the man who raised him, Hendrix has made Gpa an impossible promise—that he'll get him back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before his illness wipes away all memory of her.

One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa's doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories.

The Littlest Bigfoot, by Jennifer Weiner.

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a laugh-out-loud funny and painstakingly real tale of friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong.
Alice Mayfair, twelve years old, slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one.

But Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan who dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star.

Alice swears to protect Millie's secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid named Jeremy. And in order to survive, Alice and Millie have to put their trust in each other—and have faith in themselves—above all else.

The Poet's Dog, by Patricia MacLachlan.

From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.

 Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.

Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy's words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.

As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?

The Reader, by Traci Chee. (Also available in audio.)

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is forbidden, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone.
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin's been taken, or if she's even alive. The only clue to both her aunt's disappearance and her father's murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

Two Naomis, by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick.

A realistic contemporary story of two girls, both named Naomi, whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn't mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie's father lives a few blocks away, Naomi Edith wonders how she's supposed to get through each day a whole country apart from her mother.

When Naomi Marie's mom and Naomi Edith's dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves. Then their parents push them into attending a class together, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other—and maybe even join forces to find new ways to define family.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer: A Black Hole of Productivity.

So... I haven't blogged in a while. And while my regular excuse is that I have no excuse, this summer is been, surprisingly, busy.

But instead of listing everything I've been up to, I'm just going to share a few photos to help bring this blog slightly up to speed.

Took advantage of a very beautiful day to drive up to the Thousand Island Park Library on Wellesley Island. The library is our system's only seasonal facility, open June through September. My photography does not do the place justice; it's a lovely space. I really try to make the most of summer's optimal driving conditions to visit libraries, especially since I loathe driving in January. (Though, truth be told, I loathe everything in January.) Visited quite a few libraries in June and July, sometimes for board meetings, sometimes for construction grant site visits, and sometimes because I just happened to be in the neighborhood.

This is just a book cover, but it signifies that I had the opportunity to buy adult fiction e-books this summer. My very favorite part of librarianship is collection development, so this was a particular treat for me. (And yes, this book is one of the ones I bought.)

This is for an upcoming class on creating playspaces in libraries I've been working on with Rebecca Donnelly, courtesy of Ready to Read at New York Libraries. If I do nothing else with my time at NCLS, I will see a magnetic whiteboard in all 65 of our libraries. With fun magnets on them. Fun magnets for everyone!

Since I don't work in an actual library, I no longer do regular storytimes, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking for new read-alouds. I am always looking for those. This photo comes from the book Grumpy Pants, by Claire Messer, and this is my favorite page.

I think that pretty much brings this blog up to speed. Look for more stories from libraries in the coming months!

New children's and YA e-books added to NCLS!

All We Have Left, by Wendy Mills.

Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad since has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. The only way to make amends is to face the past, starting Jesse on a journey that will reveal the truth about how her brother died.

In 2001, sixteen-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim . . . it's being a teenager that she finds difficult. After being grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia decides to confront her father at his Manhattan office, putting her in danger she never could have imagined. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers, Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours, she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them...

Interweaving stories from past and present, All We Have Left brings one of the most important days in our recent history to life, showing that love and hope will always triumph.

The Assassin Game, by Kirsty McKay.

At Cate's isolated boarding school Killer is more than a game-it's an elite secret society. Members must avoid being "killed" during a series of thrilling pranks-and only the Game Master knows who the "killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join The Guild of Assassins, she knows it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save The Guild. But can she find the real assassin-before she's the next target?

Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby, by Maureen Fergus.

Mom's friend Mrs. Cunningham is coming for a visit, and she's bringing her baby! While Buddy tries to explain the ins and outs of babydom to Earl, neither of them is prepared for the chaos the small and adorable creature brings with him.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge—with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth's surface. And the woman with the Tiger's heart is on the prowl . . .

The author of the highly acclaimed, award-winning novel The Witch's Boy has written an epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to be a modern classic.

Hundred Percent, by Karen Romano Young.

The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this novel, equal parts funny and crushing, utterly honest and perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn't fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year's cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are.

This book marks beloved author Karen Romano Young's masterful return to children's literature: a heartbreakingly honest account of what it means to be between girl and woman, elementary and middle school, inside and out—and just what you name that in-between self.

Inspector Flytrap, by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by Cece Bell. (Also available, Inspector Flytrap #2 - The President's Mane is Missing.)

From husband-and-wife team Tom Angleberger, creator of the New York Times bestselling Origami Yoda series, and Cece Bell, author/illustrator of the Newbery Honor graphic novel El Deafo, comes the start to a funny and clever illustrated chapter-book series about a mystery-solving Venus flytrap. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, this early-chapter-book series is a must for beginning readers.

Inspector Flytrap in the Da Vinci Cold introduces kids to the humorous and wacky world of Inspector Flytrap's Detective Agency, home to the world-renowned solver of BIG DEAL mysteries. The plant detective works tirelessly with his assistant Nina the Goat on his community's unsolved cases. There's no case too big, but there are definitely cases too small for this endearingly self-important plant detective.

Celebrating the disabled yet enabled, the character of Inspector Flytrap is wheeled everywhere (on a skateboard, of course) by his goat sidekick as this mystery-solving duo works on cases such as "The Big Deal Mystery of the Stinky Cookies" and "The Big Deal Mystery of the Missing Rose."

On his first caper, Inspector Flytrap heads to the Art Museum's Secret Lab to discover what important message lies in a mysterious glob on a recently discovered Da Vinci flower painting. The ingenious solution: Da Vinci was allergic to flowers, and the glob is, er, evidence of that ancient sneeze.

Combining wacky humor and a silly cast of characters with adventure, friendship, and mystery, the powerhouse team of Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell have created a uniquely engaging series that is perfect for newly independent readers and fans of Ricky Ricotta, Captain Underpants, and the Galaxy Zack series. Also included in these books are some graphic novel–style pages that will attract reluctant readers.

Kid Artists: True Tales of Childhood from Creative Legends, by David Stabler.

Hilarious childhood biographies and full-color illustrations reveal how Leonardo da Vinci, Beatrix Potter, Keith Haring, and other great artists in history coped with regular kid problems.

Every great artist started out as a kid. Forget the awards, the sold-out museum exhibitions, and the timeless masterpieces. When the world's most celebrated artists were growing up, they had regular-kid problems just like you. Jackson Pollock's family moved constantly—he lived in eight different cities before he was sixteen years old. Georgia O'Keeffe lived in the shadow of her "perfect" older brother Francis. And Jean-Michel Basquiat triumphed over poverty to become one of the world's most influential artists.

Kid Artists tells their stories and more with full-color cartoon illustrations on nearly every page. Other subjects include Claude Monet, Jacob Lawrence, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Beatrix Potter, Yoko Ono, Dr. Seuss, Emily Carr, Keith Haring, Charles Schulz, and Louise Nevelson.

Makoons, by Louise Erdrich.

In the sequel to Chickadee, acclaimed author Louise Erdrich continues her award-winning Birchbark House series with the story of an Ojibwe family in nineteenth-century America.

Named for the Ojibwe word for little bear, Makoons and his twin, Chickadee, have traveled with their family to the Great Plains of Dakota Territory. There they must learn to become buffalo hunters and once again help their people make a home in a new land. But Makoons has had a vision that foretells great challenges—challenges that his family may not be able to overcome.

Based on Louise Erdrich's own family history, this fifth book in the series features black-and-white interior illustrations, a note from the author about her research, as well as a map and glossary of Ojibwe terms.

A Week of Mondays, by Jessica Brody.

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world's worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn't get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she's reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive #3) by Kate Di Camillo. (Also available in audio.)

Baby Lincoln's older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying "Yes, Sister." But one day Baby has had enough. She decides to depart on a Necessary Journey, even though she has never gone anywhere without Eugenia telling her what to take and where to go. And in fact Baby doesn't know where she is headed — only that she was entirely happy in the previous night's dream, sitting aboard a train with a view of shooting stars. Who might Baby meet as she strikes out on her own, and what could she discover about herself? Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)