Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure?
Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great- uncle dies and bequeaths him all the so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game!
Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he’s ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s “treasure” might be exactly that—real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery—but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune.
Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard
The glorious start to a middle-grade trilogy about a brilliant boy, his loyal friends, and some amazingly intelligent beetles that brings together adventure, humor, and real science!
Darkus Cuttle's dad mysteriously goes missing from his job as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum. Vanished without a trace! From a locked room! So Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two lunatic cousins with an enormous beetle infestation. Darkus soon discovers that the beetles are anything but ordinary. They're an amazing, intelligent super species and they're in danger of being exterminated. It's up to Darkus and his friends to save the beetles. But they're up against an even more terrifying villain--the mad scientist of fashion, haute couture villainess Lucretia Cutter. Lucretia has an alarming interest in insects and dastardly plans for the bugs. She won't let anyone or anything stop her, including Darkus's dad, who she has locked up in her dungeons! The beetles and kids join forces to rescue Mr. Cuttle and thwart Lucretia.
Julius Zebra: Rumble With the Romans by Gary Northfield
What happens when you mix the gladiatorial combat of ancient Rome with a fast-talking creature who is DEFINITELY NOT A STRIPY HORSE?
From a smelly water hole on the African savanna, Julius Zebra is captured, along with Milus the scarred lion and Cornelius the clueless warthog. Transported to the ferocious clamor of the Colosseum, Julius Zebra and his motley menagerie of friends must gear up to be . . . gladiators! The only way they will gain their freedom is if they win the love of the Roman crowds. But do they have what it takes to succeed in a world where only the meanest and toughest survive? Follow the madcap adventures of Julius Zebra and his pals in short chapters with funny, irreverent text and zany cartoon-style illustrations, with an illustrated guide to Roman numerals and a handy glossary at the end.
Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana Lopez
The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers
Once Was a Time is Sales's middle-grade debut featuring two best friends who are wrenched apart when one time-travels away from their home in war-ravaged 1940s England.
Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana Lopez
From beloved author Diana López comes an exciting middle grade story about three friends, a magic competition, and how far they'll go to succeed.
Sixth graders Dominic, Loop, and Z stumble upon a new magic
shop in town and can't wait to spend their summer mastering
cool tricks to gain access to the Vault, a key holders-only back
room bound to hold all kinds of secrets. And once they get
in, they set their sights even higher: a huge competition at the
end of the summer. They work on their card tricks, sleights,
and vanishing acts, trying to come up with the most awesome
routines possible....Problem is, the trip is expensive, and it's
money that each guy's family just doesn't have.
To make things worse, the shop-owners' daughter, Ariel (who
just so happens to be last year's competition winner), will do
anything to make sure the boys don't come out on top. Even pit
them against one another. Will they make it to the competition?
And if so, at what cost?
The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers
Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past--if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she's spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.
When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship the Onion. Before you can say "pieces of eight," they're up to their necks in the pirates' quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don't even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she's unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.
Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung
About a 12-year-old Korean-American girl who sets out to explore her heritage and comes to some startling extraterrestrial discoveries.
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
A quirky, humorous, whimsical, and heartwarming middle grade debut about a young boy who runs away from home with his sister to escape working in the family coffin business—and discovers even more adventure than he bargained for.
John Coggin is no ordinary boy. He is devising an invention that nobody has ever seen before, something that just might change the world, or at least make life a little bit better for him and his litter sister, Page. But that’s only when he can sneak a break from his loathsome job: building coffins for the family business under the beady gaze of his cruel great-aunt Beauregard. Having lost their parents when Page was a baby, how else are they supposed to survive?
Perhaps by taking an enormous risk—a risk that arrives in the form of a red-haired scamp named Boz. When Great-Aunt Beauregard informs John that she’s going to make him a permanent partner in Coggin Family Coffins—and train Page to be an undertaker—John and Page sign on with Boz and hit the road. Before long, they’ve fallen in with a host of colorful characters, all of whom, like John and Page, are in search of a place they can call home. But home, they realize, isn’t something you find so much as something you fight for, and John soon realizes that he and Page are in for the fight of their lives.
Elinor Teele’s picaresque debut is a rollicking tale filled with wild adventures, daring escapes, and—thanks to Boz—more than a little catastrophe.
Which new covers are your favorite? Let me know in the comments!Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. If Xander could do stuff he's good at instead, like draw comics and create computer programs, and if Lovey would stop harassing him for being half Asian, he might not be counting the minutes until the dismissal bell.
When spring break begins at last, Xander plans to spend it playing computer games with his best friend, Peyton. Xander's father briefly distracts him with a comic book about some samurai warrior that pops out of a peach pit. Xander tosses it aside, but Peyton finds it more interesting.
Little does either boy know that the comic is a warning. They are about to be thrust into the biggest adventure of their lives-a journey wilder than any Xander has ever imagined, full of weird monsters even worse than Lovey. To win at this deadly serious game they will have to rely on their wits, courage, faith, and especially, each other. Maybe Xander should have listened to Mr Stedman about the weather after all. . . .