Thursday, October 29, 2020

Brainstorm 222: Last Humans

I’ve got a little dystopia/scifi for you today with books that feature humans who think they are some of the last of their kind. If you’re in for a little dystopian adventure, snatch up one of these.

Forgotten City (Forgotten City, #1) by Michael Ford

When the Waste came, it caused plants and animals to grow extra big. The spores wiped out most of humanity. Kobi thought for all his 13 years that he and his dad were the last survivors. But when he sets out to retrieve his dad from the lab across the city after he's been gone too long, Kobi stumbles across other humans. 3 human kids all about his age accompanied by a few adults. When the adults try to apprehend Kobi, a monstrous plant takes out most of the adults and Kobi has to help the kids survive. They say they came from a quarantined city and have never been outside before. He has to quickly give them a crash course on survival skills. While working on getting them to safety. Some of the kids want to go back to the quarantined city they came from, but one of them doesn't and Kobi doesn't trust the adults. Besides, he still needs to find his dad. But top priority is staying alive. Because in the world of the Waste, everything is out to get you.

Target Readers:

Lighter Dystopia Fans, Fans of Books with Big Twists, High Action Fans, Survival Story Fans, Thriller Fans, Middle Grade Readers

The Last Human by Lee Bacon

Life is routine and ordinary for XR_935 until the day he sees something that should be impossible. Humans were wiped from the Earth once the robots realized they were causing most of the problems. Life has been good and predictable for several decades now since their riddance. XR-935 has been around for 12 of those years. He works installing solar panels with two other robots every day and then returns to his family unit to recharge each night. But when he and his two co-workers discover a human girl in their solar field one day, their routine is upended. First of all, they thought humans were extinct. Second of all, they all know they should report her immediately but she doesn't seem to be the monster the data has painted humans to be. They decide to maybe just let her go. She says the people in her bunker were all sick and now she's looking for a place on a map her dad gave her before... Well, before she left. XR and the other robots calculate the success of her reaching this red dot on the map extremely slim, unless they protect her. Other robots might not take the time to realize she isn't a threat. So one girl and three robots make an unconventional alliance and set out on an adventure.

This has many similarities to WondLa below, so readers who like one will most likely enjoy the other.

Target Readers:

Light Dystopia Fans, Adventure Fans, Quest Story Fans, Robot Lovers, Fans of Books That Make You Think, Middle Grade Readers


Offworld by Robin Parrish

The astronauts on board the Ares, first manned mission to Mars, return to Earth only to find it completely deserted. Or at least so it seems. There are no people or animals anywhere, and it is obvious there hasn't been anyone around for a while. Now the termination of communication with Earth two months ago seems to make sense. Command stopped talking to them because they vanished. Chris, Trisha, Terry, and Owen do all they can in Florida to try and figure out what happened. Thanks to a working satellite, they do notice a strange, extremely bright light emanating from somewhere around Houston, Texas, so they grab some vehicles and start working their way to Texas. The road there is peppered with unexpected findings and numerous hazards. And the closer they get, the more they realize that they need to get to the bottom of this.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Dystopia Fans, Mystery Fans, Thriller Fans, Adult Readers (though there’s nothing in here inappropriate for younger readers)


Zoid (Scavenger, #1) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

As Earth was dying, humans created a huge biosphere that they launched into space with the survivors and helpful robots to keep the biosphere running. As the centuries progressed in the biosphere, something went horribly wrong and the robots started to change themselves and go on the attack against the humans. Now, humans like York, live in little settlements and are constantly wary of zoid attacks. The downloaded minds of ancestors, called Half-Lifes help to protect the humans, but after several centuries they are starting to fade and lose their ability to help. It is for this reason, York and his friends are caught unawares by a zoid attack. York is the only one able to escape. He must set off across unknown parts of the biosphere to try and track down where the zoids took his friends so he can rescue them. Along the way, York meets all sorts of new creatures, some friendly and some threatening.

Though this is part of a series, book one has enough resolution it can be read as a stand alone.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Robots Gone Evil Story Fans, Adventure Fans, Middle Grade Readers


The Search for WondLa (WondLa, #1) by Tony DiTerlizzi

Eva Nine is our heroine. She is twelve, human, and has never been outside of her Sanctuary before. She lives with Muthr, her caretaker robot, and spends her time in holographic simulations preparing for the day when she will leave Sanctuary and venture out onto the surface of Earth. That day comes sooner than Muthr or Eva thought when Sanctuary is attacked and Eva must run for her life. When she does emerge on the surface, she finds it little like the holographs depicted, and there is no response from the other Sanctuaries and humans that are supposed to be out there. Eva does not get far before the creature who attacked her home captures her. He turns out to be a bounty hunter looking for rare life forms for Queen Ojo's museum, and Eva, to her shock, is as rare as they come. With the help of two fellow captive creatures, Rovender and Otto, Eva manages to escape, go back to get Muthr and then set out to find any other humans. Though Rovender has never heard of Earth or seen anyone else like Eva, a partially burnt photograph Eva found in Sanctuary shows another girl, a robot and an adult human and this gives her hope that there are others out there. On the photograph there are words but all but Wond and La have been destroyed. Eva calls it WondLa and thus the Search for WondLa means a search for others like her and answers to where she came from. As they search for Eva's WondLa, Muthr & Rovender & Otto have a number of adventures as they continue to try and evade the evil bounty hunter and other dangerous creatures that lurk about.

Target Readers:

Light Dystopia Fans, Scifi Fans, Fantastic World Building Fans, Quest Story Fans, Adventure Fans, Mystery Fans, Middle Grade Readers

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Brainstorm 221: Six Swans Fairytale Rewrites

Today I’ve got a lesser known fairytale and its rewrites for you. Ever heard of the Grimms’ “Six Swans” tale? How about its later version by Andersen as “The Wild Swans”? Basically, the story involves multiple siblings and all but one is magically transformed into an animal of some kind by an evil antagonist and the one sibling remaining human must find a way to break the spell and transform them back to human. If you want to read more on the history and evolution of the tale, I recommend which is a well-researched site that dives deep to find the origins of different fairytales and how they developed. Here is their Six Swans history page. If you like stories about siblings to the rescue, you might want to check out these three books which are rewrites of the tale. Click on the book title for my full review.

The Extra-Ordinary Princess by Carolyn Q. Ebbitt

Amelia is the fourth princess of Gossling. She's convinced she'll never be as good at anything as her three older sisters are. She feels super plain and ordinary. But when a plague sweeps across the land, her parents die working for their people, and eldest princess Merrill is still a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday. The law dictates the closest male relative will rule in the interim, which unfortunately is Count Raven. Raven has been waiting to get his clutches on the throne and he's not about to leave any time soon if he can help it. Soon, thanks to Count Raven's manouverings, the fate of the kingdom and her sisters rests on Amelia's shoulders. It's overwhelming, and Amelia doesn't feel up to the task. What can an ordinary princess do?

Target Readers:

Fantasy Fans, Adventure Story Fans, Fairytale Rewrite Fans, Readers Who Feel Painfully Ordinary, Middle Grade Readers

The Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

Princess Meriel gets the shock of her life when her father returns from a trip with a new wife. It might not be a bad thing, but Lady Orianna gives Meriel the creeps. Just days after her arrival, she announces that all five of Meriel's older brothers have been sent off to school, yes, even the ones too old for school. Meriel is convinced she's done something terrible to them instead, and a walk by the pond confirms her worst fears. For there are five new swans on the lake, each with human eyes the color of her brothers'. Meriel doesn't know how to fight a witch, but the good news for her is that Prince Cullan's girlfriend Riona and her brother Liam are both half witch and do know how to undo the spell. But it means days and days of hard toil that most spoiled princesses wouldn't dream of trying. Meriel loves her brothers too much to give up, and it's a good thing she doesn't because the whole kingdom is in danger from the witch's schemes.

Target Readers:

Fantasy Fans, Fairytale Rewrite Fans, Middle Grade Readers

Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Welcome to Sampati. One of the seven planets that form the Seven Points in which the planets all work together to form a society. Transport between them used to rely on things called portals which were temperamental and painful. Thanks to the brilliant Jantzen family, though, much less painful and more reliable conduits are now used to travel between planets. But the Jantzen brothers recently noticed that the conduits were starting to destabilize and quietly began researching a way to fix them. This didn't much concern Liddi Jantzen, their younger sister, until a bunch of armed guys arrived at the family estate. She evaded the strange men and made her way to town only to find out the men were henchmen for Ms. Minali, who currently runs JTI, the Jantzen tech company Liddi is set to inherit once she comes of age. Ms. Minali has decided she knows how to fix the conduits, and it requires a biological to be inside. She's trapped all eight of Liddi's brothers in the conduits and is determined she can fix things in the next month or so. Liddi and the fact that she knows what is going on is obviously in the way of a quiet fix, so Minali installs a mechanism in her voicebox making the smallest squeak from Liddi set off an explosion that will kill her brothers. With her brothers trapped and parents dead, Liddi has no one else on the planet she can trust. Sure she has loads of "friends" as one of the richest and most followed celebrities on the planet, but Liddi is not blind to why these people hang around her. Her brothers eventually discover that in moonlight they can appear to Liddi, and they help her escape from Sampati via a portal. Liddi expects to find herself on one of the other Seven Points when she recovers from her uncomfortable journey, but it is a planet she doesn't recognize. To further complicate things, Sampati no longer has a written language, so between her inability to talk and unfamiliarity with writing or reading, it is going to be really hard for Liddi to find ways to convey what is going on and figure out how to help save her brothers.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Space Adventure Fans, Fairytale Rewrite Fans, Young Adult Readers

Friday, October 9, 2020

Brainstorm 220: Thrilling Mysteries

In the mood to curl up with a good mystery that will keep you tearing through the pages as fast as your eyes will read? Well, today I’ve got some thrilling mysteries for your reading pleasure. 

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles, #1) by Jodi Meadows

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer, the living symbol of the Mira treaty for the people of the Fallen Isles. But when Mira uncovers a secret someone obviously doesn't want made public, she finds herself thrown into the Fallen Isles most notorious prison. Through occasional flashbacks and Mira's account of life in prison, readers slowly uncover just what is going on in the Fallen Isles. We only have book one of this series right now and every single student who has read it has asked for the 2nd book to get here ASAP and then thrust the first book into the hands of a friend informing them it must be read.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Dystopia Fans, Dragon Lovers, Fantasy Fans, Polynesian-influence World Fans, Fans of Books That Tactfully Deal with Anxiety/OCD, Young Adult Readers 

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Stella Ainsley dreams of more than spending her time as a full time engineer and part-time teacher on the agricultural ship Stalwart. While humanity waits for the Earth to warm up from the ice age that drove them into space, their fleet of ships are aging and slowly dying. Stella knows that the Stalwart's days are numbered, and she's tired of spending all her time patching up the ship. She really wants to teach full time so she's sent out several job applications to other ships in need of a teacher or governess. Because of her orphan status and how others look down on the lowly Stalwart, Stella knows her chances are slim. But to her great joy a small independent ship takes her on as governess. Stella doesn't care that there are rumors that the Rochester is haunted or worse. This is her chance at a big break. Besides, she likes the people on the Rochester, especially her pupil. And she can totally explain away the weird sounds of laughter she's heard. But when one too many very intentional, potentially-deadly accidents happens on the ship, Stella starts to seriously wonder what is going on on her new home.

This is totally a rewrite of Jane Eyre in space. You can figure out which characters parallel those in the book, and all the main events have parallels...until you get to the period where Jane goes wandering around the moors. Then Stella's story goes a different route and the parallels break down more. Which I liked. It kept the ending of the book more mysterious, and I honestly prefer this plot to the original classic. (No offense, Ms Brontë.)

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Suspense Fans, Scifi Fans, Classic Rewrite Fans, Clean Romance Fans, Stand Alone Book Fans, Young Adult Readers

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne, #1) by Stuart Gibbs

Few people know that Einstein was working on an equation before he died that would solve the energy crisis. Of course, there are other, less-noble ways such an equation could be used, so Einstein dubbed the equation Pandora and hid it. No one has found it since he died, but there's a new development and the CIA can tell a group of terrorists, the Furies, is getting close. Agent Dante knows just the person the CIA needs to help find Pandora, Charlie Thorne. Charlie's the only person on the planet with an IQ close to Einstein's. She's also only 12 and has been known to dabble in criminal activity, so the CIA director is dubious. Will Charlie Thorne come through, or is everyone doomed?

Stuart Gibbs is nothing if not reliable for turning out stories that are engaging, exciting, quick to draw you in, and very fun to read. His FunJungle and Spy School series are some of the most checked out non-graphic novel books in our library.

Target Readers:

Spy Story Fans, Smart Character Fans, World Travel Fans, Mystery Fans, Thriller Fans, Middle Grade Readers

Edge of Oblivion (The Chronicles of Sarco, #1) by Joshua A. Johnston

A new threat has entered the universe. A strange planet-sized thing is invading Confederacy space, refuses communication, and leaves no one living on ships or planets that come under its strange white beam. It leaves one message. Malum has come. Grasping at straws since no weapons have been able to even reach the surface of Malum, the Confederacy is sending Captain Jared Carter and his small crew on a hunt for ancient scraps of a sacred Sarco text. Several races have no respect for this ancient religious group, and indeed, the group is all but extinct. But the one scrap the Navy has in their collection has ink written in the same rare compound that composes the surface of Malum. On the chance that the two might be connected, Carter and his crew are sent to find the rest of the ancient document, if it even exists.

This was a good ol' scifi space adventure with a small crew going from one new planet to another in search of these ancient text scraps. Readers get the fun of meeting all sorts of alien cultures and planets, while Carter and his crew are usually just happy to survive those adventures. Fair warning, the mystery isn’t completely solved in this one…you’ll want the whole trilogy on hand if you dislike cliffhangers.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Scifi Fans, Thriller Fans, Allegorical-ish Story Fans, Adult Readers (though accessible to Young Adults)

The Frangipani Tree Mystery (Crown Colony, #1) by Ovidia Yu

SuLin is receiving her first job placement after finishing her education at the Mission School in 1930s Singapore. She's assigned to be the housekeeper of Chief Police Inspector Thomas LeFroy, but they end up on a crime scene instead of at his house. The nanny for Governor Palin's daughter has been found dead. The governor and his family seem overly eager to have this declared an accident and swept under the rug. But DeeDee, the governor's 17 year old daughter who suffered brain damage from a fever at 7, takes a shining to SuLin, and she gets the inspector's permission to go undercover for him in the house. Little does SuLin know what she's getting herself into. The governor's house is quite tumultuous, and the list of suspects is quite long. LeFroy is worried about leaving her there, but he was impressed by the good head on her shoulders at the scene of the crime and knows as a local she'll get to see things he never would.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Historical Fiction Fans, Singapore Setting Fans, Fans of Characters Overcoming Disability/Odds Stacked Against Them, Adult Readers

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

Sophie can't dream. Well, not on her own. If she drinks one of the dreams her parents collect and distill from dreamcatchers to be sold, then she dreams. But as she accidentally discovers one day when she sneaks a dream, she can bring things out of dreams into real life. Thankfully, Monster, the monster she brought out of a dream is mostly friendly, her fierce protector, and quickly her best friend. But for everyone's safety, and to avoid drawing the attention of the Night Watchmen, she obeys her parents and doesn't dream. She helps her parents with their visible store, the bookstore, and hands out dream catchers to kids at school who have nightmares. But when her parents disappear and the kids she collected nightmares from are kidnapped on the same day, Sophie knows she is the common link and needs to help save them. With the help of Monster and a kid who barely avoided kidnapping, Sophie has to figure out who kidnapped her parents and the children and how to free them.

Durst has written some fantastic, memorable characters in this one!

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Fantasy Fans, Imaginative Readers, Middle Grade Readers

The Grotlyn by Benji Davies

What is sneaking around after dark and making things disappear? People say it is the Grotlyn, but what exactly is a Grotlyn?

Everyone has experienced hearing strange things in the night or having items go missing. Is a monster responsible, or is there a more logical and less sinister reason? The Victorian era city in this book is in for a surprise when they discover just what the Grotlyn is. Told in rhyme and with atmospheric (but not too spooky) illustrations. See if little ones are observant enough to figure out what the Grotlyn is before the characters.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Historical Fiction Fans, Animal Lovers, Kids Practicing Their Observation Skills, Picture Book Readers

How I Became a Spy by Deborah Hopkinson

Bertie has volunteered as an air-raid messenger in WWII London. He and his dog, Little Roo, take messages about where crews are needed or that help is on the way. Little Roo also helps by sniffing out people in the heaps of rubble after bombings. One night, Bertie literally runs into a young American girl during a raid. He tells her where the nearest bomb shelter is but after she is gone discovers she dropped a notebook. When he looks inside of it later, he discovers it is full of notes on how to be a spy, and the entire back part is in jibberish. That night he also discovers an unconscious woman on a side street, but when the ambulance gets there, she is gone. That night is about to change Bertie's life as he is plunged into figuring out where the notebook came from, why the American girl was carrying it, and who the mystery woman was.

A great stand alone spy story that highlights little-known aspects of WWII history.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Spy Story Fans, Suspense Fans, Code Lovers, WWII Era Fans, Historical Fiction Fans, Middle Grade Readers

The Multiplying Mysteries of Mount Ten by Krista Van Dolzer

Esther is supposed to be headed to the exclusive and amazing Camp Vermeer art camp for the week. But in the middle of a horrible storm when GPS signals go awry and roads get flooded, Esther finds herself instead at Camp Archimedes. A math camp. Esther and her stepfather are stuck until the torrential downpour ends, and during that time Esther manages to solve the extremely challenging First Problem that few others manage to solve ever in their time at Camp Archimedes, and Esther uncovers a riddle that may or may not be threatening that someone at the camp is in grave danger. Can Esther and the other math nerds solve the riddle before someone is murdered?

Say math and you have a lot of middle grade kids running for the hills. But if you say logic puzzles, you may have a few more stick around. And that's primarily the kind of math that is front and center in this book. Armchair sleuths good with logic puzzles can actually solve the mystery before the characters if they stay on their toes.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Code/Puzzle Fans, Suspense Fans, Armchair Sleuths, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Camp Story Fans, Middle Grade Readers

The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane, #1) by Julia Nobel

Emmy's mother is a child psychologist, famous author, and soon-to-be reality TV star. That means she's really going to be too busy to take care of Emmy (Emmy's father disappeared when she was 3 and the police suspected foul play). So Emmy finds herself being shipped off to a boarding school in England called Wellsworth, because only the best educational ratings for a school will keep her mom happy. Emmy is so tired of changing schools to keep her mom's high standards satisfied. But is that the real reason she ended up at Wellsworth? Because right before she left Connecticut she got this weird anonymous note saying to keep her father's relics safe. Her mother got rid of most of dad's stuff and will never talk about him. Did they still have any "relics" of his? Exploring the attic after her mom goes to bed, Emmy finds a secret compartment and a box of medallions with a note from her father asking her to keep them safe. When she gets to Wellsworth she gets more notes and finds out her dad might have gone to the school, but no one wants to talk about him. The two students who've befriended Emmy, Jack and Lola, help her investigate. But what is going on at Wellsworth and why don't people want to talk about Emmy's dad?

This book and the second in the series have some very devoted fans among the students at my school. (I think their pretty great too.)

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Thriller Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Third Culture Kid Story Fans, Boarding School Story Fans, Secret Society Story Fans, Soccer Story Fans, Middle Grade Readers

Outbreak by Davis Bunn

Theo Bishop hasn't spoken to his older brother, the pharmaceutical company millionaire in years. Until the day his brother suddenly bails him out of bankruptcy and calls him. The two men have their first civilized conversation ever, and Theo soon finds himself on his way to Africa with a PR person from his brother's company to see something. His brother has been rather cryptic about what this is about, but upon arrival in Africa it is soon clear there is some kind of pandemic that is wiping out entire villages. It strikes scary fast. But someone does NOT want word of this illness to get out. Theo, and a choice few others soon find themselves playing a very serious political game in a race to get the word out to the world about this pandemic before it is too late or someone silences them all permanently.

(Obviously, if you’d rather not read about pandemics right now, you’ll want to avoid this one.)

Target Readers:

Thriller Fans, Mystery Fans, Globe Trotting Story Fans, Christian Fiction Fans, Clean Romantic Fiction Fans, Pandemic Story Fans, Adult Readers

Stairway to Doom (A Miss Mallard Mystery) by Robert Quackenbush

Miss Mallard along with 12 others are summoned to an old estate for the reading of a will. The will has an odd demand, though. The heirs are required to spend the night in the somewhat creepy old mansion. There are rumors that Count Kisscula haunts the castle. Miss Mallard has no trouble sleeping, but is required to do some investigative work in the middle of the night when some of the other guests start disappearing.

This reads like an old classic that Doyle or Christie might have written. There's nothing else that quite encapsulates that classic feel for lower grade readers like this series does. And pay attention to the illustrations, they hold clues along with the text for would be sleuths racing Miss Mallard for the answers.

Target Readers:

Mystery Fans, Suspense Fans, Armchair Sleuths, Animal Lovers, Lower Grade Readers

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Brainstorm 219: Fall Reads with a Dash of Rain and a Sprig of Spring

The Northern Hemisphere of the world has now entered the Fall season so I have several Fall reads today. But as a reminder that the tropics and Southern Hemisphere are experiencing different seasons, I’ve thrown in a rainy season book (that’s the season we’re in right now here in Thailand…along with a lot of the rest of the tropics) and a Spring book since that’s what the Southern Hemisphere residents are moving into. So whether you’re eating all the pumpkin flavored things you can get your hands on, never leaving home without an umbrella and poncho, or hunting for the first blooms to pop through the ground, happy seasonal reading!

Absolutely Truly (Pumpkin Falls Mystery, #1) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Truly is not thrilled to be moving to Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire so that her injured military father can take over the family book store. They were supposed to be settling down in Texas after his last tour of duty, he had a good job as a wrestling coach at the university, but then he was injured and everything fell apart. So now they are miles away from Truly's best friend. She self-conscious about her rather extreme height and not looking forward to a new school and new people. And her dad found out about her horrible grade in math in Texas. So now swim tryouts are on the line, and she has to do math tutoring with her dad every day at the bookstore, and then help out at the bookstore for a while. While helping do inventory, Truly accidentally discovers a rare first edition Charlotte's Web with a mysterious note inside. With some of her new friends and acquaintances, Truly tries to track down who the note belongs to and what it is about. She's also trying to help make the bookstore a success since her family really needs it to be, and she's getting to know the town. I liked the way this book balanced the story about a girl dealing with a move and family changes with a little mystery that brings new friends and old friends together.

Target Readers:

Cozy Mystery Fans, New England in the Fall Setting Fans, Small Town Mystery Fans, Memorable Character Fans, Dealing with Changes Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Middle Grade Readers/Young Adult Readers (the main character’s age makes it approachable for middle grade, but also relatable for teens)

In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes, ill. by Laura Dronzek

Simple text and soft illustrations celebrate the way fall colors come on suddenly, and then make way for snow.

Target Readers:

Animal Lovers, Fall Color Fans, Beginning Readers, Kids with Short Attention Spans, Picture Book Readers

Little Elliot, Fall Friends (Little Elliot, #4) by Mike Curato

Little Elliot and Mouse decide they need a break from the city and take a little vacation in the country. They get to enjoy the fall colors of the forest, fresh apples, hide-n-seek in pumpkin patches and corn fields, and meet some new friends.

Target Readers:

Those Needing a Little Dose of Fall, Little Elliot Fans, Cute Artwork Fans, Cozy Fall Read Fans, Friendship Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

The Mutts Autumn Diaries (Mutts) by Patrick McDonnell

A collection of autumn-themed Mutts comics. There's lots of leaves falling/leaves changing color comics, lots of pumpkin comics, lots of acorn-chucking squirrel comics, lots of birds flying south, a few trick or treating comics, and a few back to school ones.

Target Readers:

Animal Lovers, Comics Fans, Fall Theme Fans, Humor Fans, All Ages Readers

Oak Leaf by John Sandford

Follows an oak leaf as it gets caught up in an autumn wind and travels far from its tree. This is beautifully illustrated.

Target Readers:

Art Lovers, Fall Leaf Fans, Travel Story Fans, Imaginative Readers, Picture Book Readers 

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry, ill. by the Fan Brothers

Scarecrow stands and guards the fields faithfully through all the seasons. The animals know to be wary of it, so it stands alone. But one day a baby crow falls out of its nest and needs a safe place, and Scarecrow's life changes forever.

Target Readers:

Fans of Good Samaritan Stories, Fans of Unlikely Friendship Stories, 4 Season Story Fans, Art Lovers, Rhyming Story Fans, Tenderhearted Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

Every year at the Autumn Equinox the town releases lanterns into the river. This year, some boys from the town have made a pact to follow the lanterns and see where they go even if it means going past the point their parents have told them is their exploration barrier. Ben is very committed to the pact, but not many of his friends are. Only Nathaniel, a boy Ben’s friends ostracize, is willing to go past the bridge barrier with him. The two boys’ fathers work together in the observatory but Ben has tried to keep his distance from Nathaniel since the others don’t think he is cool. Their adventure together to follow the lanterns proves much harder than they thought. Is it even possible? It will take them to unexpected places, teach them things about themselves and friendship, and stretch their strength and imaginations.

Target Readers:

Graphic Novel Fans, Fantasy Fans, Adventure/Travel Story Fans, Friendship Story Fans, Night Sky Observers, Personal Growth Story Fans, Art Lovers, Middle Grade Readers

Yotsuba&! 12 (Yotsuba&!, #12) by Kiyohiko Azuma

In this Yotsuba collection set during the Fall, Yotsuba chases geese, she welcomes Tora into the neighbors' home and learns to tie a bow, Yotsuba finds some paint and decides to spruce up the house a little, Yotsuba gets a helmet (and faces repercussions for her painting spree), Fuuka and Miss Take introduce Yotsuba to “Halloween,” and then Yotsuba and Daddy go camping with Jumbo, Yanda, Ena, and Muira.

Target Readers:

Manga Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Precocious Character Fans, Humor Fans, Neighbor Story Fans, Young Adult Readers (though approachable for Middle Grades)

Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn

A picture book story about a brother and sister who are moving from their summer house to their winter house as the rains start in the area around the Tapajós River in Brazil. 

I was so thrilled when we got this book last year. Do you know how hard it is to find a non-temperate region season book?! Rainy season is what we have here in Thailand during this part of the year too, no falling leaves just lots of falling rain. So this is a seasonal read kids in tropical areas of the world may relate better to than the typical temperate region seasonal story.

Target Readers:

Tropical Area Dwellers, Curious Kids, Brazil Setting Fans, Rainy Season Story Fans, Culture Studiers, Way of Life Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, ill. by Erin E. Stead

A little boy and his dog plant a garden as winter ends and wait, and wait, and wait for signs of spring.

Target Readers:

Waiting Story Fans, Spring Story Fans, Gardening Story Fans, Art Lovers, Picture Book Readers