Kids Article

Books for Young Scientists and Historians

Looking for a book for those who love to figure out how things work and why things happen? Then check out these titles!

Ada Twist, Scientist Cover Image
By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781419721373
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - September 6th, 2016

The newest edition to a fabulous picture book series that began with IGGY PECK ARCHITECT and followed up with ROSIE REVERE ENGINEER, ADA TWIST is about a girl who adores science and the delight of discovery. This marvelous illustrated and written book features a girl who is endlessly curious about the ‘whys’ of the world. ADA TWIST reminds us to follow our passions and dreams!
Ages 5-8


A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 Cover Image
By Matthew Olshan, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374329549
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr) - October 11th, 2016

What happens when John Jeffries, an Englishman, and Jean-PIerre Blanchard, a Frenchman, set out to be the first to man a hot-air balloon flight from one country to another by crossing the English channel? Well, at first, just grand success. But then things go a bit wrong. And as the balloon begins to sink, the two gentlemen come up with hilarious and then clever solutions to save the day. This one will make you laugh… a lot. And it’s based on a true story!
Ages 4-8


Shakespeare Retold Cover Image
By E. Nesbit, Antonio Javier Caparo (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062404534
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - October 18th, 2016

Gorgeously illustrated, this collection of retellings of seven Shakespearean plays is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to Shakespeare’s language and stories. Lots of good historical material is included: biography, timeline, and bibliography plus more. This is a simply beautiful addition to any home library.
Ages 8-12


The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition Cover Image
By Chris Barton, Cathy Gendron (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467721516
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Millbrook Press - September 1st, 2015

This gorgeous picture book by award-winning Austin author Chris Barton (who is also featured in this newsletter with his choices for Texas author holiday book gift giving), is a delightful and informative history of how the most famous ballet became a Christmas season classic. A must-read for Nutcracker fans.
Ages 7-10


What Books are Texas Kidlit Authors Chris Barton, Jennifer Ziegler, and Crystal Allen Giving This Holiday Season?

We’re ridiculously excited for our newest installment of our feature on the books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781620141489
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - October 15th, 2016

This remarkable real-life tale -- as entertaining as it is touching -- will fascinate kids. Doc Key’s own story of post-slavery accomplishment is amazing enough. But when he teaches a once-hapless horse to spell -- and then some -- this picture book becomes truly enchanting.


Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
By John Coy, Wing Young Huie (Photographer)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Carolrhoda Books - March 1st, 2016

Inspiring and lovely and recognizable to so many children, parents, and grandparents, this celebration of the experiences and contributions of immigrants brings together Coy’s brief, poetic text and Huie’s striking photographs.


Two Naomis Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062414250
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - September 13th, 2016

Told in the alternating points of view of the 10-year-old title characters -- whose divorced parents have begun dating and start bringing their families together -- this contemporary middle-grade novel sparkles with smart humor and endearingly awkward drama.


And here are the titles Crystal Allen will be gifting this year.

She’s a new grandmother and new great aunt and so she’s focused on books for and about our littlest readers! Again, all these titles are on our shelves or coming soon.


School's First Day of School Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781596439641
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - June 28th, 2016

With the school as the main character, this book was such a delight to read.  Whoever thought of how a school would feel on the first day of school?


Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas Cover Image
By Gwendolyn Hooks, Colin Bootman (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781620141564
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - May 15th, 2016

I love this book about Vivien Thomas, a medical pioneer who, without a medical degree, developed a way to save babies with heart defects.


This Is Our Baby, Born Today Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399166846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 2nd, 2016

This story follows the birth of a baby elephant with vibrant colors, beautiful illustrations and fun, repetitive text. **(Brazos Children’s Specialist Joy Preble wants to remind everyone that Varsha is also a local, acclaimed Houston author and friend of the store)**


Joy Picks Ten You May Have Missed

The thing about publishing is that not every book gets the publicity it needs or deserves. This is simply the way the business works, and it has little if anything to do with the quality of the writing and pretty much everything to do with months, if not years, of advance marketing decisions about what will sell the most copies and why. Even books that get a bigger push may still fly under readers’ radars.

Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481461122
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2016

Set in Cuba in the nineteenth century, a time when the country was fighting for freedom from Spain, LION ISLAND is a middle-grade historical fiction novel-in-verse by award-winning author Margarita Engle. It’s the story of Antonio Chuffat and his journey to become an advocate of civil rights.

But it’s not just Antonio’s story. Told in multiple points of view, LION ISLAND starts in 1871, the year of the anti-Chinese riots in Los Angeles, and it’s also the story of Wing and Fan, a brother and sister who escaped those riots. It’s the tale of indentured servant and slaves and the overthrow of the Spanish sugar cane empire.

The verse format and multiple narrators makes this a page turner and a story set in a Cuba that few of us know makes it a must read for middle-graders who love history and based-on-truth stories. A great way to introduce social justice.


Lily and Dunkin Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553536744
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 3rd, 2016

From award-winning author Donna Gephart, LILY AND DUNKIN is a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. When they meet, their lives change forever. In lesser hands, this middle grade novel would digress into an “issues” book Instead, it’s powerfully crafted and a must-read for every middle-grader and adults, too.

And if you want to know more about Donna Gephart—and of course you do!—and how she’s also an amazing teacher of the craft of writing, check out this podcast from her time at Austin author Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn.


Just My Luck Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062330659
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 23rd, 2016

Oh how I love Cammie McGovern’s writing. She gets the complexities of teens and children, especially those struggling with illness, just right. I’m a huge fan of her young adult novel SAY WHAT YOU WILL. And now comes her middle grade debut—and it’s a gorgeous, moving book. There’s fourth grader Benny, whose life is sucking hugely. He doesn’t have a best friend and he wants one desperately. He can’t do tricks on his bike even though his autistic brother George can. And he’s worried that his dad’s recent accident might be his fault. And then things get worse. But Benny has a big heart and it’s going to help him get through tragedy and figure out that he was more to offer the world than he thinks he does.

McGovern’s writing is strong and sure and gentle. I am such a huge fan and I hope you will be, too! I’d recommend for age eight or nine on up, for readers who enjoy a quieter, thoughtful story.


Read Between the Lines Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780763691028
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - October 11th, 2016

If you aren’t reading Jo Knowles’ amazingly crafted novels for young people, then you need to be. READ BETWEEN THE LINES came out in hardback last year, but is on our shelves now in paperback and so it’s a perfect time to become a fan of the author of such books as SEE YOU AT HARRY’S (one of my absolute favorites!) and more. RBTL is a novel—moving, gritty, unflinching, and humorous—of interlocking stories that follow nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day. Everything begins with Nate, who, thanks to a bully in gym class, suffers a broken finger. Of course it’s the middle one and it’s splinted to give ‘the finger’ to the world. But that’s not the only middle finger that will be raised that day in that small town. The cover says it all. For age thirteen and up, particularly teens who like contemporary fiction.


The Great Shelby Holmes: Girl Detective Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781681190518
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - September 6th, 2016

Just named to the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet List, this adorable middle-grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg gives Sherlock Holmes a fun, sweet twist with delightful young heroes and black and white illustrations throughout. You’ll love this tale of Shelby Holmes, who is definitely not your average sixth grader, not only because she’s tiny and only nine years old but also because she is the best detective in Harlem! And when eleven-year-old John Watson (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) moves in downstairs, they end up teaming together for a dognapping case. Friendship and mystery-solving ensue. For age ten and up, mystery lovers or not!


Afterward Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626722385
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 20th, 2016

Friend of the store and one of our very favorite Houston authors of contemporary young adult fiction such as THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, Jennifer Mathieu tells AFTERWARD, a wrenching story of the aftermath of a tragic kidnapping in her trademark steady, solid, and authentic teen voice. Like Donna Gephart’s work, Mathieu is able to elevate an “issue” book to something much deeper and more profound—a story of kidnapped and rescued Ethan and Dylan and Dylan’s older sister Caroline and the scary awful truths of what happened and how they will all get beyond it. As I mentioned when she made us all laugh with her reading of the BFG during Roald Dahl Day, I am such a huge fan of Mathieu’s work and you should be, too! A definite recommend for all teens, particularly those who enjoy stories inspired by real events.


A Fierce and Subtle Poison Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616205218
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - April 12th, 2016

What more can you ask for in a debut novel than to be a stunning retelling of Hawthorne’s “Rapaccinni’s Daughter,” but set in Puerto Rico?  Dallas author Samantha Mabry’s A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON is a story where legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison. It’s stunning prose, magic realism, and star-crossed romance.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one with green skin and grass for hair, who feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family's Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas is about to find out whether the stories are just stories, or maybe some strange kind of truth. But will he survive this weird new world? Mabry’s written a story on many levels—from fairy tale, to warning of cultural appropriation, to crazy love. For teens and up, especially readers who like something different and strange and wonderful.


More Happy Than Not Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781616956776
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - April 26th, 2016

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT debuted in 2015 and quickly hit the New York Times bestseller list while garnering numerous awards and starred reviews. It’s on our shelves this year in paperback with a gorgeous new cover and if you haven’t read this gritty, twisty, wrenching, set in a dangerous near-future New York, haven’t discovered Bronx native Adam Silvera, then now is a good time to do so! His voice is one of the most authentic of any author for young adults, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s the story of sixteen year old Aaron Soto, struggling to recover from his father’s suicide. He’s got support from his girlfriend and from his loving but overworked mom, but he’s also got sadness and a smile-shaped scar on his wrist. But when Aaron’s feelings for a new boy named Thomas turn into something he isn’t expecting, complications stir. And the existence of a shadowy hospital called the Leteo Institute offers the possibility of surgically altering painful memories. But the question becomes, Does Aaron want to forget, or has he already forgotten? An important read that confronts race and sexuality with unflinching honesty.


The Serpent King Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553524024
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - March 8th, 2016

Oh this story! Oh Jeff Zenter’s writing!! Oh THE SERPENT KING! This debut young adult novel is a story about friendship and family and forgiveness and casts an unflinching eye on growing up and finding your true self in the Bible Belt. It’s the story of the son of a Pentecostal minister, of extreme faith, of friendship and love and forgiveness. Like Zentner himself, it’s witty and funny and moving and different. Your teens will love it. So will you. And then you can all wait with me for March, 2017, when Zentner’s next YA novel, GOODBYE DAYS, arrives!!


The Memory of Things Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250095527
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 6th, 2016

With the proliferation this year of 9/11 fiction, you might have missed this one. I’m here to tell you that you need to read it! THE MEMORY OF THINGS is a beautiful young adult novel of friendship and first love, and the impossible yet possible ability to carry on with day-to-day living in the midst of horrific, unspeakable tragedy. It’s a hopeful, wonderful, wholly original story about sixteen-year old Kyle Donohue, fleeing the danger of the falling towers by running to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge. But when he meets a girl covered in ash, inexplicably wearing a pair of costume wings, a mystery unravels along with tragedy and survival. For teens who want an unconventional love and survival story. Once they’ve read it, they’ll want to read Gae Polisner’s other titles, like THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.


What is KidLit Author Jennifer Mathieu Giving for the Holidays?

We’re excited to continue our feature about what books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! Cover Image
By Kate Schatz, Miriam Klein Stahl (Illustrator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780872866836
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: City Lights Books - April 7th, 2015

What a delicious and necessary book this is, especially in light of our recent election. As some try to normalize misogyny, those who know better should be sure to get this colorful, inspiring book into the hands of the young people they care about. With bright colors and informative text, Rad American Women A-Z shares the stories of such trailblazers as Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, and Sonia Sotomayor. Although this primer is intended for younger readers, adults are sure to enjoy reading about women who truly made America great.


Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594485367
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 6th, 2011

It's tricky to find a short story collection where every single narrative delivers, but Danielle Evans's compilation is a like an album full of number one hits. These stories - most of them focus on teenage girls and young women of color - are full of heart and aching authenticity, and they tackle race, friendships, and female sexuality with a bold and unique voice. I had the pleasure of teaching "Virgins" to my eleventh graders and they went crazy for it, debating its gut-wrenching ending until the bell rang. "Snakes" - about two young cousins whose summer spent with grandma has lasting ramifications on their lives - chilled me to my core. A must read.


The Book of Unknown Americans Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780345806406
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

Full disclosure.  The author of this novel is an old college classmate and dear friend, but I would recommend this novel even if she were a stranger on the street.  Set in a Delaware apartment complex that is home to Spanish-speaking immigrants from all over Latin America, Henriquez's novel centers around a teenage romance and a family that has recently emigrated from Mexico to the United States.  Using interchapters narrated by a variety of immigrants, this story shines a light on new Americans - both documented and undocumented - who play an integral part of our American story.  A beautiful book, but get the tissues handy.


Books for Adventurers and Explorers

The Lost Property Office Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481467094
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 8th, 2016

From Houston-based author James R. Hannibal comes the story of thirteen year old Jack Buckles, a boy who can find anything, particularly the things normal people have given up on. But Jack’s father has disappeared in London while searching for something called the Ember, and turns out dad is a member of a secret society of detectives. Can Jack find his father and best the bad guys? LOST PROPERTY OFFICE is a grand middle grade mystery with secrets and fun and magic.
Ages 8-12


Journey's End Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399169601
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - October 25th, 2016

Nollie Stanhope has come to tiny Journey’s End, Scotland with her scientist father to study the Boundary, this mysterious offshore fog bank. She makes friend with townie Bel. But then Albert, a boy who mysteriously disappeared into the fog in 1914 reappears, not having aged a day. And the girls and Albert stumble across an ancient Scottish spell. Bestselling author Rachel Hawkins’ JOURNEY’S END is a terrific fantasy- adventure with magic and quests and friendship.
Ages 8-12


Every Hidden Thing Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481464161
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 11th, 2016

The quickest way to describe Kenneth Oppel’s EVERY HIDDEN THING is Romeo and Juliet meets INDIANA JONES in the Badlands with dinosaurs! Two teens, their fathers rival archaelogists, fall hard for each other as danger, and the prospect of unearthing a legendary T-Rex called Black Beauty, loom large. A page-turning YA with love and adventure!
Ages 14 and up


Maps Poster Book Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780763688356
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Big Picture Press - February 23rd, 2016

All the little adventurers in your life will relish this large-size poster book that lets them travel the world and all its wonders. Perfect for opening those young eyes to the wide, wide world!
Ages 7-9


What Books are Texas KidLit Authors Giving?

This is the first in our set of features about what books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Alanna: The First Adventure Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781442426412
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - December 7th, 2010

I don’t know how many times I read this series, The Song of the Lioness, when I was in middle school, but my copies are certainly well-worn enough. Alanna is a ten-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy so that she can take her brother’s place at a school for knights. Despite being shorter than the boys, she learns to fight alongside the prince of the kingdom, all the while dealing with the magic that the gods have given her and the prince’s mysterious cousin, whom she doesn’t trust. Perfect for girls and boys who love adventure stories.


The Boy in the Black Suit Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781442459519
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - August 16th, 2016

Everything by Jason Reynolds is fantastic, but this book particularly struck a chord with me. Matt is grieving the loss of his mother when he takes a job at a funeral home to help his father pay the bills. He finds something cathartic in watching other people grieve, but when he meets Lovey at her grandmother’s funeral, she doesn’t break down into tears. And he has to understand why. Reynolds has one of the best voices in contemporary young adult fiction, and this book is a great gift for any teenager.


Jane Eyre Cover Image
$9.00
ISBN: 9780307455192
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books USA - April 7th, 2009

If there is anyone in your life who hasn’t read this book, give it to them immediately. Everyone knows the story, but what many don’t realize is how fresh the voice is, how relevant. Jane is a woman who asserts her own worth in a world that tells her she’s worthless, and her journey from unloved child to strong, independent woman inspires me every time I read it. Nothing better for a cold night than some good gothic fiction, and this one is one of the best.


Meredith’s books make great gifts too! Check out some of her recent titles:


Fiona Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781595147844
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - April 5th, 2016

I Am Her Revenge Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781595147820
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Razorbill - April 7th, 2015

Books for Artists and Sensitive Souls

Some kids are clearly artists in the making—dreamers, sensitive souls, young minds curious about the world's hidden magic. For the budding artist in your life, pick up one of these great holiday titles!

A Child of Books Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763690779
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 6th, 2016

From the illustrator/author of so many amazing titles including THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT comes a gorgeous picture book for all ages from toddler to adult. Yes, really. It’s about books and art and creating and questioning and imagining and exploring. It’s simply wonderful.


Shakespeare Retold Cover Image
By E. Nesbit, Antonio Javier Caparo (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062404534
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - October 18th, 2016

Classic Shakespearean plays retold by classic children’s author E. Nesbit? With beautiful illlustrations? Yes, yes, yes. What lovely way to introduce children to the Bard. And in case E. Nesbit isn’t familiar to you, here’s a great read from the New York Review of Books archives-- an article about her from 1964 by none other than Gore Vidal! http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1964/12/03/the-writing-of-e-nesbit/


The Last True Love Story Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481429887
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 13th, 2016

A girl named Corrina who’s a musician and hoping for a chance to be the person she wants to be. A boy named Hendrix who’s a poet and also struggling because his dad is dead and his mom works long hours. A grandpa suffering from Alzheimer’s. A quest to take Gpa across country to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before disease steals the memory. A stolen car. A dog. An amazing new YA novel by one of the best contemporary authors for young people!


Why Is Art Full of Naked People?: And Other Vital Questions about Art Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780500650806
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Thames & Hudson - October 18th, 2016

And from our everyday collection: this one answers all your kids’ tricky questions about art from caveman paintings to modern. A grand resource book that’s also a beautiful gift!


Treehouse Favorites on the NBA and Kirkus Longlists

Awards season is here in the Kids’ Treehouse, too! We are absolutely thrilled that so many of our favorite titles have been long-listed for the National Book Awards and chosen for Kirkus Prize Finalists! What better proof that we are working our hardest to fill our shelves with the best of the best for our customers!

Some Brazos Picks that made the National Book Award Long List:

Booked Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544570986
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

"Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/""on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can t nobody stop you/""can t nobody cop you " In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match.


Raymie Nightingale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763681173
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who's determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.


Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 2nd, 2016

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .


Ghost Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481450157
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - August 30th, 2016

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.


Check out the full NBA Long List here


And some more of our staff favorites that were recently named Kirkus Prize Finalists:


The Reader Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780399176777
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 13th, 2016

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.


As Brave as You Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481415903
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - May 3rd, 2016

As you can see from the above list, this is yet another Jason Reynolds book. If you are not reading this author yet, you absolutely must come get his books today!

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires literally in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King Johnson Steptoe Award.

Genie's summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia in the COUNTRY The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and being a curious kid Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he's ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into a room so full of songbirds and plants that it's almost as if it's been pulled inside-out he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.


Burn Baby Burn Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763674670
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 8th, 2016

Two-time Pura Belpre Award winner Meg Medina returns with one of her greatest YA novels yet, which also made the longlist for the National Book Award.

While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora's family life isn t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit and the hardest to accept.


Check out the full Kirkus Prize list here


Lying to Children: A Meditation on Banned YA Fiction

At the end of the day, censorship of children’s books is almost always about one--or all--of four things: Sex. Religion. Language. Violence. That’s basically what it comes down to. (Note that I put violence last. That’s because people complain about the least, which is its own story for another day). For librarians and teachers, it can be a complex issue to keep books on shelves, to support and encourage free speech and sharing of ideas while at the same time respecting the standards of the community, whatever that means to those who use the phrase.

Picture Books, Origin Stories, and Cake: Chatting with Varsha Bajaj

I’ve known Varsha Bajaj for about a decade now: first, in that “Hey didn’t I see you at a conference?” way all Houston kid lit authors know each other; next, as a fan of her work; and eventually, as a friend in the writerly trenches and beyond. When things get particularly trench-y, as things often do when you make art for part of your living, she’s part of a group of us that eats copious amounts of cake at Empire Café on Westheimer and solves the problems of the world. (They have grand cake at Empire, by the way. I’m partial to the carrot, but they’re all good.

This Is Our Baby, Born Today Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399166846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 2nd, 2016

THIS IS OUR BABY BORN TODAY is on the Brazos shelves right now.

Varsha Bajaj is also the award winning author of How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? Illustrated by Ivan Bates, T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet book and a middle grade novel, Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood. You can find out more about Varsha at http://www.varshabajaj.com

Joy Preble is the author of several young adult novels including the DREAMING ANASTASIA series ; the SWEET DEAD LIFE series; FINDING PARIS, which SLJ called, “An intricate guessing game of sisterly devotion, romance, and quiet desperation,”and IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, which Kirkus Reviews called ‘a modern Tuck Everlasting with a thriller twist.’ In between writing and working at Brazos Bookstore as bookseller/Children’s Specialist, she teaches and lectures widely on writing and literacy and is currently on faculty at Writespace Houston.


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