P. Djèlí Clark
IN DARKNESS, A SONG CAN LEAD THE WAY. BEWARE WHICH ONE YOU LISTEN TO.
Abeni's Song by award-winning author P. Djèlí Clark is the enchanting beginning of an epic West African and African Diaspora-inspired fantasy adventure for middle-grade readers about a reluctant apprentice to magic and the stolen villagers she sets out to save.
“Lush and magical.” —KWAME MBALIA • “Astonishing.” —MARK OSHIRO • "Abeni's story will sweep you away." —AMANDA FOODY
On the day of the Harvest Festival, the old woman who lives in the forest appears in Abeni's village with a terrible message:
You ignored my warnings. It’s too late to run. They are coming.
Warriors with burning blades storm the village. A man with a cursed flute plays an impossibly alluring song. And everyone Abeni has ever known and loved is captured and marched toward far-off ghost ships set for even more distant lands.
But not Abeni.
Abeni is magically whisked away by the old woman. In the forest, Abeni begins her unwanted magical apprenticeship, her journey to escape the witch, and her impossible mission to bring her people home.
Abeni’s Song is the beginning of a timeless, enchanting fantasy adventure about a reluctant apprentice, a team of spirit kids, and the village they set out to save.
The story of the impactful partnership between humans and mockingbirds, both scientifically and culturally over the centuries, written for young adults by award-winning nonfiction powerhouse Phil Hoose.
The Northern mockingbird’s brilliant song—a loud, bright, liquid sampling of musical notes and phrases—has made it a beloved companion and the official bird of five states. Many of our favorite songs and poems feature mockingbirds.
Mockingbirds have been companions to humans for centuries. Many Native American myths and legends feature mockingbirds, often teaching humans to speak. Thomas Jefferson’s mockingbird, “Dick”, was the first White House pet. John James Audubon’s portrait of a rattlesnake raiding a mockingbird’s nest sparked outrage in the world of art. Atticus Finch’s somber warning to his children, “Remember, it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird,” is known throughout the world. Some jazz musicians credit mockingbirds with teaching them a four-note call that says, “Break’s over.” And mockingjays—a hybrid between jabberjays and mockers—are a symbol of the rebel cause in the Hunger Games trilogy.
But in the early 1900s the mocker was plummeting toward extinction. Too many had been trapped, sold, and caged. Something had to be done. To the rescue came a powerful and determined group of women.
Now, National Book Award and Newbery honor-winner Phillip Hoose brings the story of the important and overlooked connection between humans and mockingbirds—past, present, and future. It is the third volume of his bird trilogy.
Duet is a study in the power of song. As author Steve Sheinkin puts it, “This book will change how you listen to the world.”
"This novel in verse, alternately narrated by two boys in 1980s Greenpoint, Brooklyn, one channeled by Elliott and one by Miller-Lachmann, eloquently tackles race, culture and life on the spectrum." — The New York Times
For fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson, this middle-grade novel-in-verse follows two boys in 1980s Brooklyn as they become friends for a season.
Punk rock-loving JJ Pankowski can't seem to fit in at his new school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as one of the only white kids. Pie Velez, a math and history geek by day and graffiti artist by night is eager to follow in his idol, Jean-Michel Basquiat's, footsteps. The boys stumble into an unlikely friendship, swapping notes on their love of music and art, which sees them through a difficult semester at school and at home. But a run-in with the cops threatens to unravel it all.
From authors Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Moonwalking is a stunning exploration of class, cross-racial friendships, and two boys' search for belonging in a city as tumultuous and beautiful as their hearts.
The Chance to Fly
From Tony Award-winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz, The Chance to Fly is an inspiring and heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations--and gravity.
"The perfect read for any dream chaser. . . . You'll realize how unlimited your possibilities are." --Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there's one thing she's absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there's not a cast album she hasn't memorized and belted along to. She's never actually been in a musical, though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?
But when Nat's family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids' production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)--especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat's ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and "Defy Gravity" in every sense of the song title?
That Thing about Bollywood
Bollywood takes over in this contemporary, magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life.
You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating.
Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset!
The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal.
Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?
A Duet for Home
Karina Yan Glaser
From the New York Times bestselling creator of the Vanderbeekers series comes a triumphant tale of friendship, healing, and the power of believing in ourselves told from the perspective of biracial sixth-graders June and Tyrell, two children living in a homeless shelter. As their friendship grows over a shared love of classical music, June and Tyrell confront a new housing policy that puts homeless families in danger.
It's June's first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren't enough, she also can't bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she's not about to give it up now.
Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door.
Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?
The Thief Who Sang Storms
An extraordinary tale of unity and friendship from the award-winning, internationally-bestselling author of The House With Chicken Legs
The Island of Morovia is shaped like a broken heart. The humans live on one side of the island, and the alkonosts -- the bird-people -- live on the other. But it wasn't always this way...
Linnet wishes she could sing magic, like her father, Nightingale -- and bring the two sides of her island together again. For her land has been divided by a terrible tragedy, and Linnet has been banished with her father to the deepest swamps, leaving behind her best friends, Hero and Silver.
So when her father is captured, Linnet must be brave and embark on a treacherous journey. Through alligator pools and sinking sands, she finds new friends. Yet without her singing magic, Linnet discovers something even more powerful. Something that could save her father, and heal the broken heart of her island once more...
Playing Through the Turnaround
In a timely, insightful story told with sparkling wit and heart, young musicians protesting plans for budget cuts navigate miscalculations, indifferent adults, and unexpected loss as they discover the power of speaking out and the value of listening.
"A brave and dazzling debut, this timely novel is a blueprint for hope."--Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medalist and best-selling author of The One and Only Ivan
"Keen and clear and fiercely funny."--Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist and best-selling author of A Long Walk to Water
"Brilliant, sharp, comic, poignant, and true."-- Gary D. Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor-winning author of The Wednesday Wars
"A splendid novel filled with honesty and heart."--Karina Yan Glaser, best-selling author of the Vanderbeekers series.
Fifth period is hands down the best time of day in Connor U. Eubanks Middle School, because that's when Mr. Lewis teaches Jazz Lab. So his students are devastated when their beloved teacher quits abruptly. Once they make a connection between budget cuts and Mr. Lewis's disappearance, they hatch a plan: stop the cuts, save their class.
Soon, they become an unlikely band of crusaders, and their quest quickly snowballs into something much bigger--a movement involving the whole middle school. But the adults in charge seem determined to ignore their every protest. How can the kids make themselves heard
Grab some coins for the jukebox, and get ready for a colorful, time-traveling, musical tale about family and courage.
A mysterious jukebox, old vinyl records, and cryptic notes on music history, are Shaheen's only clues to her father's abrupt disappearance. She looks to her cousin, Tannaz, who seems just as perplexed, before they both turn to the jukebox which starts...glowing?
Suddenly, the girls are pulled from their era and transported to another time! Keyed to the music on the record, the jukebox sends them through decade after decade of music history, from political marches, to landmark concerts. But can they find Shaheen’s dad before the music stops? This time-bending magical mystery tour invites readers to take the ride of their lives for a coming-of-age adventure.
A Soft Place to Land
In this compelling and heartfelt mystery story, Janae Marks--author of the acclaimed bestselling From the Desk of Zoe Washington--follows a young girl reshaping her meaning of home. Perfect for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Rebecca Stead. Two starred reviews! A Project Lit Club Book Club Selection, S&L Lead Title, Banks Street Best Children's Books of the Year, and Kids' Indie Next List Pick!
"Joyful. A book that kids will love." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
Joy Taylor has always believed home is the house she lived in her entire life. But then her dad lost his job, and suddenly, home becomes a tiny apartment with thin walls, shared bedrooms, and a place for tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn't have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist--and one day, a film score composer--have been put on hold.
A friendly new neighbor her age lets Joy in on the complex's best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. And it's in this little hideaway that Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until--abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they're in trouble?
Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is, fast, but between trying to raise funds for her music lessons, keeping on a brave face for her little sister, and worrying about her parents' marriage, Joy isn't sure how to keep her own head above water.
"Squeezes your heart in such a special way." --Lisa Moore Ramée, author of A Good Kind of Trouble and Something to Say
"Readers will find hope in Joy's courage, ingenuity, and fierce dedication to her friends." --Kate Messner, author of Breakout and Chirp
"A timely story about connection, loss and the spaces we need to understand one and brave the other." --Paula Chase, author of Dough Boys and So Done
Emmy in the Key of Code
In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of GIRLS WHO CODE series and THE CROSSOVER.
In a new city, at a new school, twelve-year-old Emmy has never felt more out of tune. Things start to look up when she takes her first coding class, unexpectedly connecting with the material--and Abigail, a new friend--through a shared language: music. But when Emmy gets bad news about their computer teacher, and finds out Abigail isn't being entirely honest about their friendship, she feels like her new life is screeching to a halt. Despite these obstacles, Emmy is determined to prove one thing: that, for the first time ever, she isn't a wrong note, but a musician in the world's most beautiful symphony.
A musically gifted bird, a piano-playing boy, and a real-life mystery involving three artistic geniuses
Welcome to the world of Mirabelle, a young goldfinch who loves to sing and dreams of becoming a musical star. She lives with her family in the backyard of a piano teacher, and she is quickly intrigued by Mr. Starek's newest pupil. Michael Jin is an eleven-year-old keyboard sensation, but lesson after lesson, he refuses to play. With the prestigious Chopin Festival looming at summer's end, how will he be ready in time? Mirabelle is responsible for Michael's breakthrough--to her own astonishment, she sings the Chopin piece he is beginning to play at the piano. It is their first duet.
Thus begins a secret adventure that will take Mirabelle and Michael further than they ever imagined--in music, in friendship, and in solving the mystery of a lost piano that could be worth millions. A house full of treasures holds the clues. There, Mirabelle, Michael, and their friend Emily will make an important discovery that links the great composer Frederic Chopin, the trailblazing author George Sand, and the French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix.
A fast-paced, history-rich mystery will have young readers hooked as they root for boy and bird in this beautifully told novel, full of emotion and suspense.
Acclaimed author Shanthi Sekaran delivers a powerful story about grief, family, dance, and friendship that follows a young girl who accidentally travels back in time to meet her dad as a child that will change her life forever. Perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and The Ethan I Was Before. A Junior Library Guild Selection!
When Boomi's dad dies of Covid, the rest of her life topples like a row of dominoes. First her best friend, Bebe, stops talking to her. Then she gets kicked out of her ballet academy. Her mom becomes hyper focused on her weight. Her grandmother sinks further into the shadows of her mind.
Then Boomi is given one last gift from her dad: his old boombox. Inside it, she finds a mix tape and a note: You can change your life. When she presses play on the boombox, her life really does change: she's magically transported to Thumpton-on-Soar, England, 1986. And her dad's there!
But he doesn't know he's her dad--he's twelve, just like Boomi. Boomi starts to see what being twelve was like for her dad, growing up Indian in a town that wanted to silence people like him. She starts to understand why he never went back. But why is Boomi sent back to Thumpton Is she supposed to save her dad Or change her life
The Mystwick School of Musicraft
Humor and heart shine in this middle grade fantasy about a girl who attends a boarding school to learn how to use music to create magic, perfect for fans of Nevermoor and The School for Good and Evil series.
Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world's most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end--until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn't. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?
A must-read for fans of Julie Murphy and Ashley Herring Blake, this queer coming-of-age story from critically acclaimed author Kathryn Ormsbee sings with heart, warmth, and hope. An ALA Rainbow Book List selection!
Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom.
But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies she feels surrounded by so many other talented kids--especially Sylvie, who gives Cline the type of butterflies she's only ever heard about in love songs.
As she learns to make music of her own, Cline begins to realize how much of herself she's been holding back. But now, there's a new song taking shape in her heart--if only she can find her voice and sing it.
"Empowering, affirming, and sweet as all get-out." --Lisa Jenn Bigelow, author of Drum Roll, Please
Operation Final Notice
Told in alternating points of view, this middle grade novel, following best friends Ronny and Jo, is about anxiety, being in over your head, and learning to accept help—even if you don’t know how to ask
Eight hundred seventy-eight dollars. That’s how much Ronny needs by January 4th to make to keep his family’s only car from getting repossessed. Since a workplace injury disabled his dad and forced the family to move from their home into the apartment complex across the street, Ronny’s been learning all sorts of things—like what letters marked with Final Notice means and that banks can take cars away for being behind on payments.
His best friend Josefina Ramos is also counting down until the start of January when her life could change forever—that’s when she has her big cello audition at the prestigious music academy Maple Hill. Except she can’t play a solo performance without something disastrous happening and no one seems to hear her when she talks about how nervous she is.
As the countdown to the new year rolls ahead, Ronny and Jo learn what can happen to best-laid plans and how to depend on one another and their community when things get tough.