Each year, the Wisconsin State Reading Association’s Children’s Literature Committee selects books published during the previous year to recommend as “the most interesting and valuable books for educators and children to read.” The committee evaluates titles based on “the quality of the literature, the appeal for students, and the value for classroom use.”
Whether you’re a teacher looking for curriculum connections or a book club organizer looking for a new selection with ready-made discussion questions, we have the resources for you! The links below provide direct, free (!!!) access to educator’s guides and discussion questions for a variety of middle grade and young adult titles, all published in 2016.
2016 is coming up fast! In less than a month, you’ll be able to get your hands on some of the great 2016 debuts. Each month, we’ll be posting a printable calendar to help you keep track of those upcoming releases. Here’s January’s calendar. Print it, post it, cover it with hearts!
Thanks to our printable calendar team: Sarah Alexander, Jenn Nguyen, Dee Romito, Kathy MacMillan, Randi Pink and designer Ava Jae!
Three Sweet Sixteeners Appeared On The Winter 2015-2016 Kids’ Indie Next List: Marisa Reichardt, Lois Sepahaban and Marieke Nijkamp!
The list is based on recommendations by independent booksellers.
It is comprised of titles publishing from November 1, 2015-January 31, 2016.
Marisa Reichardt, Underwater (#6)
(Macmillan/FSG, January 12, 2016)
Marisa’s debut was featured at #6
Lois Sepahaban, Paper Wishes
(Macmillan/FSG, January 5, 2016)
Marieke Nijkamp, This is Where It Ends
(Sourcebooks Fire, January 5, 2016)
News Around Town:
Kathleen Glasgow, author of the YA novel, GIRL IN PIECES, wrote a “Book to Movie: Who Will Bring My Characters to Life?” for literary blog ReadWriteLove . See who would be perfect for Charlie on the big screen!
In other major news, foreign rights for GIRL IN PIECES have recently been sold to Brazil and Czechslovakia. Audio rights for GIRL IN PIECES and a second book have been sold to Random Houses’s Listening Library. Audio for GIRL IN PIECES will be released simultaneously with the hardback on Sept. 27, 2016.
Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse, HarperTeen, January 19, 2016) was recently featured at the Pub(lishing) Crawl blog dishing out advice for authors about working with public libraries. Part 1 and Part 2
5 Sweet Sixteens will be featured authors at the NOVA Teen Book Festival in Arlington, VA on March 5, 2016.
Jeff Garvin (The Symptoms of Being Human, Balzer + Bray, February 2, 2016)
Melissa Gorzelanczyk (Arrows, Random House, January 26, 2016)
Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse, HarperTeen, January 19, 2016)
Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 1, 2016)
Kelly Zekas (These Vicious Masks, Swoon Reads, February 09, 2016)
And so many 2016 debut covers to love…
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left whom she can depend on. They live their lives on the run in the wilderness, forever searching the shadows for threats. Nin’s always tried to protect Sefia, teaching her how to hunt, track, and steal, giving her the skills she’ll need to stay alive.
But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly completely alone, and nothing she’s learned can help her find out who’s taken Nin and what else they might be after. Her only clue is a strange rectangular item that once belonged to her father—which may unlock the secrets to his murder and Nin’s disappearance.
Though reading is unheard-of in her world, Sefia discovers that the curious object is a book, and a precious one at that. With the help of this book, and the aid of an enigmatic stranger with secrets of his own, Sefia is determined to rescue her aunt and uncover just what happened the day her father was killed.
With her mother facing prison time for a violent political protest, seventeen-year-old Liberty Briscoe has no choice but to leave her Washington, DC, apartment and take a bus to Ebbottsville, Kentucky, to live with her granny. There she can finish high school and put some distance between herself and her mother– her ‘former’ mother, as she calls her.
But Ebbottsville isn’t the same as Liberty remembers, and it’s not just because the top of Tanner’s Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem to be sick, and the tap water is bright orange–the same water that officials claim is safe to drink. When Granny’s lingering cold turns out to be something much worse, Liberty is convinced the mine is to blame, and starts an investigation that quickly plunges her into a world of secrets, lies, threats, and danger.
Liberty isn’t deterred by any of it, but as all her searches turn into dead ends, she comes to a difficult decision: turn to violence like her former mother or give up her quest for good.
What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?
In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.
Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else.
Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia’s entire community at risk.
So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right? That is, until Lia finds out she isn’t the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with him, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings.
After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.
Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs.
At first it was just “cute” and “adorable,” but as she’s gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like “loser” and “pathetic” appear, and those words bubble up and itch.
And then there are words like “interesting,” which she’s not really sure how to feel about.
Now, at age twelve, she’s starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying “I know who you are, and I know what you’re dealing with. I want to help.”
As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
Correctly match the 16th line to its novel and win a critique of your first chapter PLUS a synopsis (up to 15 pages total) by Lois Sepahban, author of the forthcoming LANTERN WISHES (FSG/Margaret Ferguson, Winter 2016). Now that’s hot!
There, by the crook of his neck, my birthstones — a handful of muted sapphires — caught the watery morning light.”
A. Dee Romito’s THE SUMMER BUCKET LIST (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2016)
B. Jennifer Bardsley’s BLANK SLATE (Month9Books, 2016)
C. Samantha Mabry’s LEAVES (Algonquin Young Readers, Spring 2016)
D. Roshani Chokshi’s THE BRIDE OF DUSK AND GLASS (St. Martin’s Griffin, )
Know it? Send your answer to email@example.com. And good luck!
Sweet 16 Cover Reveals: A visual feast!
Kim Savage’s fantastically haunting cover for AFTER THE WOODS was released by FSG/Macmillan in mid-May and will be featured on B&N Teen Blog soon. Watch for the trailer on Hypable.com this fall. It is available now for pre-order.
“Statistically speaking, girls like me don’t come back when guys like Donald Jessup take us.” Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can’t fully remember. Now it’s one year later, and a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving Julia in a stupor at awkward moments-in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example. At least Julia’s not alone. Her best friend, Liv, was in the woods, too. When Julia got caught, Liv ran away. Is Liv’s guilt over leaving Julia the reason she’s starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with an explosive temper, Liv’s way of punishing herself for not having Julia’s back? As the devastating truth about Liv becomes clear, Julia realizes the one person she thinks she knows best-Liv-is the person she knows least of all. And that after the woods was just the beginning.
Lois Sepahban released her beautiful cover for PAPER WISHES into the wild with the help of Jen over at Pop! Goes the Reader on May 23rd.
This MG Historical novel follows Manami and her family as they are sent to a Japanese internment camp, where it is up to Manami to find the strength to keep her family together.
Melissa Gorzelanczyk revealed her iconic cover for ARROWS on YA Highway.
People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.
Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind. A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?
Nicole Castroman revealed her gorgeous BLACKHEARTS cover to the world with a little help from MundieMoms on June 4th.
The pirate Blackbeard was known for striking fear into the hearts of even the bravest sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of abandoning his rigid life to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has returned from a year at sea to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams of returning to the vast ocean he calls home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach’s father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
Emily Martin’s amazing cover for THE YEAR WE FELL APART was debuted to expectant readers on June 5th.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year, she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hookup, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But the worst mistake was her first one: destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence between Harper and Declan, Declan is home from boarding school for summer break. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger . . . handsomer. But Harper has changed too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on with her. But after she betrayed his trust, he’s also the one person she’s lost all right to seek comfort from.
As shared friends and shared histories draw them together, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still possible to fix and which parts they’ll have to live with forever.
When eleven-year-old Thyme Owen’s little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.
After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours and the days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.
Also! Listening Library will publish Melanie Conklin’s Counting Thyme as an audiobook simultaneously with the Putnam hardcover in April 2016. Yay!
Emily Henry released her phenomenal cover for THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD into the wild on June 10th over at Icey Books.
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
Lee Gjertsen Malone’s irresistible cover for THE LAST BOY AT SAINT EDITH’S appeared on KidLiterati on June 11th.
Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy. Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his how hands: He’s going to get expelled.
Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a serious of hilarious pranks in hope that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door. Written with equal parts humor and heart, Lee Gjertsen Malone’s debut is all about fitting in, standing out, and finding the place where you belong.
Janet B. Taylor revealed her breathtaking cover for INTO THE DIM on YA Books Central on June 11th.
Only secrets from her past can save her future.
The “homeschooled girl” in a small town, Hope Walton has crippling phobias that don’t endear her to her adoptive dad’s perfectly blond, perfectly southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic: a member of a secret society of time travelers, she is trapped in the twelfth century during the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her fears and travel back in time to rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.
Addictive and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an unlikely heroine’s story of adventure, sacrifice, and first love in a high-stakes race against time itself.
Sonya Mukherjee’s YA contemporary is now GEMINI and is due out Summer 2016 from Simon & Schuster.
Amy Allgeyer’s contemporary YA novel has a new title. DIG TOO DEEP is pitched as a coming-of-age Erin Brockovich set deep in Kentucky coal country. Due out from Albert Whitman & Co in March 2016.
Sweet Sixteener Lois Sepahban recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Kathryn Ormsbee about her MG novel, THE WATER AND THE WILD (April 14, 2015 from Chronicle Books).
Kathryn Ormsbee was born and raised in the Bluegrass State. She has lived in England and Spain, and also other parts of the USA, like Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX. She has taught English as a Foreign Language and interned with a film society. These days, she teaches piano lessons and plays in a band.
A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square. Its leaves are a sad emerald and its apples a cheery peridot, and at its roots—starts the story of Lottie Fiske.
For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.
And then a door opens in the apple tree.
Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.
Lois: When and how did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Kathryn: I was a huge bookworm as a kid, and that love for stories grew, as it so often does, into a desire to tell my own. From the time I was twelve, writing was as necessary to me as eating, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career that had something to do with literature. I feel so insanely lucky to now be able to write and read on a daily basis and call it work.
Sweet Sixteener Lois Sepahban recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Tatum Flynn about her MG novel, THE D’EVIL DIARIES (April 2, 2015 from Orchard Books/Hachette Kids).
Tatum Flynn decided to be a writer aged seven, when one look at her first attempt at a comic book made her realize she had all the artistic talent of a blind rhino. Since then she’s picked up plenty of story ideas as a croupier on cruise ships in the Caribbean, travel magazine writer riding the rapids in the Grand Canyon, English teacher in Italy, and poker player traveling the world lying to people for profit.
These days she lies to people for profit as a children’s author instead, which involves less travel and more daydreaming, but exactly the same amount of bluffing. She’s secretly half-Hungarian and lives by the sea in England with a cat called Friday and too many hats.
Twelve-year-old Jinx is hopeless at being evil. Which is a bit of a problem when you’re Lucifer’s youngest son. But when Jinx runs away from Pandemonium, the walled city he’s lived in all his life, he bumps into dead girl Tommy – who’s been sent to Hell for accidentally feeding her nasty uncle to a circus lion – and unearths a conspiracy that could up-end the entire underworld. Cue shenanigans involving carnivorous carousel horses, death-trap-riddled libraries and hungry quicksand. Now the fate of the realm rests in the hands of its most unlikely demon and a girl who shouldn’t be in Hell at all…
Lois: Are you part of a critique group? If so, how did working with your CPs benefit you?
Tatum: I’ve never been part of a group, but I do have four brilliant CPs and some lovely beta readers. My first two CPs especially, Danica and NK Traver, helped me enormously, pointing out plot holes and poor writing and things that were confusing or needed enlarging upon, and also boosted me by telling me that The D’Evil Diaries did actually make them laugh. Which was a bit of a relief. Seriously, get CPs. They are *crucial*.
Be the first to correctly match the 16th line to the 2016 debut novel and win a FREE critique of the first 30 pages of your YA or MG Manuscript by the fabulous Shannon Parker (THE GIRL WHO FELL, Simon Pulse, Spring 2016).
And the 16th line readeth:
Jeremy wasn’t sure what the point of all this was, but if he knew Claudia, there definitely was one.”
Which novel is it from?
A. Lois Sepahban‘s LANTERN WISHES (FSG/Margaret Ferguson, Winter 2016)
B. Lindsay Eager‘s HOUR OF THE BEES (Candlewick, Spring 2016)
C. Lee Gjertson Malone‘s THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, Spring 2016)
D. Bridget Hodder‘s THE RAT PRINCE (FSG/Margaret Ferguson, 2016)
Think you know? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. And good luck!