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Food, Faith & Fun, A FaithGirlz! Cookbook by Zonderkidz

Photographs by Ron Nickels
Zondervan, $14.99 
Ages 8 and up
​Middle-grade nonfiction, cooking, faith

This cookbook has you cooking simple recipes like a pro, with appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks, and more. It also talks about ways to make meal times special, and most of the recipes were contributed by teens. I find that once I start to cook with it, I don't want to stop. I've made sour power punch, soft pretzels, family dinners, snacks, treats, and everything in between!


September Kids' Picks:

Kids' Corner

This is Not a Drill, by Beck McDowell
Penguin, $17.99
​Ages 13 and up
​Middle-grade fiction,

contemporary, realistic, school shooting

This is a thrilling and romantic novel that has you hooked 'til the end. The story is about two seniors, Emery and Jake, who recently broke up and unexpectedly get paired up to tutor first graders. Ten minutes into their lesson, the door slams open, and in walks a retired army soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He demands at gun point that the teacher hand over his son, who he's not allowed to see. When the teacher passes out (from a diabetic coma), it is up to Emery and Jake to protect the kids. And suddenly they all know the meaning of armed and dangerous. Scary, exciting, and really moving, I read the whole book in one sitting.

Those Magnificent Girls

In Their Flying Machine

The Girl Who Could not Dream, by Sarah Beth Durst

Clarion Books, 2015, $16.99

middle grade fiction, mystery, adventure, fantasy

Ages 10-12
ISBN: 978-0-544-46497-1

The Honest Truth

By Dan Gemeinhart, Scholastic Press, 2014, $6.99

Genre:​Realistic fiction, Animals, Mute, Fantasy, Contemporary

Ages​: 8-12
ISBN: 978-0-54566-574-2


Cast Off, by Eve Yohalem

Dial, $16.99

Historical fiction, realistic adventure, pirates, for boys and girls Ages 10 and up

A girl. A boy. A secret that will change their lives.

Told in their separate voices, twelve-year-olds Petra, who escaped her abusive father’s Amsterdam house in 1663, and a half-Javanese/half-Dutch boy relate their adventures at sea after Petra stows away and Bram, son of the ship’s carpenter, helps her disguise herself as a boy. 

Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway, by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire

Galactic Hot Dogs: Book 1

Aladdin, $13.99

Humor, comic book style

Ages 8-12

Middle-grade, humor with comic-book-style illustrations throughout, reminiscent to the Captain Underpants series (though with a step-up in plot—however slight), but seriously the kids will love it! Great for reluctant readers, especially boys, but will appeal to both. 


Cosmoe the Earth-Boy, captain of the Neon Wiener, the finest flying food truck in the galaxy. Along with my best bud, Big Humphree, I spend my days cruising the cosmos and staying crazy busy …

Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret, by D. D. Everest

HarperCollins, $16.99

Mystery, fantasy, magic

Ages 8-12

Laurel's Picks:


Minecraft Blockopedia, by Alex Whitshire

Scholastic, $49.99

Nonfiction, guide to Minecraft

Minecraft is truly one of the best games ever, not only because of battling zombies or whatever monsters appear at random times, but it’s also a puzzle. As you build your world, you discover fantastic secrets and skills that keep you discovering more and more the amazing things possible. Expert, novice or newbie, alone or multi-playing with your buds, this awesome, cube-shaped, keepsake book spills all the secrets on the amazing world of Minecraft.

Adam's Picks:


Legend, by Marie Lu

Speak, action, suspense, thriller, YA, Ages 12+

In a dark, dystopian future, North America is in a civil war. Day is a famous criminal, and June is the brilliant soldier hired to capture him. Turns out, they may be on the same side—especially after June’s brother is taken.

How to lead a Life of Crime

Paul's Picks:


favorites new and old:


How to Lead a Life of Crime, by Kirsten Miller (2013)

Razorbillm Contemporary mystery with touch of paranormal, YA, Ages 11+

Haunted by the ghost of his brother (killed by his father), Flick is recruited to the Mandel Academy, a school for master criminals where only one student survives each semester. Kept me reading late into the night! Good for anyone who likes a bit of espionage by savvy teens--with twists throughout.

(Note from Kim: Kirstin Miller is also the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Kiki Strike.)