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Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Expected Publication Date: March 31st, 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Page Count: 352
Ages: 10-14
Genre: Fantasy/Action & Adventure

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.
Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

Why we can't wait: Who didn't love The Ascendence Trilogy?! Exactly. Now Jennifer A. Nielsen is coming out with a NEW series and we WANTS IT! Just look at that cover. Also, it's set in ROME? This just keeps getting better and better!

Picture Books (Ages 2-6)



Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)


The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, Illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Humor/Realistic Fiction
Ages: 8-12

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that's famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town's best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.
It's prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.
In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.

As a prankster meself, I was eager to see where Mac and Jory would take this theme, and they take it over the top of course! And then a coo moos. Because the school is full of them! Don’t worry, your kid won’t get too many ideas, but you might get a few. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it is a new school story. And there are cows.
Reviewed by Cheenie at Books Inc. Burlingame

New kid Miles arrives at Yawnee Valley with the express intent of being the school's greatest prankster.  But when he finds the slot already filled by the nefarious Niles, the two go head-to-head in a battle of mischief and deceit. It's fun and cute, good for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid crowd.
Reviewed by Marie at Books Inc. Chestnut
 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Benjamin Chaud & Davide Cali
Expected Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Page Count: 44
Ages: 6-9
Genre: Humor/Picture Book

First, some giant ants steal breakfast.
Then there are the evil ninjas, a massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest? From Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator team behind I Didn't Do My Homework Because . . . comes a fast-paced, actionpacked, laugh-out-loud story about finding the way to school despite the odds--and the unbelievable oddness.

Why we can't wait: Everyone at Books Inc. Kids LOVED I Didn't Do My Homework Because... and we are just SO EXCITED for this next book from Benjamin Chaud and Davide Cali! We guarantee this is going to be a hilarious book filled with fabulous illustrations and a hilarious story about childish excuses! Seriously, don't miss out on this one!

The 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced yesterday at ALA Midwinter and we couldn't be more excited about the outcomes!
We're huge fans of Dan Santat and The Adventures of Beekle was a staff favorite when it came out. Everyone wanted a Beekle! Can you blame us? He's absolutely adorable!
Kwame Alexander's Crossover was a surprise hit for most, especially those who didn't care for basketball or verse novels. But it won the hearts of all of us with its heartbreaking story of a boy who not only loves to play ball, but also wants to share his passion for rhyme with the world.
Not to mention the amazing honors on both awards lists! How great is it to see graphic novels taking the stage for once!
This was an amazing year for both the Caldecott and Newbery and we at Books Inc. Kids couldn't be happier!! Congrats to all of you!

 

2015 John Newbery Award Winner

2015 John Newbery Award Honors

 

2015 Randolph Caldecott Award Winner

2015 Randolph Caldecott Award Honors



 

Picture Books (Ages 2-6)

Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)


Picture Books (Ages 2-6)

Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Expected Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism
Ages: 8-12

Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Munoz Ryan.
Lost and alone a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre and form, and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories. The result is an impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

I found this book to be beautifully executed by Ryan who begins with a fairy tale involving a mystical harmonica to set the stage for her three characters whose stories become interconnected. Three children, Friedrich, Mike and Ivy, growing up before and during WWII, are brought together through this harmonica and along the way we learn about their lives and the struggles they endure. Set before and during WWII, we get a fictional glimpse of  life in Nazi Germany, hardscrabble American society, and social injustice and segregation in California. The story is immensely satisfying and inspiring and I was impressed with the historical research. A must read for 2015!
Reviewed by Christine at Books Inc. in the Castro

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