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Mermaid's Mirror by LK Madigan

In THE MERMAID'S MIRROR by LK Madigan, Lena is a Northern California girl who is obsessed with the ocean. All her friends surf, and her dad was a surfer too - but after a bad accident a long time ago, he refuses to let Lena take lessons. She sneaks behind his back and does it anyway, and finds a secret beneath the waves... a secret that will change her life forever. This book is magical and wonderful, you can practically smell the salty air between the words. A treat for 12+ girls - should appeal to both those who are into fantasy, and those who prefer realistic stories.

Matched by Allie Condie

For fans of dystopian fiction, MATCHED is the most compelling teen novel since HUNGER GAMES. Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Cassia begins to doubt everything she's ever known and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Our month-long holiday gift guide continues with Jennifer Donnelly's REVOLUTION. Andi and Alexandrine. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. A surprising and beautiful novel for teens (or adults!)

Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner

Our next holiday pick is SUGAR AND ICE by Kate Messner. It will make a perfect gift for any girl who likes skating, theatre, dance or other competitive athletic or artistic endeavors. For Claire Boucher, life is all about skating on the frozen cow pond and in the annual Maple Show right before the big pancake breakfast on her family's farm. But all that changes when a charismatic Russian skating coach offers Claire a scholarship to train with the elite in Lake Placid. Tossed into a world of mean girls on ice, where competition is everything, Claire realizes that her sweet dream come true has sharper edges than she could have imagined. Can she find the strength to stand up to the people who want to see her fail and the courage to decide which dream she wants to follow?

Winter 2010-2011 Kids Indie Next List

Junior Library Guild Selection

Just One Bite

For the child who appreciates facts, may we recommend JUST ONE BITE? This is a color-saturated, gorgeous and life-sized introduction to what animals eat, how they eat it, and how much they eat in a single bite, and it is full of compelling facts and images. From drops of nectar and tiny sand-grain-sized bits of earth, to the vast tentacles of the giant squid that is a snack for a sperm whale, this book and the eleven animals in it are EXACTLY as large as life!

Penny Dreadful

 Our next featured gift idea is PENNY DREADFUL , by one of our favorite new voices in children's lit, Laurel Snyder. What better book for the season of spending than one about how money isn't everything?  When bored, lonely, Penelope Grey makes a wish that "something interesting would happen, just like in a book," her dad suddenly quits his job in The City and the family fortune melts away, leaving the Greys floundering.  So Penelope's next wish is simply that something would happen to make things better. But that only lands them all in a ramshackle house in rural Tennessee, surrounded by a cast of oddball characters.  This is a warm and whimsical treat for book lovers aged 8-12.

10 Little Penguins

Meet the ever-so-slightly subversive 10 LITTLE PENGUINS. This small-sized book is from the same makers as the very popular 365 Penguins from a couple years back, and of course, the title animals are as adorable - and mischievous - as ever. But these dare-devil tuxedo'ed beasts find that fire and ice make a dangerous mix. They get into quite a lot of hot water (among other perils!) on every page. Still, keep going all the way to the end for a happy surprise!  This has been a big hit with little kids.

Interrupting Chicken

Our festival of awesome gift ideas continues with one of the funniest entries on the list, INTERRUPTING CHICKEN by David Ezra Stein. The antics start at storytime, when papa chicken reads... or TRIES to read... fairy tales to an enthusiastic little one. She just can't help interrupting to make the stories JUST a little better by inserting herself into them to save the day. Anyone who has ever told a fictional character "HE'S BEHIND YOU!" will relate to this chicken tale.