Inventing the Cherokee Alphabet | Audio in Advance August 2016 | Stephanie’s Picks: Middle Grade

Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Twisted Staff. (Serafina, Bk. 2). Listening Library. ISBN 9780451485632. Read by Cassandra Campbell.
Gr 5-8–Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin. Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise. Then a mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

511C23LTmqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200___1465317780_63364Bruchac, Joseph. Talking Leaves. Listening Library. ISBN 9780451485717. Reader TBA.
Gr 5-8–Thirteen-year-old Uwohali has not seen his father, Sequoyah, for many years. So when Sequoyah returns to the village, Uwohali is eager to reconnect. But Sequoyah’s new obsession with making strange markings causes friends and neighbors in their tribe to wonder whether he is crazy, or worse—practicing witchcraft. What they don’t know, and what Uwohali discovers, is that Sequoyah is a genius and his strange markings are actually an alphabet representing the sounds of the Cherokee language.

Foxlee, Karen. A Most Magical Girl. Listening Library. ISBN 9780147521057. Read by Jayne Entwhistle.
Gr 5-8–Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she’s put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly unladylike life, full of potions and flying broomsticks and wizards who eat nothing but crackers. Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest and pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld that exists beneath London. The two girls outsmart trolls, find passage through a wall of faerie bones, and narrowly escape a dragon, but it doesn’t take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl.

28110143__1465317832_88113Mafi, Tahereh. Furthermore. Listening Library. ISBN 9780451486066. Read by Bronson Pinchot.
Gr 5-8–There are only three things that matter to 12-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. But bringing Father home is no small matter. She’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece.

Siebel, Kathryn. The Trouble with Twins. Listening Library. ISBN 9780399569043. Read by Katherine Kellgren & Cassandra Campbell.
Gr 5-8–Twin sisters Arabella and Henrietta are nearly identical yet have nothing in common. Still, they’re the best of friends—until one day they aren’t. Plain and quiet Henrietta has a secret plan to settle the score, and she does something outrageous that she can’t take back. When the deed is discovered, Henrietta is banished. She’s sent to live with her eccentric great-aunt Priscilla on Chillington Lane, where black cats roam the dark rooms and tonight’s menu is fish-head stew. Suddenly, life with pretty, popular Arabella doesn’t seem so awful. And, though she’s been grievously wronged, Arabella longs for her sister, too. So she hatches a plan of her own and embarks on an unexpected journey to reunite with her other half.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

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