For readers, an established series provides familiar characters and story background―great choices for fans who are looking for a quick solution to “what do I read next?” problem. For librarians, sequels are an easy sell and a slam dunk in collection development. The following selections by the editors of Junior Library Guild offer readers hard-to-put-down follow-ups by Newbery-winning and NY Times-bestselling authors, while providing librarians with shelf-worthy additions.
CHOLDENKO, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Homework. Dial. 2013. ISBN 9780803734722. JLG Level: C : Advanced Readers (Grades 6–9).
Moose Flanagan’s dad has been promoted to associate warden at Alcatraz, but inmates and colleagues have their own ideas about how to handle the new boss. A prisoner earns five points for spitting on a warden and 5,000 points for killing him. To make it worse, Guard Darby Trixle is angry about being overlooked for the promotion. Piper, whose father is the head warden, tells Moose to watch his dad’s back. However, his hands are already full keeping an eye on his autistic older sister, Natalie. When their apartment catches on fire, Natalie is blamed. It’s up to Moose and his friends to solve the mystery of the blaze, but the investigation puts them close to prisoners who want Warden Flanagan dead. When a butcher knife goes missing from the kitchen, not even Capone can control what follows. Choldenko’s conclusion to the trilogy will make readers laugh and hold their breath.
FFORDE, Jasper. The Song of the Quarkbeast. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2013. ISBN 9780547738482. JLG Level: FM : Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle (Grades 5–8).
As acting manager of Kazam, foundling Jennifer Strange must accept (and win) King Snodd IV’s challenge―a contest of wizards. Losing would endanger Zambini Towers and its inhabitants and compromise the use of magic throughout the kingdom. Enchanting a new bridge is no small task, and their best sorceress has just turned herself into stone. The power-hungry king (who would control all magic if his Court Mystician wins) puts competing wizards in prison, leaving Jennifer with few resources. As time runs out, the remaining few must work together to save the kingdom from evil plans far beyond the obvious. Full of surprises and intrigue, Fforde’s sequel to The Last Dragonslayer (Houghton Harcourt, 2012) keeps readers on the edge of their seats in the race to conquer evil.
HADDIX, Margaret Peterson. Risked. S & S. Sept. 2013. ISBN 9781416989844. JLG Level: C+ : Advanced Readers (Grades 6–9).
Once again, Jonah, Chip, and Katherine travel to the past―though this time against their will. A rogue missing child joins forces with their money-scheming enemies and takes them to Russia in 1918―the day before the royal family is assassinated. Two of the children were missing for years; however, recent discoveries prove that Alexis and Anastasia were killed with their siblings. If that is the case, can Jonah and his friends save them from being killed again? How will saving the entire family affect history? In the sixth book of the Missing series, Haddix explores one of the most fascinating mysteries of our past.
WHITE, Ruth. The Treasure of Way Down Deep. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson. 2013. ISBN 9780374380670. JLG Level: B+ : Upper Elementary & Junior High (Grades 5–7).
Life in Way Down Deep has always been a community affair―everyone attends all events (no formal invitations needed) and secrets are rare. When an evil wind blows into town in the fall of 1954, hardship hits local businesses and mine workers in the West Virginia town are laid off. Who would have thought that the death of a pet goat and a sleepwalking old lady would help reveal the one secret that everyone wants to know―the location of the treasure of Way Down Deep. It’s up to Ruby to save the town, while proving the town’s founder myth to be true. White’s sequel to Way Down Deep (Farrar, 2011) brings the return of the charming residents of the small country town, and a character one can’t help but love.
For audio/video versions of these booktalks, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.
Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.
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