March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Beat Goes On: Brilliant Middle Grade Sequels │ JLG’s On the Radar

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Escaping from detectives. Sneaking into enemy camps. Spying on an arch nemesis. Standing alone or side-by-side, these sequels selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will cause readers to tap their From Norveltfeet in anticipation for next entries in these series. They may even drive kids back to the shelf to revisit the originals while they wait.

GANTOS, Jack. From Norvelt to Nowhere. Farrar. 2013. ISBN 9780374379940. JLG Level: C+ : Advanced Readers (Grades 6–9).

A wild ride to Florida has Jack frantically trying to keep Miss Volker under control. The death of her sister, a sighting of Norvelt’s suspected murderer, and the demise of the town’s founder put the last living old lady on a rampage. With revenge on her mind, Miss Volker is determined to end her adversary’s life. Harpoon in hand and a gun in her handbag, Jack searches for a balance between what his mother says, “Do everything she requires of you,” and what Miss Volker says, “to dig him an irresistibly comfortable grave.” Nonstop hijinks ensue as the hilarious adventures of the Norvelt duo continue.

Tower of the FiveHICKS, Deron R. Tower of the Five Orders: The Shakespeare Mysteries, Book 2. illus. by Mark Edward Geyer. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. ISBN 9780547839530. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Easily considered the most famous author, William Shakespeare is also perhaps, the most mysterious. How did a seemingly uneducated man become a brilliant playwright? Did he really write the works that have long been attributed to him? Shortly after the Letterford family finds the original manuscripts, their authenticity is questioned. Journeying to London, 13-year-old Colophon must decipher clues that will restore her family’s reputation.

ArchonKRUMWIEDE, Lana. Archon: The Psi Chronicles. Candlewick. 2013. ISBN 9780763664022. JLG Level: FM : Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle (Grades 5–8).

While traveling across Mount Deliverance to rescue his father, Taemon and Amma uncover a plot of imminent war against his people. Infiltrating the Republik command post, they gather information while creating an enemy. The True Son is the only one who still has psi (telekenesis), but using it comes at a great personal cost. Can Taemon save Deliverance? Fast-paced action builds towards the final battle.

SNICKET, Lemony. “When Did You See Her Last?”: All the Wrong Questions: Question Bk. 2 illus. by Seth. Little, Brown. 2013. ISBN 9780316123051. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

When Did You See HerThe mystery (and confusion) continues as Snicket investigates the disappearance of Miss Cleo Knight, brilliant chemist and daughter of the founders of Ink, Inc. Continuing to ask all the wrong questions, the young sleuth investigates the case of the missing teen with help from his friends in Stain’d by the Sea. Drugged parents, a nurse who is good with a knife, and witty reflections keep the plot moving in this puzzle-filled whodunit.

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


Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.