May 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

To Be Continued: Series Novels for Teens │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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Beloved authors and favorite characters are what make series books a mainstay of the rabid reader’s diet. Looking ahead to 2015, some of our favorite stories conclude while new series arrive to pick up the mantle. Trent Reedy continues the Federal attack on Idaho with Burning Nation. Jennifer A. Nielson of “Ascendance” trilogy fame introduces a new series set in ancient Rome. Maureen Johnson’s “Shades of London” continues, and Owen Thorskard is back to slay more dragons in Johnston’s sequel to The Story of Owen. Share the following booktalks, and use the resources for these novels, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild.

Shadow CabinetJOHNSON, Maureen. The Shadow Cabinet. (Shades of London: Bk. 3) 304p. Putnam. Feb. 2015. ISBN 9780399256622. JLG Level: Y+ : Young Adults (Grades 9 & Up).

Stephen is dead, and the ghost squad has no leads on where to find him. Charlotte has been kidnapped, and Rory is still in danger. With Thorpe to guide them, the remaining team members must solve the mystery before Jane is able to fulfill her mission, placing all of London in grave danger.

Fans can read about the third installment of the “Shades of London” series on Johnson’s website, where they will also find a link to a free prequel. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

JOHNSTON, E.K. Prairie Fire. (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim: Bk. 2) 304p. Carolrhoda. Mar. 2015. ISBN 9781467739092. JLG Level: FH : Fantasy/Science Fiction High (Grades 9–12).

Prairie FireThe time has come for Owen Thorskard to follow his father’s footsteps in the Oil Watch. There he will receive training to fight dragons, ending in a four-year service contract. He is the only dragon slayer to arrive with his own bard. Sadly, though her hands are healing after slaying a dragon with a white-hot sword, Siobhan cannot play music. She still hears the orchestration in her head, and her determination to follow her friends into battle only strengthens the team that is sent to the most dangerous assignment.

With music videos woven in, Johnston’s blog reveals the backstory of Owen and his friends. Fans can follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

NIELSEN, Jennifer A. Mark of the Thief. (Praetor War: Bk. 1) 352p. Scholastic. Feb. 2015. ISBN 9780545561549. JLG Level: FM : Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle (Grades 5–8).

Mark of the thiefNic has always been a slave in the Roman mines. When his master forces him into a cavern in search of Caesar’s magical bulla, he makes a quick decision to save himself and keep the amulet. Making his escape on a griffin, Nic is determined to return to Rome to set his sister free. Without knowing whom to trust, the young boy must learn to control the magic while protecting it from those who would kill him for its power.

Fans of Percy Jackson will jump right into Nielsen’s new fantasy series. They can learn more about the New York Times bestselling author on her website. Follow her on Twitter. The struggle for the amulet’s power starts the Praetor War; teens can read more about the war at Encyclopaedia Britannica and learn more about Julius Caesar on The BBC and Roman gods on PBS.

REEDY, Trent. Burning Nation. (Divided We Fall: Bk. 2) 464p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. 2015. ISBN 9780545548731. JLG Level: HI : High-Interest High (Grades 10 & Up).

Burning NationStill angry after his mother’s murder, Private Wright’s survival of the Federal attack on Idaho continues as the state secedes from the Union. Supported by his friends and his surviving fellow soldiers, Wright becomes an icon that starts the Second Civil War. With the assistance of The Brotherhood, they attempt to drive the enemy out of Idaho. Will the cost of freedom be worth the price?

The scarily believable second installment of the “Divided We Fall” trilogy starts with an adrenaline-packed war and never lets up. Teens who want to know more about Reedy and his work can read his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) 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 (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

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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.