November’s Top Picks for Young Readers

Old School

After Halloween, all of the holidays seem to snowball—or perhaps we should say Butterball (except that’s not a thing anyone says). Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Festivus, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve. Starting Nov. 1, it all becomes a haze of food, shopping, food, parties, food, feats of strength, and food. Help your kiddos tame the nuttiness (and sugar consumption) that can happen around this time of year by subbing out the cookies in their hands for one of these awesome books instead.

Old School (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series #10), by Jeff Kinney
Fictional middle-schooler Greg Heffley still keeps a pen-to-paper diary, which, in the modern technological age, is still a pretty old-school concept. But when his whole town decides voluntarily to totally unplug—no electronics?!—Greg finds himself wondering if kicking it old school is really such a good idea. In this 10th book in the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, author and illustrator Jeff Kinney offers up an entertaining and hilarious—per usual—look at Greg and the gang’s experience going off the grid, which even includes Greg and Rowley attempting to open a lemonade stand with some not-so-sweet results. Will they manage to survive? We think this wimpy kid will definitely find a way.

Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans, by Rush Limbaugh
Bust out those tricornered hats and get ready to go back to 1787 with time-traveling teacher Rush Revere and his trusty horse, Liberty. Rush and his Time-Traveling Crew get the scoop on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from James Madison and then later help his brave wife, Dolley, rescue an important portrait from the burning White House. Young readers will get so caught up in the nonstop action that they may not even realize they’re learning (shh!) about the brave men and women who risked everything to shape America’s rich history. Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner is the fourth in conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh’s middle-grade series and the follow-up to the exciting Rush Revere and the American Revolution.

Robots Go Wild! (B&N Exclusive Edition) (House of Robots series #2), by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
The first book in James Patterson’s narrative/graphic novel hybrid House of Robots series introduced readers to Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez and his “bro-bot” E, a robot invented by Sammy’s mom to attend school with Sammy in his sister Maddie’s place. (Little sis has an immune disorder that keeps her confined to the house.) But now that Sammy’s finally getting used to the idea of attending school with his nerdy robot “brother,” book two in the fast-paced and funny series finds E malfunctioning just as a super-cool new robot is coming onto the scene. Can Sammy save the day by finding out what’s wrong with E?

Adventures from the Land of Stories Boxed Set: The Mother Goose Diaries and Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty, by Chris Colfer
Golden Globe-winning actor and bestselling author Chris Colfer returns with two all-new Land of Stories books for new and old fans alike in this striking boxed set. Mother Goose and Queen Red Riding Hood are the leading ladies in their respective books, The Mother Goose Diaries and Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty. The first book includes a series of journal entries belonging to the matriarch of fairy tales, which span the last 500 years and include lots of buried storybook secrets—juicy! And young Queen Red Riding Hood manages to cover everything from politics to love and all things royal in her clever guide.

Ever After High: Once Upon a Pet: A Collection of Little Pet Stories, by Suzanne Selfors
The Royals and Rebels of Ever After High are showing off their fuzzier sides in this collection of short stories about your favorite characters from Suzanne Selfors’s series, and their unique pets. These stories were previously only available as digital shorts but are now all together in print for the first time. The tales include “Duchess Swan and the Next Top Bird”, “Lizzie Hearts and the Hedgehog’s Hexcellent Adventure”, and “Ginger Breadhouse and the Candy Fish Wish”, along with two brand-new stories.

The Elementia Chronicles #2: The New Order: An Unofficial Minecraft-Fan Adventure, by Sean Fay Wolfe
Can’t drag your kids away from playing Minecraft? Get this book into their hands. The second in a series inspired by the game, The New Order finds President Stan facing a new adversary, the Noctem Alliance. Plus, King Kev’s loyal followers are still out there, threatening peace in the Republic of Elementia. How will Stan protect and lead his people with these new dangers looming on the horizon? Find out in this action-packed new read for middle-graders.

The One and Only Ivan Full-Color Collector’s Edition, by Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao 
“Patient is a useful way to be when you’re an ape,” says Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a glass cage at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. “Gorillas are as patient as stones. Humans, not so much.” Ivan has been there for so long—27 years—that he doesn’t remember much about his life in the jungle. While humans file in off the freeway to stare at him, Ivan watches TV, creates art, eats bananas, and hangs out with his friends Stella, an elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. One day, Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, arrives at the mall, and Ivan is forced to recall his life as a free animal, compelling him to secure a better life for Ruby and himself. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla named Ivan, this new full-color collector’s edition of Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book includes full-color artwork from illustrator Patricia Castelao, a letter from the author, her Newbery Medal acceptance speech, a letter from the real Ivan’s caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, and more.

Fast Break, by Mike Lupica
Sportswriter and bestselling author Mike Lupica has managed another slam dunk with his latest inspiring, feel-good basketball story, Fast Break. Twelve-year-old Jayson is desperate to dodge the foster care system after his mom dies and her boyfriend abandons him. He doesn’t want to leave his friends, teammates, and—most importantly to him—the basketball court behind the projects. But one day, after getting caught stealing a pair of sneakers, he ends up being placed by a social worker with the Lawtons, a well-off family on the other side of town. Jayson fights his new situation at every turn, but the Lawtons aren’t giving up on this kid. They believe he deserves a better life than the one he had, but can he come to believe that too? Fast Break is a heartwarming story about the power of family, perseverance, and triumphing over adversity.

Game of Flames (Voyagers Series #2), by Robin Wasserman
The Earth is dangerously close to running out of fossil fuels in this sci-fi series, and it’s up to a group of 12-year-olds to save the future of civilization by tracking down the six essential elements scattered around the galaxy. Game of Flames is the second in the six-book series—all of them will be out within a year—and in the same vein as 39 Clues, each book is by a different bestselling author, namely D.J. MacHale, Robin Wasserman, Patrick Carman, Kekla Magoon, Jeanne DuPrau, and Wendy Mass. The pace is nonstop as the Voyagers work to find the elements but also guard their own secrets. Readers can keep the action going off the page on the series’ app and website, where they can decode alien secrets and customize their own ZRK Commander.

An Explorer’s Guide to the Nether: Lost Minecraft Journals, Book Two, by Winter Morgan
Minecraft fans will be psyched to check out the second book in the Lost Minecraft Journals series. Treasure hunters Harriet, Jack, and Toby have discovered the second journal once belonging to William, one of Minecraft’s greatest explorers, and the crew is determined to use it to find the missing explorer. But after building a portal to travel to the Nether, they realize they’re being followed. The chapters alternate between William’s journal entries and the treasure hunters’ story as they continue this epic journey.

Which books for young readers are you excited to read in November?

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