Books for Tweens

Check out funny and heartfelt fiction!

Coming June 2020!

You’ll like this book if…you’re a mammal who walks on two legs.

-Another mammal

What happens when an 11-year-old with social anxiety gets into an improv troupe?

Eleven-year-old Ava Andrews has a Technicolor interior with a gray shell. On the inside, she bubbles with ideas and plans. On the outside, everyone except her best friend, Zelia, thinks she doesn’t talk or, worse, is stuck-up. What nobody knows is that Ava has invisible disabilities: anxiety and a heart condition.

Ava hopes middle school will be a fresh start, but when Zelia moves across the country and Ava’s Nana Linda pushes her to speak up about social issues, she withdraws further. So Ava is shocked when her writing abilities impress her classmates and they invite her to join their improv group, making up stories onstage. Determined to prove she can control her anxiety, she joins—and discovers a whole new side of herself, and what it means to be on a team.

But as Ava’s self-confidence blossoms, her relationship with Zelia strains, and she learns that it isn’t enough just to raise your voice—it’s how and why you use it that matters.

Learn about:

Invisible disabilities (anxiety and a heart condition), community activism & how we’re connected with neighbors, improv, theater, how to be a supportive friend

Can Cady overcome her background to become a baker?

When Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she isn’t sure what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

I loved Summer of a Thousand Pies. It was a very good book that I was able to connect with. My grandma died while I was reading the book, but my grandma loved to bake. Also, my grandpa felt the same way as Mr. Miniver. Thank you for the perspective you gave me, and the comfort you gave me.

a 7th grader

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs.

It has Mary Berry in it!

Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

Summer of a Thousand Pies is a sweet and satisfying treat of a novel full of friendship, family, and, of course, pie.

Learn about:

Homelessness, effects of parental addiction, the science of baking, small businesses, undocumented immigration

Honor Award Winner, the American Library Association’s Pacific American Librarians Association

How can a video game nerd who hates school possibly become the person his father needs to save him?

A fantasy retelling of the Japanese Momotaro (peach boy!) story.

Watch out, Harry Potter! Momotaro’s coming for you.

an actual 5th grade review

Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. If Xander could do stuff he’s good at instead, like draw comics and create computer programs, and if Lovey would stop harassing him for being half Asian, he might not be counting the minutes until the dismissal bell.

When spring break begins at last, Xander plans to spend it playing computer games with his best friend, Peyton. Xander’s father briefly distracts him with a comic book about some samurai warrior that pops out of a peach pit. Xander tosses it aside, but Peyton finds it more interesting.

Little does either boy know that the comic is a warning. They are about to be thrust into the biggest adventure of their lives-a journey wilder than any Xander has ever imagined, full of weird monsters even worse than Lovey. To win at this deadly serious game they will have to rely on their wits, courage, faith, and especially, each other. Maybe Xander should have listened to Mr. Stedman about the weather after all. . . .

My son chose to read this instead of playing video games! You’re a miracle worker!

Amazed Dad
disney awards.jpg


“With phantasmagorical environments, flying white rats, a fire-breathing bird, a giant, a snow demon, and other creepy things, there is abundant action. This retelling of a Japanese folktale celebrates courage, friendship, and pride of heritage, while featuring unforgettable characters and leaving readers eager for the next installment in this new series.”―Booklist

“Though the story of Momotaro is familiar to every Japanese child, Dilloway seamlessly weaves necessary background information into the fast, action-filled plot. Xander, a Japanese American boy, hardly knows the legend himself, so readers learn along with him. Xander’s candid and straightforward first-person narration will instantly resonate with middle grade readers, as will his story’s themes of self-acceptance and friendship. Yoon’s comic-style illustrations evoke Xander’s talent for drawing and bring welcome visual interest for reluctant readers. This fast-paced fantasy adventure with a foundation in Japanese culture is perfect for fans of Percy Jackson.”―School Library Journal


Barnes and Noble


“Xander and his friends return in the second installment of this series centered on the Japanese folklore legend of the Momotaro. Xander has learned that he is the descendant of an ancient warrior, and his newfound powers are creating an extreme amount of stress in his life. To make matters more complicated, his missing mother has returned after a long absence. Xander is not sleeping, and he must deal with evil creatures, the oni, trying to harm him at every turn. His father constantly demands that he train and be prepared. Xander’s mother, whom he barely recognizes, is trying to reinsert herself into his life after many years of being away. But more than anything, his nightmares are starting to deeply frighten him. To combat this problem, Xander’s grandmother gives him a special baku charm, which is supposed to ease his dreams by taking them away. Xander soon realizes that he has turned his world upside down by using the baku foolishly. Thus begins a new adventure for Xander, who must save his family and friends. Dilloway’s research into Japanese folklore, the well-crafted characters, and the setting make this fast-paced tale perfect for fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” and Jennifer Nielsen’s “Mark of the Thief” series. ¬VERDICT Readers will eagerly anticipate the next volume. Purchase where mythology-based adventures are popular.–William ¬Anderson, Scott County Public Library, IN– School Library Journal



Barnes and Noble

Learn about:

Japanese monsters and mythology, being biracial and bi-cultural, choosing the common good over personal gain, sacrificing for others, controlling your impulses, stretching your comfort zone, having faith in the unknown, appreciating your talents

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