Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting, and please let me know how this blog served you.
Kim Tomsic

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Sticking up for STEM-Girl Protagonists and WHY this Matters

If you're coming to #ILA18 in Austin, Texas, I hope to see you at my poster session (Saturday July 21, 2018 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm) where you can see a giant 4'x6' poster of this image. I'd love to chat with you about why STEM-girls need to show up in books!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Interview with Samantha M. Clark THE BOY, THE BOAT, and the BEAST (June 2018)

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster June, 2018) by author Samantha M. Clark. When I closed the final chapter, I couldn't stop thinking about the story, so with no more pages to read, I reached out to the author. Samantha was kind enough to grant this interview.

1.       Where did the idea for The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast come from?
When we lived in Houston, the main road of our neighborhood ended at a lake. I was walking our dog one day and wondered what it would be like if someone woke up there and didn't know who he was or where he was or how he got there. When we got home, my husband and I brainstormed the idea for an hour, but I didn't really know what the book was about until I got to the end of the first draft. I had this "ooohhh" moment, and the real story began in revisions.

2.     Your writing a beautiful mixture of literary prose with a touch of verse as well as fast page turns and a heart-felt mystery. What are the top three things you’ve done to hone your craft as a writer?
Thank you! I'm not sure what specifically points to this, except that the lyrical voice was there from the beginning, but it has been refined a LOT in revisions. So top 3 in craft:
a) Reading books like THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt and WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson showed me what was possible and encouraged me to push further.

b) Early on with this book, I did a three-month paid mentorship with author Bethany Hegedus. She taught me a lot about psychic distance. The manuscript also won a year's mentorship with Kathi Appelt through the Houston SCBWI chapter, and that helped me learn to trust myself and my instincts -- although I still falter all the time.
c) For plotting, the biggest thing that has helped me was watching Dan Wells' 5 Story Structure videos on YouTube. The midpoint was a game changer for my storylines.

3.     I love that the boy in your story has a piece of fabric in his pocket. What part of The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast did you borrow from the fabric of your life?
Nicely done on that question. ;)
I have always battled fear and feeling like I'm not enough, and those themes show up over and over again in my books. For me, BEAST speaks to the scared 10-year-old that I think is inside most people, no matter how old they are.

4.     Please complete this sentence: Once upon a time, there was a girl…
...who's terribly glad she's sharing this publishing journey with the awesome Electric Eighteens [fellow debut authors], because they help her to not be as afraid.

5.     What do you have planned for your debut year including book launch party and speaking engagements?
This has been an amazing and busy year, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I'm signing copies of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST for amazing librarians at ALA 2018. I'm on faculty at the Writers League of Texas conference, speaking at the International Literacy Association conference (where I'll see you! yay!), speaking to kids at a summer writing camp at my local independent bookstore, BookPeople,  and teaching a kids writing workshop at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles on Aug. 4 (also with you! yay!). Plus I'll be celebrating the book with a launch party at BookPeople in Austin on July 28 at 2pm, a month after the release because of my busy schedule, but it's going to be amazing! Family and friends from out of town are coming, and we'll have cake, and chocolates, and cake, and chocolates... That's really all we need to make it wonderful.

Lightning round!
Tell us about your PET(s)
Two rescue dogs, who are amazing. We've had Annie for around 7 years and she's the sweetest, cutest dog. We just got Peanuts and had to keep his name because his foster mother's 4-year-old niece named him Peanut Butter Buttons. He's known as PBB on Instagram, and has quite the loyal following.

It’s your birthday dinner, what are we cooking and baking?
Oooh, probably an English roast with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and lots of veggies and gravy, followed by apple crumble. I'll make it all.

If you could have a Freaky Friday moment and swap places with any literary character for a day, who would it be and why?
Could I have 2? Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because of course. And Alice in Alice in Wonderland, because who wouldn't want to meet a Mad Hatter and a disappearing, grinning cat? I'd just have to steer clear of the Queen of Hearts.

What were your favorite books from when you were a child?

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe all-time favorite. Charlie. Alice. Winnie the Pooh books. Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. And anything by Enid Blyton.

Thank you, Samantha! I loved chatting with you!

You can meet Samantha at her launch party by signing up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/164713617522443/

Available for pre-order on IndieBoundPowell’sBook DepositoryBooks-A-MillionBarnes & NobleAmazonTargetWalmart and Samantha's fabulous local indie bookstore BookPeople.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Interview with Best-Selling Author Jennifer Bertman THE ALCATRAZ ESCAPE

The Alcatraz Escape by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman with illustrations by Sarah Watts (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Company May 1, 2018)

Legendary literary game-maker Garrison Griswold is back in action—this time with “Unlock the Rock.” For his latest game, Griswold has partnered with the famous–and famously reclusive–mystery writer Errol Roy to plan an epic escape room challenge on Alcatraz Island.
Emily and James are eager to participate, but the wave of fame they are riding from their recent book-hunting adventures makes them a target. Threatening notes, missing items, and an accident that might not have been an accident have the duo worried that someone is trying to get them out of the game at any cost.
When Emily’s brother is caught red-handed and blamed for all the wrong doings, Emily is certain Matthew is being framed. With Matthew’s record on the line, Emily and James can’t afford to leave this mystery uncracked.
Welcome, Jennifer! It’s such a treat to feature you on my blog. Congratulations on your latest release in the Book Scavenger series, and double congratulations because The Alcatraz Escape is a Junior Library Guild selection and also an Amazon Best Spring Book for Ages 9-12!

There’s so much I want to know, so let’s begin:

1.      Many “pre-published” authors who read this blog love hearing the “HOW” an author’s career path began. How did you get started writing and what did you do that shifted your career from wanting to be published to landing a book deal?
Being an author was something I’d dreamed about as a kid, but I stopped believing it was possible for me in junior high and high school. Then, when I was a freshman in college, I was given the option of taking a creative writing class instead of the standard Research Writing 101. Creative writing sounded way more interesting, so I took it, and loved it so much I never stopped writing stories after that. I went on to take the maximum amount of creative writing classes that UC Irvine would allow me. One of my professors, Michelle Latiolais, made me feel I had real potential for a career as a writer, and so I went on to get my MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College.
During graduate school, I realized children’s books were my passion. I went to the Book Passage Children’s Book Writer & Illustrator conference (where I met Lois Lowry—one of my author idols when I was a child!), and I joined SCBWI.
Throughout all those years, I was only focused on learning the craft of writing. I didn’t try to get anything published. Even after I graduated with my MFA, I still didn’t feel my writing was ready to be published, so I kept writing and meanwhile juggled multiple part-time jobs, then I started working full-time at McGraw-Hill Higher Education as a production editor for college textbooks.
I wrote a lot of picture books and revised and revised and revised until I finally felt a few were ready to send out to publishers. They all got rejected, but one was very close to being accepted two different times. The last rejection felt especially defeating—it had been my second revise and resubmit for an enthusiastic editor, and I’d thought for sure that would be my big break. But it wasn’t.
By that point, I’d been taking my writing seriously for close to ten years and was consistently getting feedback that my writing was strong. I felt like I had a good handle on the craft, and so it seemed like a matter of finding the right story for me to tell. I thought about the books I loved most when I was young, and Book Scavenger grew out of me trying to write what would have been the ultimate book for my younger self.
I spent ten years working on Book Scavenger—six different drafts—before it sold. (I continued to work on picture books and started a few other novels that went nowhere, but Book Scavenger always felt special to me even though I struggled with how to best tell the story.)

When I was working on Draft #4, I received an email from Ammi-Joan Paquette, an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She’d visited my website and blog and read the brief description I’d posted about the book I was working on. She wanted to read it! Fantastic! Only, my latest draft wasn’t done, but Joan was happy to wait until it was.
When I finished my fourth draft, I felt like the story was really solid. I sent it to Joan, who loved it, but thought it needed one more revision. The daunting part of her revision request was that she thought the draft was too long for the middle grade market at that time and wanted me to cut 100 pages from the story. Eek!
I wasn’t sure right off the bat how to tell my story with 25,000 less words, or if I’d even be able to figure it out, but Joan’s advice rang true to me. When I read her feedback, I knew she was envisioning the same best version of my story that I was. I knew it would serve the story I was trying to tell if I followed her advice. So I dug in and got to work.  
I managed to pare the story down so it was pretty close to 50,000 words. I sent it back to Joan and Oh Happy Day! She liked it! She wanted to represent me and after careful consideration, I agreed.
Before Book Scavenger went on submission, Joan suggested one more change to the ending of the book. Once again, she was seeing something that had always bothered me about the story on a subconscious level, and I knew she was spot on. I did another revision and then, finally, we sent Book Scavenger out.
We heard back with positive interest within a week, and after two weeks I had a pre-empt offer from the fabulous Christy Ottaviano who I have been thrilled to work with these past few years.

Book Scavenger and The Unbreakable Code are both New York Times bestsellers, Congratulations! I can’t wait to see The Alcatraz Escape land on that prestigious list, too. Since you’re a bestselling author and I am a lover of magic, please give me one magical tip that has helped your writing sparkle.
Thanks, Kim! Hmm, a magical tip . . . Every writer is going to have their own methods and style, but I am a patient and scrutinizing writer. I assemble my sentences and paragraphs and chapters like I’m putting together a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece, questioning each word as I go. I’m always asking myself how a sentence or paragraph or chapter serves the story. I think this approach benefits my writing in general, although sometimes I get too stuck in my head, going in circles around something that maybe won’t end up being important. With my last two books I had to work with very tight deadlines. This taught me that I’m more capable of writing quickly than I had once thought. And sometimes racing forward can release really wonderful things, but there is always a point in the revision process where I have to go over what I’ve written with a meticulous eye.

3.     What do you do to research your novels (i.e. do you travel back to San Francisco and what else?)

For The Alcatraz Escape, I read a lot about Alcatraz, of course. I watched documentaries and visited Alcatraz in person, even though I’ve been there several times before. On my research trip to Alcatraz, I went with an eye toward what my characters would notice and experience while they were there. I took a lot of photos and videos to help me remember and capture details, but the Internet can also be helpful if there’s something I’m trying to remember but didn’t jot down or take a picture of. I also reach out to experts when I have questions or to verify details of my story. The third Book Scavenger was inspired by escape rooms, and so I did an escape room with my writing group and read up on other people’s escape room experiences. In general, I keep myself open. You never know when you will happen across a news article or something that relates to the story you’re working on.

4.     If you could have a Freaky Friday moment with one of your characters in any of your books (but for only one day), who would you swap places with and why?

Emily, so I could go book hunting around San Francisco for a day.

5.     You’re officially one of the great children’s mystery writers. What are the top three things you think a book needs to be a strong mystery?
Wow! Well, thank you for saying that. What a wonderful thing to hear. I’d say in the very best mysteries, you will often find:
1) Main characters who get drawn into the mystery in a compelling and believable way, making it hard to separate the plot from the character. Meaning, if somebody else had been dropped into the story instead of your main character, the events wouldn’t have unfolded in the same way. Your main character is the one making choices that drive the story (and therefore the mystery) forward.
2)  None of the characters feel like they are only there to offer a clue or act as a red herring.
3) Setting. Every great mystery I’ve enjoyed has also been rooted in a strong sense of place that’s added to the mood and plot in intriguing ways.

6.     What are some of your favorite children’s mystery novels?
Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky series, Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keye’s series, Masterpiece and Shakespeare’s Secret, both by Elise Broach, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  

Sneak question of sorts: I love that your blog Creative Spaces features writers in their work environment. Show us yours:

7.      If you could travel back in time, what is one tip you’d give your past writer self when you were pre-published?
Trust your instincts. Your hard work will pay off in the end so don’t beat yourself up too much. Have fun. Be more organized with your notes and files.

Thank you, Jennifer!

For more information about the book, to read an excerpt, or to join the game visit BookScavenger.com.

Bio: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the author of the New York Times--bestselling Book Scavenger series (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt) which includes Book ScavengerThe Unbreakable Code, and The Alcatraz Escape. Book Scavenger was an Indie Next Top Ten pick, an Amazon Book of the Year, a Bank Street College Book of the Year, an NCTE Notable Book, and has been nominated for twenty state award and honor lists, among other accolades. The series will be translated into thirteen languages. She studied creative writing and dance at UC Irvine and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. She worked in publishing for over a decade before becoming a children’s book author. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer now lives in Colorado with her family.

Twitter: @jabertie

BOOK SCAVENGER (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt)
New York Times Bestseller |  Best Book of the Year: Bank Street, Amazon  | NCTE Notable Book

BOOK SCAVENGER 2: THE UNBREAKABLE CODE (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt)
             New York Times Bestseller |  Junior Library Guild selection
  "Readers who loved the first volume will find this follow-up even more satisfying. Purchase extra copies where there are fans." --School Library Journal 

                Junior Library Guild selection |  An Amazon Best Spring Book for Ages 9-12

Friday, February 9, 2018

STEM Girls in Literature: Why This Matters

Stem Books for Girls and Boys that Break Gender Stereotyping

Gender Stereotyping
Another title for this article could be: Why STEM could be called STREAM (science, technology, READING, engineering, ART, and math). These areas of study can feed into one another in a beautiful synergistic dance.  But first, let's discuss the findings.  After dedicating millions of dollars in research, the National Science Foundation was able to prove this fact:  Creating a sense of BELONGING will keep girls interested in STEM classes. With belonging ability grows. 
In another study titled, "Peer influences on adolescents' self-concept, achievement, and future aspirations in science and mathematics: Does student gender and race matter?" The report says, “Recently, the gender gap in science and math performance has been closing but the gap in STEM self-concept and aspirations remains large.”

We have to keep working on this, people! And we can work on this through the power of books. But if you still need convincing, let me tell you about a study released two months ago.

In December, 2017, Great Britain’s advertising regulators released a study and announced their intention to crack down on harmful ads, the title: “Depictions, Perceptions and Harm”. After carefully considering the results, the Advertising Standards Authority announced there would be new rules to ban ads that promote unhealthy body images, ads that sexually objectify women, and ads that promote gender stereotyping (i.e. ads where little girls grow up to be ballerinas while little boys become mathematicians; or ones showing a family making a mess and the mom cleans it up by herself; or only girls who ride horses in skimpy and sexy outfits are fit for leadership).  
One of the most disturbing discoveries in the study was how stereotypes, “restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities” the ad viewer experiences, and that children were, “more susceptible to accept and internalize stereotypes at an age where they are unable to deconstruct them. Research showed that children start to consider their roles in society at a young age”.  The lead author on this report, Ella Smillie, says, “Such portrayals can limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they take.”
If a thirty-second ad has such power, image the impact an hour with a book can make!  In the words of Shannon Hale, there are not boy books or girl books, there are simply books. Authors, teachers, librarians, parents, and adults have an enormous responsibility to make sure books that break gender stereotypes land in the hands of children.
I’ve curated a list of 2017 and 2018 titles featuring a STEM girl protagonist, one who breaks the gender stereotype. I hope someone will also curate a list of titles featuring boy protagonists who break gender stereotypes.      

AFTER THE ASHES by Sara K Joiner, Holiday House Books for Young Readers 9780823434411 

In 1883, Katrien Courtlandt is more interested in science and exploring the jungle than in becoming a young lady like her rival Brigitta, but when Krakatoa erupts and they lose their families, the two girls struggle to survive together.
AFTER THE ASHES was named an outstanding science trade book by the
National Science Teachers Association

COUNDOWN CONSPIRACY by Katie Slivensky (HarperCollins, 2017) ISBN-

10: 0062462555 ISBN-13: 978-0062462558. Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.  

Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno (ISBN: 9781524720087) Knopf Books for Young Readers, A homeless girl searches for a place to belong by tracking all the trees and plants in Brooklyn.

Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue, by Jeff Seymour ,G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin Random House) ISBN: 9780525632733
Publisher's logline: "From debut author Jeff Seymour and bestselling illustrator
Brett Helquist comes this breathtaking fantasy adventure, starring an extraordinary new heroine and set in an unforgettable world where ships can fly." Bonus notes: Jeff grew up in Colorado and wrote Nadya when he was living in Niwot. STEM involved is mostly physics and chemistry, with a little ecology and botany.

Payback on Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks, Viking Children's/Penguin
Young Readers, ISBN: 978-0425290903, out 1/30/18. If we let Economics in the STEM sandbox, this book uses an alternating POV, and one of the main characters is a twelve-year-old girl dipping her toe into the cul-de-sac business pool for the first time. ABC's Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block.

A PROBLEMATIC PARADOX by Eliot Sappingfield, Putnam Young Readers ISBN-10: 152473845X
"Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in this wild, warm-hearted, and hilarious sci-fi debut about a brainy young girl who is recruited for a very special boarding school."

THE SERPENT'S SECRET, by Sayantani DasGupta, Scholastic, 978-
1338185706 Logline: Meet Kiranmala: Interdimensional Demon Slayer (Only she doesn't know it yet)!

TINY INFINITIES by J.H. Diehl Chronicle Books (May 8, 2018) 9781-4521-6335-2 Logline from JLG: Funny and devastatingly honest, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and determination to prove one's self, rings loud and true. (A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION) The story revolves around a science experiment performed by 13-year-old Alice, a competitive swimmer, and her best friend and teammate, Harriet, whose interest in getting a jump on the annual middle school science fair leads the girls to recreate firefly bioluminescence in a makeshift basement lab. 

The 11:11 Wish by Kim Tomsic (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins February 13,
2018) ISBN0062654942 (ISBN13: 9780062654946)

Wishes, magic, and dares abound when a tween math whiz tries to fit in at her new school by wishing on a magical cat clock only to suffer catastrophic consequences! Kirkus calls The 11:11 Wish a "funny fin fix."  In the midst of dealing with pinocchio-esque reprecussions, Megan, the main character, uses the scientific method to try to understand magic.

THE INVENTORS AT NO. 8 by A.M. Morgen, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, (ISBN 978-0316471497). 

Brimming with mystery and treasure, this action-packed tale sends a boy in need of luck and girl in need of a friend on an adventure that will change their lives forever. STEM connection:  main character is a genius! She is based on Ada Byron Lovelace who is recognized as the first computer programmer.

THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT by Mae Respicio, Random House Kids & Wendy Lamb Books (ISBN 978-1524717940). 12-year-old Lou Bulosan-Nelson longs for a place of her own to escape her lovable but large Filipino family. She plans to build a tiny house on land she inherited from her dad, and discovers it’s not so easy. But Lou won’t give up on her dream—her friends and family won’t either.

THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER by Diane Magras KD Books/Penguin Young
Readers, ISBN: 978-0735229266, March 6, 2018. (MG fantasy historical adventure), A Scottish medieval adventure about the youngest in a war-band who must free her family from a castle prison after knights attack her home—with all the excitement of Ranger's Apprentice and perfect for fans of heroines like Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series.  At first glance, this may not seem like STEM, but the protagonist is a tough and independent girl who knows her woods, how to find water and food in the wild, plus there are various scenes of her judging distances in terms of rock-climbing and sword-play. All that, AND a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly: "Empathetic, bold, and entirely herself at a time when women were dismissed as weak, Drest shines in this fastpaced adventure."

THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL, Random House Children's Books, May 1, 2018, ISBN-10: 1524767573, ISBN-13: 978-1524767570  "What do you get when you add 1 genius math brain, 2 new friends, and 1 shelter dog?" "Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college.
She just has to pass 1 more test—middle school!"

WHAT THE WOODS KEEP by Katya de Becerra, Imprint/Macmillan (Sept. 18, 2018)  
ISBN: 9781250124258A physicist’s daughter inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets. Hayden relies on physics and the scientific method to deal with her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before
, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

THE ZANNA FUNCTION by Daniel Wheatley, Jolly Fish Press/North Star Editions (ISBN: 9781631631689) The Zanna Function follows super smart, fourteen-year-old Zanna Mayfield and her adventures at St. Pommeroy’s School for Gifted Children. Zanna discovers she can manipulate basic scientific functions, like velocity and chemical reactions, but she’ll need more than science to stop a mysterious woman determined to shut her down.

Author: Cindy Baldwin
Publisher: harpercollins Children's Books
ISBN: 0062665863

Logline: When Della's Mama starts showing symptoms of the illness that landed her in the hospital four years ago, all the math problems in the world won't keep Della's own anxiety away—but when her grand plans to permanently heal Mama go awry, Della must learn that love means accepting her Mama just as she is.

AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, ISBN: 9781481499101. 

“An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.”

BRIGHTLY BURNING by Alexa Donne, HMH Teen (ISBN 978-1328948939). A romantic, cinematic, richly-imagined retelling of the classic Jane Eyre set in space, about seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley, a mechanic who takes a governess job on board the private ship, the Rochester and falls in love with the ship's mysterious and troubled captain. For Marissa Meyer and Kiera Cass fans. This novel might be light on STEM, but it’s absolutely worthy of this list, because protagonist is an engineer who wants to be a teacher.

CALCULUS OF CHANGE by Jessie Hilb (Clarion Books, February 2018, ISBN
9781328830258) Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant. 

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom's faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden's brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory

DARE MIGHTY THINGS by Heather Kaczynski, HarperTeen (ISBN 978-
0062479860). THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.

Eighteen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she is to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL by Maxine KaplanAbram/Amulet 978-1419728587. Publisher's catalog logline: "After getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracized. She plans to keep her head down until she graduates. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing from a dealer, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is—and own it. The longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.”   STEM connection: 
Kendall, the MC, is a closet science nerd, who in the wake of social disgrace, has plotted her escape by applying for and being accepted into the Young Astronomers Talent Search semester away. The blackmail that forms the impetus of the plot is about her preserving her slot in YATS. And she solves one of the final mysteries, by using her science knowledge

HEART OF THORNS Bree Barton, Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins ISBN-10:
0062447688, ISBN-13: 978-0062447685 
Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood. Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother. But when she is forced into a marriage she desperately doesn't want, Mia discovers she has the very dark magic she has sworn to destroy.

INK, IRON, AND GLASS by Gwendolyn Clare, Imprint, Feb 20 2018, ISBN: 9781250112767 Logline: In steampunk Italy, Elsa crafts entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology.

THE DEEPEST ROOTS, Miranda Asebedo. ISBN: 9780062747099, Published by HarperTeen (September 18, 2018). Brash 17-year-old mechanic Rome and her two best friends set out to uncover the truth about why the girls of their rural Kansas town are all born under a mysterious curse, but one of them goes missing and all secrets must be revealed if they’re to find her. 
NOT EVEN BONES by Rebecca Schaeffer out September 4, 2018 from HMHTeen isbn: 978-1328863546 Logline: Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark debut about a girl who dissects monsters and sells their body parts on the internet. The MC wants to be a biological researcher studying monsters

(cover to come)

NOTHING BUT SKY by Amy Trueblood, Releases March 27, 2018 from FLUX, ISBN: 978-1635830163: Grace Lafferty, an eighteen-year-old wingwalker, thrills crowds with barrel rolls and loop-the-loops in hopes of making enough money to get to the 1922 World Aviation Expo. When one of her maneuvers saves a pilot's life, a film studio offers Grace a chance at a coveted Hollywood contract. But after a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether her life is worth risking for one final trick. "Amy Trueblood takes an overlooked page in history, folds it into an intense drama, and sends it soaring. Post World War I wing walker Grace Lafferty is the kind of spunky, stubborn heroine that will make readers feel like the sky's the limit."  Another book that busts the gender roles. This female MC is a wing walker who spends part of the book as a mechanic taking care of the planes. A 2018 Junior Library Guild selection.

SANCTUARY by Caryn Lix, published by Simon & Schuster Pulse on July 24
2018. ISBN: 9781534405332. The tagline is: Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s
The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training,
Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures. (The main character, Kenzie, uses coding and computer sciences to solve a number of problems).

YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE by Rachel Lynn Solomon, published by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse on January 2, 2018. ISBN: 978-1481497732. A heartbreaking and lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate--whether they inherited their mother's Huntington's disease. It's dual POV, and one of the MCs wants to be a surgeon

TEN AFTER CLOSING by Jessica Bayliss Sky Pony Press, 2018. ISBN-10: 1510732071. ISBN-13: 978-1510732070: This female protagonist has been doing paramedic training which comes in quite handy in this thriller. Logline: "10PM: Closing time at Café Flores. The door should be locked, but it isn’t. TEN MINUTES AFTER CLOSING: The first gunshot is fired. Someone’s dead. And if Winny & Scott don’t come up with a plan, they may not live to see morning."

Author: Ingrid Palmer
Publisher: Creston Books

ISBN: 978-1-939547-48-4
Logline: Sixteen-year-old Andrea's life is split between acing honors classes and moonlighting for her mother's controlling drug-dealer boyfriend. When her worlds threaten to collide, Andrea must escape one dangerous life and salvage what’s left of the other. 

Picture Books:
Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines
As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
Jeannine Atkins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
A gorgeously written novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Mimi's Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It
Katie Smith Milway
Kids Can Press
In this addition to the CitizenKid series, Mimi Mahalo and her family help bring
basic health care to their small Kenyan community.          

A Passion for Elephants: The Real Life Adventure of Field Scientist
Cynthia Moss by Toni Buzzeo Dial Books ISBN 9780399187254
Readers are introduced to Cynthia Moss, who devoted her adult life to studying African elephants, the largest land animals on the planet.

To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space
Carmella Van Vleet & Dr. Kathy Sullivan
Charlesbridge Publishing ISBN 9781580896443
Kathy liked fishing and swimming; flying planes and studying science. That's what she liked and that's what she decided to do with her life. She followed her heart and eventually became a NASA astronaut and the first woman to walk in space.

The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 9780544636224
When scientist-in-the-making Madeline Little starts sixth grade, she soon learns that middle school is nothing like a perfect lab experiment--and that she now has to find the cure for her newly messed-up life.

Lucy's Lab #1: Nuts About Science by Michelle Houts, Sky Pony Press, ISBN 9781510710641
On Lucy's first day of second grade, she's excited to meet her new teacher, Miss Flippo, and find out everything's she's going to learn about this year in school. And when Miss Flippo tells the class that they're going to have their very own science lab, complete with lab coats and goggles, Lucy can't wait to start exploring.

Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone, Disney-Hyperion, ISBN 9781484784976

Allie Navarro can't wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. Click'd pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it's a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about Click'd.

Ada Lace, on the Case by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ISBN 9781481485999

In this first novel in a brand-new chapter book series, eight-year-old Ada Lace-who has a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries--teams up with her best friend, Nina, to find a missing dog.

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague - coming
Sept 2018 by Julia Finley Mosca, Innovation Press, 9781943147427

After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. 

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles - coming March 2018, by Patricia Valdez, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young

While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere--she even brought a crocodile to school! 

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed
Science - coming Feb 2018 by Joyce Sidman, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN

Newbery Honoree Sidman explores the extraordinary life and scientific discoveries of Merian, who discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented the science behind the mystery in this visual biography that features many original paintings by Merian herself.