Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, September 1st), ages 12 and up.
This gripping sequel to The Hunger Games will keep you on the edge of your seat. Having defied the Capitol, Katniss and Peter now find themselves caught up in a different kind of dangerous game, as sparks of rebellion begin to catch fire. An electrifying read.
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, illus by Yoko Tanaka
(Candlewick, September 8th), ages 8 to 12 (or, really, all ages).
Reading this lovely story is like floating inside a dream. Anything is possible. When Peter asks a fortune teller for help in finding a long-lost sister, the fortune teller says an elephant will lead him to her. Kate DiCamillo has outdone herself. This is a timeless fable that will linger long after you turn the last page. And undoubtedly will be one of my top recommendations for holiday gift-giving.
And a few titles that are already available in stores:
A deeply romantic and unusual fantasy about a girl named Grace, obsessed with wolves since she survived an attack years ago, and a yellow-eyed boy named Sam, who's a shapeshifter. This heartwarming story could well do for werewolves what Twilight did for vampires. Told in alternating chapters by Grace and Sam, the narrative races to a powerful conclusion.
When You Reach Me , by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House), ages 8 to 12.
In the future, this will be one of those quirky and amazing books that everyone talks about. Set in New York city circa 1979, this brilliantly-plotted novel delves into the life and times of Miranda and her friends, and involves a series of mysterious notes and unusual occurrences. Reach out and grab this book and read it. Now.