Ordinary Kids, Super Adventures

There's a lot of great new children's novels of late, and here are four published in 2018!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
Lucy Callahan is a math genius. Her mathematical powers suddenly appeared after she was struck by lightning(!). She's so good at math that she's intellectually ready for college even though she's only 12 years old. But there's one problem...her grandma thinks she's not really socially ready. They make a deal: attend 1 year of middle school and then she can apply to college. But, it's not so easy. Lucy finds that being in school causes her a lot of anxiety; she has obsessive-compulsive disorder, which requires her to do certain repetitive movements or else her brain goes into a tailspin. Middle school is tough...will she make it through? This book is really popular with the kids at the library so I knew I had to pick it up and read it myself! Fun fact: the author, Stacy McAnulty, is a former mechanical engineer turned writer.

Squirm by Carl Hiaasen
Billy Dickens loves animals, especially snakes. When an opportunity arises to reconnect with his estranged father in Montana, he can't pass it up. There, he meets his new stepmom and stepsister, who are really cool and teach him about their family's history as part of the Crow Nation Native American Tribe. His dad, however, isn't quite as cool. Mysterious and elusive, he claims to work as a secret agent for the government. But is that really true? Billy's not so sure. When his dad takes him on an investigative adventure, Billy has to use his animal whisperer powers to save both of their lives. This is Carl Hiaasen's 5th environmental mystery novel for kids; it's not as funny as his previous books, but it does include lots of thrilling moments and lots of interesting info about nature, technology, and history.

Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
Okay, if you're looking for a really funny book with action, history, and spies, look no further than this new novel by one of today's most popular children's authors, Mac Barnett. It's the 1980s, and the Queen of England enlists regular kid Mac B. to become a secret agent. (Mac B. is totally based on the author himself. Is it true? He says it is!) His mission: find out who stole one of the Crown Jewels. It's a European adventure with lots of humorous conversations with the Queen thrown into the mix. It's also full of fun illustrations by Mike Lowery, so any fan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will enjoy this.

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
This book is for the animal lover. When Louie's dad brings home a sick baby donkey, Louie is determined to help save its life--even though the odds are against its survival. Louie forms a bond with the donkey that makes him certain he can nurse it back to health. This is a moving story about survival and love from one of the legends of children's fiction, Sharon Creech. She's famous for her novels written in verse, and while this isn't that format--it's a regular novel--the language itself is poetic.

What are some of your favorite books of 2018? Let us know in the comments below.