Category Archives: Excerpts

Read This Excerpt of ‘Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas’


Looking for an exciting, adventurous new read? Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes may be the book for you. It’s the first book in a new series that promises laugh-out-loud moments and nonstop action. What’s it about?

addison-cooke-cover12-year-old Addison Cooke just wishes something exciting would happen to him. His aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers, travel to the ends of the Earth searching for hidden treasure, dodging dangerous robbers along the way, while Addison is stuck in school all day.

Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After his uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. Addison’s uncle is the bandits’ key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure . . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and crack the code first. So it’s off to South America, where the excitement, danger, gold, booby traps, and car chases are never-ending!

Read an Excerpt from the Book

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We recently had the chance to ask Stokes about his new book. Here’s what he had to say:

What can you tell us about Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas?

charactersAddison Cooke is a fast-talking sixth grader who lives in New York with his little sister, Molly. When their aunt and uncle – famous archaeologists – are kidnapped by fortune hunters, Addison and Molly must embark on a globe-trotting adventure to locate a hidden Incan treasure and rescue their aunt and uncle. Joining them on their perilous journey are Addison’s two best friends, Raj and Eddie, who help almost as much as they hurt. Along the way, the team faces constant dangers from treacherous treasure hunters racing to uncover the Incan treasure.

How did you come up with the idea?

As a sixth grader, my friends and I spent most of our time exploring in the woods, sneaking into abandoned houses, planning secret missions, building gadgets, and setting elaborate booby traps. Addison shares all of these interests. But he’s much smarter than I was, and more resourceful. So whereas my secret missions might take me all the way to the hayloft of a neighbor’s barn, Addison’s missions take him all the way to the Amazon Rainforest.

While a lot of current middle-grade books dive into fantasy and/or science fiction, this book is more of a throwback to the history and adventure of stories like Indiana Jones. Was that an intentional decision?

Yes! Just this year, a man in England discovered an 1,800-year-old Roman palace buried in his backyard. A few days earlier, a family in France discovered a 135 million dollar Caravaggio painting that had been hidden in their attic for centuries. History is buried a few inches below your feet, or secreted away behind the walls of your attic. It is all around us for those who wish to explore. This is the world I want to write about.

There’s a Boy Scouting reference in the book. What inspired that? Were you a Scout?

Sadly, I was never a boy scout. But I went to YMCA summer camps growing up where our only shower was the lake and our only bathroom was the woods. We had to learn to build fires, put out said fires, and not starve to death, so I mined those survival skills for the book.

You got your start writing movie screenplays. What drew you to writing books for kids?

I originally pitched Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas as a movie screenplay for actor Ben Stiller’s production company. It was rejected. So I then pitched Addison as a movie for actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and their kids Jaden and Willow. It was rejected again. So finally I just decided to write the book. It didn’t get rejected! And now I’ve discovered I love writing for kids.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I play upright bass and musical saw in the bluegrass band, “Everly Snodgrass.” I’m also a competitive ballroom dancer. When I’m too wiped out to write, play music, or dance, I read a disturbing amount of books and enjoy editing Wikipedia.

BL’s Exclusive Reveal of Lego Ninjago: Dark Island Trilogy


Looking for a great summertime read? Don’t miss the new Lego Ninjago series, with Book One debuting July 19. Each book features cool content such as episode guides, maps, bios and even Wu’s Journal – the Master’s secret thoughts on the ninja, their enemies and more.

What’s the series about? After the events of Skybound, a new darkness threatens the Ninjago universe. Fishermen vanish from the seas, a violent storm brews off the edge of Dark Island, and Master Wu senses a growing imbalance between good and evil. When Misako and Ronin disappear, they leave behind one clue–a warning to stay away.

As Master Wu and the ninja journey to Dark Island, they’ll be faced with new and old threats alike. Will their Spinjitzu and mastery over the elements be enough to stop the end of the world? You’ll join your favorite heroes here as they go up against a threat that could destroy the Ninjago world as we know it.

Here are the covers for each book in the trilogy. Scroll down to read an excerpt from Book One.

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Check out an excerpt from LEGO Ninjago: Dark Island Trilogy Part 1:

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Must Read This Week: ‘Doodle Adventures: Slimy Space Slugs’


Ever imagined yourself in the books you read? With Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs!, you can actually make that happen. How does it work? You begin by drawing yourself into the story, then continue by following prompts and adding more of your own illustrations and doodles.



Here’s the official synopsis:

Draw your way through the story! Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs! is a lighthearted fantasy where the reader first draws him- or herself into the story, and then continues by following prompts and adding more illustrations and doodles.

Set in space, the book invites the reader to join Carl, a duck and member of a super-secret international group of explorers, on a journey in search of a very important grail-like object. The book is sturdy paper over board with beautiful cream paper—perfect for defacing! And by the end, the reader will have co-written a tale to return to again and again, and show off to family and friends.

Check Out This Excerpt From Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs!

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Read an Exciting Excerpt From Peter Brown’s ‘The Wild Robot’

UpdatedrobotOne of the most anticipated novels of the year is The Wild Robot, the adventurous tale of a lonely robot called Roz who mysteriously awakes on a wild island.

The only way Roz can live is by learning about her new environment from the island’s hostile animal inhabitants. But when she finds herself taking care of a baby goose, all the animals pitch in and teach Roz how to thrive in this new world.

The Wild Robot raises thought-provoking questions about nature, technology, conservation, how humans affect the world around us and what it means to be alive.

Sound good? Scroll down to read a excerpt of the The Wild Robot.


The Wild Robot — Excerpt

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Read Chapter One Of the New Graphic Novel ‘Caveboy Dave’

Click the image to feast your eyes on a larger version of the never-before-seen cover for Caveboy Dave.

Caveboy Dave is a hilarious new graphic novel series about a primitive kid named Dave Unga-Bunga, struggling through the pains of growing up in a world in which he doesn’t fit in. Imagine a prehistoric version of Wimpy Kid meets Captain Underpants.

What’s so tough about Dave’s life? For starters, his grandfather invented fire and his dad invented the wheel — so how is he supposed to live up to that sort of family reputation? You’ll have to read it find out to find out.

The bad news? Caveboy Dave: More Scrawny Than Brawny won’t hit bookstores until November. The good news? We’ve got a sneak peek of first chapter for you to read today! Scroll down for our exclusive excerpt! ________________________________________________________________________________________


Caveboy Dave: More Scrawny Than Brawny

Chapter One

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Read Chapter 1 of ‘The Extra Yard’ by Mike Lupica


There are few books that accurately capture the grit, realism, competition and overall chaos of youth sports. But bestselling author Mike Lupica’s Home Team series of novels is promising to become one of the best examples of believable and entertaining sports fiction.

The second novel in the series, The Extra Yard, tackles football as we learn more about Teddy as his friendship with Jack, Cassie and Gus continues off the baseball field and onto the football field. Here’s the gist:

the-extra-yard-9781481410007_hrLast spring Teddy’s life changed for the better. He started working out, shaping up, and even earned a spot on the Walton baseball team, and with the team he went all the way to the Little League World Series. But the best things to come out of that season were his friendships with Jack, Cassie, and Gus, and the confidence to finally try out for the sport he really loves—football. So when eighth grade begins, Teddy couldn’t be more psyched.

Until his mom drops a bomb: his father—who left them a long time ago—is back in Walton and back in their lives. And Teddy isn’t happy about it. As a former star football player at the school, Teddy’s dad is thrilled to find out his son is going out for the team, but Teddy begins to wonder if his father only cares about him now because he’s putting on the helmet. Can Teddy find a way to go the extra yard for the team and for himself, or is the distance between him and his father too much to overcome?

Sound good? Scroll down to listen to the audio version of the first chapter from The Extra Yard. Keep scrolling to find the printed excerpt of Chapter 1.


Listen to Chapter 1 of The Extra Yard


The Extra Yard

Chapter 1

Teddy Madden felt better about himself than he ever had before. Even though he was scared out of his mind.

He was starting eighth grade next week, but he wasn’t scared about starting another year in school. He was actually excited about that.

He was scared about football.

In two days he had tryouts for the Walton Wildcats, a new football team for the best kids his age, even though he had never played a game of organized football before.

He kept telling himself he was in the best shape of his life. In the past he’d joked that he had no shape, other than maybe a blob. He had a good attitude about sports for the first time. That was thanks to his friend Jack Callahan.

It was Jack who’d nominated himself last spring to become Teddy’s personal trainer. Jack basically told Teddy he was going to get in shape or else.

Teddy hated the workouts at first. But slowly he came to like them, and then love them. Mostly he loved the way they made him feel good about himself. Before then, he just figured self-esteem was for somebody else’s self. Not anymore. Teddy felt good, and not just about being in this kind of shape. He and Jack weren’t just teammates. They were friends.

They were boys.

Teddy thought of himself as a whole new kid: Teddy Madden 2.0. So maybe it figured he would have new friends, too, like Jack and Gus Morales and Cassie Bennett. Cassie was the star of girls’ sports in Walton the way Jack was for boys’.

Once Teddy started to get himself into shape, a lot of things began to happen, both in sports and in his life. For one thing, he ended up the catcher on the Walton baseball team, the Rays, which had made it all the way to the United States final of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Everybody on the team would always think they would have won the final if Jack had been able to pitch. But the Rays needed him in the semifinal, where he’d pitched a one-hitter in beating a team from Toledo. In the final the Rays fell behind 7–1. They came all the way back to tie, before losing in the bottom of the last inning to a pretty great team from Las Vegas.

Because of the way they had come back, though, they left Williamsport feeling as if they’d won something. Teddy was pretty sure that in Walton, people who’d watched their games on ESPN would always remember the near no-hitter Jack had pitched, and that big comeback against Las Vegas.

“The more you play,” Jack said when they got home, “you find out there’s more than one way to keep score in sports.”

That baseball season had started with the old Teddy, the out-of-shape and overweight Teddy. He was a blob-shaped spectator. But he had ended up in Williamsport, hitting a two-run double to tie Vegas at 7–7. It was the kind of hit you always dreamed about hitting, in the big game, on national television. Teddy Madden had gotten that hit. Even if it wasn’t enough to win that game for his team, he’d still gotten that hit.

By then, nobody was calling him by his old nickname: Teddy Bear.

On the baseball field behind Walton Middle School, one that Jack and Teddy were now using to play football, Jack said to Teddy, “We’re going to need a new nickname for you.”

It was just the two of them on a Thursday morning, the end of the last week before school. They threw Teddy’s new football around on a field that was so close to his house it was almost like an extension of his backyard.

They took a quick break after going at it hard for an hour, sat on the grass, and drank Gatorade out of the bottles they’d brought. Teddy knew their rest period wouldn’t last long. It never did with Jack Callahan.

“The one nickname I had before was more than enough,” Teddy said. “You know how big my mom is on gluten-free food? My plan is to be nickname free.”

Jack acted as if he hadn’t even heard him. “How about Teddy the Tiger?”

“You make me sound like I should be telling you to eat your cereal,” Teddy said. “And really? A tiger on a team called the Wildcats?”

“Excellent point,” Jack said. He thought for a moment, frowning. “How about Terrible Ted?”

“Would I have to carry one of the Steelers’ Terrible Towels?”

“This might turn out to be harder than I thought.”

“You’re not hearing me,” Teddy said. “I don’t want a nickname. And by the way? You seem to be surviving without a nickname, except when Gus calls you Star.”

“Which I hate.”

“The way I hated Teddy Bear!” Teddy said. “It always made me feel like I was the class mascot, not just the class clown.”

“I never thought you were either one,” Jack said. “I always thought there was a warrior waiting to break out.”

“A warrior?” Teddy said. “Are we getting ready to play football games, or video games? What do you think this is, Call of Duty?”

“Little bit,” Jack said.

“Still don’t know why you thought of me that way,” Teddy said “A would-be warrior.”

“I’m very observant,” Jack said.

“So you can probably use those powers of observation to see how nervous I am about the day after tomorrow.”

“You’re going to make the team.”

“You say.”

“I know,” Jack said.

“What if I start dropping passes all over the place?”

“You don’t drop them when I throw them to you here, you’re not going to drop them at Holzman.”

Holzman Field was the field where the Wildcats would play their home games, in a brand-new elite league for their part of the country called All-American Football. The kids who didn’t make the Wildcats would play on Walton’s Pop Warner team.

“I wish I was as confident in me as you are,” Teddy said.

“But even if I don’t make the Wildcats, at least I know I’ll get to play Pop Warner.”

Jack said, “You know that nickname you just said you hated? Let’s not turn back into that guy now.”

He casually reached over with his right fist. Teddy knuckle-bumped him.

“Okay?” Jack said.

“I’m still nervous.”

“There’s a good nervous in sports,” Jack said. “I feel it all the time.”

“You don’t show it.”

Jack laughed. “Clearly you’re not as observant as I am.”

“How do you tell the difference between nerves and choking?”

Jack shrugged. “No clue,” he said. “Choking’s not in my vocab. And it’s not gonna be in yours.”

As good as Jack was in sports, he was even better as a friend.

Teddy didn’t care that Gus and Jack had been friends longer, or that Jack and Cassie were as close as a boy and girl could be without being boyfriend and girlfriend, at least not yet. When it came to Jack, Teddy just knew the most important thing you could know:

He could count on Jack.

And Jack knew he could count on Teddy.

Maybe it was because they’d been through so much together in a year. Teddy had been there for Jack when he’d briefly quit the baseball team, back when Jack was still blaming himself for the death of his older brother, Brad, in a dirt-bike accident, even though it wasn’t Jack’s fault at all.

But even while that was going on, and as much pain as Jack was in, it was Jack who stepped up one day at gym class and told the other guys to stop picking on Teddy because of his weight. Then he hadn’t just helped Teddy to get into really good shape, he’d also helped Teddy find the confidence to face down his fears. And there were a lot of them at the time: fear of sports, fear of making friends, even a fear of heights.

Jack was also the first person Teddy had ever opened up to about his fear of being different from most of the kids he knew because he’d grown up without his dad around. His parents had divorced when Teddy was barely four years old, and his father moved all the way across the country to Oregon. Teddy saw him once a year, if that.

It was why Teddy had always made jokes like some kind of shield. In the process he had also kept other kids from getting close to him. At least until Jack had come along. He hadn’t given Teddy much of a choice. They were going to be boys, Teddy just had to deal with it.

Now here they were, just the two of them, halftime in another one of their workouts. Sometimes Gus would join them. But he couldn’t today: he had a doctor’s appointment for his school physical. Jack and Teddy were planning to meet up with Gus and Cassie later and figure out how they wanted to spend one of their last days of summer vacation.

There was no real plan. They didn’t need one, and that was one of the best parts of summer. It was practically a rule that you had nowhere you really needed to be until the first day of school. Or the first day of football practice.

Provided you made the team, of course.

This year Teddy couldn’t separate the start of school and the start of football in his head. He’d been marking time from the end of baseball—and the parade down Main Street in Walton the mayor had organized for them when they’d gotten home from Williamsport—until football tryouts at Holzman.

Even with his great spring and summer in baseball, from the time he’d started working out with Jack, his dream was to be a football player.

In two days he would officially get his chance.

Football was why he had pushed himself to get into shape. Football was Teddy’s goal. Jack said you needed to set goals for yourself in sports. He was sure Teddy would be the starter for the Wildcats at tight end.

He told him that again now.

“How about I just make the team first?” Teddy said.

“You’re going to make the team, you’re going to start, you’re going to be one of my primary receivers.”

“Have you been out in the sun too long today?” Teddy said. “Are you starting to feel light-headed?”

Jack shrugged. “Make your little jokes,” he said. “My parents just say I’m highly motivated.”

“Or maybe just dehydrated?” Teddy said.

“You want to have that attitude?” Jack said, picking up the ball and jumping to his feet.

“Go long, sucker.”

Teddy tossed his Gatorade bottle aside. “I can do that,” he said.

Running came easily to Teddy now, after all the laps he and Jack had been running on the track. Jack had even gotten Teddy doing his interval training: sprinting, then slowing down to a jog, then sprinting even harder than before.

When they’d finished the first time, Teddy had said to Jack, “I used to think intervals were just the time between snacks.”

But in the late morning, the sun already high in the sky, Teddy ran as hard as he could, from rightfield toward left. He knew it was impossible to outrun Jack Callahan’s right arm. So he just put his head down, trusting Jack would let him know when he should turn back for the ball.

“Now!” he heard Jack yell.

Teddy turned back and looked up at the same time, saw the ball in the air, another perfect spiral. He reached for it, secured it with his big hands—“mitts,” Jack called them—and then pulled the ball tight to his chest.

Teddy kept running with the ball until he reached the fence in the left-field corner. In that moment he just wanted to keep going, run through the fence or try to jump over it. The feeling he had, he wanted that feeling to last, he wanted to imagine the green grass out here stretching out in front of him forever. You always heard the announcers on television talking about receivers “running in space.” That was what Teddy felt then. Like he was the one running in space.

Or just floating through it.

From the across the field Jack shouted, “Are you planning on coming back anytime soon?”

“If I come back,” Teddy shouted back, “I know what you’re going to say.”


“Go long again.”

“Exactly!” Jack said.

When Teddy got back to him, he said to Jack, “You went a lot easier on me when you felt sorry for me.”

“No way,” Jack said. “You didn’t need me to do that, because you were too busy feeling sorry for yourself.”

“Excellent point.”

The truth was, and they both knew it, they were both feeling pretty sorry for themselves when they first became friends, even though they didn’t know that was what they were doing at the time. There was the day when Jack just got tired of the other guys picking on Teddy, how funny the other guys thought it was when Teddy ended up on the floor during a game of dodgeball. Jack went over and helped Teddy up, in more ways than one.

But around the same time, Teddy helped Jack get up too and stop blaming himself for his brother’s accident. Teddy finally helped convince Jack that Brad Callahan, as reckless as he was, with dirt bikes and everything else, was an accident waiting to happen. Jack didn’t need anybody to pick on him, because he was doing way too good a job beating himself up.

“I found out the hard way,” Jack liked to say now. “It’s not about getting knocked down, it’s how you get back up.”

He and Teddy had done that.


Jack threw Teddy another deep ball, telling him to angle toward the infield this time, like he was running a deep post pattern. On this one, Teddy had to slow down a little to catch the ball in stride.

“Arm getting a little tired there,” he said.

“We’ll see how tired I look the next time I knock you over with a short pass,” Jack said.

That was the thing about Jack. As cool a kid as he was, he was cocky, too. He just managed to do a good job hiding it from people. But it was always there.

“I take it back!” Teddy said, laughing. “Please don’t hurt me!”

Teddy knew the drill with Jack Callahan: you were never just throwing the ball around. There was a purpose to everything he did. To him, this was a real practice. So they ran some short slants, the ones Jack was sure would be in their playbook this season. Jack practiced taking a one-step drop after being snapped the ball by an imaginary center, straightening up, hitting Teddy in the gut with passes that sometimes knocked the wind out of him.

They alternated those with quick outs. Then Jack told Teddy to go deep again. When they decided to stop for good, they stretched out on their backs in the outfield grass, both out of breath.

They were silent for a while, feeling the sun on their faces, until Jack said, “How much taller are you than when you started seventh grade?”

“My mom says four inches. Maybe five.”

“You, my friend, are going to be a matchup nightmare. You’re built like a tight end, but you’re as fast as a wide receiver.”

“How about we find out if I can catch like this at the tryouts before you send me to the Hall of Fame in Canton?” Teddy said. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe I’m not ready for this? It’s not like I made the baseball team. I just turned out to be an emergency catcher after Scott Sutter got hurt.”

Jack propped his head up in his hand and looked at him. “Blah, blah, blah,” he said. “When the old Teddy starts talking, I can’t hear a word.”

Teddy nodded. “Old habits.”

“Forget about old habits, or the old Teddy. You can do this. We can do it together.”

“We’re a team now.”

“Just like baseball,” Jack said. “I pitch, you catch.”

Jack said he’d wait while Teddy dropped the ball off at his house, and then they’d call Gus and Cassie and meet them at Cassie’s. Teddy ran the short distance to his house, the ball under his arm again. He smiled as he ran, knowing he should feel tired, but not feeling tired at all.

He just felt happy.

At least he did until he got to his back porch, looked up, and saw his father standing there.

“Hey, champ,” David Madden said.


Read an Excerpt From ‘Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics’


That wacky game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is back! That’s right, a puzzle-packed sequel to the award-winning New York Times bestseller Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is in stores now.

This time, Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever Library Olympics. But something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to censor what the kids are reading? In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries? Packed with puzzles, clues, and thrilling surprises, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics is one action-packed read.

Read the first chapter from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics

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© 2016 by Chris Grabenstein. Published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.