wandering wordsmith

Middle Grade

Middle Grade Books


The Sardines of Strange Street (Disney-Hyperion)

Hannah Allaman at Disney-Hyperion has bought a middle grade novel by K.E. Ormsbee, called The Sardines of Strange Street. A tight-knit group of friends on a glowboarding team discover that they have powers of telekinesis and telepathy; despite their best efforts to stay inconspicuous, they catch the attention of a mysterious, powerful man in their city—and maybe even forces beyond the earth's atmosphere. Publication is planned for fall 2019; Beth Phelan at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency brokered the deal.

Coming Fall 2019

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The House in Poplar Wood (Chronicle Books)

For as long as the Vickery twins can remember, they’ve only ever been able to leave the house together once a year, on Halloween. The rest of the year, Lee and his mother serve Memory, while Felix and his father assist Death. This is the Agreement.

But one Halloween, Gretchen Whipple smashes her way into their lives. Her bargain is simple: If the twins help her solve the murder of local girl Essie Hasting, she’ll help them break the Agreement. The more the three investigate, however, the more they realize that something’s gone terribly wrong in their town. Death is on the loose, and if history repeats itself, Essie’s might not be the last murder in Poplar Wood.

Simultaneously heartwarming and delightfully spooky, The House in Poplar Wood is the story about a boy’s desire to be free, a girl’s desire to make a difference, and a family’s desire to be together again.

Out now!

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♦ A Junior Library Guild Selection

♦ An Amazon Best Book of the Month (September)

★ "Magical elements, evocative, intelligent writing, and ever-ratcheting suspense." - Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

“With expert pacing and detailed worldbuilding, the story unfurls into a smart, thrilling mystery, equal parts dark and gentle, that explores questions about freedom, power, and choosing one’s master.” - Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

★ "Quirky, spooky, and thoroughly enjoyable, this will appeal fans of Trenton Lee Stewart and Colin Meloy, as well as readers generally looking for an absorbing fantastical mystery." - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"The foreboding atmosphere perfectly matches the dark mystery and high stakes confronting the middle-schoolers . . . Ormsbee’s invented mythology bestows complexity and richness to the story." - Booklist


The Current & the Cure

War has come to Albion Isle, and Lottie Fiske, a daughter of two worlds, might be the only one who can stop it.

After arriving in the strange and treacherous land of Dim, Lottie, Oliver, and Eliot must uncover answers to the mysteries that surround both their present and their past. And what of their friends above, on the other side of a perilous world gorge? The journey ahead promises new challenges, dangers, and revelations. But before Lottie can face any of those . . . can she forgive herself for past wrongs?

The spellbinding conclusion to K.E. Ormsbee’s Water and the Wild series arrives June 12, 2018.

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The Doorway & the Deep (Chronicle Books)

Travel back to the enchanting and treacherous land of Limn, where Lottie Fiske has escaped the murderous Southerly King for the time being—but other perils are hard on her heels. War is coming to the beautiful world of magic that Lottie has come to love. Events are pushing her to the North, where many answers—about her parents and her abilities—await. But the road north is full of dangers, and the answers to her questions may be more dangerous still. 

Likened to the works of E. Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and C. S. Lewis, K. E. Ormsbee's vividly imagined world will appeal to readers who have been down the rabbit hole or through the wardrobe, and to anyone who has ever been braver than they thought they were.

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"Ormsbee creates a robust magical world populated by a legion of characters, political intrigue, and a spunky heroine . . . Readers of the first volume will settle right into this and then leave it eager for a third." - Kirkus


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The Water & the Wild (Chronicle Books)

A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square. Its leaves are a sad emerald and its apples a cheery peridot, and at its roots—starts the story of Lottie Fiske.

For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.

And then a door opens in the apple tree.

Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.

Out now! Available in hardcover and paperback.

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♦ Selected as a Kids’ Indie Next Pick, Spring 2015

♦ 2017 Magnolia Award Nominee

"An eventful quest through a well-built fantasy world . . . offered with flavorful prose reminiscent of early Susan Cooper." - School Library Journal

"This fast-paced fantasy novel contains strong character development, wonderful mythological lore, and exciting fairy world building. . . . An exciting journey full of obstacles and fun action." - VOYA