The Bulletin of

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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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Strangers Among Us:  An Extraterrestrial Dozen

--selected by Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

 Whether they come in peace or arrive with an arsenal of space-age weaponry, aliens give any story an immediate, other-worldly appeal, especially when their arrival/invasion coincides with the coming of age of an all too human protagonist. Readers who often feel like they are from another planet will readily relate to the characters in this month’s dozen that features tales of worlds colliding, both figuratively and literally.

Alien dozen pamphlet cover

Aueseon, Andrew. Alienated; created by David O. Russell; written by Andrew Auseon. Aladdin, 2009. Gr. 4-6

Best friends Gene and Vince put out a weekly newsletter documenting the latest in alien sightings but no one takes them seriously until their extraterrestrial reporting blows the cover of a rogue alien, unleashing the wrath of its power-hungry twin and an army of lizard men on all of Santa Rosa. (BCCB 12/09)


Beaty, Andrea Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies; illus. by Dan Santat. Amulet/Abrams, 2010. Gr. 3-5

Exaggerated illustrations, interspersed mini-comics, and frenetic, dorky middle-grade humor will draw readers into this goofy tale of a camp invaded by a trio of alien bunnies bent on world domination. (BCCB 12/10)


Castellucci, Cecil. First Day on Earth. Scholastic, 2011. Gr. 7-12

This heartbreakingly raw novel centers on high-school loner Mal whose belief in aliens and his own abduction at their hands four years ago provides relief from the drudgery of his tragic day to day life. (BCCB 11/11)


Dodd, Quentin. The Princess of Neptune. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004. Gr. 5-7

An attempt at a last-minute science project has wannabe punk rocker Theora partnering with a giant cockroach to win an intergalactic beauty pageant in this energetically zany read that will please fans of Daniel Pinkwater or Douglas Adams. (BCCB 10/04)


Hatke, Ben Zita the Spacegirl; written and illus. by Ben Hatke. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 99 Gr. 3-6

Young Zita finds that she is the odd one out in this intergalactic graphic novel that has her transported to another planet through a whirling vortex and tasked with the challenge of saving both worlds from imminent doom. (BCCB 1/11)


Lombardi, Tom. My Summer on Earth. Simon Pulse, 2008. Gr. 9-12

Apparently, sixteen-year-olds are similar everywhere, as teen alien Clint brings sarcasm, a jaded outlook on adults, and an unwavering belief in his own invincibility with him when he is assigned to go to Earth to bring back a rogue alien and ends up experiencing life as a human. (BCCB 5/08)


Klass, David. Stuck on Earth. Frances Foster Books, 2010. Gr. 6-9

Wry observations eventually give way to profound commentary on the nature of humanity in this humorous but thoughtful book that features a snail-like alien and his attempts to take over the body of a fourteen-year-old Earth boy. (BCCB 4/10)


Scieszka, Jon. Robot Zot!; illus. by David Shannon. Simon and Schuster, 2009. 4-8 yrs
Fans of Buzz Lightyear will get a kick out of Robot Zot and his attempts to conquer Earth by tackling toasters and zapping televisions in this whimsical and vibrantly illustrated picture book. (BCCB 10/09)


Smith, Clete Barrett. Aliens on Vacation. Disney Hyperion, 2011. Gr. 4-6

Kids will reconsider their summer plans after reading about David’s, aka Scrub’s, seasonal gig at his eccentric grandmother B&B where he helps aliens on vacation navigate the social faux pas of Earth. (BCCB 5/11)


Mackel, Kathy. Alien in a Bottle. HarperCollins, 2004. Gr. 5-8

Eighth grader Sean’s dumpster dive for materials to sustain his glass-blowing hobby turns into an intergalactic conflict involving an alien con-man and a slime-spewing monster in this inventive read that will have young readers carefully inspecting their own garbages. (BCCB 4/04)


Rex, Adam. The True Meaning of Smekday. Hyperion, 2007. Gr. 6-9

Rex somehow manages to make the impending demise of the human race an opportunity for both thoughtful commentary and absurd humor in this road-trip comedy that follows eleven-year-old Tip and her journey with a renegade extraterrestrial to save the planet from its second alien invasion. (BCCB 2/08)


Teague, Mark. The Doom Machine: A Novel. Blue Sky Press, 2009. Gr. 5-8

While chucking papers early one morning in 1956, young Jack Creedle witnesses the landing of a UFO and soon manages to ensnare himself, along with several other residents of Vern Hollow, in an intergalactic conflict that takes them millions of light years from Earth, confounds the laws of space and time, and disrupts the party plans of an arachnid queen. (BCCB 1/10)


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This page was last updated on December 1, 2011.