MIDDLE GRADE books
“Hannigan takes on history, prejudice, friendship, and bravery with aplomb. Fans of fast-paced action adventures, computer science, and confident main characters will enjoy this series debut that is
sure to fly off the shelves.”
—School Library Journal”
Hidden Figures meets Wonder Woman in this action-packed, comic-inspired adventure about a brilliant girl puzzler who discovers she’s part of a superhero team!
Josie O’Malley does a lot to help out Mam after her father goes off to fight the Nazis, but she wishes she could do more — like all those caped heroes who now seem to have disappeared. If Josie can’t fly and control weather like her idol, Zenobia, maybe she can put her math smarts to use cracking puzzles for the government.
After an official tosses out her puzzler test because she’s a girl, it soon becomes clear that an even more top-secret agency has its eye on Josie, along with two other applicants: Akiko and Mae. The trio bonds over their shared love of female superhero celebrities, and during one extraordinary afternoon, they find themselves transformed into the newest (and youngest!) superheroes in town. As the girls’ abilities slowly begin to emerge, they learn that their skills will be crucial in thwarting a shapeshifting henchman of Hitler, and, just maybe, in solving an even larger mystery about the superheroes who’ve recently gone missing.
Inspired by remarkable real-life women from WWII — the human computers and earliest programmers called "the ENIAC Six" — this pulse-pounding adventure features bold action, brave thinking, and an empowering belief that each one of us has the stuff it takes to be a superhero.
Honors & Awards
Cape: book 1
mask: book 2
After defeating the Hisser—and discovering their power as a team—the Infinity Trinity is ready for its next adventure. When Akiko, Mae, and Josie learn that a spy has been betraying secrets to the Japanese military, they join Room Twelve in San Francisco for important work with other code-cracking experts.
But soon there is personal code to crack: Akiko spots her mom walking with the suspected spy through San Francisco, which had been her family’s home until Executive Order No. 9066 sent Akiko and all Japanese Americans on the West Coast into internment camps.
Teaming up with brilliant members of The League of Secret Heroes—like real-life World War II code-crackers Genevieve Grotjan and Elizebeth Friedman—Akiko, Mae, and Josie search for answers as they battle the evil clown Side-Splitter, who’s bent on destroying not only the city, but the Infinity Trinity, too. As clues begin to pile up that her mother has become entangled with Side-Splitter’s sinister plot, can Akiko solve the most important puzzle of all?
"Back matter gives further historical context for real-life details,
figures, and events in the story, making this more
than a superpowered read. A cliff- hanger ending
will leave readers eager for book three."
boots: book 3
The League of Secret Heroes travel to Paris on their most critical mission yet in this third book in the action-packed, comics-inspired adventure series that's Hidden Figures meets Wonder Woman!
When the Infinity Trinity hears of a Nazi spy plot that could bring danger to Chicago, Mae knows they must go to check on her beloved aunts, the daring World War II pilots Willa Brown and Janet Harmon.
But when Aunt Willa and Aunt Janet go missing, Mae knows that the sinister spy plot just got personal. They discover the evil Metallic Falcon has captured her aunts, and he is determined to thwart the Infinity Trinity's ultimate quest to bring back Zenobia and all the missing superheroes safely.
With the help of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Room Twelve, Mae, Josie, and Akiko must use all their powers and code-cracking smarts in a challenge that will take them on a high-flying loop from Chicago to Sweetwater, Texas, to a final showdown in Paris. Can the Infinity Trinity soar to new heights and complete the biggest mission of them all?
the detective's assistant
Set in Chicago just before the Civil War, The Detective's Assistant (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is based on a real American heroine: the nation's first female detective, Kate Warne. Along with her niece, Nell, they set off on hair-raising adventures solving crimes and thwarting danger.
"In these witty and well-researched pages, Kate Hannigan has found just the right blend of fact and fiction, history and mystery."
— Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder
"Who doesn’t need Nell Warne in their life? Meet a cipher-solver, a master of disguise, and someone who’ll make sure you get the best 'day old' meat from the butcher. Ah Nell Warne — ever optimistic in the face of difficulty — I’m delighted to make your acquaintance!"
— Newbery Honor winner Amy Timberlake, One Came Home
"A delightful, warm-hearted adventure. Kate Hannigan brings an important chapter of history to life for young readers."
— Daniel Stashower, author of The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
Honors & Awards
Winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for best middle grade
California Young Reader Medal nominee 2019-2020
Illinois Reading Council "Illinois READS" 2016 pick
Bank Street College’s 2016 Best Books
Winner of a 2015 Nerdy Book Award from the Nerdy Book Club
Booklist Editor's Choice pick for 2015
A Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best 2015" book
Amelia Bloomer Project 2016 List
". . . a great title for promoting women's history."
— Booklist ★ starred review
". . . this is one for the ages."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books ★ starred review
Cousins Willow and Delia have seen those flower-girl dresses for their aunt's upcoming wedding, and they say "no way"! But how will they get out of having to wear them?
Confident in their kitchen skills, Willow and Delia decide to bake their way out of every jam — to disastrous, hilarious results.
The great chicago fire
In History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire (First Second), writer Kate Hannigan and illustrator Alex Graudins tell the true story of how a city rose up from one of the worst catastrophes in American history, and how this disaster forever changed how homes, buildings, and communities are constructed.
A deadly blaze engulfs Chicago for two terrifying days! A brother, a sister, and a helpless puupy must race through the city to stay one step ahead of the devilish inferno. But can they reunite with their lost family before it’s too late?
"The illustrations in this book are very good,
and I like the story."
— Ray, age 6, Chicago reader
"A fictive plotline adds a strong 'you are there' feel to this informative account."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The fast-paced read is highlighted with superb artwork that evokes the time period and gives readers the feeling of chaos that ensued in Chicago."
— School Library Journal
blips on a screen: april 2022
Do you ever wonder how video gaming was invented? What came before your PlayStation or Xbox? This is the story of Ralph Baer, a refugee from Nazi Germany, who used his skills—and a lot of ingenuity and persistence—to make life a little more fun.
Television was new when Ralph returned from serving in World War II, but he didn't settle for watching TV. He knew it could be even more fun if you could play with it. He tinkered and tested, got help and rejected, but with perseverance and skill, he made his vision come true! This is the inspiring story of a fearless inventor who made TV video games a reality.
An engaging picture book biography based on the incredible true story of a Jewish refugee who pioneered home video games and launched a worldwide obsession.
nellie vs. elizabeth: February 2022
Daredevil and groundbreaking journalists Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland race against each other—and the clock—as they circle the globe by ship, train, and foot.
Join these two stereotype-shattering reporters as they prove that not only is traveling around the world possible, but that women are just as curious, capable, and courageous as any man.
"VERDICT: This unusual story with its driven women and epic tour belongs on the biography shelves, but the adventure shelves, too.
—School Library Journal
"High-energy prose tracks their progress,
studded with direct quotes from both travelers
and coverage of their trips . . ."
— Publisher's Weekly
"There's much to love in this historic tale
of female derring-do."
"A spirited, historical picture book."
Honors & Awards
A Lady has the floor
Are women not worth the same as men? Belva Lockwood spent her whole life asking that question.
She had big dreams and didn't let anyone stand in her way — not her father, her law school, or even the U.S. Supreme Court. She fought for equality for women in the classroom, in the courtroom, and in politics. In her quest for fairness and parity, Lockwood ran for President of the United States, becoming the first woman on the ballot.
Belva began in the classroom, giving her female students the same opportunities as the boys for speaking up before the whole school. She changed laws to bring equality to the classrooms across New York, and she didn't stop there. Moving to Washington, D.C., Belva fought for a woman's right to speak up in courtrooms. In 1884, she ran for president even though women would not secure the right to vote for another 36 years. She was the first woman on the ballot, first before the Supreme Court, and first to pedal around the nation's capitol on a bicycle. Belva Lockwood was truly a woman ahead of her time.
“An excellent example of picture-book biography.”
— Booklist ★ starred review
"Hannigan presents an invigorating account ... "
— Publisher's Weekly ★ starred review
“. . . will inspire children to do whatever they desire in life, no matter what immediate restrictions exist.”
— Kirkus ★ starred review