Happy release week to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!
Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.
Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk
(July 31st 2018 ~ Graphix)
Photo and review originally on Instagram by Kate and her daughter @theloudlibrarylady
I outsourced this review to my 12 year old graphic-novel-fan daughter and she LOVES IT and has already read it 3 times and has made me promise to order her a finished copy when it releases on July 31, 2018. Her review is in the pic obviously 😉
I will be buying this one for both of my libraries, elementary and middle/high!
Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqu; illustrated by Hatem Aly
(August 1st 2018 ~ Picture Window Books)
Review and Picture by Kimberly ~ originally on Instagram @whatkreads
Meet Yasmin! is a wonderful new early chapter book that is set to release 8.1.18. Yasmin Ahmad is a spunky little girl with a wonderful imagination. This book follows her feistiness through four different short stories. We watch her become an explorer, an artist, a builder and a fashionista. Each story shows her being incredibly crafty while working through small problems. The stories are perfect for reluctant readers or those just starting to read chapter books on their own. It would be a great selection to read together before bedtime too. My daughter is seven and the moment we received this book we snuck off to read it together. 🔹
I love that Yasmin introduces young readers to the Pakistani culture and a few Urdu words. My daughter loved referring to her dad as Baba, was excited to see Naan included (one of her favs) and was intrigued about the mom wearing a hijab and kameez – which led us to have a wonderful discussion about the clothing customs of various cultures. The end of the book includes a glossary, a few brief facts about Pakistan, a Lassi recipe (which my daughter wanted to make immediately) and a cute bookmark craft. The entire book is full of vivid and fun illustrations as well!!! 🔹
You definitely need to Meet Yasmin!! She made us smile and taught us some wonderful things throughout her adventures.
The Land of Yesterday by K.A. Reynolds
(July 31st 2018 ~ Harper Collins)
Photo and Review originally on Good Reads by Stephanie @inthebooknook
The Land of Yesterday is a middle grade fantasy about a young girl named Cecelia whose younger brother tragically dies in an accident at home. Cecelia’s mother is inconsolable after his death and travels to the the Land of Yesterday to rescue him. To save her family, Cecelia must go on a journey by herself to find them both.
The overall theme of this book is grief. Learning to live with the loss of a loved one and how to deal with all of the emotions that come with that. That’s what I enjoyed most. Reynolds is teaching younger kids that it’s ok to have really complex thoughts and feelings when someone dies. But, she’s also showing that there is something beautiful about having had the chance to love someone at all.
“‘You’re wrong!’ Cecelia snapped, sprinting ahead. ‘It’s better to have loved someone than to never have had the chance to love them at all.'”
My only critique of this book is that some of the plot seemed a little rushed and disjointed. It felt like the author was hurrying to get to the next location in this fantastical world before fully fleshing out the last stop.
However, I loved the characters: a giant talking cat, gnomes who blow wind when they speak, and an evil talking house. This book is very reminiscent of the atmosphere of Tim Burton films. It would be great for fans of A Wrinkle in Time: poetically written fantasy with lots of symbolism.
In Harm’s Way: JFK, World War II, and the Heroic Rescue of PT 109 by Iain C. Martin
(July 31st 2018 ~ Scholastic Press
Summary from Good Reads: In October 1941, young Jack Kennedy was appointed an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After completing training and eager to serve, he volunteered for combat duty in the Pacific and was appointed commander of PT-109.
On August 2, 1943, Kennedy’s PT-109 and two others were on a night mission to ambush an enemy supply convoy when they were surprised by a massive Japanese destroyer. The unsuspecting Americans had only seconds to react as the Japanese captain turned his ship to ram directly into Kennedy’s. PT-109 was cut in half by the collision, killing two of Kennedy’s twelve crewmen and wounding several others in the explosion.
In Harm’s Way tells the gripping story of what happened next as JFK fought to save his surviving crew members who found themselves adrift in enemy waters. Photographs round out the exciting narrative in the first book to cover this adventurous tale for young readers.
Maiden Voyage by Sarah Jane
(July 31st 2018 ~ Scholastic Press)
Good Reads Summary: Isabella is shocked when her parents book her passage on the incredible Titanic and inform her that she’ll be sailing by herself. She is given an envelope and told the contents will explain everything, but she is forbidden from opening it until the boat reaches the U.S.
Lucille is worried over her mother’s poor health, and her father is always distracted, never around. Left to her own devices, Lucille discovers some dangerous secrets that could tear her family apart.
Abby is desperate. She’s all her little brother has in the world, and her only hope is start a new life in New York. But the only way to do that is to smuggle her little brother aboard the Titanic and hope they can last the week without him getting caught.
Three girls, three different classes on the ship, yet their pasts and futures are more intertwined than they know–and their lives are about to be forever changed over the course of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. That is, if they don’t all drown in secrets first.
The Griffin’s Feathers by Cornelia Funke
(July 31st 2018 ~ Chicken House)
Photo and Review by Caitlyn originally on Instagram @missbsbooks
School is out for the summer, and I am finally piecing together my somewhat complicated feelings for this book. With Dragon Rider, the patient reader is rewarded. This is a slow-moving, beautiful, character-driven story of friendship, trust, and believing in magic. Firedrake is a dragon living in the modern world who is looking for a new home for his community of dragons. He brings the brownie Sorrell, and along the way meets the homeless orphan Ben, the boy who becomes the legendary dragon rider. My feelings are complicated, because this book took soooo longggg for me to read. It was enjoyable when I was reading it, but I didn’t get that can’t-put-it-down feeling at any point. This book was written for the Bens of the world; kids who feel forgotten and are waiting patiently for a magnificent adventure.
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