Middle Grade New Releases, Week of August 14, 2018

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.


We’ll begin with one we missed. Many apologies!

A Calf Named Brian Higgins by Kristen Ball
( July 1st 2018 ~ One Elm Books, an imprint of Red Chair Press)

Review and Picture by Susan ~ originally on Instagram img_6520@redcanoereader

This is such an important book. It provides the reader with an amazing sense of place. You can feel the heat, taste the dust and see the mosquitoes that Hannah encounters on her visit to a small rural Kenyan village. You feel Hannah’s sadness when she attends school and because there are no pencils or paper, learns the children must do their math in the dusty earth with only a stick. You experience her shock and surprise that often there is no water for a shower and the school children’s only drinking water must be fetched in a bucket from a faraway stream. You feel her amazement when she learns that her new friends have no glasses to help their vision and very little medicine if they become ill. And most importantly you understand Hannah’s determination to help her new friends and to find solutions to their problems, even though she is only thirteen years old.

This is a great read aloud that will spark a conversation about the inequities in our world, and about what each of us, young or old, can do to end poverty. It includes the author’s story of why she wrote the book, as well as her experiences visiting Kenya, along with pictures of the children she encountered. I definitely recommend this be added to elementary and public library collections.


Worth a Thousand Words by Brigit Young
( August 14th 2018 ~ Roaring Brook Press)

Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @libraianmsgimg_6469

Thanks to @macmillankidsbooks for the free book to share with @kidlitexchange; it comes out August 14 and belongs in every elementary and middle school library. ~
~*~*~*~*~*
I absolutely loved this #mglit mystery, a DEBUT novel from Brigit Young. 5🌟 book for me! ~
Here’s why:
The characters
Tillie is honest and observant. I loved seeing her grow and come from behind her camera. I love seeing her discover that her classmates aren’t as bad as she thought.
Jake is HILARIOUS, kind and funny. Wait, did I say that? 😉 ~
The mystery
I genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen in the beginning, but once I figured it out, the mystery became how it would all resolve. Overall very satisfying to read.


img_6523Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley
(August 14th 2018 ~ Greenwillow Books)

Review and Picture by Susan ~ originally on Instagram @redcanoereader

Esme is twelve years old and lives on a peach farm in Texas with her stoic grandmother, her mother, who isn’t really aware of her or anything else, and her little brother. Until three years ago, her dad lived there, too, but then one day he simply said goodbye and never returned. Her grandpa also lived in their old farm house until three months ago when his heart simply stopped working. Esme desperately misses Paps and the love, acceptance and attention she only received from him. I found myself wanting to hug Esme for a very long time, to tell her she really will feel better one day and to allow her the freedom to just be a child, rather than the adult everyone expects her to be. 🍑

This story is full of magic, mystery, adventure and family. I loved Esme’s resourcefulness and determination as she worked to solve her family’s financial crisis. I loved her fierce loyalty to her friends and family, including to her beloved dinosaur, Louella Goodbones, who she discovered on the farm. And finally, I loved her courage as she began to understand her gift of finding all things, as well as her ability to see ghosts. 🍑

This is a good choice for students in grades 4-7 who are looking for a magical story, with a lot of love and adventure mixed in. It would be perfect for those students who are looking for a book “just like a Wendy Mass book”! I recommend that it be added to both elementary and middle school libraries.


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2 thoughts on “Middle Grade New Releases, Week of August 14, 2018

Add yours

  1. Thank you for introducing these books. I’ve added them to my TBR list. ☺(The link for Finding Esme ended up going to the good reads link for Worth a Thousand Words, but maybe that’s an issue on my end)

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