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.
Art in Action: Make a Statement, Change Your World by Matthew “Levee” Chavez
(September 11th 2018 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Review and Picture by Michelle originally on Instagram @michellegoetzl
Art in Action is an interesting look at getting young minds interested in activism. The book focuses on having kids create art projects with a purpose.
The book came about because author #matthewleveechavez took his own art to the masses in the subways of New York. His project with sticky notes connected a community and got people thinking. This book wants to help kids share kindness, be more aware and part of their community, and to talk to those around them – actually talk.
Chavez acknowledges that not all kids feel artistic, but that shouldn’t stop them. Ideas range from really small to rather large. We did a sticky note shout out to teachers last year, and it was a great experience. Just sitting on a “buddy bench” at school can be a work of activism. This could be a great book for middle schoolers to spark ideas.
Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
(September 11 ~ Harper Collins)
Review and Photo by Michele originally on Instagram @michelegreen120
Animal lovers unite! A sweet, sweet boy tries to save a baby donkey in this one. Dad brings home a baby donkey whose mother has died and the baby likely will too. Louie, however, is determined to save him. Naming him Winslow, the boy and donkey soon have a deep bond.
This book is so charming because young Louie is learning new skills, developing a friendship, and navigating a baby animal all at the same time. This is a must read for young middle grade readers!
Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
(September 11, 2018 ~ Orchard Books)
Photo and Review by Sarah D. originally on Instagram @bookdiehl
Giggles and guffaws will resonate during readings of this quirky mystery told by Mac B. (aka the author of the book – Mac Barnett – as a kid, a kid who is also a SPY)! Mac, who lives in California with his mom during the 1980s, is summoned by the Queen of England to help find a missing crown jewel. The succinct and silly dialogue (complete with Queen’s English) matches perfectly with with the doodle illustrations, which adorn every page and are occasionally accompanied by fun hand lettered notes.
Barnett’s description of the Queen: “. . . surrounded by twelve corgis . . . wearing a purple dress and a hat of the same color” is complemented by Lowery’s depiction (all the illustrations are rendered in black, light blue, and yellow) of the Queen holding one of the goofy looking corgis, while the other eleven bumble about around her.
The quippy humor demonstrates respect for the reader. Unfamiliar language and historical references are briefly explained in the text and further unpacked by the playful illustrations. MAC B: KID SPY is great for readers who enjoy diary series, graphic novels, or the likes of Jon Scieszka. Suitable for ages 8-12.
Cross Ups: Anyone”s Game by Sylv Chiang
(September 11th 2018 by Annick Press)
Good Reads Summary: What’s up with Cali? Why does she keep changing her gamer tag?
It’s summertime, and even though his good friend Cali moved to another city, Jaden can connect with her online almost every day to play their favorite game, Cross Ups. His mom has loosened her rules on how often he can play, and he has an amazing new controller that will make him even better at tournaments. But then he gets roped into a dorky summer camp with his buddy Hugh, and Cali starts acting really weird . . . So when a last-minute tournament spot opens up in Cali’s city, Jaden jumps at the chance to go.
But things go badly from the start. Jaden loses his controller on the train, and his reunion with Cali is awkward. She’s unhappy, and Jaden can’t figure out why, especially when she’s getting better and better at Cross Ups—and may even win the tournament.
With its sharp dialogue and relatable characters, Anyone’s Game, the second book in the Cross Ups series, chronicles the ups and downs of middle school with a relevant, contemporary twist.
Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!
Look for more new middle grade
later in the week!
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