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.
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
Review and Photo by Akossiwa ~ Originally on Instagram @akossket
Sarai Gonzalez lives her life to the fullest and believes she can do anything she sets her mind on doing. When she receives news of her grandparents losing their house she comes up with a plan she’s certain will make a difference, except nothing goes as planned.
I love the positive vibe oozing from every page of this book. Life can get hard and unfair but as long as you’re surrounded with people who care about you, you will get through those hard moments and come out stronger.
The story moves fast but the author packs a lot of emotion and action in few words. By the time you get to the end you will want to be friends with Sarai and get to know every member of her very supportive and tight-knit family. And I will be surprised if you don’t find yourself smiling.
I recommend you request it from your local Library or order it from your favorite book store.
Missing Mike by Shari Green
(Pajama Press ~ September 14, 2018)
Review and Photo by Kate, originally on Instagram @littleloudlibrary
I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. Absolutely love. I want to hug it and give it a place on my forever shelf. And here’s why: I love dog books. I love verse novels. But while the book is both of those things, it’s also so much more. It’s an emotional look at the realities of wildfires and the devastation they can bring to communities, and it’s an exploration of the meaning of the word home. It’s an accessible text for readers of all ages and it straight up just made me feel all the feelings.
And as a school librarian, I recommend this as a part of every middle grade collection. I will be purchasing it for both my elementary and middle/high school libraries for our dedicated verse collections. Bravo to @shari_green for writing such a unique and heartfelt story!
Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older
(September 11th 2018 ~ Arthur A. Levine Books)
Photo and Review by Shannon, originally on Instagram @campbrarianintn
Imagine…New York, the Civil War, it’s 1863 and dinosaurs roam the street. Racial tensions are high and angry mobs are taking over the streets. A small group of children from the Colored Orphans’ Asylum are fighting an international kidnapping ring to save their friends from being shipped off and sold into slavery. (Recommended for middle school)
This is my first time reading a historical fantasy novel. In fairness, my rating may reflect that this may not be my genre or I may not have connected with many parts of the book.
I think this book could have stood alone or just as a fantasy story. I had a hard time making the stretch to connect it to the Civil War. The names of the characters along with the dinosaur names were confusing to me and there just seemed to be a lot going on in this book.
I don’t think I can judge a genre by reading one example, so I would have to read others to determine what it was about this book that made it “mesh” for me.
Hello Neighbor #1: Missing Pieces by Carly Anne West
(August 28th 2018 ~ Scholastic Inc.)
Good Reads Summary: Nicky Roth has always been a lonely kid. But that all changes when he and his family move to Raven Brooks and meet their eccentric neighbors, the Petersons. Nicky befriends the Petersons’ son, Aaron, bonding over their talents for tinkering. Soon the boys are inseparable and using their skills to pull pranks on the townspeople.
But something about Aaron bothers Nicky–people seem almost afraid of him and his family. Through snippets from Aaron and a lot of sleuthing in the town’s archives, Nicky discovers a dark past haunting his neighbors, a streak of bad luck they can’t seem to shake. Aaron thinks that’s all behind them now, but Nicky has a feeling the Petersons are fated for another tragedy. . . .
This pulse-pounding prequel novel to the hit video game Hello Neighbor includes two-color illustrations throughout, to help readers unwind the mystery at the heart of the game.
Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
(September 11th 2018 ~ Tundra Books)
Review and Photo by Laura originally on Instagram @librarianmsg
Felix is almost thirteen, loves a game show called Who, What, Where, When and has a loving, but eccentric mom, Astrid. Oh, and they’re homeless. They live in a (stolen) van. Felix can’t tell anyone about his situation — not his best friends Dylan and Winnie and not his teachers. As his situation gets worse (hello, winter in Canada…), the situation becomes truly untenable. Then Felix gets a chance to be on his favorite game show and he’s determined to win the cash prize to help turn their situation around.
I am a HUGE fan of @susinnielsen — if you haven’t read any of her books, go get all of them right now. I have We are Made of Molecules and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen in my library; Optimists Die First is awesome, too, but more appropriate for high school. I have a new favorite Susin Nielsen book, though. NO FIXED ADDRESS is an incredible read that really has it all: a tricky home situation, dedicated friends, and a main character you’re sure to love. The first person narrative is perfect for a book like this; being privy to Felix’s thoughts about his situation only increases the book’s appeal. This is a “read it in a day” kind of book and actually helped break a teeny reading slump I was experiencing last week. I recommend this for grades 8+. There are some mature themes addressed, particularly involving Astrid. This book isn’t out until September, but put it on your fall order list now!
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