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.
In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart
((October 30th 2018 ~ Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Photo and Review by Susan ~ originally on Instagram @redcanoereader
This is a story I will remember for a long time. It’s a story about twelve year olds, grandparents, grief, disabilities, anxiety, friendship and most of all love. There is kindness shown toward a new girl desperately searching for a friend, in a new school in a new town, toward a boy who is missing his grandma and has a loving, but complicated relationship with his grandpa and with Amy with Miles’ quiet understanding of her disability.
I loved so many things about this book…
~The narrator, who pops up throughout the book to add just a bit more to the story; especially the page where she writes “A Sad Truth” about losing someone. It is so true and offers comfort and understanding to those of us who are feeling that pain.
~Miles’s determination to save enough money to take his grandfather to the Bowling Hall of Fame
~Amy’s mom who is always surprising her with encouraging and loving thoughts, as well as that extra little push that we all need to do the right thing.
~Finally, I loved the epilogue about Miles grandparents and Amy’s mom. I want to think of my parents experiencing the same sweet moments as they watch over all of us.
This is a book that needs to be in elementary and middle school libraries. I know it’s going to be on my bookshelf!
What Goes Up by Wen Jan Baragrey
(October 30th 2018 ~ Random House Books for Young Readers)
Photo and Review by Shannon ~ originally on Instagram @campbrarianintn
Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow lives with her grandmother and eccentric mother in a house whose roof is known to attract anything and everything. Even her neighbor’s sheets, which ignites an all-out war between the two neighbors. When a NASA satellite falls out of orbit and is predicted to hit Earth Robyn knows that the satellite is coming for her house, even if NASA predicts differently. While the satellite hurtles towards her home Robyn sets out to find her long-lost dad in the hopes that he can protect her from the crash and change her name, just in case the national media discovers her in the crash debris.
The main character Robyn has albinism. She has a couple of close friends and a mom who has kept secrets about her dad. She is struggling to understand her family dynamics and find her own identity. This is a quirky story, but one that I got swept up in. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school.
Blended by Sharon M. Draper
(October 30th 2018 ~ Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg
Draper doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and that’s exactly what I love about this book. Isabella is naturally a happy child, but she begins to buckle under the emotional weight of the fights between her parents and conflicts at school. The first person voice feels authentic and fresh; Draper’s ability to channel an 11 year old girl’s emotions and impulses is spot-on perfection. Themes addressed include racism, police brutality, gun violence, income inequality and the brutal impact of divorce on children.
These are heavy topics, and yet I would feel comfortable giving this to elementary students as young as 3rd or 4th grade. Blended would be an excellent book to read and discuss as a class or in literacy circle groups. Highly recommended for all elementary and middle school libraries!
Thundercluck by Paul Tillery and Meg Wittner
(October 30th 2018 ~ Roaring Brook Press)
Good Reads Summary:
Cancel your dinner plans and dig in to Thundercluck! by Paul Tillery IV and Meg Wittwer. This is the first book in a hilarious new series stuffed with Norse mythology, black-and-white illustrations by the dozen, and a superhero chicken ready to ruffle some feathers.
When danger calls . . . BAGAW! calls back!
An evil chef faces off against the god Thor, and a hen’s egg is caught in the crossfire. It hatches into a powerful chick called Thundercluck, beloved by the gods but a target for evildoers everywhere. When the Under-Cook threatens to make everyone into rotisserie, there’s only one chicken who can scramble his scheme.
Thundercluck! Half mortal. Half god. All-natural chicken.
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