Middle Grade New Releases, January 2, 2019

Happy book birthday 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


img_7373-1ELLIE MAY ON PRESIDENTS’ DAYby Hillary Homzie
(November 14th 2018 ~ Charlesbridge Publishing)

Review and picture by Amanda ~ originally on Instagram @amandasbookbasket

Ellie May on President’s Day was released in hardcover on November 14 and released in paperback on December 18.

Ellie May on President’s Day is the darling story of Ellie May and her big dream of being the flag leader in the week before President’s Day. Ellie May is feisty, determined, and quirky-she reminds me of a household favorite: Ramona Quimby. Her path to being flag leader is paved with good intentions but nothing turns out exactly how she hopes as she seeks to emulate those Presidents she is learning about.

I had an interesting experience with this book. While it is a series, it is my first time meeting Ellie May. I had the book in my bag on a recent trip to Disneyland and the security guard saw it and said “You are either a teacher or a Mom with that book in your bag.” I explained that I’m actually both—I’m a homeschooling mother. He went on to tell me how much he enjoys that series, clearly a loving father sharing books with his son or daughter. I loved this book and plan on putting Ellie May into the hands of my 9 year old soon!


MAC B. KID SPY: THE IMPOSSIBLE CRIME – by Mac Barnettimg_7374-1
(December 26th 2018 ~ Orchard Books)

Review and picture by Emily ~ originally on Instagram @redpoppyreading

The Impossible Crime” by @macbarnett and illustrated by @mikelowerystudio , is the second book in the Mac B. Kid Spy series and perfect for kids ages 7-10. My second grader and I read it together and both loved it. Full of humor and suspense, it’s the kind of MG book that you don’t want to put down. Mac B. is requested by the Queen of England to protect the Crown Jewels, but they are stolen right in front of the kid spy. Can Mac B. figure out who stole them and how? I am not going to give it away so look for this book when it hits shelves on December 26, 2018.


img_7375-1FIND YOUR RAINBOW: COLOR AND CREATE YOUR WAY TO A CALM AND HAPPY LIFE – by Jenipher Lyn
(December 31st 2018 ~ Crown Books for Young Readers)

Review and picture by Jasmine ~ originally on Instagram @3queensread

Finding you Rainbow: Color and Create Your Way to a Calm and Happy Life by @jenipherlyn is ultimate hands on guide for young girls trying to figure themselves out as they journey from childhood to teenager. I immediately hoped on the review list for this book when I saw it because I was looking for a self-help/ guidance about growing up book for my oldest who is 8. Jenipher starts off this book with a note to the reader telling them how awesome they are.

❤️ I love that this isn’t just a book for them to read but it actually includes activities for them to work through some of the situations they go through while growing up. This books will guide young girls to find their true self and be 100% authentic to themselves. It will allow them to realize who their true friends are and how they should follow their dreams whether big or small. It also touches on some tougher issues such as body image and knowing the difference between feeling sad and being depressed. This book is full of affirmations that I wish she would make into cards or posters so I could put them in my daughter’s room.

❤️I had my oldest, Malaina, read Chapter 2 which is titled A Friend Gives You the Freedom to Be You. At school she’s been having a little trouble with some girls who say they are her friends but their actions towards her prove otherwise. She finally got it after reading this chapter and told me that they really weren’t her friends. They were frenemies. Sometimes your child needs to hear what you’ve already told them from someone else.
This book releases December 31, 2018 and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. It’s a must have for tween girls who are trying to understand themselves and this crazy world around them.


SHE DARED: BETHANY HAMILTON AND MALALA YOUSAFZAI – by Jenni L. Walshimg_7376-1
(Published January 1st 2019 ~ Scholastic Nonfiction)

Review and post by Julie ~ originally on Instagram @mrsoslibrary

Summary: Malala Yousafzai and Bethany Hamilton are the first two subjects in a new series by Scholastic called She Dared. It profiles inspiring and courageous young women. These books are good, clear, easy-to-understand biographies. The stories related in these books were familiar to me because I read I Am Malala and Soul Surfer, both source material for these books, but the stories will likely be new to a young reader. I also appreciated a discussion of each girl’s faith, because their faith is important to their lives. Sources are cited at the end for attribution and further exploration.
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While a catalyzing event often changes the lives of people who inspire others, Malala and Bethany both experienced trauma. I could find no information about who else Scholastic wants to profile. I hope they also include people who have not been traumatized so that girls understand they don’t need to experience tragedy to make a difference.
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I recommend these for home and school libraries.


img_7377-1DOG DIARIES: A MIDDLE SCHOOL STORY – by James Patterson, Steve Butler
(December 3rd 2018 ~ Jimmy Patterson)

Review and picture by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @thereading_roundup

From the very first page the reader is immediately drawn into the book through the excitement of the narrator – Junior an enthusiastic dog! “OOOH! You opened the book! You actually opened the book!” Junior speaks to the readers in a conversational tone which creates a fun and engaging vibe. It even uses dog friendly language such as the “food room” and “moving people boxes on wheels” which adds to the feel of the story being told by a dog.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Follow along on Junior’s humorous journey of being rescued by Rafe and their adventures together such as avoiding the terrifying monster – the vacuum! Junior gets into some trouble and Mrs. Stricker threatens to send him to the pound unless he goes to obedience school. As you can imagine, more fun mishaps ensue!
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James Patterson has an amazing ability to write books for adults that they can’t put down, and he has now mastered that ability with kids as well. He states the goal of the “Jimmy” book series is to make books kids will love and have them saying “please give me another book.” This is an accomplishment he has definitely achieved as I know my reluctant readers won’t be able to put down “Dog Diaries” and will be wanting to read more of these books!
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