HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!
Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of this book. All opinions are our own.
THE DAY WORLD STOPPED TURNING – by Michael Morpurgo
(July 9th 2019 ~ Feiwel & Friends)
Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @kateteaching7and8
I love almost any historical fiction book set during WWII and this book is no exception. The Day the World Stopped Turning is set in 1940s France in the Camargue region. Vincent is 18 and has just finished his exams and had a near-death experience that led him to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh and to travel to France. Vincent ends up collapsing in the marshes of Camargue and is rescued by a man named Lorenzo and his dog. He is nursed back to health by Lorenzo’s companion, Kezia. As Vincent heals, Kezia tells him her story of how she came to know and live with Lorenzo. Kezia is Roma and was tormented for this. Lorenzo is autistic and was also mocked for this. When the war came to their town, their lives drastically changed. It is this story that Vincent learns.
This is a story of friendship, loss, and hope. I loved the description and that it was set in a region and situation outside of the main action of WWII. I also like that it showed aspects that aren’t always depicted in WWII or Holocaust historical fiction. Specifically, this book focuses on the Roma population and their treatment during the war and individuals with disabilities. The relationship between Lorenzo and the animals in the books, mainly flamingos, was also heartwarming. The story unfolds slowly, but the narrative is engaging and pulls the reader in. This is book includes important messages about friendship, trust, and never giving up hope. I think this book will make a great addition to any classroom or school library, and I will be adding it to my list of recommended historical fiction books for my students.
ELEMENTS OF GENIUS: NIKKI TESLA AND THE FERRET-PROOF DEATH RAY – by Jess Keating
(July 9th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)
Photo and review by Kim ~ originally on Instagram @whatkreads
Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray is the first book in the Elements of Genius series. It will be available 7.9.19!
This was such a fun and action packed middle grade book. Nikki Tesla is an extraordinary young girl. She has a gift for inventing amazing things, but struggles with making real friends and is embarrassed over the horrible decisions made by her father. It’s hard to keep a low profile though when you create a death ray and accidentally blow up your bedroom. She captures the attention of Genius Academy – a school for children with amazing gifts. Her fellow classmates include: Leo da Vinci, Charlie Darwin, Mary Shelley, Al Einstein, Adam Mozart and Grace O’Malley. They train together and use their unique gifts to save the world.
Young readers are going to love Genius Academy. It’s basically like Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters from X-Men, but for incredibly smart kids. The cast was fantastic and it was entertaining watching them race around the world chasing a thief. I love how the author included a note encouraging kids to research or ask their librarian for more info about the real life amazing people these characters were based upon. This book is full of nonstop adventure, many laughs and even includes a fun ferret named Pickles. It’s a great story about teamwork, finding your place in the world, utilizing your gifts and learning that you shouldn’t be judged for your parent’s actions.
I’ll definitely order this book for my daughter. I’d love to see the finished copy since it will include so many great illustration that will no doubt help bring the story to life. After that cliffhanger, I’ll keep my eye out for a sequel too!!
WISH ON ALL THE STARS – by Lisa Schroeder
(July 9th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)
The magical sequel to See You on a Starry Night makes more seaside wishes come true!
Juliet is now an official member of the Starry Beach Club, and loves working with her new friends, Emma and Carmen, to make people’s wishes come true. Living away from her dad is still hard, and she misses her best friend from her old town, but she has her friends and the bookmobile, and San Diego feels more like home than ever.
But then she learns that the bookmobile is going to have to shut down. The owner of the parking lot wants to start charging rent, and soon the bookmobile won’t be able to stay in business.
The Starry Beach Club comes up with different ways to save their favorite store, but none seem to work. But then Emma gets the idea to have a crafts fair…and she wants Juliet to sell her paintings! Juliet is nervous, and isn’t sure whether she’s ready to put herself on display. Meanwhile, Carmen is feeling anxious about the possibility of her mother being deported. Will Juliet be able to be brave for herself and for Carmen?
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