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.
FEARLESS FELINES: 30 TRUE TALES OF COURAGEOUS CATS – by Kimberlie Hamilton @scholasticinc @kimberlie.hamilton
November 5th 2019 ~ Scholastic Nonfiction
Photo and Review by Katie ~ originally on Instagram @texasreadergirl
Those who know me know this book is right up my alley! I loved reading all the stories about incredible cats throughout history. Some favorites were Sam the Unsinkable Cat, who survived three shipwrecks during WWII; Csalogany, who befriended a legendary Hungarian racehorse in the 19th century, the two quickly becoming inseparable; and Mourka, the “gravity-defying ballet star” belonging to famous choreographer George Balanchine who impressed people with his feline ballet moves!
I also LOVED all the cat facts and superstitions sprinkled throughout the book. For instance, did you know that when a new Thai king is crowned, it’s an old Buddhist custom to give him a Siamese cat? The spirit of the old king is said to watch the coronation through the cat’s eyes. And at Disneyland, about 200 cats head out each night to hunt down mice in the park? (Hope none of them are Mickey or Minnie!)
This book is full of wonderful, sweet, and quirky stories of fearless felines throughout history. Any cat lover is sure to find lots of enjoyment in these pages! Would make a wonderful gift for child and adult alike!
Photo and Review by Rachel ~ originally on Instagram @rathergoodatmagic
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I devoured this delightful middle grade graphic novel series! Book 1 is THE WITCH BOY, book 2 is THE HIDDEN WITCH, and book 3, THE MIDWINTER WITCH RELEASES in November! They are super quick reads, but very enjoyable for this picky graphic novel reader! There are SO many things I love about this story! Aster is so lovable, and he is an easy character to root for. The plots are fast paced and exciting, and the world building is great – none of it felt rushed or fake, despite the small page count! The art is beautiful. The addition of Ariel in book 2 is mysterious, and book 3 gives us so much great background on her character! We also get to see Aster’s extended family and learn about the exciting Jolrun competition! Most importantly, however, is the fact that while this is a fantasy about a boy who wants to break stereotypes and be a witch, it’s really an exploration of gender identity and being yourself in a way that is SUPER accessible and kid friendly. Kids need these books! I love everything about them! Thanks to #kidlitexchange for passing this book along to me!
Good Reads Summary: On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, sneak into a clearing in the woods to play in the freshly fallen snow. There, Iris carefully makes a perfect snow angel – only to find the crumbling gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore, right beneath her.
Immediately, strange things start to happen to Iris: She begins having vivid nightmares. She wakes up to find her bedroom window wide open, letting in the snow. She thinks she sees the shadow of a girl lurking in the woods. And she feels the pull of the abandoned grave, calling her back to the clearing…
Obsessed with figuring out what’s going on, Iris and Daniel start to research the area for a school project. They discover that Avery’s grave is actually part of a neglected and forgotten Black cemetery, dating back to a time when White and Black people were kept separate in life – and in death. As Iris and Daniel learn more about their town’s past, they become determined to restore Avery’s grave and finally have proper respect paid to Avery and the others buried there.
But they have awakened a jealous and demanding ghost, one that’s not satisfied with their plans for getting recognition. One that is searching for a best friend forever – no matter what the cost.
The Forgotten Girl is both a spooky original ghost story and a timely and important storyline about reclaiming an abandoned segregated cemetery.
Review by Laura ~ orginially on Instagram @librarianmsg
The Forgotten Girl manages to be spooky and historically and culturally relevant all at once. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. .
Iris and her best friend Daniel discover a forgotten grave site of a Black girl in rural North Carolina only to be visited by her ghost. Haunting and mysterious! Grades 3+
Review by Emily ~ originally on Instagram @redpoppyreading
Set in 1899 during the Philippine-American War, Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay is a powerful coming of age novel. Samkad is summoned by the ancients to become a man, but first his “brother,” Kinyo, must come back to the village. Samkad’s father travels to the lowlands to bring Kinyo back, but Kinyo returns with an American and the village is fascinated by this stranger. However, all Americans cannot be trusted, although they try to win the people over with guns and treats. The village must try to figure out these new people all while protecting itself from their blood enemy. The book is griping and thought provoking, especially on the topic of cultural assimilation. Recommended for ages 10-14. Warning: there is a lot of violence in this book and is not for young or very sensitive readers. Pick this book up when it is released on November 5.
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