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.
FINALLY, SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS – by Doug Cornett
April 14th 2020 ~ Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Photo and Review by Elizabeth ~ originally on Instagram @authorelizabethdoylecarey
A light and charming mystery in the Carl Hiaasen/Kate DiCamillo style.
A trio of small town middle school detectives take on a local mystery and through tenacity and imagination, (spoiler alert) solves the mystery! Like a more wholesome and much less dark Stranger Things, Finally, Something Mysterious is a fun read populated by kooky and eccentric characters in a quirky, but lovable small town. The writing is fresh and effervescent, with original turns of phrase I loved, such as something gross being evaluated “on a scale of one to barf,” and a fish’s size being described as “bigger than a goldfish, but not big enough to take your picture with.” The book lightly touches on heavy subjects (wildfires, premature birth), but does not get bogged down. Grown-ups are kind and supportive, rather than sinister. A stress-free mystery if ever there was one.
Finally, Something Mysterious is a fun, wholesome and imaginative mystery for middle graders.
RUNNING WILD – by Galadriel Watson
April 14th 2020 ~ Annick Press
Photo and Review by Carrie ~ originally on Instagram @onthesamepageypt
I’ve always been a fiction lover, so it took me by surprise when my children truly enjoyed nonfiction. When I became a teacher, weekly library visits revealed that my kids weren’t the only ones – MANY of my students check out nonfiction books every single week. Now, as a grandma, I see the same love of informational lit in my grandchildren. I’m still a fiction girl, but it’s easy to see that nonfiction is the perfect match for the boundless curiosity of children.
Running Wild, illustrated by Samantha Dixon, is aimed at older children, and teaches them about all of the ways animals move.
Walking, running, hopping, crawling, climbing, swimming, jumping, gliding, flapping, hovering, rowing, walking on water, staying buoyant, undulating, using hydrofoils, and shooting with jet propulsion – all of these are covered, using common animals such as penguins, fleas, and chimpanzees as examples.
The text is broken into digestible pieces with clear headings and subheadings that allow readers to easily find particular information.
The author finishes up by offering ways this newfound knowledge can be applied in the real world.
This book is a great next step for kids who love learning about animals and want to go beyond the basics of obvious physical characteristics, habitat, diet, etc…
ANTIHERO – by Kate Karyus Quinn & Demitria Lunetta
April 14th 2020 ~ DC Comics
Review by Jessica ~ originally on Instagram @librarian_fitz
Thank you to DC Comics, Kate Karyus Quinn, Demitria Lunetta and Maca Gil for sharing this diverse, brave, girl power graphic novel with Kid Lit Exchange. Two girls who are very different on the outside both share a secret. One is a hero, one is an antihero. The girls fight but learn an important lesson…. Get Ready! It comes out April 2020, this graphic novel is going to be HUGE in Middle Grade!
LOUDER THAN WORDS – by Kathy Kacer
April 14th 2020 by Annick Press
Photo and Review by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @mllittleauthor
Louder than Words tells the true story of Ukrainian woman Nina Pukas who, beginning in 1937, worked as a housekeeper and nanny for a single Jewish lady and her daughters. When their house burned down in an anti-Semitic attack, Nina was able to get fake documents for everyone, passing the girls off as her daughters and their real mother as the housekeeper. Although their mother tragically lost her life when Germany invaded, Nina saved the girls and raised them into adulthood, and they considered her their mother until the day she died.
Louder than Words adds details and drama for the sake of the plot, but the story is the same and is an amazing display of bravery and quick-thinking. I would peg the perfect age for this book as 10. However I should warn you it is very sad.
CAMP CLIQUE – by Eileen Moskowitz-Palma
April 14th 2020 ~ Running Press Kids
Review and Photo by Carrie ~ originally on Instagram @onthesamepagept
Bea and Maisy have been best friends forever, but the summer before their last year of elementary school, confident Bea finds herself ghosted and spends the school year utterly alone as anxiety-ridden Maisy joins the biggest clique on campus, the M&Ms.
Unfortunately for both girls, they end up in the same cabin at summer camp, and Maisy gets a taste of how Bea felt for the past year.
To survive the summer, Maisy proposes a pact – if Bea will help Maisy become popular at camp, Maisy will help Bea become popular with the M&Ms.
As the girls each figure out how to hold up their end of the bargain, the author gradually reveals clues as to why Maisy disappeared from Bea’s life. While acknowledging the social fears of tweens, the author also shows young women grappling with divorce, parental addictions, parental pressure to perform in sports and academics, parents finding a new partner, being invisible to a parent who has started over with a new family… Bea keeps her part of the pact, and the book leaves us with a cliffhanger that makes us wonder if Maisy will be able to fulfill her end of their agreement.
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