Ghost by Jason Reynolds, a Review

Jason Reynolds’ award-winning middle-grade novel Ghost tells the story of a boy who joins a track team. But he’s not just any boy; he’s one ran with his mother for their lives from his father, who was shooting at them.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, a review

Sometimes I stray from my core mission of reviewing middle grade novels. This novel is almost a middle-grade novel. After all, its narrator is twelve, perfect for middle grade. But the real protagonist is thirteen or fourteen, a boy who’s already lived enough grief–and joy–for a lifetime. So I guess it’s young adult. Gary D. […]

Freerunner by Kathy Cassel, a review

Kia struggles to find a place socially on the track team, leaning heavily on her boyfriend. It’s not easy. And then her abuser–her grandfather–shows up and actually moves in with Kia and her mother. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially for the little six-year-old girl that her grandfather is getting to know as a volunteer at a day care.

So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt, illus. by Daniel Minter

Here’s a truly notable book about Sojourner Truth, set apart by its amazing illustrations and its jewel-toned prose.

Iggy and Oz: the Plastic Dinos of Doom by J.J. Johnson, a review

Middle-grade voice involves a (usually) sassy or joking twelve-year-old who’s finding himself or herself in a pickle and agonizing about it in a very funny way. It’s unique to middle grade books, as far as I can tell. I’ve talked about it before, and even have a category on this blog, “middle-grade voice example.” In […]

Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel by Rob Currie, a review

Rob Currie’s debut middle grade novel, Hunger Winter, tells a suspenseful tale of brave kids in World-War-II Holland.

ROAR like a Dandelion by Ruth Krauss and Sergio Ruzzier, a review

I know I said I’d be reviewing middle grade books on this blog, but this picture book is just too irresistible. Can YOU roar like a dandelion? How is that, exactly, roaring like a dandelion? This is an ABC book by Ruth Krauss, a widely known children’s book author of a few generations back who […]

The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, a review

Andrew Peterson’s middle-grade Wingfeather series that started out as an amusing tale full of rollicking names moves to epic scope along the way. In this fourth book, The Warden and the Wolf King (2014), it builds to a mighty conclusion full of heroic deeds. Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga is the story of the widow and […]

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson, a review

We learned in the second book that the fangs, which look like beast-humans, are actually recycled humans. In fact, the bad guys nearly succeeding in turning young Kalmar Wingfeather, the 11-year-old next king of Anniera, into a wolfish fang.

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, a Review

I am reviewing North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, Book 2 in the Wingfeather Saga (2009).This mid-series book could suffer from middle-of-story sag.