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.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, a review

She calls herself a cynic as she copes with her mother, who dotes on a pretty porcelain lamp named Mary Ann instead of her tomboy daughter. And Flora adores comic books, especially those about an unassuming janitor who transforms into a shining light of rescue. Plainly, she’d like her own life to be more like that.

Diary of Wimpy Kid #1 by Jeff Kinney, a review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (2007) is a hot book where middle-schoolers are concerned. It’s a #1 New York Times bestseller, and its sequels are too. Many parents, though, aren’t so thrilled. So what is it about this book that is so appealing to kids?

Rise of the Dragons by Angie Sage, a review

Rise of the Dragons by Angie Sage (2019), a middle-grade novel and series opener, involves two worlds.

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey, a review

One thousand refugees from Earth, likely the only survivors, are in a spaceship orbiting a populated planet, hoping for permission to land. If they can’t live on Choom, they’ll perish –their food and fuel are nearly gone. They came because they were invited twenty years ago when they set out from Mars, asleep on autopilot. […]

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, a review

Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage (2012), tells a middle-grade whodunit with the unforgettable Southern voice of a rising sixth-grader, Mo. Mo lives with the eccentric proprietors of the town diner, Lana and the Colonel. No matter that the Colonel has amnesia and can’t remember his life before he got to the North Carolina hamlet […]

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, a review

Sal Vidon, able narrator, is somehow calm when outrageous things are happening. And plenty of outrageous things do happen in this book, so the result is hilarious. Carlos Hernandez’ middle grade novel Sal and Gabi Break the Universe focuses on out-of-this-world humor and on an ethnic group, Cuban-Americans. I came away feeling refreshed and much […]

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, a review

I really enjoy time-slip novels–where two stories are told, one in the past, one in the present, alternating chapters. So I was glad to find this middle-grade mystery novel with time-slip, published in 2018. Also, it focuses on race issues, a topic dear to my heart. In fact, it’s written by an African-American about African-Americans. […]