Chirp by Kate Messner, a review

Chirp by Kate Messner, published in 2020, tells the tale of Mia, a twelve year old former gymnast who’s just moved from Boston to Vermont. Her family moved there to support her grandmother, whose unpredictability makes everyone wonder what’s going to happen next. Gram’s business, raising crickets for people food, is languishing.

Ranger in Time: Night of Soldiers and Spies, by Kate Messner

Kate Messner’s Ranger in Time series features a rescue dog, Ranger, who who magically is called to other times and places to help save people. In this tale, Soldiers and Spies, Ranger helps a young black soldier in the Continental Army of George Washington. It’s winter, and battle is coming.

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan, a review

Authors Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan team up to tell a middle-grade tale with two points of view: one a Muslim Pakistani-American girl who just wants to fit in at her big new school, and the other a Jewish girl whose best friend has dumped her.

Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis, a review

Bryan Davis, author of thirty successful young adult books, wrote this middle-grade tale and published it last year. It’s a delightful comic book story of heroes and villains told as a novel, with plenty of gadget references that remind me of Batman. Twelve-year-old Eddie Hertz’s city is threatened with more and worse earthquakes by a […]

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. […]

I signed a publishing contract!

Elk Lake Publishing will be publishing a book of mine in about a year, I’m happy to announce. The book, a middle-grade novel, features time travel. I’m not going to tell you anything more about it right now. Sign up for my occasional newsletter if you want to be kept up to date on this!

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.

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 […]