Kubo and the Two Strings, a review

I’d heard this anime-style 2016 feature film praised by some in the industry, so I decided to watch it. My takeaway: religious families will want to discuss various elements of the story together. An example: identifying ancestor worship as a substitute for knowing and loving the real God. Kubo’s story is a hero tale, where […]

The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes, a review

In The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes (2012), Marcus Frye has learned a bit of magic that sometimes works. He’s the 14-year-old orphan apprentice to the magician Master Zyll.

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.

The Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan by Laura Martin, a review

The Edge of Extinction by Laura Martin, a series of two books published in 2016 and 2017, provides a dystopian Jurassic Park tale for middle-graders. Plucky Sky Mundy, in an underground colony in what once was northern Indiana, is just one of a few hundred humans alive, survivors of a plague.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo, a review

Louisiana’s Way Home, a middle-grade historical novel by Kate DiCamillo, took ahold of my heart somehow.

The Faithful Spy by John Hendrix, a review

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler, by John Hendrix, is a hybrid graphic novel for teens and adults,  telling an unforgettable story in an unforgettable way. It was published in 2018 by Amulet. The book alternates chapters about Hitler’s rise and about Bonhoeffer’s life as a young pastor. (There are […]

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, a review

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, a review Published 2015 by MacMillan, 245 pages Genre: Middle grade, realistic with a touch of fantasy Crenshaw, a huge cat, used to be Jackson’s invisible friend — when Jackson was three years younger. So now that Jackson’s starting fifth grade, why is Crenshaw showing up again, unasked for? Jackson’s family […]

The Hate U Give movie, a review

In the movie “The Hate U Give,” 16-year-old Starr is an African-American living in what she calls “the ‘hood,” a place called Garden Heights, while attending a nearly all-white high school. She lives in both worlds, trying to fit in both places. When her childhood friend Kahlil volunteers to drive her home from a party […]

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, a review

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Hartnett Published by Chronicle Books, 2018, 299 pages Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Grisha the dragon had a very unfortunate encounter with a sorcerer named Leopold, and as a result spent a century or so as an enchanted teapot. After he’s freed, soon he’s confined to […]