As a homeschooling veteran, I review middle-grade stories to help parents, librarians, and teachers choose good books.
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A middle-grade book review: Twelve-year-old Coyote Sunrise and her dad, Rodeo, wander America in their retrofitted school bus, with no plans, no schedule. Well, there is one scheduled item–a weekly call to Coyote’s grandma. In a call to Coyote in Florida, Grandma casually tells her that the park down the street is going to be dug up for development in four days.
His Gift by Joan C. Benson tells the inspirational story of a gifted teenage concert pianist. Molly has entered a competition sponsored by the Detroit Symphony in the fateful fall of 1929.
When her father is struck by a falling tree and lies in a coma, Ellie wants nothing more than to heal him. He’d taught her some of the woodsy healing arts, and she sets out to try them first on a seemingly stillborn puppy, then on her helpless father, and on an injured neighbor everyone thinks is a witch.
What am I thankful for in 2020? This strange 2020 year was the one where I got to think about fantastic places, instead of traveling to real places. The fantastic ones are pretty nice! This was the year where my blog and newsletter list is expanding, and I thank God...
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan is a novel that pairs the points of view of two fifth grade boys, Ravi, a recent immigrant from India, and Joe, a local guy. Both have to deal with the same bully.
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.
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.
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.
Georges, that's with a silent s, moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, another twelve-year-old who starts a spy club for the two of them. They're spying on a bird nest, on people in the building lobby (through the videocam), on people who wash...
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...
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.
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...