mstamireads has written 357 posts for mstamireads

BOWWOW POWWOW by Brenda Child Illustrated by Jonathon Turner Translated by Gordon Jourdain…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Originally written in the Ojibwe language, Bowwow Powwow is an explanation of the basics of what a powwow is and an idea of why it holds such a revered place in Ojibwe culture–past and present.  The illustrations are beautifully done in jewel tones, which have a relaxing, calming effect on the reader. Our main character is … Continue reading


The You I’ve Never Known is a novel written in free verse by Ellen Hopkins. Our main characters are Ariel and Maya, both sixteen at the beginning of the book. Ariel’s story is told completely in free verse and Maya’s story is told through prose journal entries. (The reason for these two different approaches becomes … Continue reading

THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BUTTON by Charice Mericle Harper…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Yellow Bird brings a button to show Red Bird and Blue Bird. They disagree over what the button can actually do. Yellow Bird argues that it does nothing. Red Bird and Blue Bird discover all kinds of effects when the button is pressed–much to Yellow Bird’s irritation. The third book in the Elephant & Piggie Also Like Reading series, Button … Continue reading

GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN by Alicia D. Williams

After finishing Genesis Begins Again I wanted to live with the experience of reading it for a day or two before I wrote a review. I have now had the opportunity to do just that. Genesis is thirteen years old.  We first meet her as she is coming home from school–bringing friends with her for … Continue reading

FRAMED! by James Ponti…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I & II

Framed! is a really fun read.  Our main character is 12-year-old Florian Bates.  On the first page he introduces himself to the reader and lets us know that he’s an average 7th grader, aside from the fact that–despite his age–he works with the FBI. By page 4 he has been kidnapped and by page 12 … Continue reading

LEMONS by Melissa Savage…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Lemons is another title I probably would never have picked up if it hadn’t shown up on the Lovelace nominee list this year.  After having read it, I find I am slightly conflicted in my opinion of it.  I love discovering new (to me) Minnesota authors and I wanted to love this book all the … Continue reading


December Lee Morgan is eleven years old.  She has been placed in numerous foster homes over the past three years. December is convinced that the scars on her back are from where her wings once existed–and where they will break free from her human body again, returning her to her rightful form as a bird.  … Continue reading

THE LOSERS CLUB by Andrew Clements…a 2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I know it will be unpopular for me to make this first admission: Andrew Clements’ books are really hit or miss for me.  I know that younger readers enjoy them–his work is sought after in school libraries all the time–but they just don’t usually hit the mark for me. Sometimes I find them too affectedly … Continue reading

A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman was a 4.5/5 star read for me! After reading Venkatraman’s most recent work–the middle grade novel The Bridge Home–I was curious about her backlist.  A Time to Dance was originally published in 2014.  The main character is Veda Venkat, a young, Indian girl who is extremely talented and skilled … Continue reading


Operation Frog Effect was a delightful surprise for me.  I picked it up after having read about it on Goodreads and seeing the title come up in our Mock Newbery Group. I was put off by the juvenile nature of the cover, which conflicted with reviews I had read regarding its content.  I am extremely … Continue reading