mstamireads has written 443 posts for mstamireads

POTATO PANTS! by Laurie Keller….2021 SOTN Nominee

Full of emotion and clever, wacky language, Potato Pants is a fun, sweet story. Potato wants to buy a pair of potato pants from Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants store, where they are on sale for one day and “once they’re gone, they’re gone.” Approaching the store, Potato sees that Eggplant is already there. (Yesterday Eggplant … Continue reading

BEAR CAME ALONG by Richard T. Morris; Illus by LeUyen Pham….2021 SOTN Nominee

So many different animals living their separate lives, but they didn’t know they were in it together…until…the river came along. Bear is curious about the river, dips his paw in the water, loses his balance and falls in. A string of different animals find themselves falling into the adventure (or mishap, depending on your perspective). … Continue reading

DRAGON HOOPS by Gene Luen Yang

There are a lot of things to like about Dragon Hoops. I loved the in-depth individual looks at the players of the high school basketball team whose story Yang told, as well as features on the history of basketball and women’s role in the sport. The pacing is excellent. The art and the text play … Continue reading


  Black Brother, Black Brother is a phenomenal book in story, impact, structure and writing style. It is one of those rare examples of a perfect melding of rich storytelling in both craft and content. Donte’s voice is open and suffused with the huge emotions of a middle school-age boy. The imagery of being seen … Continue reading


I picked this up looking for a ‘cozy mystery-style’ story for middle grade readers. If I consider it strictly in that sense Murder is Bad Manners has a lot of those types of elements and does a good job structurally guiding a younger middle-grade reader through the process of finding clues and using deductive reasoning … Continue reading

HERE IN THE REAL WORLD by Sara Pennypacker

I was not excited to read this book. I enjoyed Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series with my kids when they were younger, but–and I am in the minority here–I did not like Pax; in fact, I DNF’d it. When Here in the Real World was chosen by my Mock Newbery group as the April read, and … Continue reading


I am always drawn to stories that involve dogs…and simultaneously leery of them (because the dog is so often killed off as a plot point in literature). For those of you who are like me: don’t worry. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs is a tender story about a 13-year-old girl finding her way through … Continue reading

DEAR SWEET PEA by Julie Murphy

I had read Julie Murphy’s YA novel Dumplin’ and thought it had some really great insights into body image and body language (as in the words we use to talk about female bodies in particular). When I saw she had a new middle grade novel I was excited to get my hands on a copy. … Continue reading

DOG DIARIES #1 by James Patterson & Steven Butler; Illustrated by Richard Watson

I enjoyed several of the books in the Middle School series written by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts featuring Rafe Khatchadorian (which now includes 11 books). Dog Diaries is a newer “spinoff” series featuring Rafe’s dog, Junior. The first book in the series introduces us to Junior from his perspective, beginning with the first time … Continue reading

PARKED by Danielle Svetcov

I just finished Parked earlier today and there are so many things I want to say about it! This one was not on my radar at all until it showed up as a suggestion from someone in the Mock Newbery group I belong to on Goodreads. I had a hard time finding it–our local library … Continue reading