mstamireads has written 395 posts for mstamireads


I have to fess up and say that, although I love most of Kate DiCamillo’s work, I was not a fan of Raymie Nightingale. It has been a delightful surprise that I have truly enjoyed both Louisiana’s Way Home and this newest addition, Beverly, Right Here. We were introduced to Beverly Tapinski in Raymie Nightingale … Continue reading

THE LIGHT JAR by Lisa Thompson

When we first meet Nate and his mom at the beginning of The Light Jar they are in a car in the middle of the night running away. We quickly realize they are running from Gary, his mother’s live-in boyfriend who is away on a business trip. They arrive at a rundown cottage his mother … Continue reading

GUTS by Raina Telgemeier

Guts is the new graphic novel by middle grade powerhouse Raina Telgemeier. It’s the autobiographical story of her struggle to identify and find ways to manage her severe anxiety issues. Telgemeier does a fabulous job relating symptoms that first appear as those similar to a known illness, like the flu. When, by way of elimination, … Continue reading


There are many things about¬†The Boy at the Back of the Class that make it a great reading choice for the younger middle grades–more 3rd & 4th grade specifically. Alexa is 9 3/4 years old. A new student named Ahmet appears one day at the formerly empty desk at the back of the classroom. Alexa’s … Continue reading

FALLING FOR RAPUNZEL by Leah Wilcox Illustrated by Lydia Monks

Lately I have been completely occupied with directing a couple of fractured fairy tales for the stage with young actors (6th – 9th grade). Fractured fairy tales or interesting fairytale retellings are one of my favorite things so I thought I would share one of my long-time favorites today. Falling For Rapunzel is one of … Continue reading

THE WHISPERS by Greg Howard

The Whispers is, by turns, tender, sweet and confusing. 11-year-old Riley is confused and sad and we know right from the beginning he has secrets to which he is holding tightly, afraid to reveal them to anyone–even himself. Floundering in his own mind NOT to think about those secret thoughts that try to break out … Continue reading

STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson

I was intrigued by the premise of Steelheart: a “Calamity” occurred in our solar system after which some humans develop superhuman powers. These humans are referred to as “Epics.” No one knows why these particular people have been gifted with these incredible abilities. While many superheroes have backstories that involve unusual events resulting in extraordinary … Continue reading


Orbiting Jupiter is a beautiful story, ultimately about compassion, kindness and empathy. The story is partially about fourteen-year-old Joseph Brook, and is told by twelve-year-old Jack. Jack’s perspective provides the second half of the story. Jack’s family lives on a farm in Maine. At the beginning of the book Joseph comes to live with Jack’s … Continue reading

A DROP OF HOPE by Keith Calabrese

A Drop of Hope is a sweet story about the small town of Cliffs Donnelly, Ohio (although someone has vandalized the sign leading into the town so that it reads: If Only, Ohio). Cliffs Donnelly, like so many other small towns in the U.S., is barely surviving; the factory that employs many of the inhabitants … Continue reading


  Today I want to share a book that I read for the first time almost ten years ago and it immediately became a fixture on my “All-Time Favorites” list.¬† I found Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by accident at the library. I was looking for a book by another author whose last name … Continue reading