mstamireads has written 319 posts for mstamireads


The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is the newest addition from one of my favorite authors:  Wendelin Van Draanen.  Lincoln is 11 years old.  He and his mother have fled their home and his mother’s abusive boyfriend.  Lincoln now finds himself in a school where his southern accent and mannerisms often make him a target … Continue reading

OLLIE’S ODYSSEY by William Joyce

Ollie’s Odyssey is a beautiful story in the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit, told in William Joyce’s typical sweet, inspiring style.  When Billy is born, the doctors are worried about his heart.  As they wait for more information from the doctors Billy’s mother sews him a special toy–a cross between a teddy bear and a … Continue reading

BUBONIC PANIC: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow

If you had told me two weeks ago that I would be fascinated by a book about the bubonic plague I would’ve laughed at you.  Then I read Bubonic Panic by Gail Jarrow.  It’s not a book I would ordinarily have chosen off a library shelf to read.  However, because I had seen this book … Continue reading


Jason Parker lives in Japan with his parents, who teach at a university, and his younger sister, Cora.  He is in the 6th grade although he’s a year older than his Japanese classmates, having had to repeat a grade when his family moved to Japan. When I started Falling Into the Dragon’s Mouth I thought … Continue reading

WILD RIVER by P.J. Lodehouse…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Wild River tells the story of Ryan’s and his older brother, Tanner’s, kayaking trip.  The author does a nice job of creating a believable voice for Ryan–a middle school boy who prefers video games to outdoor activities.  The fact that Ryan’s expertise with outdoor adventures is much less than Tanner’s is essential to the story.  … Continue reading

AN ARMY OF FROGS by Trevor Pryce…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I had seen An Army of Frogs at the library.  I had checked it out twice.  It looked interesting.  It looked fun.  But I couldn’t get into it.  I groaned when I saw it come up on the Lovelace nominee list for 2016-17.  I was not looking forward to forcing myself to read it all … Continue reading

EMMANUEL’S DREAM: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson Illustrated by Sean Qualls…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Emmanuel’s Dream is a biographical picture book about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, introduced to the reader like this: In Ghana, West Africa, a baby boy was born: Two bright eyes blinked in the light, two healthy lungs let out a powerful cry, two tiny fists opened and closed, but only one strong leg kicked. The people … Continue reading

CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

The flag which Francis Scott Key used as inspiration to compose The Star Spangled Banner is stolen from the Smithsonian after a gala event.  That evening four children with different ties to the museum and, consequently, the flag, meet by chance in the airport, waiting to board their flights home.  A massive snowstorm shuts down … Continue reading

RHODA’S ROCK HUNT by Molly Beth Griffin Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Rhoda’s Rock Hunt was a delightful surprise for me!  Rhoda’s experiences–both her fascination with rocks and her delight in finding them–mirror my own experience as a child on vacation during summers in northern Minnesota.  I wish Rhoda’s Rock Hunt had been around eight years ago when my daughter was constantly adding to the LOADS of rocks in … Continue reading

KIZZY ANN STAMPS by Jeri Watts…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I think Kizzy Ann Stamps will be a popular Lovelace choice, particularly for girls in grades 3-6. Kizzy Ann will be in 6th Grade in the fall of 1963.  We meet her the summer before she attends–for the first time–the integrated elementary school in their Virginia town.  The book is told in the form of … Continue reading