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This category contains 19 posts

STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! by Jessica Kim

Yumi is a middle-school-age Korean-American with immigrant parents. Yumi wants to do stand-up comedy but her parents believe she needs to concentrate on studying to pass a test and get a scholarship to an expensive private school with a good academic reputation (on the path to a good college and a career that is financially … Continue reading

KING AND THE DRAGON FLIES by Kacen Callender

Kacen Callender is a new discovery for me, and one for which I am grateful! King is a brilliantly developed character to whom a lot of middle grade readers will relate. Kingston James (King) is 12 years old. He is dealing with confusion and acceptance of his own sexuality at the same time he is … Continue reading

THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE by Rebecca Stead

Ever since I found out Rebecca Stead had a new book coming out in 2020 I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. Published on April 7, 2020 I am thrilled that The List of Things That Will Not Change is everything I expect from Rebecca Stead’s work! It is insightful and tender at the same … Continue reading

BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER by Jewell Parker Rhodes

  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

A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS by Leslie Connor

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

SCARY STORIES FOR YOUNG FOXES by Christian McKay Heidicker

I picked up Scary Stories for Young Foxes on two different occasions at the library in 2019 and put it back on the shelf. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t interested. When I saw it had been named a 2020 Newbery Honor Book I was still skeptical but decided I would make an effort to … Continue reading

ALL THE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS by Lindsay Lackey

All the Impossible Things was a 4/5 star read for me. I am slightly conflicted in my overall opinion because I feel like it could easily have been a 5-star book and I find that fact bothersome when I look at the story as a whole. THE STORY: 11-year-old Ruby (Red) Byrd has been in … Continue reading

BEVERLY, RIGHT HERE by Kate DiCamillo

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

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

PAY ATTENTION, CARTER JONES by Gary D. Schmidt

I was truly looking forward to reading Gary D Schmidt’s Pay Attention, Carter Jones and I did enjoy parts of it, but as a whole it was a disappointment for me. (Having loved The Wednesdays Wars and Okay For Now, maybe my expectations were too high?) Pay Attention, Carter Jones begins with a bang:  it’s Carter’s first day of … Continue reading