30 Modern, Middle Grade Classics

26 May

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Summer is right around the corner and I don’t know if you hear this at your library, but we often have parents come in asking for classics to give to their children to read over summer break. This request usually makes me cringe on the inside, while I try to find something that will make the parent happy and that the child will enjoy. I’ve also seen/heard a lot about the lack of diversity in children’s classic literature, or when the diversity is present, it is portrayed in an inaccurate and antiquated way. So I curated a list of middle grade titles that I think would be great to highlight as modern-day classics – books with more diversity, great storylines and characters you won’t soon forget. I tried to keep the list filled with fairly recent books (think the past 5 years) and I know I’ve missed a BUNCH of titles that you would most likely add, so please do – in the comment section below.  Enjoy!

  1. Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  2. The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
  3. The Wednesday Wars  by Gary D. Schmidt
  4. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  5. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  6. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
  7. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  8. Inside Out & Back Again by Thannha Lai
  9. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
  10. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  11. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
  12. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  13. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  14. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
  15. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
  16. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  17. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
  18. As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
  19. The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
  20. Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
  21. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
  22. I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín
  23. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  24. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  25. The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli
  26. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  27. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
  28. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  29. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  30. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Wonder Trailer – Get Ready to Ugly Cry

25 May

As a book lover and past children’s librarian, I adore LOVE children’s books and so I don’t say this lightly – Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one of my favorite books of all time. And so I was ecstatic to see the official trailer for the new movie was released.

Let me know what you think, I’m hoping they stick close to the book’s plot, but I will say that Auggie looks far more “typical” than I imagined in my head, but I wonder if they didn’t want to push the special effects and makeup too far and still try to make it look realistic. Either way, I think the film makes the point that Auggie looks different than his classmates.

I’m hoping to create a program in October for Bullying Prevention Month and I’m thinking about a family book discussion using Wonder because it is so accessible to a wide range of age groups.

Book Review: Love, Ish

24 May

30753996Karen Rivers, author of The Girl In the Well Is Me brings to life Mischa “Ish” Love a girl who believes in her heart that she will be one of the first inhabitants of Mars. She lives and breathes outer space – what she’ll wear, what she’ll eat, what she’ll miss on Earth, what she won’t miss on Earth and all the planning she does to be ready for when the day arrives.

But as a middle school student, Ish’s plans make her out to be weird and now that her best friend Tig moved away, she’s all by herself. Ish’s first day of seventh grade doesn’t go as planned when she collapses on the playground after lunch and her diagnosis threatens the only dream she has ever had.

I liked Ish as a character because she’s a very believable middle school kid – worried about sister issues, quirky and different and believes in a future regardless of how unattainable it might be. I felt that there was a little too much happening in the background of the story that detracted a little from the focus – her best friend moved away, Ish’s parents reveal something that rocks Ish and her sister to the core and a new kid makes fun of her in the few short hours that she attends school. All of these parts put together bring something to the story, but I felt a little bogged down with all of these “problems” when there was much bigger problem with a capital “P” that Ish and her family were dealing with.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and as the back of the cover states if you’re a fan of Fish In a Tree  and The Thing About Jellyfish, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): 7th grader, Ish solely wants to be an inhabitant on Mars, but a diagnosis proves Mars is much further than the 139,808,518 miles she thought

Title: Love, Ish
Author: Karen Rivers
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 2017
Page Number: 284 pgs.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer YA Releases

23 May

summer titles.pngHere’s a list of young adult summer releases, mostly about summer (or things I think are summer related) – road trips, summer camp, the beach etc. These will all be released by the end of June – giving us the perfect summer TBR list! A special thanks to the website, YALit: Young Adult Book Release Dates for a great list of books and when they’ll be released!

  1. Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein
  2. It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
  3. The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
  4. Be True To Me by Adele Griffin
  5. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  6. Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer
  7. When It’s Real by Erin Watt
  8. Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan
  9. Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams
  10. Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/22/17

22 May

25741324.jpgThis week I was able to to finish two books and start a third, which is pretty awesome! I finished Love, Ish by Karen Rivers and Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy and then I also started Finding Mighty by Sheela Chari. It was a good week of reading and I know that when I read more, I just feel better, so I want to make the effort to read for at least 15 minutes a day, whether it’s in the morning or when I get into bed at night. I don’t know how to explain it, but when I’m reading regularly, I feel more centered and calm… if I haven’t read a lot I’ll start getting more easily frustrated and upset about little things. I guess reading is my equivalent to meditation. This week, I need to finish up a bunch of ARCs because BookExpo is coming soon and I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of new books that I’ll want to read as soon I get them! Can’t wait!


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

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