- Middle Grade
Middle grade is definitely my wheel house, I love middle grade novels because they’re not afraid to address the “tough topics”, but I like the underlying layer of hope. YA sometimes is too dark for me!
- Historical Fiction
I grew up devouring historical fiction – I loved Caddy Woodlawn, Little House on the Prairie, all the American Girls books and pretty much anything else. I’m not even particular about what period in history, I love it all!
- Diverse Characters
Find me a book that discusses a culture, religion, disability, race, etc. and I’m happy. I think diversity is so important and I’m enjoying so many of the books that are becoming available that are diverse, but not about diversity.
- Magical Realism
I love books with just a little bit of magic, in a very real world atmosphere. I always say that when a book starts with a map and ends with a glossary of words (usually in a made up language), I’m done!
- Realistic Fiction
I really enjoy realistic fiction middle grade novels – I’m not sure exactly what it is about this specific genre, but I love them. I think I like that kids can see themselves in these novels and relate to these characters or be able to understand their friends and classmates. These books are powerful in creating a safe space for kids to learn.
- Fairytale Re-telling
Tell me a story is a fairytale re-telling and I’ll pick it up right away. I love fractured fairy tales, retellings and everything in between. I think it’s because I already have a familiarity with the story so I get to enjoy the story that much more. It’s like visiting an old friend and not even needing to say anything, but just start up where you last left off.
I enjoy coming-of-age novels because you can see so much growth in the protagonist. I lean more toward the younger side of coming-of-age and definitely more recently published books over the classics, but it’s a story arc that I enjoy and am always looking out for.
- Novels in Verse
I didn’t read novels in verse as a child, but I really enjoy them as an adult (still in the middle grade age range), because they use language in such a strong way. You have to try really hard to create a novel in verse that is both powerful and accessible and those are my favorite.
I love mysteries – I grew up reading The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the usuals. I think the anticipation of trying to solve the crime and the adventure that is involved it what makes this genre work for me.
I seriously considered an art history minor in college – I love art of all types, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, whatever you can find. If a book incorporates art (usually in a mystery), it will automatically get added to my TBR list.
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book
I had to commute to New York for a meeting on Friday which meant a quality amount of time on the train to read. Even with cleaning the house for my parents’ visit, I was so happy to spend some time reading. I finished A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry – a young adult magical realism novel that was absolutely amazing! It was soooooo good, I really enjoyed the characters, the setting and the plot. It’s something I’ll definitely recommend and will be writing a review of on the blog soon.
I also got a chance to read Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, a graphic novel about a young girl whose family is required to move due to her sister’s health and it’s an interesting read about Día de los Muertos and Mexican culture. There’s some discussion about this book as the ghosts referred to in the title are part of the Spanish mission and some are concerned about what is portrayed.
I also read Moo by Sharon Creech, a middle grade novel written in verse about a young girl whose family moves from the inner city to a small town in Maine and she learns about taking care of farm animals and shows a cow at the local fair. It’s a beautifully written story about growing up – learning about your self and gaining confidence in a world that can feel so insecure at times.
I’m at a conference for most of this week, hoping to finish Start With Why by Simon Sinek and I’m also borrowing Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and need to get it back to him, so my goal is to read that this week as well!
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 community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.
I have been so busy recently, that I haven’t had time to read. I’ve been at the shore for two weekends, last week my grandmother and mom came to visit (which was awesome!), and this weekend I was in a wedding out of town. Needless to say, there hasn’t been too much time to read, but I was finally able to start back up again this week and boy, does it feel good. I literally get cranky if I don’t have enough time to read on a regular basis. And I found that the best way for me to get some reading in with very little time is through books in verse. They’re such quick reads, you don’t need to devote too much time to them, but are also pretty good.
This week I read A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman about a young girl who is a promising dance, until she is in an accident and loses one of her legs. The story then follows her through her struggle of accepting her loss and learning to live and dance again. Veda, the main character, was a very strong character, but in my opinion her recovery was very easy – possibly because her muscles and balance were so strong from dancing, but I felt that there could have been even more of a struggle for her just to begin walking, let alone start dancing. But, I think the verse format made for a very powerful story filled with emotion and it took me only a couple hours to read, which was a great way to jump back into my summer reading pile!
I started reading Steering Toward Normal by Rebecca Petruck the other day and have a pile of books waiting for me when I finish this one. I’m hoping that as the summer programs begin to wind down, I’ll be able to spend a little more time reading and getting ready for fall programming!
Title: A Time to Dance
Author: Padma Venkatraman
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: 2014
Page Number: 307 pgs.
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is a sparsely written story in verse that conjures pictures of the rolling prairies and the vast emptiness that they used to be. May B. is a 12-year old girl sent to a neighboring homestead 15 miles away “just until Christmas” as her Pa promises her. Sadly, she must leave school in order to help out the family. But when things go wrong and May B. is abandoned, she must learn how to run a household by herself and be prepared for the winter blizzards that are soon to strike.
This is a beautifully written coming of age story that is reminiscent of the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Another aspect of the story is May B.’s struggle with her school work and when the book is over the author provides a short note about dyslexia, which was unknown in the 19th century. It was a very quick read because it is written in verse with 151 short poems that truly paint pictures in your mind as you read. This would make a great discussion book for middle school students with themes such as dyslexia, responsibility, and history.
The author’s website has a teacher’s discussion guide as well as a book trailer that can be helpful in a classroom or at home. Visit Caroline Starr Rose’s website.
Title: May B.
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Page Number: 225 pgs.