May B., by Caroline Rose Starr, is an inspiring Middle Grade story about twelve-year-old Mavis Elizabeth Betts, a girl with dyslexia who dreams of being a teacher someday.
Written entirely in verse, the 240-page book is a quick and engrossing read.… Read the rest
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is an engaging contemporary Young Adult novel most suited to high school readers. It addresses some of the concerns and problems of overweight teens.
My favorite of the two Jennifer Niven books I’ve read
I’d like to see more contemporary realism like Holding Up the Universe that encourages teens to draw upon their personal power and offers them hope of happiness without being sugary-sweet.… Read the rest
Doll Bones by Holly Black is a dark Middle Grade mystery most suited to fifth grade and up. While Doll Bones won a Newberry Honor Award, it is creepy, deals with the occult, and therefore may not be suitable for all children.… Read the rest
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is a dark Middle Grade mystery most suited to fifth grade and up. The setting is the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, 1899 where we are introduced to a very interesting girl named Serafina.… Read the rest
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a bittersweet teen fiction about a boy struggling to come to terms with his mother’s serious illness.
Connor, a twelve-year-old-boy, is faced with unbelievable stress – a dying mother, a father who has split from the family, a recurrent nightmare, a domineering grandmother, and bullies at school.… Read the rest
Growing up, I had always heard of the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, yet had never read it. I guess a story about penguins just didn’t draw my attention, but since my hometown is stuck in the deep freeze right now, Antarctica and penguins came to mind.… Read the rest
Killing Jesus is an excellent historical account of the time surrounding Jesus’s life. While not a religious book, it puts the Bible, specifically the Gospels in historical context. I’m categorizing this as young adult, but it’s suitable for middle grade up with the caveat that some parts of the crucifixion might be a bit graphic for sensitive children.… Read the rest
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen is a Young Adult book that targets grades 7 and up. This contemporary story deals with significant social and family issues including grief, a gay parent, peer pressure, stepfamilies, moving, underage drinking, and (almost) date rape. … Read the rest