Anthropomorphic. What a mouthful! But many children’s stories are anthropomorphic. Simple definition: a literary device attributing human qualities to animals or objects. However, Robert O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, an anthropomorphic story, is not merely fantasy.… Read the rest
Killing Lincoln is an excellent historical account of the time surrounding the end of the Civil War. While it’s suitable for middle grade up, it should be categorized as young adult because the book was not written for children.… Read the rest
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
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
6 Dates to Disaster by Cynthia T Toney is a thought-provoking book for high school students. Wendy is coasting through the last weeks of school eager for her family trip to Alaska to see Mrs. V and Sam. Unfortunately, financial struggles threaten that dream.… Read the rest
Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi is a thought-provoking Young Adult book most suited to eighth grade and up. The setting is the American Revolution as experienced by sixteen-year-old Jemima Emerson.
One of my all-time favorite books
Jemima Emerson lives in Trenton, New Jersey, and her family experiences all of the conflict of the War for Independence.… Read the rest