PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Category: Middle Grade (Page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Play Like A Girl

 

Play Like A Girl

– Misty Wilson and David Wilson –

Balzer + Bray

Published 27 September 2022

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Play Like A Girl is another fantastic graphic novel memoir. My school library readers snaffle up graphic memoirs as fast as I can get them to them and I know they’ll love Play Like A Girl. I love that this memoir centres around sport and friendship. 

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Book Review: Frizzy

Frizzy

– Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra (Illustrator) –

First Second

Published 18 October 2022

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Frizzy is a darling new graphic novel. It will be a must-buy for my school library and I know it will be an immediate hit with my middle grade readers. And what’s not to love about this story about embracing and celebrating what makes you unique and especially you.

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Book Review: Ride On

Ride On

– Faith Erin Hicks –

First Second Books

Published 16 August 2022

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If you are in a school library like me, you probably can’t keep the graphic novels up to your readers. Of if you yourself are a graphic novel reader, you are no doubt looking for your next read. Ride On combines horses and friendship in this delightful middle-grade graphic novel.

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Book Review: Sorceline

 

Sorceline

– Sylvia Douye, Paola Antista (illustrations) –

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Published 3 May 2022

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Sorceline is a beautiful graphic novel translated into English from its original French. I’ve heard booksellers wax poetic about French graphic novels and I can see why. Sorceline is divine. Perfect for middle grade readers, and older teens will also enjoy this story.

Enter a magical school that will delight fans of Harry Potter and meet magical creatures that are at once familiar and also delightfully fresh and new and also slightly scary.
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Book Review: Thunderous

 

Thunderous

– Mandy Smoker Broaddus, Natalie Peeterse, Dale Ray Deforest –

Dynamite Entertainment

Published 26 April 2022

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I am always on the lookout for new graphic novels for my school library and Thunderous is going to be a must-buy.

A beautiful story of adventure and identity, Thunderous is the story of Aiyana. She just wants to fit in at school, get followers online and be liked. She’d rather not listen to yet another Lakota story from her grandmother or her dorky cousin. When on a school field trip, three girls who Aiyana wants desperately to impress, deal Aiyana to climb on top of a building in a storm, Aiyana finds herself accidentally plunged into a strange world where animals talk and she must complete four challenges if she is to be allowed to return home.

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Book Review: Air

 

Air

– Monica Roe –

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Published 15 March 2022

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Air is a powerful and impressive middle grade novel about finding your voice and following your dream, while managing the transition to high school, friendship, adults who think they know best and the ways society limits the potential of all.

Air is a book I’m going to force upon a lot of people. Staff and teachers at my school, my principal, students. It’s a book I think everyone should read. The author so perfectly captures Emmie’s voice. That of a young girl who has just started seventh grade. She loves racing and jumping on ramps in her wheelchair. Chair skating. She’s an athlete and entrepreneur. She and her best friend run a small business selling plants and wheelchair bags. Emmie is saving up for a new wheelchair, one that is made for skating. But when she takes a fall at school – totally not her fault! – her new principal demands that she has a full time aide. Emmie is horrified. When the principal announces that the school plans to raise money to buy Emmie her new chair, she’s super excited, but it seems it might come at a cost and she has to decide what she wants and how to speak up for herself.

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Book Review: Just Pretend

 

Just Pretend

– Tori Sharp –

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published 18 May 2021

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I’m enjoying diving into some new graphic novels and Just Pretend is delightful, with bright panels and a heartwarming story of growing up. It is actually part memoir, as the author shares her own teenage story within the pages.

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Book Review: One Kid’s Trash

 

One Kid’s Trash

– Jamie Sumner –

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Published 31 August 2021

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If you are looking for a middle grade novel about starting middle school, trying to fit in, making friends, and dealing with bullying, then One Kid’s Trash is the book for you. The inclusion of garbology as a mini superpower for our main character makes this realistic novel both unique and the perfect addition to your middle grade novel collection.

When Hugo’s parents drag him away from his school and friends so his dad can start a new career (as a ski lift operator!) it’s just one more thing Hugo has to deal with. Like being short. And the short jokes and bullying that come with being short. Not to mention his mother’s constant worrying about his health. Starting middle school is hard enough without having to start at a new school and make new friends and avoid new bullies. Hugo’s got his cousin Vij to show him around, but he knows he’s just doing it out of family obligation and when Vij reveals Hugo’s skills in garbology – the science of understanding someone from the contents of their rubbish bin – he knows  it’s only a matter of time until he before he becomes the laughing stock of the school.

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Book Review: How To Become A Planet

How to Become A Planet – Nicole Melleby – Algonquin Young Readers –  Published 25 May 2021

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Synopsis

For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.

A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.

Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.

She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.

My thoughts

How To Become A Planet is a novel about anxiety and depression, friendship and gender identity exploration for upper middle graders. Perfect for students just transitioning into high school and confronted with new levels of expectations, new hormones and feelings, and dealing with mental health and complicated feelings from family breakdown and changes in friendship groups.

Pluto has depression and anxiety and at the moment that’s all she really knows about herself. She struggles to get out of bed, and certainly doesn’t want to spend her summer break at her mother’s pizzeria and with a tutor so she can go to eighth grade next year. When Pluto unexpectedly makes a new friend, they each make a list of things they want to do this summer. Pluto’s list is all about returning to the girl she was before her diagnosis. For Fallon, her list is about telling her mother how she feels about having long hair and wearing dresses.

Pluto starts to develop romantic feelings for Fallon – funny feelings in her tummy and wanting to touch Fallon’s face. No labels are applied, but Pluto is supported by and identifies with her tutor who is in a homosexual relationship. Again, no labels are applied to Fallon’s desire to cut her hair short, and wear her brothers’ clothes, but these discussions and feelings are a major part of the book, giving readers something to identify with and relate to without applying labels.

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Book Review: Talking To Alaska

Talking To Alaska – Anna Woltz, Translated by Laura Watkinson – Oneworld Publications – Published 2 March 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

It only takes one day at their new school for Parker and Sven to become mortal enemies. Parker’s had a terrible summer and just wants to be invisible, while Sven is desperate to make an impression and be known as anything other than “that boy with epilepsy.”

When Parker discovers her beloved dog Alaska – who she had to give away last year – now belongs to Sven, she’s determined to steal Alaska back. Of course, that’s easier said than done…

My thoughts

I know first hand just how special Golden Retrievers are so I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful story about two young people brought together by a very special dog

Day one of the new school year. For Parker and Sven, this is a massive first day and both have plans to make a positive impact on their classmates. Parker plans to stay stay under the radar and Sven wants to make a big impression, but, within just the first few hours both have made a slightly different impact than they were imagining. Parker is upset with Sven for making her introduction a big deal and for making fun of her and Sven is upset that everyone already knows him as “the boy with epilepsy.” When Parker learns that her beloved dog Alaska, who she has to give away last year, now belongs to a Sven, she declares war and decides to return Alaska to her rightful home.

Talking To Alaska is such an important middle grade novel. It talks about things that so many young people face – starting at new schools, the transition to middle school, making friends, and dealing with unkind comments from others. It also addresses other important topics that is so refreshing to see in middle grade fiction, including recovering from trauma and invisible disabilities.

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