Play Like A Girl
– Misty Wilson and David Wilson –
Balzer + Bray
Published 27 September 2022
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.
Books to Read if you Loved Harry Potter
It has to be the question I get most as a teacher librarian. What should I read after Harry Potter? After students discover their love for Harry Potter and have re read it a few times, worked their way through all the accompanying companion books, information books about how the movies were made, History of Magic, short stories, screen plays and novelty books (the ones with working wands have to be the top favourites), they finally reach a point of wanting something similar but different.
What to read if you liked Harry Potter is also something I deal with for older students. The Harry Potter books might have been the only books they have read. Or maybe the enjoyed the movies, don’t want to read the books but would be open to reading something similar. Having a few titles on hand to suggest is always handing. But searching the web, there must be a million suggestions for Harry Potter readalikes out there. Or, maybe you are a parent with a child who wants to read Harry Potter but you’d like to steer them towards something similar.
There are lots of lists with suggestions out there, so I am not going to recommend the usual suspects, like the Percy Jackson series. While these are perfect for Harry Potter lovers, you’ve probably already seen them in reading suggestion lists, so I am going to chose some of my favourite and more obscure recommendations, as well as books by Australian authors.
Middle Grade Readers
Rise of the Dragons – Angie Sage
I adored The Magyk series by Angie Sage and it remains a perennial favourite with our library’s young readers, and so I jumped at the chance to read and review the first book in her newest fantasy series, Rise of the Dragons. With the promise of game cards and a matching online game, Rise of the Dragons promised to be an exciting release. The new world Sage has created and her daring plot of intrigue, dragon battles and family bonds is both thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable. It is sure to be a hit with our middle-grade readers. After all, everything is better with dragons.
The other books in the series have different authors.
I would also highly recommend Angie Sage’s Magyk series for Harry Potter fans.
One Kid’s Trash
– Jamie Sumner –
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published 31 August 2021
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.
Unsolved Case Files: Escape at 10,000 Feet: D.B. Cooper and the Missing Money – Tom Sullivan – Unsolved Case Files #1 – Balzer+Bray – Published 2 March 2021
CASE NO. 001: NORJAK
NOVEMBER 24, 1971
A man in his mid-forties, wearing a suit and overcoat, buys a ticket for Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 bound for Seattle.
The man presents his demands: $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. If the demands are not met, he threatens to detonate the explosive device in his briefcase.
So begins the astonishing true story of the man known as D.B. Cooper, and the only unsolved airplane hijacking case in the United States.
Can you solve the case? That is the premise for this new series. Escape at 10,000 Feet is a non-fiction graphic novel, that entices the reader to try their hand at solving a case that has stumped FBI investigators for years. It also introduces an interesting time in history and air travel.
This is perfect for budding young detectives. Those that love mystery novels or books on spies will love this true story about a heist at 10,000 feet and the man who got away with $200,000.
This is not a graphic novel in the traditional sense – no call outs, just panels that illustrate the story along with factual documents, FBI files, diagrams and information to help the reader piece together the facts. The graphics are bright and dramatic and the storytelling powerful through the use of the narration and carefully placed illustrations.