Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Middle Grade Goodies (or The Best Parts Are In the Middle)

Tip of the Day: Please don't send creepy letters to your public librarian. They are being nice to you because they like their jobs, enjoy looking up info for you, and like working with the public; not because they are in love you.

A few weeks ago, Kristina posted about middle grade novels she was loving lately as she works on an MG manuscript. I am also heavy into revision mode on a historical MG, and really enjoyed these recent novels:

BREATHING ROOM by Marsha Hayles
In 1940, Evvy suffers from pulminary tuberculosis so her family sends her to Loon Lake Sanatorium where she makes friends, experiences loss, and learns about herself as she fights to recover. This honest MG of sparse text is interspersed with photos from TB memorabilia/propaganda and would be a great addition to school reading assignments dealing with the period. It would also be well-paired with the Jim Murphy non-fiction book on TB that just came out (THE INVISIBLE KILLER). Evvy is a brave character to follow. (Christy Ottaviano, 2012)

LIAR & SPY by Rebecca Stead
With his mother working doubles at the hospital and his father looking for work, seventh grader George spends his days avoiding the bullies at school, eating take-out with his dad, and hanging out with his apartment building neighbor who claims a dangerous Mr. X lives in the floor above him. This MG is full of great lines, tight writing, and great characters. I love the relationship between George and his father, and the conclusion of this novel that is also accessible to reluctant readers. (Wendy Lamb, 2012)

Stella lives with her Great-aunt Louise and another foster girl while her mother "gets her life together," but when something happens to Louise, the girls work together to tend to her garden and the Cape Cod cottages so they won't end back up in new foster homes. A big premise of this novel was hard for me to swallow, but I enjoyed the narrative and Stella's point of view so much that I finished the novel and did like the ending. A sweet MG. (Balzer & Bray, 2012)

WONDER by R. J. Palacio
August has undergone a number of surgeries because of a facial birth defect so he was homeschooled for his whole life, but his parents decide to send him to school for fifth grade, which makes Auggie scared but happy and many other emotions over the course of the year. This book is told from multiple povs, which makes this novel so much more than it appears. Auggie's voice is fantastic, and the end is heartwarming. A beautiful MG nove. (Knopf, 2012)

THE STORM MAKERS by Jennifer E. Smith
When Ruby's twin Simon finds out that he can create weather as the youngers Storm Maker ever, she tries to help him refine his ability and save the country from an evil Storm Maker's vegeance. I liked the characters of the twins, and their helpers along the way. A cute MG novel. (Little, Brown, 2012)

What MGs have you read and loved lately?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kate Fall said...

I'll read anything by Rebecca Stand. It sounds like my son would enjoy that one. I've heard great things about Wonder. I haven't read much MG lately with my son engrossed in Harry Potter, but he's looking for a break.

Emily Marshall said...

Thanks for the list. Haven't read any of them, so I'll have to check them out.

Kristina Springer said...

Great list! And Rebecca Stead is like one of the nicest people ever too. :-)

DeenaML said...

I just noticed all the books are blue covered. Interesting....