Happy Book Birthday to Three Compelling Middle Grade Novels!


"I think about my baby sister, how I want to bring her to Harlem one day, how I won't be impatient with her as she takes it all in. How I want to show her where we come from, how I'll whisper in her ear, "You come from greatness, you come from strength."

Just. Wow.  SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS, by Renee Watson,  is powerfully moving, well written, and compelling.  It's a coming of age story about a girl who wants to understand her Dad's background, and help him reconcile with her grandfather.  Themes of family, forgiveness, culture, history will evoke thought and discussion.  The story is so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.  I laughed and teared up--this MG is the perfect blend of heart and hope.  Beautiful, beautiful story!


"I think about my baby sister, how I want to bring her to Harlem one day, how I won't be impatient with her as she takes it all in. How I want to show her where we come from, how I'll whisper in her ear, "You come from greatness, you come from strength."

Just. Wow.  SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS, by Renee Watson,  is powerfully moving, well written, and compelling.  It's a coming of age story about a girl who wants to understand her Dad's background, and help him reconcile with her grandfather.  Themes of family, forgiveness, culture, history will evoke thought and discussion.  The story is so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.  I laughed and teared up--this MG is the perfect blend of heart and hope.  Beautiful, beautiful story!

"Suddenly, with a wave of nerves, Evangeline realized that the way the spider-girl looked right now was the way Evangeline herself must look every time there was an empty seat next to her.  Every time she sat there with her puffy coat pulled tight around her, waiting, hoping, that just one person would sit down and ask her name.

Evangeline knew what she had to do."

This Frozen-like fantasy, HEARTS OF ICE, by Adi Rule drew me in and had me hooked from page one. Evangeline is a lonely 12 year old who lives with her mother and moves before she ever has a chance to connect with her peers.  Her character is relatable and authentic, making the story so much fun to read!  Filled with adventure, surprises, and magic, HEARTS OF ICE is the kind of book I could read again.  Just because.




"Heat travels from my feet and into my hands, forms in my mind as a ball of red haze. I send it to the lock and untwist it. As soon as it's done my skin cools down and I lean against the door, waiting, half holding my breath. The pain comes in a wave, hammers on the bones of my arms and legs, and I wait it out, gritting my teeth."

CASTER, by Elsie Chapman is compelling, fast paced and well written. I found myself immersed in the dystopian magical world.  Aza is a complex character with flaws that make her an authentic and relatable character.  Aza has impossible choices to make and since the stakes are so high, the reader cares about the outcome. Chapman artfully interweaves themes of loss, grief, family, loyalty, revenge, love, work, identity, and being true to yourself throughout the story.  I hope there's another installment in this story--the world building is all immersive and I can't wait to find out what happens to Aza as she navigates the challenges of her life as a caster.

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