Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Journey of the Pale Bear

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I always expect great stories from Susan Fletcher and was not disappointed with Journey of the Pale Bear (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018), although I didn’t think the prologue was necessary.

The story starts in spring of 1252 in Norway, when young hungry Arthur steals a rabbit haunch. The runaway gets shoved into a cage with an ice bear and squeezes out safely after giving the rabbit to the bear. This experience causes Arthur to be drafted to take care of the deadly bear on a ship to England. Arthur wants to reach his father’s people in Wales, so despite his fear of the bear, he agrees. But many dangers await the boy.

The book is an SCBWI Golden Kite honor book. Read about the author here and all her books here. I love, love her dragon series.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Orphan Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press, 2017) by Laurel Snyder is an unusual tale that had me asking so many questions.

Nine orphan children live on the island. And every year, on one specific day, a boat comes. Inside the boat is a new orphan who is here to stay. The oldest orphan on the island gets in the boat and it leaves. None of them know how the boat works.

Jinny doesn’t want the Change to happen. She doesn’t feel ready to become the Elder, to lose Deen who has been her constant companion, to take up her Care–the newest orphan. Why do they have to follow the rules anyway?

I think you’ll find the story fascinating as I did. It’s an award winner–see all the details on the author’s site.

Laurel Snyder is a middle grade and picture book author. You can read about her here and check out all her books here.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Lifeboat 12

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood is based on a true story from WWII, and is very well done.

Thirteen-year-old Ken is being sent away from London to Canada to be safe from Nazi bombing. The SS City of Benares was a luxury cruise ship and the kids are amazed at the food and are having a wonderful time. Five days out, the adults relax as they are now out of danger. But then the ship is torpedoed. Ken and five other boys get into Lifeboat 12 to escape the sinking ship. Will they survive?

Lifeboat 12 has been named a 2019 ALSC Notable Book and a 2019 Bank Street Best Book of the Year.

This is author Susan Hood’s debut middle grade novel, although she’s written many others. Read about her here and read about her other picture books and early readers here.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Paperboy

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Paperboy (Delacorte Press, 2013) by Vince Vawter is a compelling read. Look at the first three lines: “I’m typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can’t talk.
Without stuttering.”

This historical novel, set in 1959, is about an 11-year-old boy whose communication with others is difficult due to his stuttering problem, and so much more. Victor agrees to take on his friend’s paper route for the month of July. The throwing part will be fun. Talking to customers to collect, not so much. And he has no idea that giving his yellow-handle knife to the junkman to be sharpened is going to cause so much trouble.

This book was a 2014 Newbery Honor book. I’m so glad I didn’t miss reading it. There’s a sequel called Copyboy when Victor is older.

Read about the author here. And take a look at a blog post about other languages the book was published in here.

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Posted in Award Winners, PB, So Many Good Books

The Rough Patch

Perfect Picture Book Friday

The Rough Patch (Greenwillow Books, 2018) by Brian Lies is a touching picture book. The title is appropriate physically and emotionally.

Evan and his dog do everything together. Especially in Evan’s garden. But when Evan loses his companion he hacks down and garden and lets it grow ugly. Eventually, a proper garden plant slips in and Evan begins to tend it like he should. And then . . .

I love how the story ends with hope. And I love the illustrations and how they show both good and bad times. The book is a Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Notable for 2019!

See all of Brian’s other books here. Learn about the author/illustrator here and how to pronounce his last name here–it’s not how it looks.

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