Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Starfish

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

This book is for the big girls. And for those who need to understand how hurtful words can be. And for those needing more love.

Starfish (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021) by Lisa Fipps is so well written.

This novel-in-verse is such a heart-wrenching believable story of Ellie who is often called Splash or Whale. It felt so true I found myself getting angry at Ellie’s mother. Why doesn’t she stop Ellie’s siblings from teasing her? Why doesn’t she see her daughter’s strengths? But with help Ellie learns how to speak up not only to bullies at school but to her own mother.

And I’m not alone in thinking this book is great. Go here to see all the Best Book lists it’s being put on.

This is the author’s debut novel. Can’t wait to see what else she writes. Read about Lisa here. (I enjoyed her sense of humor!)

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Other Words for Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Other Words For Home (Balzer + Bray, 2019) by Jasmine Warga is a Newbery Honor book and a New York Times bestseller. It’s written in verse and is a story of bravery. I wish everyone could read it to help their understanding of refugees and immigrants.

Jude and her mother have to leave Syria because of the violence and come to America to live with Uncle Mazin in Cincinnati. It’s so hard to leave behind Baba and her older brother. She quickly learns that her English isn’t good as she thought. As her brother told her, she must “be brave.” At first she dreads her ESL class until she learns the others there understand how difficult it is to find the right words. But her cousin doesn’t want to associate with her at school. Finding a few friends helps Jude have the courage to follow her dreams and she tries out for the school play. Will being in the spotlight make her life better or worse? And what about the dangers her brother is in?

Jasmine has written another middle grade novel called The Shape of Thunder and has published three young adult novels. Read more about her here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Accidental Apprentice

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Author Amanda Foody has successfully ventured from the YA books to middle grade fantasy with The Accidental Apprentice (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021). I’m excited to see there’s already a sequel planned in the Wilderlore series for next year.

Orphan Barclay Thorne is happy to be an apprentice to the village mushroom farmer. But when he is scared off the path into the Woods he meets a Lore Keeper looking for the same mushroom he needs. The girl is trying to bond with a Beast but it goes horribly wrong and Barclay is bonded with a Lufthund. Driven away from home, Barclay’s goal is to break the bond so he can return home. To do so he must journey to the city of the Lore Keepers who think these monsters are their friends and pets. But does he really fit with his rule-laden village?

Read about Amanda and her other books here. Enjoy several interviews with her about this book here and here.

The cover illustration is by Petur Antonsson–see more of his art here.

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

Beyond the Bright Sea

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

So glad I didn’t miss Beyond the Bright Sea (Dutton Children’s Books, 2017) by Lauren Wolk. This award winning book was fascinating.

Twelve-year-old Crow lives on a small island in Massachusetts with Osh, the man who found her floating in a boat when she was a newborn baby. Crow is curious about her past. Where did she come from? What did her parents name her? Who had decided to give her to the tide? And why? And why are the other islanders besides Miss Maggie afraid of her? As she says, “I had a nagging need to know what I didn’t know.” Adventure with Crow and find out the answers when she learns them.

You can see the awards this book won here where you can also read about the author’s other books and their awards. Here’s an interview with her that talks about Beyond the Bright Sea. Laura is a Newbery honor winner for her debut bookWolf Hollow. Read more about Laura here and check out her art here. She’s also a poet.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Story Magic

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I love how Story Magic (Jolly Fish Press, 2020) by Laurel Gale dives right into a magical world where stories are magic.

Kaya A’Dor isn’t supposed to know anything about the listeners and the magic they will do if you tell them a good enough story. But she’s learned enough from her older brother Hob to attempt a story herself despite it being forbidden to girls and women. When Hob is taken prisoner, Kaya’s sure it is her fault and she has to save him. Will she survive the dangers of her journey? Especially since it will require more story magic?

This story is a page turner. And isn’t that a lovely cover?

Read about Laurel here where you can also see pictures of animals she’s taken.

I recommended Laurel’s other books too: Dead Boy and Monster, Human, Other.