Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Boy Bites Bug

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Today I’m sharing a contemporary book, Boy Bites Bug (Abrams, 2018) by Rebecca Petruck. This is a story about friendship, prejudice, and learning about yourself. Plus there’s bug jokes and wrestling, which makes it fun.

Middle schooler Will Nolan tries to divert everyone’s attention from his best friend’s racial comment to Eloy, the new kid at school. Eating a bug gives Will notoriety and helps him come up with an unusual idea for a school project. But, he’ll need help from Eloy. Darryl’s already mad. Will this ruin their friendship?

Rebecca is also the author of the YA novel, Steering toward Normal. You can read about her here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Last of the Name

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I’m continuing reading historical mg novels with the really good Last of the Name (Carolrhoda Books, 2019) by Rosanne Parry.

Twelve-year-old Daniel O’Carolan and his sixteen-year-old sister Kathleen have lost so much. First their father, then brothers and mother, and now Granny on their way from Ireland to America. To survive, Danny must pretend to be a girl and hire on with Kathleen as housemaids. But he has to be himself sometimes and slips away early mornings in his rightful clothes and sings and dances. Can he keep his secret? And the job? He and Kathleen have to stay together. But it seems their troubles in Ireland have followed them to America.

This book is set in 1863 New York City, during the Civil War, and the terribly sad draft riots. You’ll meet immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, plus black freedmen, and everyone is trying to find or keep a job.

In the back of the book you’ll find book partners–other books from the time period. Read more about that here. I definitely understand some more of the issues than I did before (such as Irish Catholics and English Protestants.)

Go here to see what books Rosanne likes to read.

I’ve recommended several of her other books here as well: a YA and another mg.

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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 MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Song for a Whale

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Song for a Whale (Delacorte Press, 2019) by Lynne Kelly is an incredible story. I loved it so much.

Iris is a tech genius who restores old electronic equipment such as antique radios. She’s also only twelve. Being the only deaf person at her school is very difficult. When she learns about Blue 55, a whale who can’t speak to other whales because he sings at the wrong frequency, Iris gets an idea. She wants to communicate with Blue 55 to show him he’s not alone. However, there are lots of obstacles in her way–like being 3000 miles away.

My grandparents and father repaired electronic equipment so loved reading about a character interested in the subject. The uniqueness of a deaf person wanting to help someone else hear is so cool, too.

I recommended Lynne’s book Chained here. Read about Lynne on her author site.

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