Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Bridge Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Bridge Home (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019) by Padma Venkatraman was marvelous. Such a touching story that made my heart ache for the characters.

11-year-old Viji and her sister Rukka run away from an abusive home to the big city of Chennai. There they find shelter on an abandoned bridge and make a new family with two boys. Still, life is not easy. Viji hates being a ragpicker in the city rubbish heaps, but the children can sell what they find to the waste mart man, which lets them buy food and other necessities. And then . . .

You’ll have to read it to see what happens next.

Go here for bonus material for the book. And here to learn more about Padma.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Storm Keeper’s Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I loved The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018) by Catherine Doyle!

Although Fionn Boyle comes from a long line of seafarers, he fears the ocean will gulp him down. When he and his sister, Tara, go to Arranmore Island to visit their grandfather for the summer, it’s like the island itself welcomes him. Fionn hates Malachy Boyle’s house on sight and just wants to be back in their Dublin apartment with his mother. But surprisingly he likes his grandfather. Then he finds out about the magic of the Island. It will be choosing a new Storm Keeper to replace his aging grandfather. Could it be Fionn?

This is the author’s debut novel. Wow! There’s a sequel coming in July–The Lost Tide Warriors. Woo hoo!

Catherine’s own grandparents grew up on Arranmoore Island. Read more about the author here. And interestingly enough, just this week I came across this article about the Island.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Over the Moon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Over the Moon (Scholastic Press, 2019) by Natalie Lloyd is a delightful fantasy. That doesn’t mean there isn’t trouble.

Twelve-year-old Mallie Ramble’s family depends on her wages, since her father can no longer go Down Under and work in the mine. But she’s sick of leaving Coal Top and going down to the valley to work as a servant for the rich. When an opportunity comes up for adventure and riches–even if it is for boys only, especially orphans–Mallie applies. However, her new job is more risky than she could imagine.

Meet Starbirds (flying horses), villains, monsters, and more in this world of dust where once people wove starlight.

I’ve recommended Natalie Lloyd’s first book here. See her other books here. And read about her here.

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

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster

SweepSweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster (Amulet Books, 2018) by Jonathan Auxier is a book to love and hate. I love the story; I love the main character. I hate the villains and the callous treatment of chimney sweeps in Victorian London.
Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is employed by the cruel Wilkie Crudd as a chimney sweep. So far she’s managed to survive, but one day she gets stuck in a chimney, and a fire is lit beneath her to get her out. Somehow she wakes up in an attic. She and her new friend need a place to stay, away from Wilkie Crudd. Eventually they try to help all children who work as chimney sweeps, too.
This is a fantastic tale. I wish all would read this story about friendships and survival. The book won the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers.
Read about the author’s other books here. Read about him here and watch his changing author picture. 😉 Check out the monster faces here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

Family Game NightFamily Game Night and Other Catastrophes (Scholastic Press, 2017) by Mary E. Lambert was such a heart-wrenching book for me. I didn’t grow up like this main character did, but have some family members who were close to it. The story was very believable.
Annabelle won’t let any friends within five miles of her house–because she doesn’t want anyone to see how they live. Her mother is a hoarder. And Dad won’t do anything about it. Her little sister is frightened at what could happen (she has a horrifying folder of hoarder articles) and their older brother just escapes all the time. What can Annabelle do to help her broken family?
This is a good story for anyone who has been embarrassed by their own family.
Click here to read the frequently asked questions about this story. I also enjoyed reading Mary’s personal story here.
I hope we see more books from Mary.

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