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

Okay for Now

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Just love this kid!
Okay for nowOkay for Now (Clarion, 2011) by Gary D. Schmidt is about Doug Swieteck (who appeared in the Wednesday Wars*). He’s older now, 12. It’s 1968. His abusive father has lost his job and the family has to move away from NYC to a small town in upstate NY. Doug nicknames the house “The Dump.” There’s nothing to do in the town, but he follows this girl to the library. Of course, Doug doesn’t want her to know he’s following her so he goes to the top floor where he’s captured by a picture under glass – a tern by Audubon.
I just love this kid. Feel sorry for him at how he’s treated by his father and brother; how people suspect him to be a criminal; not knowing how to read; his loneliness in a new town.

Gary D. Schmidt is a two time Newbery honor winner. Read about him on his publisher’s site. For anyone looking for an example of great voice, this story is excellent.

*You don’t have to have read the other book to enjoy this one, although it’s great, too. But if you want to know more about it, go here.

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

One Crazy Summer

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

One Strong Girl!
onecrazysummerOne Crazy Summer (Amistad, 2010) by Rita Williams-Garcia is set in 1968 and would be eye-opening for younger readers to learn how blacks, then called Negroes, were treated. Even for me living at that time in a community where I didn’t see much prejudice, it’s rather shocking.
12-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters are flying from Brooklyn to California to spend time with their mother Cecile who left them 7 years ago right after Fern was born. Cecile doesn’t want them–takes the money Pa sent and spends it on takeout food. Girls had been hoping for a trip to Disneyland. Mom sends the kids to a Black Panther summer camp to get rid of them!
I loved Delphine and her determination!
I also loved reading about Rita herself on her website. (NoMo? You’ll only know what it is if you visit…) She’s written four award winning books! Find out about them and what else she’s written under the My Books tab.