Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Keeping Score

keepingscore.jpgKeeping Score (Clarion 2008) by Linda Sue Park gives a view into the world of Brooklyn in the 1950s.
Maggie, named after Joe DiMaggio, is a Dodger’s Fan along with the rest of her neighborhood. She becomes friends with Jim, the new fireman at the station who is “gasp” a Giant’s fan. When Jim goes off to the Korean conflict, Maggie writes letters and sends him games she’s scored.
But then Jim quits writing back . . .
This book not only kept my attention, but I also felt I learned some history in a very painless fashion.
Linda Sue Park is a Newbery Medalist for A Single Shard. Check out her website to learn more.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Books set in Kansas – Airball, My Life in Briefs & out of patience

I just happened to read two books set in Kansas this last week.  Both were very entertaining.  Both at one level were sports stories.  But both also had much more going for them, such as humor . . .

AirballjacketThe first, Airball, My Life in Briefs (Roaring Brook Press, 2005) gives us the voice of Kirby Nickel loud and clear.  Kirby’s town loves basketball so much they are the self proclaimed Baseball Capital of Kansas.  Kirby loves the sport, too.  However, he can’t play and definitely doesn’t want to humiliate himself by trying.  But when the 7th grade team will get the chance to meet homegrown celebrity 6 foot 9 inch NBA start Brett McGrew, Kirby has to go out for the team.
Author LD Harkrader had me both laughing and identifying with her main character and his struggles.
Hope to see more books by Lisa soon.  Check out her website at

outofpatienceThe second, out of patience (Delacourte, 2006) by Brian Meehl reminds me a lot of Holes by Louis Sacher.  I suppose it’s a combination of the humor and the back and forth between the present and the past and how what happened then affects now.  It’s a story about friends and family, a small town, and what you believe.
In this case, 12-year-old Jake Waters definitely believes in the curse–the one that says the Plunger (as in toilet) of Destiny returning to Patience will be the beginning of the final destruction of the town.  The arrival of the dreaded artifact means there won’t even be a seventh game in the KSF Workup Baseball World Series.  As you read, you’ll learn about a variety of “head bonks” as well as the Waters’ men’s philosophy, “when in doubt, don’t move.”

Read about Brian at