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

Where the Watermelons Grow

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Where the Watermelons Grow (Harper, 2018) by Cindy Baldwin is such a heartbreaking story, yet filled with hope.

Twelve-year-old Della Kelly’s mama is doing strange things again. Is the sickness that got her hospitalized four years ago back? Della decides she’s going to do everything she can to help her mama get better. But will it be enough?

This was author Cindy Baldwin’s debut–an amazing debut. Since then she’s published three other books. I recommended her Beginner’s Welcome here. See all of her books here and read about Cindy here. You can also read a couple of her short stories here.

I love what Cindy says about the book: “With Where the Watermelons Grow, the story idea arose out of two inspirations: The first was when I was singing the song ‘Down By the Bay‘ to my baby and started wondering what could be the story behind the song. The second was my desire to write a story about a disability that does not end with a magical cure. Although I don’t have schizophrenia, I’m a disabled parent myself, and many of the experiences of the Kelly family were inspired by things my own family went through.”

This novel was a Washington Post KidsPost Summer Book Club Selection, an Indies Introduce and Indie Next title, a Bank Street Best Book of 2019, an AudioFile Earphones Award Winner, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award Honor book.

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

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (Henry Holt and Company, 2019) by Dan Gemeinhart was so good! The voice of 12-year-old Coyote is so real. I also love the mysteries that are revealed as I read and all the characters I met along the way.

Coyote lives in a converted school bus with Rodeo, her dad. “But don’t tell him that, okay?” she tells the brothers giving away kittens. She is tired of all the aloneness and secretly adopts the quietest kitten and names him Ivan. At the end of chapter one, Coyote says, “I had a kitten. Which definitely meant I had a problem. But, heck, I already had problems. And now I also had Ivan. And that sure seemed like an improvement either way.”

Don’t you want to know more?!

Dan is the author of six books (so far!). Read the book titles here. Read more about him here.

This book was a 2020 ILA Teachers’ Choice, 2019 Parents’ Choice Award Gold Medal Winner, Winner of the 2019 CYBILS Award for Middle Grade Fiction, and an Amazon Top 20 Children’s Book of 2019. A sequel, Coyote Lost and Found, is coming out in 2024. Read more about this one and Dan’s other books here.

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

Wish

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Wish (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016) by Barbara O’Connor pulls on the heart strings!

Charlie Reese has been sent away from her home in Raleigh to live with an aunt and uncle she doesn’t know in a “sorry excuse for a town” called Colby. And as her best friend, Alvina, told her, she’s going to school with hillbilly kids. Charlie doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t want to stay here, and definitely isn’t going to like it here. She wishes on everything. But an unexpected friend, a stray dog, and love make her change her wish.

This book was a New York Times Bestseller, Junior Library Guild Selection, American Booksellers Association Best Books of the Year, 2016 Parents Choice Gold Award, Nerdy Book Club Award 2016, and SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2017 winner.

Read about this award-winning author here and check out her current books here. I recommended her How to Steal a Dog book here.