Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Mañanaland (Scholastic Press, 2020) by award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan is a wonderful tale of growing up and discovery.
Eleven-year-old Max likes to make up stories and wonder about big things, like what lay beyond the horizon, why his mother left, and if he’d ever meet her. But Papá does not like questions. He does give Max a compass that belonged to Renata. Max hopes he can find his mother and give the compass back to her. When Papá is out of town and someone comes looking for a guardian to help a traveler along the way, Max decides to be the escort to the next guardian who might have traveled with his mother. Maybe he’ll make it all the way to Mañanaland.
Here’s an interview with the author about what inspired the story. Read about the author here. Go here to check out her many many books.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Random House Children’s Books, 2018) by Stacy McAnulty. It was soooo good. I’m not surprised it has been put on some best book lists.
Four years ago, 12-year-old Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. It turned her into a math savant and gave her some OCD characteristics. She’s been home-schooled ever since, but now Nana is making her to go to middle school. Lucy doesn’t think she can learn anything in seventh grade. But Nana makes her promise to “Give it 1 year…Make 1 friend.” Plus do 1 activity and read 1 nonmath book.
Day 1 doesn’t start out well when Lucy does her compulsive sit, stand, sit, stand, sit on the bus. And it doesn’t get better from there. Although she does like her math teacher.
Will Lucy be able to make good on her promise?
This is author Stacy McAnulty’s debut novel. However she’s written dozens of picture books and chapter books. Since then she’s had two more novels published (one is coming in September). I’m hoping my library has them.
One amazing fact about Stacy is she’s a 2 finger typer! Read more here.
The Someday Birds (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2017) by Sally J. Pla is a moving and amazing story. I would have chosen this book as the Newbery winner if they’d let me.
Charlie likes routine. He’s also fascinated by birds. His younger twin brothers and older sister are not so patient with his routines or interests. With Dad in the hospital and not able to speak due to a brain injury from his time as a war journalist in Afghanistan, Gram is staying with them. None of them like the fact that Charlie speaks too directly about Dad’s condition. But life is about to change drastically for all of them, including a lady who might be a spy, a road trip, and of course for Charlie, birds.
I love how the chapter headings are related to birds in some way. I also love this story being in Charlie’s viewpoint and how he deals with his OCD/sensitivity/autism spectrum issues.
This award-winning book is the author’s debut. Read more about her here and about her other books here. And you should definitely read this blog post about what it was like for her as a child and how a teacher made a difference.