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

I Can Make this Promise

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

To start out the year I have the wonderful I Can Make this Promise (Heartdrum, 2019) by Christine Day. I was hooked right from the beginning. Plus I learned some horrible practices that happened in the past.

12-year-old Edie always gets questions such as “What are you? Where are you from?” She has no good answer. She knows her mother is Native American but due to an adoption by a white family doesn’t know from where or what tribe. And her father’s white American. One day Edie and her friends find a box hidden in the attic that has an old photo of a woman who looks just like Edie. There are letters too. Why have her parents been keeping her ancestry a secret?

This book is an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book and has been chosen for a number of lists. It was also the author’s debut novel.

Read about Christine here and check out her other books here.

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

The Red Pencil

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Red Pencil (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Shane W. Evans is a book I missed reading, but am glad to have caught up with. Told in verse and with line drawings, it’s heartbreaking, yet hopeful.

In Darfur, Sudan, twelve-year-old Amira, wants the impossible–to go to school and learn to read and write. But her mother says her life will be farming and marriage so there is no need. After the Janjaweed attack her village, the family makes their way to a refugee camp. There a gift of a red pencil gives Amira hope.

Check out the awards and more info on the book here.

Read about Andrea and her other books here and Shane and his books here.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

So Loud!

Perfect Picture Book Friday

So Loud! (Annick Press, April 2024) by Sahar Golshan and illustrated by Shiva Delsooz is a book to be put on your to be read list for next spring. (I read an ARC.) It’s funny, charming, and especially important story for little girls who have been told to they’re too loud. (And even for the adult women who were told the same thing.)

Rudabeh, Rudy for short, is too loud. At least that’s what all the adults tell her. But when Rudy turns her volume down like the water in a tap, she doesn’t feel like herself. Rudy’s especially worried that the grandmother she’s meeting for the first time will think she’s too loud like everyone else does.

I love this character so much.

So Loud! is Sahar’s debut picture book. Read about her here and about her other writing here.

Read about Shiva here and check out her portfolio here.

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

out of my heart

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

out of my heart by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021) is an amazing book that I wish EVERYONE would read! Such a satisfying story about persistence and friendship. Can you tell I loved it?

Twelve-year-old Melody can’t walk, talk, or feed herself, but she’s smart and she wants to go to camp. She researches and finds a camp for kids with special needs and convinces her parents to let her go. It’s scary–she’s not been away from her parents for so long–and they are going to have her swim and go horseback riding. Can she do all that?!

It’s a sequel to out of my mind, but it’s been so long since I read that book, I didn’t remember much, so this book definitely stands alone. Readers kept asking to know what else happened to Melody in the first book, that Sharon wrote a sequel. Both book promote so much understanding about those who are differently abled. out of my heart was a CCBC Choice (Cooperative Children’s Book Council).

Sharon is an award winning author and teacher. Read about her here. Check out her books here.

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.