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 MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Elephant in the Room

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Elephant in the Room (Rocky Pond Books, 2021) by Holly Goldberg Sloan is much more than an immigrant story or a story about autism or even a story about winning the lottery. Plus a real elephant. Told in multiple points of view, this story is a compelling read.

Sila was born in Oregon but her parents are Turkish citizens and something was wrong with her mother’s paperwork so after 15 years in America, her mother has to go back to Turkey. And it’s Sila’s fault. Living without her mother for the last eight months is the hardest thing Sila has ever known. Then she and her dad meet Gio, who won the lottery. And the three of them meet Veda, a circus elephant, whom Gio buys because of Sila. When Sila is assigned to be a partner to Mateo, she surprises herself by inviting him to meet Veda. Who knew this series of events would give hope to everyone involved.

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

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Finally Seen

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Finally Seen (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023) by Kelly Yang is so so goood!! It’s hard to tell you how much I like it. 😉

Ten-year-old Lina Gao has been living in China with her grandmother, Lao Lao, and finally gets to go live in America with her parents and younger sister who left five years ago. But all is not well in Los Angeles. Things are definitely not what she expected. Like her English being good enough. And her sister in all the family pictures, but none of her. Have her parents even missed her? Plus, Lina feels guilty about leaving Lao Lao behind.

This character and her situation felt so real. I loved seeing how Lina grew and changed and how she changed things around her.

Kelly Yang is an award winning and bestselling author. On her Finally Seen page, she asks kids what books make them feel seen. Check out her books here and scroll to the bottom to read the FAQs.

(Previously I recommended her book Front Desk here.)

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog (Dutton Children’s Books, 2016) by Adam Gidwitz and illuminated* by Hatem Aly is a differently told medieval tale that was very fun.

“The king is ready for war.” Against three children and their dog. The setting is a French Inn where travelers gather to discuss the strange events. Each person knows a part of the tale. Along the way, we meet the peasant girl named Jeanne, the young monk named William, and the Jewish boy named Jacob. Each has a special gift: visions of the future, supernatural strength, and healing. And, of course, there’s Gwenforte the dog, who has come back to life.

*this term is explained in the book.

This book is a Newbery Honor Book and Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Adam has also written the Grimm series (Tall Dark and Grimm is on Netflix), the Unicorn Rescue Series, and some Star Wars books. Check them out here. Read about Adam here.

Read about the fabulous illustrator Hatem here. See all the books he’s illustrated here and I enjoyed looking at his sketchbooks.