Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Night Raven

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Night Raven – Moonwind Mysteries #1 (Amazon Crossing Kids, 2023) by Johan Rundberg and translated by A.A. Prime was an interesting historical, especially if you are a fan of Victorian mystery writer Anne Perry, which I am. It has a similar feel except directed at young readers. The story is set in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1880.

Twelve-year-old Mika knows this harsh winter means death for many. One night she takes in a newborn to the orphanage where she lives and hears a reference to the “Dark Angel.” When the police come to her for questioning, this could be her chance to matter.

Here‘s some great backstory on this novel and information on the author. The book was originally published in Sweden, but thanks to A.A. Prime we can read it too. I’m looking forward to more of these books. You can see all of Johan’s books here but this is the only one in English.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

By the Light of Fireflies

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

By the Light of Gireflies : a novel of war hero Sybil Ludington (Wyatt-McKenzie Publishing, 2021) by Jenni L. Walsh is a fun historical about a little known heroine. (And has such a gorgeous cover.)

Sybil is the oldest of eight children and dearly wants to be more than a farmer’s wife. When her papa and his men need help to fight the Loyalists (loyal to King George), Sybil and her sister help the spy ring and Sybil makes a night ride longer and farther than her hero Paul Revere.

This is a fascinating story that builds on the basics known about Sybil. The novel is a Publishers Weekly BookLife Editors Pick.

Jenni is a storyteller of women throughout history. She writes for adults and middle grade readers. Read about her here and check out her other books here.

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

Where the World Ends

Where the World Ends (Flatiron Books, 2019) by Geraldine McCaughrean is an amazing historical novel of survival. It’s a 2020 Michael L Printz Honor book, a winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal (published in the UK by Usborne in 2017) and is on many other lists.

Every summer, men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stack to harvest birds, eggs, feathers, and oil. But this year, for Quill and his friends, no boat comes to get them. What does it mean that no one came? Is it the end of the world? And how can they survive the winter?

Right from the first line, “His mother gave him a new pair of socks, a puffin to eat on the voyage and a kiss on the cheek.,” we know we are in a different setting. You’ll meet John who has been hiding a secret and learn about all kinds of birds as Quill endures abandonment and struggles to survive.

Geraldine writes for children and adults–she’s one prolific author! Read about her here and check out all her books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Operation: Happy

Operation: Happy (Zonderkidz, 2024) by Jenni L. Walsh is one you won’t want to miss! (It’s coming out next April.*) Told in two points of view, it almost had me tearing up on the first page. It’s such a compelling and tense-making read, I hope it wins awards.

Jody wants a dog more than anything. Something to help going to bed feel the same no matter where she is. (Her dad’s a Marine and the family moves around a lot.)

Happy, a mixed German shepherd/collie/husky, is losing his eyesight and his handler is retiring, so he has a new job. Instead of being a military guard job, he’ll just need to make a girl happy.

But now it’s 1940 and the family has been ordered to Hawaii and Mom doesn’t want to go. She’s had a dream about “The Island.” And then they can see the battleships from their new house on Ford Island. Mom won’t even look at them, which makes Jody really nervous.

The story is inspired by a real Pearl Harbor survivor.

Jenni L. Walsh writes historical for children and adults. Read about her here and check out all her books here. I’m definitely reading more of her writing!

*I was privileged to read an advanced reader copy from the Publisher.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

That Smudge of Smoke

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

That Smudge of Smoke (Bealu Books, October 1, 2023*) by Edith M. Hemingway is such a good historical read. This story connects two different time periods, 1929 and 2015–via a diary hidden in a door salvaged from an old Chesapeake Bay steamboat–and two twelve-year-olds dealing with life changes.

In 1929, Penelope Sinclair (Piper) has tragically lost her mother and has to go live aboard the steamboat, S.S. City of Atlanta, with her father, the busy captain of the ship. Her teacher gives her the diary to encourage her to keep writing. We get to be with Piper through all her grief and experiences on board until there’s a collision with another steamer.

Eighty-six years later, we pick up with Garrett Stevens, whose injured Army Sergeant dad is in a coma. Garrett and his mother have had to move in with his grandparents. When Garrett slams a door in anger, a panel pops off and there’s the hidden diary. Somehow, reading Piper’s experiences helps him through his own.

The story shares events and books from Piper’s life in 1929 as well. The salvaged door from an old Chesapeake Bay steamboat is real, which is very cool in itself. Plus, this book gives readers hope.

You can check out the author’s other books here and read about her and the real door here.
UPDATE: Book trailer link and the making of the book trailer.

(*I got to read an arc–the book is officially out next week.)