Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
The Unteachables (Balzer & Bray, 2019) by Gordon Korman is an inspiring upper middle grade novel with big splashes of humor.
Unusually (for a middle grade) it’s told from multiple points of view, including adults. We get a look at the misfits and delinquents who are isolated from the rest of the student body and put in one class together. These are the kids no one knows what to do with. And this year, their teacher is burned out and only hanging in ’til retirement. But something unexpected happens.
Meet Kiana who doesn’t belong, Mr. Kermit who’s sure it is a conspiracy, Parker with his provisional driver’s license, Aldo who definitely has anger issues, Elaine rhymes with pain, and more. Here’s a book trailer.
Don’t miss this book!
Author Gordon Korman has written over 95 books! Click here to his main book page and then choose what category you’d like to see more of his books.
You can “meet” Gordon here as he talks about how he got started and his most recent novel Restart.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017) by Dusti Bowling was so good.
Thirteen-year-old Aven was born without arms, but loves making up stories about what happened to her arms. It’s a fun joke with her friends, but when she and her family have to move because her dad lost his job and Aven has to go to a new school, she doesn’t feel like joking. Or eating lunch in front of anyone. And the “looks” and stares are hard.
Her new home is a rundown Western theme park in Arizona which has some mysteries. Eventually she meets Connor who has his own struggles and they start investigating those mysteries plus create some excitement of their own. The two also ending up helping each other.
Aven is funny, interesting, and a good friend. I like her parents and how they’ve encouraged her.
This really is a sweet book, but not too sweet. 😉 Go here and read about all the awards and lists this book has been chosen for.
Dusti’s second book, 24 Hours in Nowhere, comes out in September. Read about it here.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015) written by Kelly Jones and illustrated by Katie Kath is a fun peek into Sophie Brown’s experience with super powered chickens. Written in letters, starting with one from twelve-year-old Sophie to Redwood Farm Supply requesting a catalog, which is way more fun than it sounds, to letters to her dead Abuelita and her dead Great Uncle Jim, whose farm the family is now living on, this story is a great read. You’ll also find quizzes, to do lists, a correspondence course, and a bad typist. You’ll meet a small white angry chicken, Agnes from Redwood Farm, a chicken thief, a mailman, a librarian, and even learn a bit about raising chickens yourself.
This story makes me smile every time I think about it. Debut author Kelly Jones makes me laugh on her website, too, with her witty comments about school visit experiences. Check it out: http://curiosityjones.net/. From there you can follow links to interviews with Kelly.
I think you’ll also enjoy the delightful illustrations that add to this book. Illustrator Katie Kath is new to the field and already has a bunch of books lined up. Read about how her career got it’s jump start and see what she’s working on here: http://www.ktkath.com. Make sure you click on Kids and Middle Grade to see a variety of illustrations!
Belly Up (Simon and Schuster, 2010) by Stuart Gibbs is one of those fun ridiculous stories, yet has such a satisfying ending. I loved the details of the unusual setting and think kids will too.
12-year-old Teddy Fitzroy is the only kid for 30 miles and lives at FunJungle. Going to an entertainment place is one thing, but living there all the time? Marge the security guard has it in for him for his practical jokes, so when there’s trouble at Henry Hippo’s enclosure she blames him. But Henry is dead. And Teddy thinks it’s murder. Could it be the Head of Operations, Martin del Gato, who hates animals and kids? Or Pete Thwacker, the head of PR, who’s had to deal with Henry’s messes? You’ll have to read it to find out.
This is author Stuart Gibbs first book, but he already has two more in the publication process. The Last Musketeer will come out in fall 2011 and Spy School will be out in spring of 2012. Sounds fun to me.
More humor is available on Stuart’s site, in his bio. You can even find a link to buy your own Belly Up shirt.