Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Story Magic

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I love how Story Magic (Jolly Fish Press, 2020) by Laurel Gale dives right into a magical world where stories are magic.

Kaya A’Dor isn’t supposed to know anything about the listeners and the magic they will do if you tell them a good enough story. But she’s learned enough from her older brother Hob to attempt a story herself despite it being forbidden to girls and women. When Hob is taken prisoner, Kaya’s sure it is her fault and she has to save him. Will she survive the dangers of her journey? Especially since it will require more story magic?

This story is a page turner. And isn’t that a lovely cover?

Read about Laurel here where you can also see pictures of animals she’s taken.

I recommended Laurel’s other books too: Dead Boy and Monster, Human, Other.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Mañanaland

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.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Unteachables

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.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Beginner’s Welcome

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Beginner’s Welcome (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2020) by Cindy Baldwin is such a beautifully written and touching book.

It’s the first day of 6th grade and Annie Lee wakes to the sound of her mother crying in the bathroom. It’s been eighty-three days since her father died, but it’s as if he’s not quite gone–whiskers in the sink, smell of his aftershave, one of his favorite records playing… Not only did Annie lose her father, she feels like she’s lost her mother, who has to work all the time. And her two best friends have drifted away, too. She’s never felt so alone in her whole life. Annie decides being invisible and not getting close to anyone is a good way not to be hurt again.

I agree with what New York Times Bestselling Author of Tuesdays at the Castle, Jessica Day George says: “As delicate and powerful as a sonata, Annie Lee’s story of music, magic, loss, and love should not be missed!”

Check out the author’s playlist for the book here on her blog. You’ll also learn about her own musical background. And read her bio here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Hippo at the End of the Hall

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Hippo at the End of the Hall (Candlewick Press, 2017) by Helen Cooper was a fun read full of magic. There’s often a different flavor in books written in the UK–and I’m not sure what it is exactly–but this one has it. Maybe it’s just the use of words that are not the same as American usage. Or maybe it’s something else that’s special.

Ben, who doesn’t normally like mail, received an invitation to the Gee Museum. Mom thinks it has probably been shut down, and doesn’t want him to go even if it is. It’s too close to the river, etc. But a handwritten note on the ticket says, “Come now or come never,” has him intrigued. When Ben goes without permission, he has no idea that his visit will end up changing his and his mother’s life.

A bonus in this book are all the illustrations.

Helen Cooper is an author and illustrator. She’s won the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal – twice. Read more about her here. And you can see all of her books here.