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.

Please follow and like us:
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.

Please follow and like us:
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.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Random House Children’s Books, 2018) by Stacy McAnulty. It was soooo good. I’m not surprised it has been put on some best book lists.

Four years ago, 12-year-old Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. It turned her into a math savant and gave her some OCD characteristics. She’s been home-schooled ever since, but now Nana is making her to go to middle school. Lucy doesn’t think she can learn anything in seventh grade. But Nana makes her promise to “Give it 1 year…Make 1 friend.” Plus do 1 activity and read 1 nonmath book.

Day 1 doesn’t start out well when Lucy does her compulsive sit, stand, sit, stand, sit on the bus. And it doesn’t get better from there. Although she does like her math teacher.

Will Lucy be able to make good on her promise?

This is author Stacy McAnulty’s debut novel. However she’s written dozens of picture books and chapter books. Since then she’s had two more novels published (one is coming in September). I’m hoping my library has them.

One amazing fact about Stacy is she’s a 2 finger typer! Read more here.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Dog Driven

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2019) by Terry Lynn Johnson is quite the scary adventure.

It’s risky enough for any teen to participate in the Canadian Great Superior Mail Run dog race, but for fourteen-year-old McKenna, who has hidden her deteriorating sight from her family, it could mean death for her and her dogs. But she is determined to win this race to encourage her younger sister Emma in her battle with Stargardt, an eye disease. Afterwards, she’ll tell her parents about her vision problems. And maybe she can help eight-year-old Emma gain some independence, too.

The author puts you right on the trail with McKenna and her dogs so you hear and feel what’s going on. As I said above, it’s scary to see what McKenna risks, but her determination is believable. Plus there are letters from the late 1800s about this mail run that increase the tension of the story.

Earlier I recommended her award winning book, Ice Dogs. I missed reading Falcon Wild, which I need to catch up with. Her newest book, is Rescue at Lake Wild–coming soon. Read about Terry Lynn Johnson here.

Note: Dog Driven is aimed at ages ten to sixteen according to the publisher.

Please follow and like us: