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

Orphan Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press, 2017) by Laurel Snyder is an unusual tale that had me asking so many questions.

Nine orphan children live on the island. And every year, on one specific day, a boat comes. Inside the boat is a new orphan who is here to stay. The oldest orphan on the island gets in the boat and it leaves. None of them know how the boat works.

Jinny doesn’t want the Change to happen. She doesn’t feel ready to become the Elder, to lose Deen who has been her constant companion, to take up her Care–the newest orphan. Why do they have to follow the rules anyway?

I think you’ll find the story fascinating as I did. It’s an award winner–see all the details on the author’s site.

Laurel Snyder is a middle grade and picture book author. You can read about her here and check out all her books here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Spark

For Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I’ve got a fantasy, Spark (Clarion Books, 2019) by Sarah Beth Durst, to recommend.

Quiet twelve-year-old Mina is anxiously waiting for her egg to hatch and find out which storm beast she’ll have. Will it be a rain, wind, or sun beast? Everyone knows she doesn’t have the temperament for a lightening beast. But when Pixit hatches everyone is surprised at the creature Mina is bonded with. Maybe she’s not meant to be a guardian. When Mina learns that their wonderful life in Alorria is hurting others, she has to decide whether to tell the truth or not.

I love that this novel shows quiet girls can be heroes too!

Sarah writes for kids, teens, and adults. Check out her website here where you can discover she’s authored 19 books!

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Last of the Name

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I’m continuing reading historical mg novels with the really good Last of the Name (Carolrhoda Books, 2019) by Rosanne Parry.

Twelve-year-old Daniel O’Carolan and his sixteen-year-old sister Kathleen have lost so much. First their father, then brothers and mother, and now Granny on their way from Ireland to America. To survive, Danny must pretend to be a girl and hire on with Kathleen as housemaids. But he has to be himself sometimes and slips away early mornings in his rightful clothes and sings and dances. Can he keep his secret? And the job? He and Kathleen have to stay together. But it seems their troubles in Ireland have followed them to America.

This book is set in 1863 New York City, during the Civil War, and the terribly sad draft riots. You’ll meet immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, plus black freedmen, and everyone is trying to find or keep a job.

In the back of the book you’ll find book partners–other books from the time period. Read more about that here. I definitely understand some more of the issues than I did before (such as Irish Catholics and English Protestants.)

Go here to see what books Rosanne likes to read.

I’ve recommended several of her other books here as well: a YA and another mg.

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

Lifeboat 12

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood is based on a true story from WWII, and is very well done.

Thirteen-year-old Ken is being sent away from London to Canada to be safe from Nazi bombing. The SS City of Benares was a luxury cruise ship and the kids are amazed at the food and are having a wonderful time. Five days out, the adults relax as they are now out of danger. But then the ship is torpedoed. Ken and five other boys get into Lifeboat 12 to escape the sinking ship. Will they survive?

Lifeboat 12 has been named a 2019 ALSC Notable Book and a 2019 Bank Street Best Book of the Year.

This is author Susan Hood’s debut middle grade novel, although she’s written many others. Read about her here and read about her other picture books and early readers here.

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

Paperboy

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Paperboy (Delacorte Press, 2013) by Vince Vawter is a compelling read. Look at the first three lines: “I’m typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can’t talk.
Without stuttering.”

This historical novel, set in 1959, is about an 11-year-old boy whose communication with others is difficult due to his stuttering problem, and so much more. Victor agrees to take on his friend’s paper route for the month of July. The throwing part will be fun. Talking to customers to collect, not so much. And he has no idea that giving his yellow-handle knife to the junkman to be sharpened is going to cause so much trouble.

This book was a 2014 Newbery Honor book. I’m so glad I didn’t miss reading it. There’s a sequel called Copyboy when Victor is older.

Read about the author here. And take a look at a blog post about other languages the book was published in here.

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