Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, Writing Life

The Beatryce Prophecy

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Beatryce Prophecy (Candlewick Press, 2021) by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is an unusual but appealing story.

It starts with a prophecy about a girl who will “unseat a king.” Next we meet Answelica, the goat, whom the monks fear. One day Brother Edik finds a child in the pen with the demon goat. Beatryce doesn’t remember anything but her name. And king’s soldiers are searching for her.

Kate is a two-time Newbery medalist and Sophie is a two-time Caldecott medalist.

Read about Kate’s many novels here, her picture books here, and her early chapter books here.

Check out all of Sophie’s children’s books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Sierra Blue

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Although Sierra Blue by Suzanne Morgan Williams (2023) is aimed at early young adults, it’s definitely appropriate for upper middle grade readers. It has fun and interesting magical realism. And a cool cover.

Magic’s best friend reveals her secret–she can see the auras of animals. To get away from the teasing she is sent to her aunt’s ranch the summer between 8th grade and 9th. There, because of her psychic ability, she pleads for the life of a race horse that would be put down. Magic and Sierra Blue bond, but of course, the horse isn’t hers.

Suzanne writes fiction and nonfiction. Read about her here and read about her other books here. And here’s an interview!

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 MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Hike to Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Hike to Home (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022) by Jess Rinker was a fun read with interesting connections to Arthurian legends, Freemasonry, and 19th-century mountaineer Annie Smith Peck.

12-year-old Lin Moser is miserable. After a life of traveling with her parents as part of the popular YouTube home renovation show, Moseying with the Mosers, she’s stuck in New Jersey while Dad renovates without cameras. Lin will have to go to actual school, while her mother is away on a twelve-month film residency. But rumors of a castle, combined with new friends, and Lin is off filming her own adventure. And, of course, there’s trouble along the way.

I love how this character was inspired by two strong women.

Jess Rinker writes fiction and nonfiction. Read about her here and check out all her books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

A Whale of the Wild

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

A Whale of the Wild (Greenwillow Books, 2020) by Rosanne Parry and illustrated by Lindsay Moore was such a moving story. And is a New York Times bestseller!

Told from alternating viewpoints of Vega and her little brother Deneb, it feels like we are right there in the ocean with these two young orca whales, experiencing the Pull and Push of the tide, the dark below water, the glow of the sunshine, and the hunger. Someday Vega will be a Wayfinder, who finds the salmon for the family. But not yet. Then an earth shake separates the two from the rest of the pod and Vega has to figure out how not only to find their way back to the pod, but feed her little brother, too.

The spot illustrations enhance the story. There’s also a bonus section in the back about orcas and other sea creatures.

Rosanne is the New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander among other middle grade/young adult novels that you can read about here. Her next book is a picture book which you can check out here.

Lindsay is an author/illustrator. Check out some of her beautiful illustrations here and read about her here.