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.

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.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Song for a Whale

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Song for a Whale (Delacorte Press, 2019) by Lynne Kelly is an incredible story. I loved it so much.

Iris is a tech genius who restores old electronic equipment such as antique radios. She’s also only twelve. Being the only deaf person at her school is very difficult. When she learns about Blue 55, a whale who can’t speak to other whales because he sings at the wrong frequency, Iris gets an idea. She wants to communicate with Blue 55 to show him he’s not alone. However, there are lots of obstacles in her way–like being 3000 miles away.

My grandparents and father repaired electronic equipment so loved reading about a character interested in the subject. The uniqueness of a deaf person wanting to help someone else hear is so cool, too.

I recommended Lynne’s book Chained here. Read about Lynne on her author site.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Bridge Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Bridge Home (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019) by Padma Venkatraman was marvelous. Such a touching story that made my heart ache for the characters.

11-year-old Viji and her sister Rukka run away from an abusive home to the big city of Chennai. There they find shelter on an abandoned bridge and make a new family with two boys. Still, life is not easy. Viji hates being a ragpicker in the city rubbish heaps, but the children can sell what they find to the waste mart man, which lets them buy food and other necessities. And then . . .

You’ll have to read it to see what happens next.

Go here for bonus material for the book. And here to learn more about Padma.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Turning

TheTurningThe Turning (Greenwillow Books, 2018) by Emily Whitman is SO good! It’s compelling from the first line to the end. I had so much sympathy for the main character. And his family.
Aran is a selkie. He lives at sea with the clan. But unlike the others he is always in longlimbs as he has no selkie skin to transform him into a seal. He prays to the moon to give him one so he can dive without needing to surface for breath, so he can swim long distances and keep up with the others. Then he finds out his mother has kept a secret from him and he may never get a pelt. Aran will risk everything to be a full selkie–even living on land.
What a magical story of a convincing world! (The book has a cool cover too.) You really don’t want to miss reading this book that has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Read Emily’s About Me to learn some of the inspiration for this book. The author has also written YA books–you can read about them here.