MMGM for July 22, 2019

          

Click a happy green check mark to reach a blogger’s post!

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of BAD ORDER, an interesting extraterrestrial tale.

June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ has a mg picture book biography of two Swiss brothers: Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti.

Susan Uhlig has a fun contemporary mg novel today–BOY BITES BUG.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea reviews a book about a ragtag flock of Canada geese: Skylar by Mary Cuffe-Perez.

Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven spotlights The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson.

Rosi Hollinbeck has a non-fiction selection this week with a review and GIVEAWAY Leonardo’s Science Workshop by Heidi Olinger.  Rosi also has some great links for her writing friends.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews a humorous chapter book—Warren & Dragon: Scary Sleepover by Ariel Bernstein.

A GARDEN OF BOOKS has a review of The Morgans and the Jewel of Bar-Ran by K.T. Dady.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
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BAD ORDER

bad orderTHE PLOT: Mary Day’s life has always been different, because her little brother, Albie, is different. He doesn’t speak, but he can communicate with Mary via mental telepathy, sending her—and her alone—“mind memos.” To Albie, Mary is Pearl, the person he holds most precious. Then, one snowy day, Albie transmits an alarming two-word message: Bad order. Soon after, Mary and her best friend, Brit, discover a mysterious red mist in the woods that seems to draw them in . . . and turn all their feelings negative. A visit from three extraterrestrials (hilariously trying to pass as human) reveals the truth: there’s a disastrous leak in the dimensional universe—and if Albie can’t repair it, angry, evil thoughts will overtake the entire population. Can Mary, Brit, Brit’s brother Lars, and Albie save the world? And will Mary finally realize that she, like Albie, has something special inside herself? (From AMAZON)

PUBLISHED: 2019 PAGE COUNT: 224

MY REACTION: Take one part of the popular cable program Stranger Things, mix in a dose of Men in Black, and add a dash or two of the child like innocence of ET. What turns out is a unique story sure to please science fiction fans and pull in more us  contemporary readers along the way.

Most of the chapters are told from 13-year-old Mary’s point of view, only deviating with an initial chapter about Albie and soon followed by one focused on the extraterrestrials. She’s spunky, honest, and a strong female lead. The 40 chapters are short and almost always end with a page turning cliffhanger (Read one in my favorite lines below).

The mom and grandmother stay clear of the action (they get stuck in another town due to a road closure) giving Mary, Albie, and their friends, Britt and Lars full control of what occurs.  Geared toward grades 3-7, I’d recommend this intriguing tale to the upper end of that range given the small amounts of violence and language.

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:laugh2

BAD ORDER by B.B. Ullman

  1. The theme is a powerful one and shines through to the end: Together we can believe in the good of humankind for a positive future.
  2. Take away the fantasy side of the story and you have a set of believable characters who have all the normal kid concerns of growing up.
  3. I once owned a VW Bug and I had to laugh at how it was used in the plot.
  4. The reason as to why Albie doesn’t talk was a total surprise. A nice tie in to the dad Mary barely knew or understood.
  5. Comedy is provided by the aliens—Commodore, Med Tech Tek, and Citizen Lady. They aren’t quite ready for what awaits them in the human world

FAVORITE LINES

Pearl! Albert’s memo seemed to slap me, interrupting my dark train of thought. He filled my brain with a cold, empty memo. The cold cleanliness of it squeezed out the red fever and froze the bad thoughts. In the middle of this cool, clean memo there was a tiny red thought, and the thought said RUN!

A TIDBIT FROM  B.B. ULLMAN

I’ve lived in Washington State since I was born, and in Western Washington most of my life. I think it’s the best place to live; not too hot, not too cold, and certainly not too dry.

I was always the kid who liked art. I drew and doodled and painted all my life. I liked to write, too, but I knew I could never record the staggering number of words that a book would require.

(For more on her books and how she gets them written visit Barb’s Website)

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I received a copy from the publisher for my honest review. If you have time, please comment below.

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MIDDLE GRADE in the NEWS 7/19/19

Below are a few articles and features I’ve enjoyed recently with a middle grade theme:INTHE NEWS

  1. Here’s a librarian’s viewpoint on acquiring diverse books.
  2. Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the moonwalk and space buffs of all ages (but especially the young ones) should check out this list of books inspired by the Apollo 11 era.
  3. Summer is disappearing fast, but there’s still time to check out The Best Middle Grade Books for Summer.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back Monday with another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

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If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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BOOK, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS

It was a busy first half of the year. Publishers, authors, and a few books I bought made my TO BE READ pile grow to record heights. I read every book and then routed them to the intended middle grade audience.

This includes a nearby school, a public library (who used my donation for their summer reading program), and the occasional giveaway here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE (More giveaways coming up in August). But I still had dozens of books left over. What to do? A book without a reader is one of my pet peeves.

The solution was a neighborhood middle grade book giveaway. It took three hours but every book found a new owner. I couldn’t be happier. My bookshelves are empty!

IMG_2574.jpgIMG_2575.jpg

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MMGM for July 15, 2019

           

Click any to read one of our all-star’s features or reviews.

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE ORANGUTAN RESCUE GANG by Joyce Major.

June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ features a middle-grade picture book biography on artist Edgar Degas, Degas: Painter of Ballerinas.

Sue Heavenrich at Sally’s Bookshelf has a a review of A Possibility of Whales, by Karen Rivers.

Susan Uhlig is sharing about LAST OF THE NAME, another great historical mg about Irish immigrants coming to New York City in 1863.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea has a review of Island War by Patricia Reilly Giff

Alex Baugh is at The Children’s War today with a feature on Stolen Girl by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal gives a little more book love to, Taking Cover: One Girls Story of Growing up During the Iranian Revolution by Nioucha Homayoonfar.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews THE OWLS HAVE COME TO TAKE US AWAY by Ronald L. Smith. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including BLASTAWAY and ROCKET MAN.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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THE ORANGUTAN RESCUE GANG

WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

I’m having an Orangutan summer. I reviewed UNDAUNTED last month, the non-fiction story of scientist Birute Mary Galdikas and her efforts to save orangutans in Borneo. Today I’m featuring a new fiction title by Joyce Major, a middle grade adventure set in Sumatra.

THE PLOT (from AMAZON): When eleven-year-old Jaylynn moves from Seattle to Sumatra, she discovers an endangered baby orangutan chained to a wall by his mean owner, 51kO+j2TFgL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Maniac Man. Quickly she pieces together her mission: steal the baby orangutan, then return him to the rain forest. Unable to rescue him on her own, she asks Bima and Zaqi, two Sumatran friends, to join her rescue gang. But first they must outfox Maniac Man. Then find the orangutan’s mother in the rainforest. Facing insurmountable obstacles, the gang struggles for solutions. When their friendship strains at the seams, they must find the understanding needed to work together and the courage to stand up of what they believe in or else Little O, the baby orangutan, will never return to the rainforest.

Includes an index with an action plan for readers and conservation lesson plans for teachers. All profits will go to orangutan conservation.

MY THOUGHTS: A gentle adventure sure to have you on the protagonsist’s side. Jaylynn narrates the story and at times speaks more like an adult. She does in fact have a huge adult like problem: How to save Little O, an orangutan she’s able to understand and share emotions. Jaylynn feels strongly about her quest and reverts to stealing money from her dad and lying so she can buy the baby orangutan. Her desperation is driven in part by her connection to Little O as they both are missing their moms.

Animal lovers and conservationists of all shapes and sizes will find the perfect story here. Most important is the compassion you will have for orangutans and their rain forest home. A helpful TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP ORANGUTANS follows the tale.

orangutan-clip-art-18599385-cute-orangutan-cartoon-hanging-on-a-tree-branchFIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT—

THE ORANGUTAN RESCUE GANG

  1. The cover captures the emotion you’ll get by reading the story.
  2. Learning about these precious animals and the rain forests they call home.
  3. The culture of Sumatra comes through in Jaylynn’s daily interactions with her new friends and surroundings.
  4. With little help from adults, these three kids secretly carry out their plan with both trepidation and optimism. A perfect tension building combination.
  5. Thirty-four chapters were just the right length to take you through the eleven day adventure.

FAVORITE LINES

He watched me, his eyes pinned to mine like he understood. Squatting close enough to touch his back, I slowly reached my hand out, gradually, with no jerky movements, closer and closer and my fingers stretched out almost close enough to touch him, a few inches more, almost there…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joyce Major has volunteered all over the world with kangaroos, lions, baboons, monkeys, and elephants. She has also taught English, volunteered in conservation and sustainability projects, with orphans, at a medical mission and even volunteered as a reporter in Ireland and on a radio station in Bolivia. She loves inspiring people to travel as a volunteer.

“As a former middle grade math teacher, I knew this book needed to be packed with action. Based on the reality of what I found in Indonesia during my 6 months volunteering to save orangutans, I filled it with all the problems they could face rescuing a baby orangutan from his miserable owner. I included the reality of the illegal pet trade, palm oil and the rain forest.” Joyce Major, author

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I received a copy of the book for my honest review. Comments can be made below.

And this just in!!! Susan Uhlig won last week’s GIVEAWAY for a hardback edition of THE ECHO PARK CASTAWAYS. Congrats!

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Middle Grade… In The News 7/12/19

Here are a few articles and features I’ve enjoyed recently:INTHE NEWS

  1. I’ve read quite a few books this year about friendships and middle grade kids. It’s nice to know I have more than a few left with this list of 50 Must-Read Middle Grade Friendship Stories.
  2. A mom writes asking for help. Her son is supposed to be going to sixth grade and middle school in the Fall and is not socially ready for the big change. A teacher responds with a great list of middle school books that deal with the awkwardness and struggles ahead. Read a few of these and the transition might be easier.
  3. If you like author interviews here’s a bunch focusing on our beloved middle grade authors from Cracking the Cover.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back Monday with another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments