A IS FOR ASTRONAUT

A picture book on ALWAYS in the MIDDLE? What’s gotten into me? Well, this fun title really is part picture book. It has a separate word for every letter of the alphabet accompanied by a short rhyming description.

Pushing this new title upward to something a ten-year-old might enjoy are more in-depth paragraphs on side panels,  Learn about higher level science topics like flybys, exoplanets, Jettisons, and quasars to name a few. The author is a true expert, having spent 152 days in space along with 40 hours of space walks.

The colorful illustrations are detailed and support each concept. Here’s the full background:

Former astronaut Clayton Anderson takes readers on an A to Z flight through the alphabet from astronaut and blastoff to spacewalk and Zulu Time. Topics cover the history of NASA, science, and practical aspects of being an astronaut using fun poems for each letter paired with longer expository text in the sidebars. Perfect for science buffs, budding astronauts, and astronomy lovers of all ages.

What better way to celebrate National Space Day (5/4/2018), National Astronaut Day (5/5/2018), and the 60th anniversary of NASA (10/1/2108) with A IS FOR ASTRONAUT. It’s perfect for STEAM driven learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) . To see even more great titles visit Sleeping Bear Press.

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Coming up next Monday is another:
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, 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.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
*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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MIDDLE GRADE… IN THE NEWS 4/19/18

Here are a few news and special feature articles I’ve enjoyed the past week (If you missed any of the previous posts click here to see them all):

1. The New York Times gives a nod to several recent MG books that help kids adapt to a loss. WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THESE KIDS FIND THEIR WAY.

2. New out this week is a MG novel that has already received some advanced buzz. Author Jewell Parker Rhodes gives you the background here.

I’ll be back on Friday with a review of A IS FOR ASTRONAUT.

Posted in Middle Grade News | 1 Comment

MMGM for 4/16/18

The #MMGM LINKS for APRIL 16, 2018

(Click on a MMGM graphic to reach their post)

1. I have a review of  CLASS ACTION. You can scroll down to read or select the MMGM graphic>>>>>>
2. Author, June McCrary Jacobs has a STEAM feature on a book titled, ‘Impact! Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World‘, by Elizabeth Rusch.
3. Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has an interview with Jerry Mahoney and a giveaway of BUTTHEADS FROM OUTER SPACE.
4. Welcome to author, Beverly Stowe McClure who joins us this week with a feature on SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC, by C. Lee McKenzie.
5. Ben Langhinrichs at My Comfy Chair has a review of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras.
6. Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal is reviewing a timely MG novel, Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai.
7. Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Nightfall by Shannon Messenger (great to see Shannon’s name again on MMGM!).
8. Rosi Hollinbeck at the Write Stuff is reviewing and giving away Around The World in 50 Ways.
9. Karen Yingling always has great MMGM picks. Be sure to read her review today along with the many other choices she posted the past week.
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 MMGM Links | Tagged | 3 Comments

CLASS ACTION

WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

Good morning class. Your assignment is to read chapters one through five in your Judicial History textbook, answer the questions at the end of each chapter, and summarize how a case is heard in the Supreme Court.

Or… just read Steven B. Frank’s new novel, CLASS ACTION.

You may have caught my review a year ago of Steven’s previous book, ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE. It was on the top of my list for best MG novels in 2017. This one is also awfully good, adding to the numerous oxymorons CLASS ACTION provides.

The value of homework is an often researched and debated topic. The story here provides a what if scenario: Sixth grader Sam has had it with homework. He’d rather be building a tree house with his Dad, playing the piano, or just doing whatever he wants with his after school time. Sam takes a stand against homework to the delight of kids nationwide. He makes his way through the judicial system with help from a cadre of friends, his half sister, and a retired lawyer.

It’s an entertaining journey and one where you’ll learn how our court system works. There’s even a handy glossary of legal terms in the back along with a description of each of the actual court cases referred to in the story.

I’m no Supreme Court Justice, but I find in favor of the author in providing us with another winning title.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2018   PAGE COUNT: 272

FULL PLOT (From AMAZON)

NO. MORE. HOMEWORK.

That’s what sixth grader Sam Warren tells his teacher while standing on top of his desk. He’s fed up with doing endless tasks from the time he gets home to the time he goes to sleep. Suspended for his protest, Sam decides to fight back. He recruits his elderly neighbor/retired attorney Mr. Kalman to help him file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all students in Los Angeles. Their argument? Homework is unconstitutional.

With a ragtag team—aspiring masterchef Alistair, numbers gal Catalina, sports whiz Jaesang, rebel big sister Sadie and her tech-savvy boyfriend Sean—Sam takes his case to federal court. He learns about the justice system, kids’ rights, and constitutional law. And he learns that no matter how many times you get knocked down, there’s always an appeal…until the nine justices have the last say.

Will Sam’s quest end in an epic fail, or will he be the hero who saves childhood for all time?

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: CLASS ACTION

by Steven B. Frank

  1. The kids and adults learn more than they ever would with this project based type of learning. Reminds me of an old quote: Read and forget; Do and remember.
  2. Steven B. Frank knows his way around the classroom and has captured the different personalities of each student well.
  3. The pacing is perfect for a book without much real action, but you’ll smile and keep turning the pages to see how it all works out.
  4. You also experience some of the iconic sights as the book shifts from Los Angeles to San Francisco and of course Washington D.C.
  5. The steady bond between a brother and older sister is brought to life with heartwarming results.

FAVORITE LINES:

He makes his way around the classroom, dropping the packets on desk after desk after desk, kids flinching at every thwack.

I think about my dad sitting in his sixth-grade classroom when he was a boy. Back then kids hardly ever had homework. Soon as the bell rang, they were free.

Free to have fun.

Free to play with friends.

Free to build treehouses with their dads.

A tiny word starts to form in my mouth, Two letters . One syllable. Don’t ask me how. It just comes.

“No,” I say.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Steven’s WEBSITE):

Steven B. Frank is the author of ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), CLASS ACTION (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), and THE PEN COMMANDMENTS: A GUIDE FOR THE BEGINNING WRITER (Pantheon/Anchor Books).

​ His short stories and plays have appeared in Weekly Reader’s READ and WRITING FOR TEENS magazines.

​ “Mr. Frank” is also a longtime beloved English teacher at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, where he rewards obstreperous kids with fun writing topics.

Steven lives in Laurel Canyon with one wife, two dogs, and three kids.

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Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

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BONE’S GIFT by Angie Smibert

Welcome to the fifth day for BONE’S GIFT Blog Tour!

The story is the first in a three book series. The setting pulls you in from the start—a Virginia coal-mining town in 1942, where the horrors and realities of World War II serve as a backdrop. Bone is a nickname for 12-year-old Laurel Grace Phillips. Her mom died years ago of influenza and Dad is about to head off to fulfill his duty of fighting in the war.

Bone is left in the care of her mother’s sister, an aunt she despises… and rightfully so. Aunt Mattie displays nothing but hate for her niece. But why?

This is where the gift part of the story weaves a magical tale. Many family members already know what Gift they have and Bone is slowly learning about her special ability: She can hold an object and see images or full scenes of what happened in the past with that object—good and bad. The most fearful one to hold is her mother’s knitted sweater.

When Bone receives an anonymous note—THE GIFT KILLED YOUR MOTHER—Bone is afraid her Gift will lead to the same result…but she needs to know and that means more of the past must be dug up.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT BONE’S GIFT

  1. The third person POV brings forth the time period and life in a coal-mining town to each chapter. You’ll feel like you’re walking down a dirt road as the story unfolds.
  2. The support Bone has from other family members is touching and heart warming. From Uncle Ash and Junior to Mamaw. There’s also the quiet Will, who lost his father in a mining accident and at age 14 is also working there. He’s another solid rock in Bone’s life.
  3. Character arcs are a strong point in the story beginning with Bone. Cousin Ruby and even mean Aunt Mattie realize their own subtle changes.
  4. Storytelling becomes a subplot as we learn about writers who went throughout Virginia to collect stories to preserve the history of each area. They were a part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Bone helps Miss Spencer collect stories and she also becomes a trusted friend.
  5. Straight historical fiction is often a hard sell for young readers. With the magic of the Gift becoming a focus, the sidelights of life in 1942 lift the level of curiosity for any of us lucky to read this story.

AUTHOR QUOTE (From Angie Smibert’s Blog. There’s much more so be sure to visit!)

…You see, I started thinking about this story, this world many, many years ago. I wrote different versions, never quite completing them, trying to get to the heart of what was calling to me about Bone’s world, the place my mother and her family grew up. But I wasn’t really ready to write the story. I wasn’t a good enough writer yet, among other things.

So I wrote some other stories–even got some of the published. In fact, I wrote a series of YA science fiction books. After that, I revisited Bone’s world, first with a short story, “The Jelly Jar.” That worked, so I started writing the novel. I felt like I was ready to write it finally. As I wrote, I had that feeling that there was something good there. I’ve learned to trust that little feeling. Excited, I sent the draft to my agent….um, my first agent.

She did not get the story at all! Admittedly, I was crushed–but I still believed I had something, even if it needed some work. So we parted ways. And then I had to go give a talk about taking risks in your writing life! Oy.

Long story short, I found an agent–and eventually an editor–who saw what I saw. (In the meantime, I also panicked a bit and went back to school to get a Masters in English so I could teach! ) Hopefully, the story is good, and readers will see what we saw, too.

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Coming up next Monday is another 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 Reviews | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

MIDDLE GRADE…IN THE NEWS 4/12/18

Here are a few news and special feature articles I’ve enjoyed the past week (If you missed any of the previous posts click here to see them all):

1. Kudos to the city of Denver for hosting the seventh annual YOUTH ONE BOOK, ONE DENVER. They choose one book, purchase thousands of copies, and give them out free to youth 9-12 years old. During the summer there are many activities associated with the book to bring readers together. This year’s choice is one I read and enjoyed for the CYBIL’s.

2. Book clubs can be a fun way to socialize and talk about a novel. The adult groups in my neighborhood usually pick an adult title with the occasional YA thrown in. This post makes a good case why Middle Grade books should be a part of an adult’s reading list. It also includes a link to a fantastic selection of 100 books to get you started.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a review of BONE’S GIFT.

Posted in Middle Grade News | 4 Comments

MMGM for 4/9/18

The #MMGM LINKS for APRIL 9, 2018

(Click the colored links to reach each site)

I have a review of Spamly Warthington: (Almost) Secret Agent. You can scroll down to read (Also linked via the blue chain links).
Author, June McCrary Jacobs has a great historical fiction post this week for a Newbery Honor Book, ‘The War That Saved My Life’.
Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven spotlights The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill.
Welcome back to Completely Full Bookshelf and a review of The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long.
Ben Langhinrichs at My Comfy Chair joins us this week with a review of Sayantani’s excellent new book, THE SERPENT’S SECRET.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal is reviewing Phoebe’s Heron by Winnie Anderson.
Mark Baker at Carstairs Considers gives 5 out of 5 stars to Worlds Apart, the fifth and final Story Thieves book by James Riley.
Rosi Hollinbeck at the Write Stuff is reviewing and giving away The Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers.
Books 4 Learning has a review on The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Dorine White is reviewing Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army.
Karen Yingling always has great MMGM picks. Be sure to read her review today along with the many other choices she posted the past week.
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 MMGM Links | Tagged | 2 Comments