MMGM for May 20. 2019

                 

It’s National Rescue Dog Day and another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! A perfect combination. I don’t have a dog book to share, but I do have a review of ZENOBIA JULY by Lisa Bunker. Click the bone to reach my post and do the same for each of the bloggers below.
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has a guest post by Rajani LaRocca and her agent Brent Taylor with a giveaway of her MG MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM and a query critique giveaway.
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ has a blog tour stop for a historical/Biblical middle-grade novel, ‘The Heart Changer‘. Included is a guest post by the author and a book giveaway.
Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea has two mini-reviews… Bad Kitty Vs. Uncle Murray and Bad Kitty Meets the Baby (by Nick Brunel)
Rosi Hollinbeck reviews SOCCERVERSE by Elizabeth Steinglass Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.
Dorine White at The Write Path takes a look at Sleepy Picture Book Parade.
Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week.
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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ZENOBIA JULY

IT’S ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

TZENOBIA JULY.jpghe story of Zenobia July is full of characters many middle graders will not have encountered before. There’s a trans girl (Zen—our protagonist), a character identified as gender queer (Arli, who is growing up non-binary— neither fully masculine or feminine), a trans boy (Elliot), two aunts who may be lesbian but are definitely unique, and a transvestite (Uncle Sprink). In the midst of the diverse cast  there is also a tender story.

Both of Zenobia’s parents are dead. Her mother passed away when Zen was five and her father just recently. Her aunts now have custody and agree to keep Zen’s trans status a secret, but will   support her through future medical challenges. Zen enrolls at the local middle school as a girl. She begins to make friends but also gets on the wrong side of the popular girls.

The depiction of middle school with the cliques and kids trying to discover who they are  is accurate to the smallest detail. It’s an environment like none other with emerging hormones clashing with different personality types. A second plot thread concerning the school blends in nicely. Zen is already a cyber genius and offers to help when the school web site is hacked with hurtful messages about Muslims.

The author continues to create complex characters, but this is different than her previous, FELIX Yz. Told in third person, Zen has frequent chats with God about her problems. She also texts with Arli and their friendship strengthens. Other characters take over an occasional short first person chapter. But the basis of the tale is family. So many kids start out with one family only to end up with another due to circumstances they can’t control. And that often turns out to be a good thing.

With brief bursts of swear words and the unique set of characters, I’d reserve this one for sixth grade and up.

PUBLICATION DATE: May 21, 2019   PAGE COUNT: 320

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:

ZENOBIA JULY

  1. Aunt Lucy and Phil, along with Uncle Sprink are the most loving care givers you’d ever want to have in a young person’s life.
  2. The message that friendships sometimes don’t work out. There’s no need to be mean about it not working, just realize later in life you may connect again.
  3. The tension of Grandma not understanding her grandchild is handled well. There is also a nice character arc.
  4. The texting chapters were spot on. So kid like.
  5. I wasn’t sure if I liked Zenobia, but by the end I found her to be very endearing.

THE OFFICIAL BLURB (From Amazon)

Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was.

When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time. Timely and touching, Zenobia July is, at its heart, a story about finding home.

Read Lisa Bunker’s very personal post on how she identifies.

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I received an ARC in exchange for  my honest review.

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

 

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

FROM AN IDEA TO NIKE

“Dream audaciously. Have the courage to fall forward.”  Nike Founder Phil Knight

This new series continues with the fascinating rise of a shoe company in FROM AN IDEA TO NIKE. Last week I took a look at another success story— FROM AN IDEA TO DISNEY.

9781328453624_lres.jpg

The NIKE story begins with the birth of Philip Hampson Knight in 1938. The decisions he made as a youth led to his eventual creation of a brand with instant recognition. The road to success included many bumps and surprising twists.

Kids who see themselves as future entrepreneurs will find many lessons to help them jump start their journey. Included are the basics of business and what happens when a company goes public.

But the story belongs to Phil Knight, a motivated individual who pushed forward despite tremendous odds he would fail. I had many moments of “I didn’t know that!” while reading the ups and downs of a company that had its beginnings as Blue Ribbon Sports to the multi-billion company we know today. Now I know how that NIKE Whoosh was created along with how Michael Jordon was talked into becoming a spokesperson for the brand.

Quotes, A FUN FACTS feature, and illustrations are an enjoyable sidelight to the story. Also included are a timeline of events and NIKE’s top endorsement deals. This is marketing 101 and a great way to get kids excited about owning their own business.

This summer we can look forward to FROM AN IDEA TO GOOGLE and FROM AN IDEA TO LEGO.

About the author: Lowey Bundy Sichol is the author and creator of From an Idea to…, the world’s first business biographies for kids. She is also the founder and principal of Case Marketing, a specialized writing firm that composes MBA case studies for business schools. Her MBA case studies have been published by Pearson and are read by business school students all over the world.
With over 20 years combined experience in marketing, brand management, and writing, Lowey is the force behind the From an Idea to… series, a movement that introduces business and entrepreneurship to children.
Lowey received her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and her BA from Hamilton College where she played varsity softball and women’s rugby. When she’s not writing, you can find her throwing a ball, shooting hoops, or along the shores of Lake Michigan with her husband, three children, and two big goofy dogs who like to climb trees. Look for her online at loweysichol.com.
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Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature 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 or author 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 Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , | 2 Comments

20 RECIPES KIDS SHOULD KNOW

If Esme Washburn ever opens her own restaurant, I’ll go out of my way to visit and enjoy one of her delicious meals. Thankfully, readers won’t have to wait. Try out twenty of her creations in this celebration of food. The twelve-year-old wrote the text introducing each of her 20 recipes. Older sister, Calista, served as both taste tester and photographer. 9783791385075_p0_v2_s550x406.jpg

The recipes are organized into seven chapters:

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lunch
  3. Appetizers
  4. Mains
  5. Sides
  6. Desserts
  7. More

A 2-page Introduction covers the basics including Safety Tips; What do to before you start cooking (For example: Tie back your hair and roll up your sleeves.); and a Glossary of Cooking Techniques (Young chefs will know how to Fold, Mince, and Whisk properly to name a few).

The recipes are easy to follow but don’t skimp on the challenge. You won’t find any P & J recipes here. Excellent color photos show the results of each dish. I just had to try out a few and chose Ultimate Banana Bread (Oh My Gosh!), Perfect Pizza (No need to phone in an order again), and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (OMG part two!).

Emerging cooks, and even those who have not been interested in what goes on in the kitchen will find a recipe to their liking. The book can stand upright allowing you to bookmark the page of your chosen recipe while you mix the ingredients. I’d stay and give this volume more accolades, but I have pasta to make from scratch (page 28). The picture looks delicious and I can’t wait to give it a go.

Order your copy of the book here.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

MMGM for May 13, 2019

             

It’s National Apple Pie Day. Enjoy a slice while you read my review of A DROP OF HOPE by Keith Calabrese at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE. Click the piece of pie for this post and do the same for the other features and reviews below.
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ reviews a ‘WHO HQ’ biography from Penguin Workshop—Who Was H. J. Heinz?
Michelle Mason at Musings of a young adult writer features a recent middle grade release, THE MULTIPLYING MYSTERIES OF MOUNT TEN by Krista Van Dolzer with an interview and giveaway of the book.
Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven is sharing A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park.
Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea has a discussion on “Why I re-read books…
Mark Baker at Carstairs Considers reviews Spy School British Invasion by Stuart Gibbs.
Rosi Hollinbeck reviews Absolutely Alfie and the Princess Wars. 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 JUST SOUTH OF HOME.
Dorine White at The Write Path has Frank Cole’s Potion Master- The Eternity Elixir.
Andrea Mack at That’s Another Story reviews THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE by Dan Gemeinhart.
Stephanie Robinson at Fairday’s Blog is featuring THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER by Diane Magras.
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.
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

A DROP OF HOPE

WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

A small town in Ohio has its share of problems. Factories are closing down putting more people out of work. Even the town’s sign, Welcome to Cliff’s Donnelly, has worn away, leaving just six letters visible: If Only.91gsPfpEgYL.jpg

Three sixth graders, Ryan, Ernest, and Lizzy latch onto the folklore of Thompkins Well, where legend claims if you throw in a coin and make a wish, it might come true. Ernest is the only real believer and when a new boy’s wish comes true the others aren’t sure what’s going on.

Each of the twenty-four chapters are broken up into numerous sub-sections focusing on a certain character’s Point of View. The chapters are titled along with these separate scenes. I almost needed a scorecard to keep up with all the faces introduced. In the first 70 pages I counted nine more characters in addition to the aforementioned three main ones. And many more are added the rest of the way.

It all makes for quite the intricate plot (I was even flipping back the pages to re-read and lift some of my confusion). The story though would fit well in the classroom with character maps and discussions of how small kindnesses can reap huge benefits. The world today could use a drop of hope and our youth are the perfect ones to bring forth the message.

PUBLISHED: 2019   PAGE COUNT: 320

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT—laugh2

A DROP OF HOPE

  1. Many themes effecting middle graders are presented in an appealing and understandable way. Socio-economic status, friendship, and growing older were a few of my favorites.
  2. Ryan, Lizzie, and Ernest reminded me of kids I know. That’s a testament to the author’s writing and nailing down the authenticity of these three in expert fashion.
  3. You knew all the side stories would eventually come together as one. It was a satisfying conclusion when it happened.
  4. Different for sure, and a story good readers will find to be a welcome change.
  5. I was hoping the author had another middle grade book on the radar and he does. Connect the Dots is due out next year.

FAVORITE LINES

And that scared him. Not because Ryan was against people catching a break for a change. But he was of the life philosophy that the light at the end of the tunnel was usually an oncoming train. For Ryan, the other shoe never just dropped. The universe usually threw it at you.

THE OFFICIAL PLOT

Times are tough. Jobs are scarce and miracles are in short supply. But something strange is happening in If Only, Ohio. An old well has suddenly, impossibly, begun to grant wishes. And three sixth graders are the only ones who know why.

Ernest Wilmette believes a good deed makes magic happen. Ryan Hardy thinks they should just mind their own business. Lizzy MacComber believes in facts, not fairy tales. Of course, you don’t have to believe in wishes to make one.

As more wishes are made, the well’s true secret gets harder and harder to keep. Ernest, Ryan, and Lizzy know they can’t fix the world. But in their own little corner of it, they can give everyone a little hope… one wish at a time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Calabrese is the author of the middle-grade novel, A Drop of Hope, as well as the picture book, Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous. A former script reader, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, kids, and a dog who thinks he’s a mountain goat.

(For more visit Keith’s Web Page)

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If you have time, please comment below. I enjoy reading them all!

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

FROM AN IDEA TO DISNEY

Disney is a name that brings a smile to children’s faces whether it be through movies, television, or visits to the many theme parks. This captivating new series gets a great start with the story behind Walt Disney. His successes and surprising failures are covered in masterful detail.

9781328453600_lres.gif Eleven easy-to-read chapters begin with Walt’s childhood and take readers up to the present. Illustrations break up the text and hard to understand words are defined in a separate box right on the same page instead of a glossary in the back. A nice helpful touch.

Walt Disney, one of the most iconic figure in entertainment. died way too young. The story detailed in later chapters of how the company kept going without its leader is equally compelling.

Quotes from Walt Disney are scattered throughout, including one of my favorites:  “If you can dream it, you can do it.” There’s also a Fun Facts feature where you learn some little known facts including what is going on below Walt Disney World.

A handy timeline is presented in the final pages beginning with Walt’s birth all the way to the present where today Disney employs more than 200,000 cast members (Disney speak for employees). There’s also a two page bibliography perfect for further study.

Our future dreamers and doers in the world have an inspiring source for their own success in the world with FROM AN IDEA TO DISNEY. Also out in the series is FROM AN IDEA TO NIKE. And this summer look for FROM AN IDEA TO GOOGLE and FROM AN IDEA TO LEGO.

About the author: Lowey Bundy Sichol is the author and creator of From an Idea to…, the world’s first business biographies for kids. She is also the founder and principal of Case Marketing, a specialized writing firm that composes MBA case studies for business schools. Her MBA case studies have been published by Pearson and are read by business school students all over the world.
With over 20 years combined experience in marketing, brand management, and writing, Lowey is the force behind the From an Idea to… series, a movement that introduces business and entrepreneurship to children.
Lowey received her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and her BA from Hamilton College where she played varsity softball and women’s rugby. When she’s not writing, you can find her throwing a ball, shooting hoops, or along the shores of Lake Michigan with her husband, three children, and two big goofy dogs who like to climb trees. Look for her online at loweysichol.com.
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Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature 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 or author 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 Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments