ARTEMIS SPARKE and the SOUND SEEKERS BRIGADE

When Artemis Sparke has had it with humans, she heads to the nearby salt marsh to hang out with the birds, plants and mollusks who don’t make a big deal of her stutter. The shoreline sanctuary is predictable, unlike her family and friends, and the data in her science journal proves it. But one day that data goes haywire, and her bird friend RT confirms it: the salt marsh is dying. Artemis discovers that the historic hotel where she lives with her mom may be part of the problem, but speaking up would mean confronting the cranky hotel owner who happens to be her mom’s boyfriend and boss. Artemis conjures up help from deceased ecologists, and as she works to untangle their clues, she finds family secrets that could be the key to saving the salt marsh but also may destroy her life as she knows it.

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The setting of Long Island Sound off the coast of Connecticut brings the issue of saving our environment to the forefront. The third person narration follows Artemis as she becomes more worried by what is happening.

The only other person that seems to care is a neighbor lady. Even Art’s best friend, Warren, is a bit skeptical. Also not always on Art’s side is a mom who is a maid at the hotel and is separated from the dad, He makes brief appearances when his busy writing schedule allows.

This leaves Artemis searching for solutions which she finds in the form of friendly ghosts at the hotel. The 152 pages move along at a nice pace and are a welcome break from today’s more typical 300 page MG novels. An epilogue ties together all the questions about what eventually occurs with the Sound Seekers Brigade’s efforts.

Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade is a welcome addition to the shelf of environmentally themed books for middle graders. The release date is Feb. 2nd which coincides with International Wetland’s Day.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: ARTEMIS SPARKE AND THE SOUND SEEKERS BRIGADE

  1. Artemis has a sweet personality readers will like. She is focused and passionate toward her quest while dealing with being a kid around adults who have opposing views.
  2. Stuttering can be an overwhelming obstacle in growing up. Artemis’s stutter never overshadows the environmental aspect, but their is a hint of help in her future.
  3. Warren has his own problems at home and that is often the reason he is not always behind his friend 100%. Thankfully, his story also gets a hopeful change in the final pages.
  4. An inspiration to readers who want to push forth with conservation in their own communities.
  5. A nice balance of realistic and speculative fiction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kimberly Behre Kenna

After years as an adolescent and family counselor, and then as a fifth grade teacher of ecology and language arts, Kimberly returned to school for her MA in creative writing from Wilkes University. Her middle-grade novel, “Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade” was a finalist and received Honorable Mention in the 2019 Tassy Walden New Voices in Children’s Literature Competition. It will be published by Fitzroy Books 2/2/23. Another book in her Brave Girl Collection, “Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm” is forthcoming from Black Rose Publishing 8/3/23. A third in the collection, as yet unpublished, won second place in The Institute of Children’s Literature 2022 MG Mystery First Pages Contest. Her poems and short stories have been published in American Writers Review, Mused, Plumtree Tavern, and Rubbertop Review. Her full-length play, “Ana’s Hummingbird,” was given a staged reading at The Dramatists Guild in NYC. She’s a member of SCBWI and PEN America, and now devotes herself to writing full time

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COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW! BE SURE TO VISIT ALL THE OTHER BLOGGERS ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

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SOMEBODY TO LOVE

A banjolele is a very unique four-stringed musical instrument. It has a body like a small banjo, and the neck similar to a ukulele.

This expanded picture book is the story of how artist Valerie June and a banjolele became best friends and together created the song, Somebody to Love.

It begins in her childhood when Valerie receives the banjolele as a gift. She plays the instrument but others call it a toy. For years it goes unused before she finds it again and they reconnect. Now these two perform all over the world.

Bold and beautiful pictures accompany the text. In the last few pages you’ll find a brief background on other believers like Oprah Winfrey, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Somebody to Love is one to share with anyone who has an interest in music and the power to believe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Valerie June

Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Tennessee. Valerie has been published in the New York Times, which has hailed her as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” She has recorded four critically acclaimed, best-selling solo albums and has also written songs for legendary artists such as Mavis Staples and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Valerie has performed on The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Austin City Limits, Rachael Ray, and CBS Saturday Morning, and graced some of the world’s most prestigious stages, from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center. She’s part of the Turnaround Arts program originally started by First Lady Michelle Obama. Also a poet, her first collection, Maps for the Modern World was published in April 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing. When she’s not touring, June splits her time between Tennessee and New York.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Marcela Avelar

Marcela Avelar is a Mexican-born artist based in New York City. She is the founder of a not-for-profit digital art collective called The Artruist. Her work can be seen in advertisements as well as album covers for musicians like Special K’s, Aloysius 3, Pete Remm, So Brown, Wes Hutchinson and 9 time Grammy Award winner Norah Jones. She also designed the stage for Norah Jones’ 2017 Day Breaks World Tour. In 2018, Marcela’s artwork was part of an exhibit in New Paltz, NY celebrating Mexican Women Artists, Artbath, a monthly performance series in NYC and she is working on her next solo exhibit. Currently, she is in collaboration with a Mexico based developer to create unique designs for tiles and textiles.

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It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is 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 don’t forget to say what 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.

*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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MMGM for JANUARY 23, 2023

Click on to reach a blogger’s middle grade review or feature.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of SINCERELY SICILY by Tamika Burgess.

Brenda at Log Cabin Library reviews NeverLore:  Journey to Mt. Smolder by Taya & Nathan Okerlund.

Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles is back with us again and has an interview with debut author Megan Reyes and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Heroes of Havensong: Dragonboy.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews Singing with Elephants by Margarita Engle, a charming novel in verse.

Maria Antonia at of books, photography, and tea has a post about MY LIFE BEGINS! by Patricia MacLachlan.

Valinora Troy shares her review about Winters Keep by Tamsin Mori, an exciting conclusion to the Storm Weaver trilogy.

Carol Baldwin interviews award-winning NF PB author, Margriet Ruurs, in conjunction with giving away one of Margriet’s books. Many middle-grade students enjoy learning from nonfiction picture books so this is worth a visit.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews Vanderbeekers on the Road. Rosi also shares three links of interest for her writing friends.

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with last Saturday’s THE LOST YEAR.

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(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)
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)
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Sincerely Sicily

Sicily Jordan’s worst nightmare has come true! She’s been enrolled in a new school, with zero of her friends and stuck wearing a fashion catastrophe of a uniform. But however bad Sicily thought sixth grade was going to be, it only gets worse when she does her class presentation.

While all her classmates breezed through theirs, Sicily is bombarded with questions on how she can be both Black and Panamanian. She wants people to understand, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is ready to listen—first at school and then at home. Because when her abuela starts talking mess about her braids, Sicily’s the only one whose heart is being crumpled for a second time.

Staying quiet may no longer be an option, but that doesn’t mean Sicily has the words to show the world just what it means to be a proud Black Panamanian either. Even though she hasn’t written in her journal since her abuelo passed, it’s time to pick up her pen again—but will it be enough to prove to herself and everyone else exactly who she is?

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The first person narration through the eyes of Sicily is spot on. She has to deal with changing friendships, a possible first crush, missing her abuelo, and confusing questions about her color.

Those not interested in how hair braids are created or the fashion choices of girls might choose to skip this one, but they will miss out on much more important dealings. That would be the often confusing path to understanding cultural and racial differences. Conflict is also splendidly portrayed in Sicily’s life both at home and at school. Something all middle graders will understand.

Sincerely Sicily hits all the right notes as Sicily tries to find out who she is and the voice she wants to be in this world. This contemporary debut will have you hoping for more books about Sicily.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: SINCERELY SICILY by Tamika Burgess

  1. The hurtful comments about Sicily’s braids from her much adored abuela were heartbreakingly displayed in an early scene. Demonstrates the importance of using criticism in the right way.
  2. Sicily’s parents were a welcome and positive influence in her life even though Sicily might roll her eyes at some of their comments.
  3. I’ve been through the Panama Canal so the historical background as to the how and why it was built was a positive.
  4. Writing can be such a huge remedy when dealing with life’s road bumps. Sicily’s journal might inspire others her age to begin one of their own.
  5. A great classroom or at home discussion starter about culture, race, and finding your voice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tamika Burgess (Ta-mee-Ka Bur-jess) is a storyteller with over a decade of novel, TV/film, and personal essay writing experience. Born to parents who migrated from Panamá, Tamika has always taken a particular interest in writing themes that explore her Black Latina identity. Because of her passion for spreading the knowledge of Black Panamanian culture, Tamika has been featured on various websites, podcasts, and panels. When she is not writing, Tamika is somewhere cozy online shopping and listening to a podcast. Tamika resides in sunny Southern California, where she is writing her second novel. Learn more about Tamika at TamikaBurgess.com

Tamika’s Website: https://www.tamikaburgess.com/

Tamika’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TameeksB

Tamika’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tameeksb/

Tamika’s Goodreads Profile: https://bit.ly/3DtGeXZ

Tamika’s Newsletter: https://www.tamikaburgess.com/newsletter

Questions about Sincerely Sicily for Author Tamika Burgess

What inspired Sincerely Sicily?

Sincerely Sicily is loosely based on my experiences growing up and came out of a need for representation and understanding. As a child, I didn’t fully comprehend how to explain my Black Panamanian background when people asked, “What are you?” Being asked that question, coupled with the fact that I was growing up in a predominantly white community as a Black Latina, I often felt out of place. My peers were all the same, and not only was I of a different race, but my culture was something that was entirely out of their realm of understanding.

I always wished for a point of reference, someone I could point to and say, “I’m just like them.” But characters in books, movies, and TV shows didn’t look like me, nor did their experiences resemble mine. So I wrote the book I needed and would have loved to read as a child.


What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I have so many hopes for Sincerely Sicily, but the main one is that when readers finish, they walk away from it with a clear understanding of the African diaspora. The diaspora is vast and spans worldwide. It is made up of people who descend from native Africans yet live outside Africa, predominantly in the Americas, therefore including Latin American countries.


What is your favorite quote from Sincerely Sicily?
 

“Afro (short for African) comes before Panamanian to let people know I am of African ancestry… Panamanian or Latina, either way, I am Afro/Black first.”

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COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW! BE SURE TO VISIT ALL THE OTHER MIDDLE GRADE BLOGGERS ON THIS WEEK’S MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY.

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HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL

Last month I participated in the blog tour for HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL, a new NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS title. Now that I have had a chance to actually read the 176 page book it’s time to share all the things that make it great.

The five chapters begin with a look at Communication Basics focusing on How Animals Communicate. Next you get a quick background on the senses important for animals (Hear, See, Touch, Smell).

The other four chapters cover over 60 animals arranged in categories where you would find them in the world:

  • ACROSS THE LAND
  • IN THE WATER
  • IN THE AIR
  • BY OUR SIDE

Each two page spread features stunning photographs along with several paragraphs as to how the animal communicates. A few of my favorites inlcude:

  • When playing, Lions make humming or puffing noises to show they are comfortable or friendly.
  • Every Dolphin has a signature whistle.
  • Gerbils are known to wink, which can mean a few different things, including “Thank you” or ” Hello.”

The book can be read in any page order and a good plan is to start with your favorite animal via the handy back pages index. There’s also a quiz to test your knowledge, a glossary, and further resources.

Whether you are the intended audience or a lot older you’ll be saying many times “I didn’t know that!” Perfect as a gift or for yourself. How To Speak Animal speaks a great language you will find hard to put down.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

DR. GABBY WILD earned her bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master’s of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children’s book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is 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 don’t forget to say what 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.

*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 , , | 4 Comments

MMGM for JANUARY 16, 2023

HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY! Click on to reach a blogger’s middle grade review or feature.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of JOURNEY TO JUSTICE – The Adventures of Spider and Ruby.

Susan Uhlig really enjoyed the historical novel, The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson, set shortly after the turn of the 20th century.

Brenda at Log Cabin Library has The War of the Woods the fourth book in The Crowns of Croswald series by D.E. Night.

Sue Heavenrich is over at Archimedes Notebook with a review of The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner.

Carol Baldwin welcomes back her ace teen reviewer, Elliott, with his review of Omar Rising.

Maria Antonia at of books, photography, and tea has a post about FEATHERED by Deborah Kerbel.

Valinora Troy shares her review about The Time Tider by Sinead O’Hart.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews TALES OF THE PREHISTORIC WORLD. Rosi also shares three links of interest for her writing friends.

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with last Thursday’s WHAT HAPPENED TO RACHEL RILEY.

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(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)
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)
Posted in Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

JOURNEY TO JUSTICE – The Adventures of Spider and Ruby

Imagine a world flooded with water. Most people are forced to work hard to survive while a powerful few enjoy lives of leisure and luxury on a mysterious, man-made island. It’s up to Spider and his newfound friend Ruby to change the fate of the AquaGrowers and HouseBoaters. But first they have to rescue Spider’s twin brother, Luke, who’s been imprisoned for attempting to organize an uprising against the powers that be.

Join the young heroes as they face down the ruthless Marauders and the all-powerful Chosen on their mission to unite humankind. The story invites readers to engage with an urgent question: What can happen to our planet if we don’t take proper care of it? With Spider and Ruby leading the way, readers explore the importance of friendship and discovering one’s true potential, the pitfalls of sibling rivalry, and, above all else, standing up for what’s right in the face of overwhelming odds – and that includes complacent adults.

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My usual rant of middle grade books becoming much too long (300-400 pages) doesn’t apply here. Journey to Justice-The Adventures of Spider and Ruby tips the scales at just 161 pages. In this case though I’m wishing this tale had been longer.

Many scenes ended too abruptly or readers are told what happened. Despite this little nitpick, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride I took with the main characters, Spider and Ruby. The third person narration covers 30 chapters ending with hints of a sequel.

Most books about climate change center around what we need to do to turn this problem around. That’s not the case here as the plot focuses on the after, the time in the future when humans have lost the battle with a climate disaster they caused.

Twelve-year-old Spider lives on a houseboat with his parents. Twin brother Luke is no longer there after being arrested and banished to a prison on The Island. Spider decides he must save his brother leading him to meet Ruby. She lives in an underwater greenhouse with her parents and a grandfather (who becomes a key to the story).

Spider and Ruby become instant friends and together they plan to rescue Luke and change the unfair caste system the world must follow. Adventurous and appealing to both boys and girls, the story will for sure cause more discussion about the potential effects of global warming.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT JOURNEY TO JUSTICE

  1. Despite being set in the future the settings felt real and not in the realm of a science fiction impossibility.
  2. Good versus Evil is exposed in marvelous fashion.
  3. Not one but two likeable heroes. Hopefully in a book two we will see some of their more flawed personality traits.
  4. The idea that no matter what happens there is always hope.
  5. It will get you thinking about how hard it would be to live on a planet made up mostly of water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanni Haas, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. He’s the author of three books and hundreds of academic and popular articles (including dozens of articles on parenting) and the editor of two books. His poems and short stories have appeared in many literary publications. His various writings have been translated into Chinese, Greek, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW.

BE SURE TO VISIT ALL THE OTHER MMGM POSTS FROM BLOGGERS AROUND THE WORLD.

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ENOLA HOLMES (The Graphic Novel-Book Two)

The brilliant sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes returns, ready for more adventure.

London, 1889. A woman is being held prisoner while she awaits a forced marriage. Another has been kidnapped, and yet another disappears…

As Enola seeks to rescue the three women, her brother embarks on a quest of his own. When Sherlock receives a mysterious package, he knows he’ll need Enola’s help to decipher its meaning. In the end, the three Holmes siblings will have to work together to answer the question that started it all: What happened to their mother?
 

Book Two contains three engrossing mysteries: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, and The Case of Baker Street Station.

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The Enola Holmes Mysteries are an 8-book series that debuted in 2008. Enola, the 14 year old MC, demonstrates she can be just as witty as her older brother Sherlock in solving cases. Geared toward the upper middle grade or YA reader, the series is so popular there have been two Netflix movies released (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d0Zf9sXlHk)

The two-book graphic series will appeal to 9-12 year olds. The illustrations are colorfully bold and detailed to the extent each character’s emotions are in full view with each facial expression. Enola is a fantastic heroine who fights prejudice against girls in a past era. She’s also a master of disguise whether it be an orphan or a gentleman driving a carriage.

Between each of the three cases are snippets from Enola’s Secret Notebook. Here you can learn about some of the locations she visits along with ways to decipher secret codes. There’s also pictures and notes from Enola to help her solve the case. Fun and informative you might be revisiting these pages several times to enjoy the content.

Whether you are already a fan of the original books/movies or are coming in as a newbie, the graphic novel is sure to please those who enjoy this form of writing and anyone into mysteries. Let’s hope Emola will be back for more graphic adaptations.

About the Author

Serena Blasco was born in France where she studied at the School of Applied Arts in Aix-en-Provence, worked as a graphic designer, and published her first comics work in 2014. She began illustrating the adaptation of Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes novels in 2015.

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It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is 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 don’t forget to say what 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.

*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 Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MMGM for JANUARY 9, 2023

Click to reach a blogger’s middle grade review or feature.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER AND THE SHADOW OF DOUBT by Shawn Peters.

Natalie Aguirre @ LITERARY RAMBLES has an interview with debut author Tamia Burgess and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Sincerely Sicily.

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf has a review of Besties: Find Their Groove, written by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino and illustrated by Kristina Luu. But that’s not all…

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf also shares a link to the #LiveLikeABookChallenge that begins January 14.

Susan Uhlig was spooked by the eerie book THE CLACKITY, a compelling read. 

Carol Baldwin welcomes a new teen reviewer who shares some thoughts on DAISY AND THE MISSING MONA LISA by J.T. Allen. Also included is a GIVEAWAY.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews Keeper of the Lost Cities: Stellarlune by Shannon Messenger

Maria Antonia at of books, photography, and tea has a post about THE STAR THAT ALWAYS STAYS by Anna Rose Johnson.

Faith Hough reviews an old favorite, The Mitchells: Five for Victory, by Hilda van Stockum.

Valinora Troy has some thoughts about THE BOOKSHOP AT THE BACK OF BEYOND.

Suzanne Warr is back this week with a quick(ish) bulleted list of her game writing adventures from the past eight months plus an update on her latest middle grade, and then a spotlight on the gorgeous and poignant A Duet For Home, by Karina Yan Glaser.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews THE HIKE TO HOME by Jess Rinker. Rosi also shares three links of interest for her writing friends.

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with last week’s Guy Friday selection.

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(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)
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)
Posted in Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER AND THE SHADOW OF DOUBT

After using his photographic memory to defeat Necros and her minions, Logan has seen his life change completely. Now, the Multinational Authority for Superhuman Control (MASC) is keeping a close eye on everything he does in order to keep him out of Necros’s clutches.

But when Logan stumbles upon the fact that Necros was in the area on the very same day he became an orphan, he can’t help but wonder—is MASC hiding the truth about who his parents really are?

When superheroes mysteriously start going missing, all signs point to the same supervillain who also may hold the clues to Logan’s past. Only Logan—along with his super-strong best friend, Elena, and their new bestie, Connie—can uncover the truth, find the missing superheroes, and stop Necros. Will Logan be able to save the day and uncover the truth about his birth parents before it’s too late?

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A full year has zipped by year since I reviewed The Unforgettable Logan Foster. The fun and unique story had me anxious for more. My wait is over with the release of The Unforgettable Logan Foster and the Shadow of Doubt.

Never boring, this action packed sequel continues Logan’s quest to figure out the identity of his birth parents and hopefully someday meet his little brother. His last memory is seeing them before he was abandoned at LAX at a younger age, In the meantime Logan lives with his Superhero parents (you can see them on the cover closely following Logan as they get ready to fly commercially. Yes, even superheroes have to go through airport security). Maggie and Gil would like to adopt Logan, but he is more focused on the past.

Logan has an eidetic memory giving him the ability to never forget anything. This unique trait also pushed him ahead a few grades, making him the shortest kid in high school. The action though is centered outside school. MASC, the organization his foster parents work for, would like to erase Logan’s memory. There’s also Necros, the opposition, who reaffirms her desire to change the world–most likely not in a good way. Super hero battles push the action to a thrilling conclusion.

The page count at 368 pages might scare away a few younger MG readers, but the nice thing about books is they can wait until a new reader is ready.

I’d certainly start with the first book so you get a full and meaningful understanding of Logan and those around him. You’ll likely come to the same conclusion: The series is the real superhero.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT LOGAN FOSTER AND THE SHADOW OF DOUBT

  1. Family. Logan’s foster parents truly love this little guy. That makes them great in more ways than one.
  2. Friends. They always have your back even when you are being kidnapped by the enemy. Logan has a fantastic one with Elena and you’ll have to decide for yourself after experiencing new character Connie.
  3. Just who are the good guys and bad guys? The plot will have you guessing all the way to the end.
  4. Occasional full page illustrations bring out the fun, action, and emotions of each scene depicted.
  5. The ending hints at a book 3 with one question still unanswered. I’m happy for that as I am not ready to say goodbye to Logan Foster.

ABOUT THE UNFORGETTABLE SHAWN PETERS by SHAWN PETERS

I’ve written a little bit about a lot of things in a lot of places. Ads for huge premium cable networks and all kinds of small businesses. Movie ideas that ended up on the shelf and domestic date-nights that ended up in the newspapers. Columns about fantasy sports and books about a neurodiverse hero in the making. I live in Massachusetts with my wife, who is the best 5th grade teacher on the planet, my two kids, a dog and a cat that made me retype this by walking across the keyboard.

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COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW AND BE SURE TO VISIT ALL OF THIS WEEK’S MMGM PARTICIPANTS..

Posted in MG Fantasy, Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments