MMGM for 7/16/18

Click on a hot but cool July sun to reach each blogger’s post.

I’m turning over this top spot to one of our all-star bloggers. Each Monday a different reviewer will take the baton. Leading the MMGM parade today is Rosi Hollinbeck. She’s  an author and every week features a review and a giveaway. Click on the sun to read her newest—BEHIND THESE HANDS by Linda Vigen Phillips—and comment for a chance to win a copy!
I’ve moved down a notch but I’m still here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE with a review of CLUTCH by Heather Camlot. Read all about this first book in my series on the nurturing of MG Books.
Author June McCrary Jacobs is featuring a recently-released piece of historical fiction by award-winning author Kirby Larson entitled ‘Code Word Courage‘.
Iron Guy Carl is back at a new web site! The World Cup has just wrapped up and he has a few soccer books to recommend beginning with WHAT IS THE WORLD CUP?
Kara Armstrong at Scribbles of an Aspiring Author has a review of The Book Jumper, by Mechthild Gläser. 
Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Brave by Svetlana Chmakova (the sequel to AWKWARD, the book reviewed last week).
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal is reviewing a MG fantasy, Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron.
Mark Baker at Carstairs Considers heads back in time  for this week’s MMGM with a review of Encyclopedia Brown Carries On by Donald J. Sobol.
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 Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , | Leave a comment

CLUTCH

WELCOME TO MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

This is the first book in my quest to provide support to past MG titles. I call it The Nurturing of Middle Grade Books. They take time to grow and I’m adding a little fertilizer to four titles you may have missed. First up is CLUTCH.

Life’s struggles are enormous for Joey Grosser in 1946 Montreal. His father recently died and he’s having to take over the responsibilities of being the man in the house much too early. This includes working at the family store and caring for his younger brother, David.  Joey’s heartfelt narration is emotional and honest as he nears the day of his bar mitzvah.

It’s not so much a book about baseball, but about the parallels of Joey’s real life situation to young Jackie Robinson who plays for the local minor league Montreal Royals. It’s one of those stories that urge you to read one more chapter, and I sailed through it in just two days. It was a much easier choice than the many facing Joey. He’s a brave boy you’ll cheer for, and his story will stay with you for a long time.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2017   PAGE COUNT: 240

THE PLOT

Something incredible is happening in Montreal. Jackie Robinson is playing for the Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Triple-A team. As the first black man to sign a contract in modern organized baseball, Jackie’s going to change the world. Just a short distance away, 12-year-old Joey Grosser has big plans, too. He’s going to break out of the Plateau, his poor Jewish dump of a neighborhood, and make a better life for his mother and little brother on the other side of Park Avenue, where the rich people live. All he needs is money, and he’s got plenty of ideas on how to get it. But every step forward is two steps back, and he turns to the wrong man for help.

One decision will determine Joey’s fate-and whether he’ll live long enough to see Jackie Robinson make baseball history.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:

CLUTCH by Heather Camlot

  1. Each chapter begins with a quote about Jackie Robinson from a sports journalist at the time. It mirrors the problems in Joey’s life, not one of color but of trying to rise above being poor.
  2. Ben, his best friend, is a integral part of the story. He’s the kind of friend everyone should have. Younger brother, David, is also a needed side character—always searching for that next newspaper article about his baseball hero.
  3. Kudos to the author for creating such a distasteful antagonist in Mr. Wolfe. I cringed in every scene he appeared.
  4. While some books proclaim to be a coming of age story and then never deliver, CLUTCH gives readers a grand slam.
  5. Images of the Montreal from long ago become the perfect setting for this story of a boy learning about life and growing up.

FAVORITE LINES:

We’re not going to be trapped here much longer. My bar mitzvah may not be until October, but I became a man the minute Pa dropped dead. It was living in this dump that killed him, I know it. But it’s not going to get us, too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Heather Camlot:

I grew up in Montreal and was raised on Expos baseball and Canadians hockey. Oddly, I was never a sporty child. I preferred reading, drawing and dreaming.

I graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and from New York University with a Master of Arts in Journalism. My work has appeared in various publications, including Quill & Quire, Style at Home, Canadian Living, The Globe and Mail, Homemakers and TV Guide Canada

After fifteen years in journalism as a writer, editor and translator, I longed to get back to fiction, something I used to write as a teenager. My short story, The Boys of Summer, won the 17th Annual Writing for Children Competition held by CANSCAIP and The Writers’ Union of Canada. Clutch is my first novel. I live in Toronto with my husband, Marc, and my kids, Alexandre and Juliana, but still call Montreal home.  (For more see Heather’s author website)

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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, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Nurturing of Middle Grade Books

A pile of MG books is nearby, waiting for me to read. The mini-tower sometimes reaches two feet, although now it’s down to about four books. Each one is a promise for a review and I’ll do exactly that before the agreed upon date.

Unless you are publishing a book about a certain wimpy kid, middle grade books don’t make a huge splash when they’re released. For sure there are blog tours, online reviews, and author interviews, but MG books often float around for a year or two before finding their audience. It comes by word of mouth from bloggers, librarians, teachers, and parents.

Instead of the middle grade book launch being called a book birthday, I liken it more to a just planted seedling, waiting for the needed water and fertilizer. Sites like mine and the many others out there (See MMGM links) provide the nutrients for growth. Each mention allows the book to sprout and get noticed in the world.

Which brings me to my second source for books, one many of us call our To Be Read (TBR) list. For me its a notebook with titles I want to read when time allows. Some have been on there too long. The titles come from other bloggers, internet buzz, and social media. I hit this list with renewed passion when the month of June rolls around. It’s the time of the year to take a big breath and read… a lot. Seedlings now, but soon they’ll grow and be noticed by a wider audience.

Since June 1st, I’ve read eight on my list and over the remaining weeks of summer I’d like to provide a little fertilizer to four of those titles. The first review will come Monday and I’ll scatter the other three around in between promised reviews and most certainly by the time school begins in late August. Here are my favorites I’ll be sharing:

Coming up next week is another…
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 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 Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

MIDDLE GRADE in the NEWS 7/12/18

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

  1. Are you having trouble getting your kids to read this summer. Here’s some advice with a surprising place to start—the bathroom!
  2. I have more of a shout out here than news. I’m Your Neighbor is a site that lets you browse books to help experience different settings, communities, and themes. Understanding of others and discussion is the key. The database grows every time I visit. Great job! (Once there click on THE BOOK LIST tab to get started)
  3. Kids want to read books about immigration. The publishing industry has responded with books that put a human face on the refugee crisis.

I’ll be back on Friday with a new post promoting past MG titles we often forget.

Posted in Middle Grade News | Tagged | 2 Comments

MMGM for 7/9/18

Click on a smiley face to read each blogger’s post.

I have a review of MILLA TAKES CHARGE. Read all about this first book in Disney’s Daring Dreamer’s Club series with one click on the smiley.
Author June McCrary Jacobs gives readers a hands-on S.T.E.A.M. feature on a book entitled, ‘The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book’, by Kari Cornell
Scribbles of an Aspiring Author, Kara Armstrong, has a review of Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi.
Look who’s back. It’s Andrea Mack. This week she has a feature on The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman.
Completely Full Bookshelf has another great recommendation in Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.
Suzanne Warr at Tales From The Raven returns from celebrating the fourth with a spotlight on Dying to Meet You, by Kate Klise.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Book’s Heal reviews a biography, When We Were Shadows by Janet Wees, a holocaust remembrance book for young readers.
Rosi Hollinbeck has a review and giveaway of the final book in the Penderwick’s series: The Penderwick’s At Last by Jeanne Birdsall.
Sue Kooky at Kitty Cat at the Library returns to the MMGM line-up with a review of THE FOREST.
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 Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MILLA TAKES CHARGE

Here’s the first book in the promising new Daring Dreamers Club series. That’s Milla in the middle, and the story centers around her quest to go on the annual fifth grade overnight  adventure camp trip. Her moms are a bit protective after a past unfortunate encounter she had with a dog  and her food allergies are always a concern. Milla decides to demonstrate her responsibility in a variety of ways to convince them to sign the permission slip. Not all goes as planned.

Fifth grade also brings about a weekly group meeting with a teacher advisor. Milla is assigned to Ms. Bancroft, the new music teacher. She’s joined by new and old friends Piper, Mariana, Zahra, and Ruby. A diverse group for sure both in ethnicity and interests. After their teacher assigns them to write in a journal and choose a princess they are most like (thus the Disney connection), they decide to name themselves the Daring Dreamer’s Club. Each of their entries is where you get to know each one—their hopes and wishes along with their fears.

This should appeal to princess loving kids, especially those who side with Tiana, Belle, Ariel, Mulan, or Cinderella. It’s also a story without bullies and focuses instead on cooperation and a strong thread of helping each other find the best in themselves. PIPER COOKS UP A PLAN is book #2, but we’ll have to wait until January 2019.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2018   PAGE COUNT: 224

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:

MILLA TAKES CHARGE

  1. Diversity—just like you’ll find in most schools.
  2. The story would make a great read-aloud for those young princess loving girls who are just entering the world of middle grade books.
  3. The journal pages from each of the five characters are spread out over the entire book. A nice way to introduce these young girls. Milla gets a few more entries since this is her story.
  4. Friendship is displayed in a variety of ways. It’s what our world needs more of no matter what age you are!
  5. The Author’s Notes reveals the author’s princess inspiration along with where the character Ms. Bancroft came from. A much more detailed and welcome background.

FAVORITE LINES (from Milla’s journal page)

Once upon a time, there was a fifth grade girl who loved the idea of exploring. But this poor thing had never actually gone on any kind of real adventure. In fact she had never really been anywhere except her little town.

A ‘DID YOU KNOW’ from  AUTHOR ERIN SODERBERG:

I also write a lot of books for tweens and young adults as Erin Downing! If you would like more information about any of these books, please visit www.erindowning.com.

(For all the other fun books and a lot more about The Daring Dreamers Club visit Erin’s other author web site.)

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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, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2019

My friend and fellow blogger, Karen Yingling, at Mrs. Yingling Reads speaks the truth when she said: “Want the best bang for your buck when it comes to children’s books?  Purchase a copy of the newest almanac for $14.99 and it will keep your children reading all summer.”

…and it kept me reading for at least a week—although I keep picking it up to look at it again. Fun, interactive, and colorful, this newest almanac is one of the best National Geographic for Kids has ever published. I read and explored the pages in order, but you can begin anywhere in one of eleven sections:

  • Your World 2019
  • Amazing Animals
  • Science and Technology
  • Going Green
  • Culture Connection
  • Space and Earth
  • Fun and Games
  • Awesome Exploration
  • Wonders of Nature
  • History Happens
  • Geography Rocks

Beyond the fascinating facts and unique animals are special features kids will find useful to fill up those long summer hours and even more so once the school bell rings. At the end of many chapters is a HOMEWORK HELP page where you can learn how to write a letter that gets results, an animal report, essay, or biography. It’s a perfect one page summary for the visual learner in all of us.

Almanac 2019 also has a challenge that encourages kids to get involved and make a difference. The focus this year highlights the threats lions face and the importance of saving them.  Kids are encouraged to visit natgeokids.com/almanac to create a lion poster and send a message with their entry about why they feel lions must be saved.  The winner will receive a $500 cash prize!

The photos in the almanac are in your face beautiful with the text laid out in a variety of formats. Quizzes and games make those long car trips a lot shorter. The best part for parents of emerging readers is you will have no problem getting them to read. They’ll be active readers smiling and wanting more. Almanac 2019 is  classic non-fiction title sure to be enjoyed this year or any year.

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Coming up next week is another…
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 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 non fiction, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments