Welcome to another Marvelous Middle grade Monday!

My review schedule for the coming months is packed, but I didn’t want to leave this one without a featured spot. Isaiah Dunn Saves The Day won’t be released until August 2nd, but it will be worth the wait.

This sequel to Isaiah Dunn is my Hero brings back all of the characters from the first story. You can read Saves The Day on it’s own as it is a separate story picking up where the first left off. You will be convinced though to visit that first book after spending time with Isaiah.

Things are looking up for super kid Isaiah Dunn. He and his little sister, Charlie, are getting used to staying with Miz Rita, and Mama’s feeling better. Isaiah’s poetry business with Angel is taking off, and his best friend, Sneaky, always has a new hustle. Plus, Isaiah has his dad’s journals for a story or if he needs advice….

Like maybe now, because starting middle school is hard. Especially when his mentee Kobe won’t stop making trouble. Isaiah knows something is up, but to get to the bottom of Kobe’s secret, he’ll have to rely on every hero he knows–including himself!

Isaiah narrates the story and he’s a great character. He cherishes the journals of writing left by his dad who passed away on Thanksgiving. Life of course has been tough on both him and his mom and little sister, Charlie. They each are dealing with the loss in their own way.

When Isaiah gets invited to be a part of the Rockets Reach Back mentoring program at school he declines at first but his now best friend, Angel, convinces him otherwise (they have gotten over the tension between each other from book one). Many schools in my neck of the woods have this type of program where an older student will mentor a younger one.

Isaiah gets paired with the obnoxious Rome. Isaiah doesn’t understand the reason for the match as they are complete opposites. Isaiah loves to write poetry and even has a side business promoting his skill while Rome interests are totally focused on basketball. Nothing goes right at first and Isaiah gives up.

Through his dad’s writings and helpful advice from his own mentor in Rock—owner of a local barber shop—Isaiah does save the day for himself, family, and maybe even Rome. The first person narration is superbly crafted with every emotion brought forth from middle school and the healing still going on in Isaiah’s family.

A quiet story packing a solid punch of goodness.


  1. The effect of mentoring is brought out in a strong way. It is so important a young person has someone to count on that can just be a listener and a friend. Isaiah, rock the Barber, Rome, little sister Charlie, and Mom would certainly agree.
  2. Heartwarming isn’t a strong enough word to summarize what happens in this thoughtful plot.
  3. The first Thanksgiving without dad turns into a special moment for all. There’s no turkey or dressing but a huge pile of understanding and love.
  4. My expectations were high for this sequel and each one was met in wonderful fashion.
  5. Grief is handled so well in this story as time and support begin to mend the future for a better path for the Dunn family.


Kelly J. Baptist is the inaugural winner of the We Need Diverse Books short-story contest. Her story is featured in the WNDB anthology Flying Lessons & Other Stories and inspired her first full-length novel, Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero. Kelly is also the author of the picture book The Electric Slide and Kai and The Swag Is in the Socks, which was inspired by her love of unique socks, as well as her older sister’s hero work as a speech-language pathologist. When she’s not writing, Kelly is usually thinking about writing . . . and dreaming of palm trees while living in southwest Michigan. She keeps beyond busy with her five amazing children, who always give her plenty of story ideas and background noise to write to. Find Kelly at


I received an ARC in preparing for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. This sounds like a fantastic series, especially since you liked the second book in the series so much. Thanks for featuring it this week.

  2. Sounds a really good series, and one that deals well with a whole lot of themes. Thanks for the review!

  3. carolbaldwin says:

    Wow, This sounds like an excellent book!

  4. What a great series. Black children need to see themselves as heroes in stories! There is a lot going on this series! Look forward to reading this series! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    I remember reading Kelly J. Baptist’s short story that inspired this series, so I have no doubt this book and the one before it are wonderful! It sounds like she tackles so many meaningful topics, and I especially love the exploration of mentoring—it can be so impactful, but it is so difficult at times too. Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Greg!

  6. I haven’t read either of the books in this series, but it sounds like I should. Books that can deftly handle grief is an important one for kids. Thanks for telling me about these books.

  7. This looks really good! I love the idea of ways to grieve at a time of Thanksgiving. I look forward to picking this one up.

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