CYBILS MG Fiction Winners: A Look Back

The big announcement comes tomorrow with the crowning of the 13th Cybils MG Fiction winner (along with all the other categories). I’ve been involved in the judging the past four years.

I couldn’t name all the previous winners so I put together this graphic. 2006 is in the upper left corner, and if you follow the rows from left to right you’ll end up at 2017’s winner in the lower right corner. It would make a great library of reading for any lover of Middle Grade.

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MMGM for February 11, 2019

                   

Happy early Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air for this week’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. I have a review of COGHEART by Peter Bunzl. Click on the heart to reach my post and do the same for each of the features and reviews below.
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ features  a short story collection, Indian Shoes, written by Author Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Jim Madsen.
Michelle Mason at Musings of a Young Adult Writer stops by again with a review of THE REVENGE OF MAGIC by James Riley.
Welcome to Author Stephanie Robinson at Fairday’s Blog. She will be posting a once a month MG book review. First out of the gate is a feature on the book MUSIC BOXES by Tonja Drecker.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews Finding Langston, a coming of age novel by Lesa Cline-Ransome.
Dorine White at The Write Path has Foiled by Carey Fessler. There is also an Author Interview and Giveaway!
Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea reviews One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko.
CYBILS Middle Grade Fiction Chair, Alex Baugh, joins us this week from The Children’s War with a review of How I Became A Spy by Deborah Hopkinson.
Beth Mitchell at Imaginary Friends reviews a classic—The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Rosi Hollinbeck reviews A LONG LINE OF CAKES by Deborah Wiles. Rosi also has some not to be missed helpful links for writers.
Faith Hough at Life’s An Art! has a review of SWEEP, by Jonathan Auxier.
Suzanne Warr at Tales From The Raven can’t wait to share Inkling by Kenneth Oppel with our MMGM community this week.
Susan Uhlig introduces us to THE TURNING, a magical book about selkies
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.
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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COGHEART

A book recommendation question I received from a parent went something like this:

“What middle grade books have a 13-year-old main character? My 12-year-old reads every book but is not ready for YA. Still though, they like to read about characters slightly older than themselves.”

UK middle grade readers are already familiar with COGHEART, the first book in an adventure series Cogheart_new_cover.jpg released in 2016. This week the  story makes its US debut and WOW, what a fun, exciting ride we get. The setting is England’s Victorian times around the year 1896.

Lily and Robert answer the age request with flying colors. Both thirteen, they come together along with a wise cracking mechanical fox in a life or death dilemma. Bad guys (with mechanical parts themselves) chase them for answers they don’t have about the perpetual motion machine Lily’s father created.

The adventure explodes at a frantic pace, filled with airships, cogs, clocks, and great character arcs. The setting is real but the world around it is a steampunk wonder I enjoyed getting to know. Perfect for middle grade readers, the tale is one you’ll totally get wrapped up in and be thankful you did.

U.S. PUBLICATION DATE: 2019   PAGE COUNT: 368

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:

COGHEART by Peter Bunzl

  1. If you want  primer on how to write action scenes look no further. Cogheart has some of the best.
  2. Knowing there were two more books in the series, I wanted a satisfying ending to the first and I wasn’t disappointed.
  3. Clocks of all sizes come into play here, including one with a BIG name—BEN.
  4. Death, grief, and family are an important part of the story, but are all handled in way kids will relate to.
  5. A stunning cover that begs to be opened. The story delivers each and every image in an adventure like none other.

THE OFFICIAL PLOT

Cogheart_smallLily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?

With her friends – Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox – Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…

Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian steampunk adventure story, featuring two friends, murder and mayhem, airships and automata, and an over-opinionated mechanical fox!

A COGHEART VIDEO TEASER

THE AUTHOR on his decision to set the story in A Victorian World

Having decided to write about automatons I had to find a world they would fit in. I thought – what if I set the story in a time over a hundred years after the invenPetertion of the first automaton, in the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign, possibly by then, in this fictional world, automatons might have got so good they could do anything.

I also knew I wanted to write a big action adventure story with these fantastical elements in, and I decided I could bring these together more easily in a ‘steampunk’ setting. So it’s a Victorian world with airships and steam-driven and clockwork machines – rather than merely a factual representation of historical Victorian life.

(For more FAQ’s, freebies and a full bio visit Peter’s website)

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I was given an ARC for an honest review.

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

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And the winner is???

Well, I can’t say just yet. The past month I’ve been a part of a five-member panel of judges critiquing the seven finalists for the CYBILS 2018 Middle Grade Fiction award. Here’s the wonderful lineup we were presented with:

Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 8.17.17 AM

Stay tuned! The official winner will be announced on Thursday, February 14th at Cybils.com.

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THE WEB PAIGE CHRONICLES

I’ve known a few knowledgeable, tech obsessed kids but none like Web Paige. She can troublesh41FhvVyQVjL._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgoot your computer or cell phone problem and fix it for you. There’s no charge— just do a favor for someone else in the future

The compassionate side comes from her mother, a nurse, and the technical cyber stuff comes from her dad, a computer forensic expert in nearby Washington D.C.

The book begins with some needed backstory about how Web got her name, but then she is off to help a friend’s mom whose computer is doing some strange things. Ten chapters take you through many technology related problems, ones we’ve all probably heard about or experienced. Although Web frequently talks like an adult, you’ll be enriched with the information she provides.

The subplot of friends getting into trouble with their online activities and meeting strangers in chat rooms, is a strong reminder how dangerous the Internet can be for those who haven’t learned. A handy reference guide follows the story with tips on many of the common problems.

The Web Paige Chronicles is a much needed springboard for discussion about our current “always on” world. Middle grade kids and adults can learn from its lessons.

The Official Plot (from Tell-Tale Publishing)

Wilhelmina Evangeline Beatriz Paige is better known as “Web” to her friends because of her seemingly endless knowledge of computers. Always eager to lend a hand, she takes pride in helping the “technically-challenged” in her neighborhood as part of her “pay-it-forward” philosophy. But when her closest friends become the targets of cyber bullying and online predators, Web realizes that safely navigating the Internet is more than just using strong passwords and antivirus protection. By helping those who can’t help themselves, Web embarks on a journey through which she learns things from not only her friends, but also strangers, adults, and most importantly, herself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Emilio’s own web site)

Emilio Iasiello is the author of the short story collection Why People Do What They Do, and a nonfiction book, Chasing the Green.  He has published poetry in several university and literary journals, and recently had his chapbook Postcards from L.A. published in 2018.  An avid screenwriter, Emilio has authored several independent films and short films.   His stage plays have been produced in the United States and United Kingdom. A cyber security expert, Emilio has more than 15 years’ experience in cyber threat intelligence leading teams in the public and private sectors. He has delivered cyber threat presentations to domestic and international audiences and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and cyber security blogs. He lives in Virginia with his amazing wife and two adorable children.

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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 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 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MMGM for February 4, 2019

                       

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of  RUBY IN THE SKY by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. Click on the colored circle to reach my post and do the same for each of the features and reviews below.
Author Fleur Bradley at the YA Sleuth has a review of Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly. There’s also a GIVEAWAY!
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ features A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech, a biography on the 35th President of the United States.
Rosi Hollinbeck reviews  and has a GIVEAWAY of WHISTLING IN THE DARK by Shirley Hughes, a mystery set during World War II. Rosi also posts links every writer will appreciate.
Dorine White at The Write Path has a kick off to Black History Month with Carter Reads the Newspaper.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews We Say #Never Again: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists. Edited by MSD Teachers,  Melissa Falkowski & Eric Garner.
Maria Antonia features Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume.
Andrea Mack at That’s Another Story has the thrilling adventure, Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher.
Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature on GIRL WITH BRUSH AND CANVAS along with 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.
Posted in MMGM Links | Tagged , | 2 Comments

RUBY IN THE SKY

WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

The legend of astronaut Michael Collins lives on in middle grade books. Collins was the one who stayed back in the Apollo command module as fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the historic first walk on the moon.  He first appeared in 2017’s historical, I Love You, Michael Collins, set in 1969.

A1cd7v-yuDL.jpgRuby in the Sky is set in the present. Ruby and her mom have been on the move since leaving their home in Washington D.C., never staying in one spot long enough to get connected to a new community. Ruby’s father was left behind. The why isn’t revealed until the climatic end. Ruby stays close to him by looking at the moon. It’s what they always did when separated. Vermont is their current spot and before they can  get settled a policeman is at their doorstep.

Told through Ruby’s twelve-year-old perspective, the story is full of heartbreak and engaging characters with their own often hidden pasts. The subplot of Michael Collins comes in as Ruby chooses him to research for an oral report—a frightening event for a girl who likes to stay hidden and silent.

Ruby’s tale will grip you to the end. Her friendships with Abigail, the old lady who lives in a shed, and fellow classmate, Ahmad, give her the strength to make her life right. In the end you just might stare at the moon and smile.

PUBLISHED: February 5, 2019   PAGE COUNT: 304

THE OFFICIAL PLOT (From Amazon)

Twelve-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes does not want her new classmates to ask about her father. She does not want them to know her mother has been arrested. And she definitely does not want to make any friends. Ruby just wants to stay as silent and invisible as a new moon in the frozen sky. She and her mother won’t be staying long in Vermont anyway, and then things can go back to the way they were before everything went wrong.

But keeping to herself isn’t easy when Ahmad Saleem, a Syrian refugee, decides he’s her new best friend. Or when she meets “the Bird Lady,” a recluse named Abigail who lives in a ramshackle shed near Ruby’s house.? Before long Ahmad and Abigail have become Ruby’s friends―and she realizes there is more to their stories than everyone knows.

As ugly rumors begin to swirl around the people Ruby loves, she must make a choice: break her silence, or risk losing everything that’s come to mean so much to her. Ruby in the Sky is a story of the walls we hide behind, and the magic that can happen when we’re brave enough to break free.

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT—laugh2

RUBY IN THE SKY by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

  1. Ruby, Abigail, and Ahmad’s past come together in a celebration of their differences. It’s nice to have a book where the secondary characters aren’t just there to fill space.
  2. Keeping silent is a common way young people deal with problems and new situations. Ruby plays the part with ease and how she comes out of her shell is the touching basis for the story,
  3. A Vermont town in winter was the perfect setting
  4. Ruby faces real and difficult challenges many kids will find familiar. Themes of friendship, empathy, and healing give us all a connection through the beautifully written words.
  5. The “Ruby Moon” cover is a winner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Jeanne’s Website)

Jeanne lives in Ellington, Connecticut with her husband, Paul, her children, Andrew and Sophia and a poorly behaved Golden Retriever named Meadow.

Her middle grade novel, Ruby in the Sky has won the SCBWI Work-in-progress Award in the Middle Grade Category (2016), the PEN-New England, Susan Bloom Discovery Award (2016), the Tassy Walden, New Voices in Children’s Literature Award (2015), and the Ruth Landers Glass Scholarship at the spring NE-SCBWI conference (2016). She is currently working on another middle grade novel, The Prisoner’s Daughter, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1989.

A breast cancer survivor, Jeanne has been a public defender, taught English at the Gymnazium Parovska in Nitra, Slovakia, worked on Capitol Hill and waited tables at an all-night café/bookstore in Washington, D.C.

She is a member of SCBWI and has attended numerous writing conferences, most notably: Rutgers One-on-one Plus, namelos, Patricia Reilly Giff’s Writing Class, Whispering Pines and the Time to Write Retreat.

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Please comment below.

 (I received an ARC of this title for my honest review)

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