MMGM for 10/7/2019

       

IT’S ANOTHER MONTH OF MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAYS!

CLICK ON A LINK TO REACH A BLOGGER’S POST

ALWAYS in the MIDDLE (that’s me) reviews STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS by Charles Suddeth.

June McCrary Jacobs (Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic) features  additional background on STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS. Included is an author interview and a GIVEAWAY.

Natalie Aguirre (Literary Rambles) is interviewing debut author Sharon Mayhew and giving away her MG historical fiction, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, CHILDREN.

Sue Heavenrich at Sally’s Bookshelf hasa  hard to put down book: The Dark Lord Clementine, by Sarah Jean Horwitz.

Susan Uhlig shares two reviews. Click this link for her take on the mysterious ORPHAN ISLAND.

Susan’s second link leads you to JOURNEY OF THE PALE BEAR. I hope she enjoyed this one as much as I did.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea shares a few thoughts on Lucky Luna by Diana Lopez.

Suzanne Warr at Tales From The Raven puts the spotlight on Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Dorine White at The Write Path reviews Awesome Achievers by Alan Katz.

Beth Mitchell at Imaginary Friends reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.

Patricia Tilton at CHILDREN’S BOOKS HEAL reviews  Dream Within a Dream, by Patricia MacLachlan, a heartwarming story about multi-generational families

Ben Langhinrichs is back! At My Comfy Chair he has Amy Makechnie’s The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair.

Christi M. at A GARDEN OF BOOKS features The Math Kids: An Unusual Pattern by David Cole (The Math Kids #3).

Rosi Hollinbeck has a review of SMACK DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF MAYBE by Jo Watson Hackl. 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 ROLL WITH IT.

Mark Baker at Carstairs Considers reviews Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs.

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 | 1 Comment

STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS

IT’S ANOTHER EDITION OF MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

Stone Man by Charles Suddeth

Driven to Stone Man’s trail…

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

A fast paced story sure to please historical fiction fans.

It’s a dangerous journey for Tsatsi and his sister. At the young age of twelve he has to become the leader and find safety, even though the rest of his family is gone. The two are almost always wet, cold, and hungry.

First person narration is the perfect point of view for the story. Each chapter ends with an enticing surprise or cliffhanger, which in turn keep the pages turning. Renegades, the Calvary, or sickness will for sure spell their doom, unless they can put their trust with the Stone Man.

The fourteen chapters are further divided into titled subsections, making this a good selection for a read aloud. Historical notes about the Trail of Tears are included in the back along with a glossary of words—both ones used in English and Cherokee.

An important story to tell and yes, good people do make life worthwhile.

PUBLISHED: 2019 PAGE COUNT: 162

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:laugh2

STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS by Charles Suddeth

  1. The story starts off at a frantic pace and doesn’t let up, sure to pull in readers who normally don’t read historical fiction.
  2. Tsatsi is a great character. He wants to take charge but his childlike size keeps him from doing so at times. Still though, he would rather die himself than have his sister hurt.
  3. The Stone Man was a welcome presence. You’ll be changing you mind about him right along with the two main characters.
  4. The Trail of Tears is not a well remembered part of our history. This story will help fill you in and erase any misconceptions.
  5. The ending. Perfectly executed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Charles Suddeth

Although I was born in Indiana and I grew up in Michigan, I have spent most of my life in Kentucky. I live in Louisville with my two cats, Binks and Wendy (Wendy says it should be Wendy and Binks). I am a graduate of Michigan State University. I have also done graduate work at MSU, Spalding University, and the University of Louisville. I am a member of Green River Writers, SCBWI (society of children’s books writers and illustrators, Midsouth), and International Thriller Writers.

(For more about Charles and his books visit his author website, Twitter, and Facebook page)

**************************************

I received an arc from the publisher for my honest review.

If you have time, please comment below.

Posted in Historical fiction, Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?

9780358051732

Last March I featured the first book in this new edition of the crime fighting thief, WHO IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO? Since then there have been even more releases to keep both old and new fans up to date with their favorite globe trotting heroine who steals from the bad guys.

Here’s a brief rundown: The second season of Carmen Sandiego launched this week on NETFLIX with 10 new episodes. There’s a board game available at Walmart and Houghton Mifflin has a wide variety of books for every kind of reader with a new selection of graphic novels, stories, and the interactive guidebook pictured above.

Here’s the official scoop on this fun paperback:

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? She’s traveling by air and by sea, over land and on foot. Just when you think you’ve found her, she slips away again! Lucky for you, she’s on your side. Grab your passport and explore the geography and unique cultures across the globe, from Rio to New York and Morocco to Milan, while searching for items of all sorts in this seek-and find-book featuring full-color illustrations and photography.

Each of the 10 destinations feature a little background with information about currency, food, and demographics. Next comes facts and photos of specific locations where the spies might be hiding. For instance, in France there’s a look at Mont Saint-Michel, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, River Seine, and Notre Dame de Paris.

Wrapping things up in the final two pages of every destination is a two page colorful spread. It’s an illustration of a crowd like you’re spying on them through a security cam. You have to find people and items hidden within the image. Great fun and entertaining, especially for those of us more visual.

The book will appeal to Carmen fans or anyone else who likes a quick, eye opening look at the world.

#######################

Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join the MMGM parade, 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, Middle Grade News, New Release | Tagged | 3 Comments

Middle Grade in the News 9/2/19

Below are a few articles and features I’ve enjoyed recently with a middle grade theme:INTHE NEWS

  1. Author’s and Librarians on Why Schools and Libraries Need LGBTQ+ Books. Check out what they say right here.
  2. I may have to make room in my TBR pile for a few of these: The Best Fall Books for Children.
  3. Understanding why others are different from yourself is an important topic for young readers. Here are Nine Must Read Middle Grade Novels to Promote Empathy.

That’s all for now.

I’ll be back Friday with another review.

Posted in Middle Grade News | Tagged | 1 Comment

MMGM for 9/30/2019

             

Click the happy face to reach a blogger’s feature.

ALWAYS in the MIDDLE (that’s me) features a new fantasy novel, A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY by Nicole Valentine.

June McCrary Jacobs (Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic) has a S.T.E.A.M. feature, Science You Can Eat:  20 Activities that Put Food Under the Microscope.

Dorine White (The Write Path) has a review of The Last Dragon by James Riley.

Beth Mitchell (Imaginary Friends) reviews The Reckless Club by Beth Vrabel.

Patricia Tilton (Children’s Books Heal) reviews Finding Orion by John David Anderson. She calls it heartwarming and hilarious.

Maria Antonia (Of Books, Photography, and Tea) features a review of a graphic novel: New Kid by Jerry Craft.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews and has a GIVEAWAY of CRYPTID CREATURES by Kelly Milner Halls. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Christi M. (A Garden Of Books) reviews Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament by Kim Long.  She says it’s like the Amazing Race for STEM students.

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 HARVEY COMES HOME.

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 Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity

Welcome to another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY and my review of a new fantasy novel.

BACKGROUND for A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY  by Nicole Valentine

timetravelerTwelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books―and to his best friend, Gabi―to ward off his sadness. But then his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family are Travelers, able to move back and forth in time. Finn’s mom is trapped somewhere in the timeline, and she’s left Finn a portal to find her. But to succeed, he’ll have to put his trust in something bigger than logic.

 

Publisher’s Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019      PAGES: 352

MY THOUGHTS: The two MG books I had read previous to this one were lighthearted plots—predictable and not very challenging for the adult reader. But they were perfect for any new MG reader.

The exact opposite occurred while turning the pages of A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity. I needed full concentration to figure out everything going on here. There are portals, nodes, parallel worlds, and no real traditional ending. You’re left to ponder  time travel and how it will impact Finn and Gabi’s future.

But the character’s won me over. Both Finn and Gabi are a couple of great kids who approach life differently. Finn takes a science approach while Gabi is more likely to say science can’t prove magic doesn’t exist. Other family members also enrich the premise of time travel and their relationship with Finn. There’s the Grandmother who cares deeply about Finn and often presents herself in two time periods. His mom who is desperately trying to save her child. It was the Dad’s attitude toward his son that bothered me at first, but he comes around.

Overall, my head hurt just a bit after reading this one, but it was a good kind of hurt. One that made me appreciate how the love for family and friendship is the most powerful magic of all.

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:laugh2

A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY

  1. The third person narration stays close to Finn 95% of the way, but a first person narrator puts her own slant on the preceding between several scenes. It’s creepy at first but rather heartwarming with the final words she uses to end the story.
  2. The bond between twins is given the most compelling set of twists and turns I’ve ever read in a book with twin characters. Great plot structure and character arc here.
  3. A unique and welcome addition to time travel themed books. Fans of science, Einstein, and magic will polish this off in one sitting.
  4. The question of who we are to friends and family will resonate long after reading.
  5. Compelling and hopeful, this one will be best for the established MG reader

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Valentine (https://www.nicolevalentinebooks.com/) earned her Nicole Valentine_credit Nina Pomeroy PhotographyMFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing workshops at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA. As the former chief technology officer at Figment.com and Space.com, Nicole loves science and as a writer enjoys pondering the times when science falls short of explanation and magic has room to sneak in. When not engaged in fictional world-building, Nicole can often be found with a hawk on her arm. A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity is her debut novel. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

 

Twitter: @nicoleva

IG: @nicolevalentine

Blog: https://steamg.org/

**************************************

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for my honest review. If you have time, please comment below.

**************************************

exclamationThere is still time to enter the huge giveaway offered here last Wednesday for Explorer Academy: The Double Helix Book Blast. Read my post and find out how to enter.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

DOUBLE FELIX

double felix coverThe cover makes this middle grade novel appear like a story of two friends on an adventure. Partially true, but DOUBLE FELIX is more an adventure of discovery and understanding, especially for the main character. He has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Here’s the background from Kane Miller Books:

Eleven-year-old Felix Twain’s life revolves around the number two. He skips every second step when he takes the stairs, taps door handles twice and positions objects in pairs. The problem has become so bad that Felix is on the verge of being expelled from school because the principal has had enough of trying to run the school around his very specific rules.

Then Charlie Pye arrives and turns Felix’s world upside down. She’s grown up with very few rules. She eats cereal for lunch, calls a boat home, and has a very loose interpretation of school uniform. The question is, can Felix ever learn to be wrong when he is so obsessed with being right?

_________________________________________________

Almost everything eleven-year-old Felix does is controlled by Basil, a voice in his head. Felix either does as told or believes bad things will happen. Being around Felix is challenging for his parents (his mom is pregnant with child #5), three siblings, and teachers. You witness his behavior from page one as Felix has locked himself in the Principal’s office and is doing some needed redecoration, making things much more even in appearance.

Narrated by Felix, the tale supplies readers with empathy for his condition. This would make a fantastic read-aloud in the classroom or at home. A beautiful story to enjoy and share.

August Clip Art 10762FIVE THINGS THAT SHINE ABOUTAugust Clip Art 10762

DOUBLE FELIX by Sally Harris

  1. No odd numbers for Felix. The chapters are presented  in even order, beginning with chapter two. As the plot unfolds, keep an eye out for any changes.
  2. Charlie Pye has a huge problem of her own but she provides Felix with something he has never had before: friendship. It’s an uneasy type of friendship, but one that shines a heartwarming message.
  3. Great secondary characters. Life is tricky but when you have a supportive family along with people at school like Miss Claudette, the librarian and Hugo, a counselor, the road might not be so rough.
  4. The illustrations are nicely balanced with the text, appearing every few pages. They let you into Felix’s world in a visual way.
  5. The almost 200 pages is an impressive effort that will help teachers and student understand.

FAVORITE LINES

“You can’t just go around shouting at teachers and locking yourself  in principal’s offices, you know, Felix,” he continues. “You need to start controlling your temper. You can’t just get mad at everyone who doesn’t do what you want. People don’t like it if you’re angry with them all the time.”

“There are just some things that have to be done the right way and sometimes other people don’t understand how to do them properly,” I tell Dad. “I don’t like it when things aren’t done right. It makes me feel all funny inside.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, SALLY HARRIS

School Teacher. Mama. Creative sort. Coffee drinker. Dog wrangler. Expert mess maker. Writer of books for children (and adults with impeccable taste!)

(For more visit Sally’s author website)

Comments are welcome below.

***************************

green checkmarkThere is still time to enter the huge giveaway offered here last Wednesday for Explorer Academy: The Double Helix Book Blast. Read my post and find out how to enter.

***************************

Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join the MMGM parade, 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 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments