MMGM for March 23, 2020

                 

It’s Springtime. A time to SPRING into some great reviews and features. Click on each Spring logo to see what’s offered.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have IN THE RED by Christopher Swiedler.

June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, and Stitch-Metic has a Retro Fiction Feature spotlighting Marguerite Henry’s Newberry Honor Book from 1947, ‘Misty of Chincoteague’.

Alex Baugh at Randomly Reading gives us her view on Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell.

Completely Full Bookshelf is back this week and recommends New Kid by Jerry Craft.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea has Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern.

Patricia Tilton at CHILDREN’S BOOKS HEAL has a review of Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi.

Rosi Hollinbeck features a review of HURRICANE SEASON by Nicole Melleby. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another fantastic MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF.

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 | 3 Comments

IN THE RED

inthered.jpgEarthlings are only in the planning stages to eventually send humans to Mars. What will it be like when a colony is set up there for the selected few to work and live? IN THE RED is set in the future when this has already happened.

Twelve-year-old Michael lives there with his parents and an older brother. He loves and understands science better than most. His best friend is a girl, Lilith, and she pushes him to explore the planet with her. Things go terribly wrong.

The pace is frantic and full of surprises. Michael has a tendency toward panic attacks—bad enough on Earth but even more so with the many challenges Mars brings. Science Fiction titles for middle grade don’t come along too often and this title certainly fills the void.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: MARCH 24, 2020     PAGE COUNT: 288

THE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PLOT (From Harper Collins)

Michael Prasad knows he shouldn’t go out on the Mars surface alone. It’s dangerous. His parents have forbidden it. And the anxiety he feels almost every time he puts on a spacesuit makes it nearly impossible for him to leave the safety of the colony.

But when his best friend, Lilith, suggests they sneak out one night, he can’t resist the chance to prove everyone—including himself—wrong.

As the two ride along the Mars surface in a stolen rover, miles from the colony, a massive solar flare hits the planet, knocking out power, communication, and navigation systems, and the magnetic field that protects the planet from the sun’s deadly radiation.

Stranded hours from home with an already limited supply of food, water, and air, Michael and Lilith must risk everything if they’re to get back to the colony alive.

470279FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT470279

IN THE RED by Christopher Swiedler

  1. The inclusion of panic attacks, something more than a few kids can relate to, was a welcome interlude to the plot. Michael discovers how to better handle his untimely attacks with the help of family and his best friend.
  2. Details of life on Mars was fascinating from traveling across its’ surface to basics of taking a breath and eating.
  3. The adolescent brain often works in a do now think later mode. A great discussion could take place with young readers as to how delaying impulsive decisions and thinking through situations first is usually a better plan.
  4. The tension as to whether these two kids will survive had me in one of those fast reading frenzies. I had to find out if they were going to make it, and guess what? No spoilers here.
  5. A good fit for any middle grader or adult who love science fiction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Swiedler is an author and software engineer who lives with his wife and three children in California, where they’re under constant threat from earthquakes, tsunamis, and the occasional Martian dust storm. His goal in life is to win the Newbery Honor (not the medal itself) because he believes being a runner-up builds good character. He is represented by Bridget Smith of JABberwocky Literary Agency. (For more visit his web site)

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I received an ARC of IN THE RED for my honest feedback. Comments are welcome below!

 

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Five for the Summer!

spring-clip-art-lrg_SPRINGIt’s the first day of Spring and this turn in the calendar gets me thinking about Summer. Specifically, what new books will I grab hold of to fill those lazy days? Here are my top five picks (click on any book cover for more information):

x300Whether they’re on the baseball field or in Nate’s basement devouring the newest issue of their favorite comic book, Dan and Nate are always talking. Until they’re not.

After an accident at baseball practice, Nate’s fallen into a coma. And if Dan ever wants to talk to Nate again, he’s got to take a page out of his hero Captain Nexus’s book, and do whatever it takes to save the day.

But heroes have powers—and without Nate, all Dan has is a closet stuffed with comics and a best-friend-shaped hole in his heart. There’s no way a regular kid can save the day all on his own. Right?

 

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Pack your bags for adventure! In this book, you’ll encounter people, places, plants, and animals from all around the world–and get to test your puzzle chops while you’re at it! This activity book is chock-full of colorful facts, awesome photos, and hours of unplugged fun. Plus, all this fun is packed into a handy, portable size, perfect for tossing into a backpack or taking on the road.

 

 

 

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For the first time in her confident, bold life, Mickey McDonald is nervous about starting school. Her best friend, Ok, has moved away; her father has probably left town for good; and she can’t afford to go back-to-school shopping. But she’s going to make the most of things because that’s the kind of person Mickey is. Nothing’s going to stand in her way or get her down.

Still, the first few days of school are rough, until she becomes friends with Sun Joo, who has just moved to town. Their connection is instant and strong. But things get complicated when Sydney, the popular (and mean) girl in Mickey’s class, also takes a shine to Sun Joo. Suddenly Mickey is facing her first ever friend breakup, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep her chin up. Luckily, Mickey’s made of tough stuff.

 

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Eleven-year-old Beulah “Blue” Warren spends every waking moment surrounded by boys: her three brothers, her father, her best friend, even the family dog, but that’s never stopped her from being her usual rambunctious self. Grappling with the loss of her mother, Blue is determined to do what she wants without fear of consequences. When she is sent to the principal’s office, she gets out of it like a pro. When the witchy neighbor next door trashes her yard, Blue doesn’t just get even, she gets ahead. No clean underwear because she hasn’t done the laundry? No worries. That’s what her little brother’s Superman underwear is for, isn’t it? But everything changes on the day she explores the attic and finds her mother’s death certificate. Blue will need to muster all the strength she has to deal with the truth, find forgiveness, trust in her father, and grieve for her mother once and for all.

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Cyrus Olson’s dad is a hero—Northfield’s former football star and now one of their finest firefighters. Everyone expects Cyrus to follow in his dad’s record-breaking footsteps, and he wishes they were right—except he’s never been brave like that. But this year, with the help of a stray dog, a few new friends, a little bit of rhythm, and a lot of nerve, he may just discover that actually…he is.

Lauded as “remarkable” by the New York Times Book Review, Lindsey Stoddard’s heartfelt stories continue to garner critical acclaim, and her latest novel will have fans new and old rooting for Cyrus and Parker’s special bond and the courage it helps them both to find.

Posted in New Release, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

MMGM for March 16, 2020

              

HAPPY EARLY ST. PATRICK’S DAY COMING UP TOMORROW!

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have BLUE SKIES by Anne Bustard, a historical fiction story set in the years following World War II.

June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, and Stitch-Metic has a S.T.E.A.M. feature on Author Temple Grandin’s ‘Calling All Minds:  How to Think and Create Like an Inventor’.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea presents a review of All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson.

Patricia Tilton at CHILDREN’S BOOKS HEAL is reviewing I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak.

Rosi Hollinbeck features a review and GIVEAWAY of TIMMY FAILURE MISTAKES WERE MADE by Stephan Pastis. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

A Garden of Books is back this week with Don’t Check Out This Book by Kate Klise, about the effect a new librarian has on a town and is full of humor, word-play, and puns.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads shares another great MG review. Be sure to check out today’s feature along with her post last week about the virus scare with KEEP CALM AND READ ON.

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 , , | 4 Comments

BLUE SKIES

WELCOME TO MY FEATURED REVIEW FOR MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

The 1940’s decade brings to mind thoughts of World War II, and when a book is set during this time period you anticipate reading specifically about the war torn years from 1939-1945. BLUE SKIES takes a different route, beginning three years after the end of the war.

blue-skies-9781534446069_hr.jpgGlory Bea (pictured on the cover) still has hope her father will soon come home from the war. She chooses not to believe he died on Omaha Beach. Her mom and grandparents have moved on best they can, but Glory Bea just knows she’ll see her daddy soon.

She can’t understand why her Mama is interested in another man. Randall Horton also fought in the war and was a friend of her dad. The difference is Mr. Horton came home and is around the house way too much.

Glory Bea spends her time preparing for Father’s return and doing whatever she can to get rid of this new suitor. She also is following in her Gram’s hobby of being a matchmaker. Her first attempted match is the boy next door and her best friend. The results provide a much needed dose of levity to to the story.

Of course Glory Bea’s father is not coming home, even though she assumes France’s Merci Train will deliver him shortly after Valentine’s Day. The slow pace may keep some readers away, but most will keep reading because the end reveals if Glory Bea will ever accept the reality of a parent’s death. It’s a touching look at grief and the unique way each of us deals with it.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 17, 2020     PAGE COUNT: 224

THE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION (From Simon & Schuster)

Glory Bea Bennett knows that miracles happen in Gladiola, Texas, population 3,421. After all, her grandmother—the best matchmaker in the whole county—is responsible for thirty-nine of them.

Now, Glory Bea needs a miracle of her own.

The war ended three years ago, but Glory Bea’s father never returned home from the front in France. Glory Bea understands what Mama and Grams and Grandpa say—that Daddy died a hero on Omaha Beach—yet deep down in her heart, she believes Daddy is still out there.

When the Gladiola Gazette reports that one of the boxcars from the Merci Train (the “thank you” train)—a train filled with gifts of gratitude from the people of France—will be stopping in Gladiola, she just knows daddy will be its surprise cargo.

But miracles, like people, are always changing, until at last they find their way home.

happy bookFIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT happy book

BLUE SKIES by ANNE BUSTARD

  1. Glory Bea is an endearing character you won’t soon forget.
  2. The cover just begs for you to pick this one up.
  3. Life in a small Texas town 80 years ago will surprise middle grade readers used to our modern day world. A perfect historical snapshot.
  4. The ending made it all worthwhile.
  5. The author’ note in the back pages is not to be missed. Anne Bustard goes into more depth about how America’s Friendship Train and Frances Merci Train operated. There’s also an excellent bibliography for those wanting to pursue more books about the time.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ANNE BUSTARD

Born in Hawaii, author Anne Bustard is still a beach girl at heart. If she could, she would walk by the ocean every day, wear flip-flops, and eat nothing but fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts and chocolate. Growing up, Anne took years of hula lessons and spent many happy hours wearing a facemask and breathing through a snorkel. Her small sea glass collection from childhood is one of her most treasured possessions.

Anne loves school. And she has a lot of degrees to prove it. Three came from the University of Texas at Austin (BS, MLIS, PhD). Her most recent one, and she believes her last, is an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. (For more visit Anne’s author website).

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THANKS FOR STOPPING BY. COMMENTS CAN BE MADE BELOW.

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

MIDDLE GRADE IN THE NEWS: MARCH 12, 2020

Enjoy these recent articles with a middle grade focus:

  1. INTHE NEWSA brief but interesting discussion about parents being the watch dogs for objectionable books for children from WORLD MAGAZINE.
  2. Any other writers/educators out there? Here are 7 best selling authors who used to be educators.
  3. Another sport’s star is writing children’s books, including a middle grade title. Find out who right here.

 


Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration:

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 News | Tagged | 2 Comments

MMGM for MARCH 9, 2020

                  

Make sure those clocks are changed then Spring Ahead to these middle grade reviews and features. Click on a sun to reach each post. At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have POP FLIES, ROBO-PETS, and OTHER DISASTERS by Suzanne Kamata.

Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles interviews debut author Tanya Guerra and is giving away a copy of her MG multi-cultural HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SEA.

June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, and Stitch-Metic is a part of the Blog Blitz for Horse Adventure Series by Susan Count. The post includes a great giveaway from the author.

Sue Heavenrich is back this week at Sally’s Bookshelf and contributes a review of The Queen Bee and Me by Gillian McDunn.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea features a great choice in I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

Jenni Enzor is also back with us and has what should be an interesting post on MG books about kids with disabilities.

Patricia Tilton at CHILDREN’S BOOKS HEAL has a review of Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy by Shannon Messenger. A familiar MMGM author!

Rosi Hollinbeck features one of my all time favorites—Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson. Included is a GIVEAWAY. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Stephanie Robinson at Fairday’s Blog is happy to be featuring the book Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another fantastic MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including HUNGER WINTER.

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