Middle-school capers

hilmo_skies like these

Middle school can be a time when kids broaden their horizons, explore new talents, and form more grown-up opinions. But it can also be a time for mischievous adventure, social snafus, rule-breaking, and guerilla-style activism — and these middle-school capers abound with such madcap antics. Twelve-year-old Jade, star of Tess Hilmo’s Skies like These, would […]

Review of This One Summer

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This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    320 pp. 5/14    978-1-59643-774-6    $17.99 Rose Wallace and her parents go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose collects rocks on the beach, swims in the lake, and goes on bike rides with her younger “summer cottage friend,” Windy. But this […]

Review of Fiendish

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Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff High School    Razorbill/Penguin    341 pp. 6/14    978-1-59514-638-0    $17.99    g Yovanoff (The Space Between, rev. 1/12; Paper Valentine, rev. 3/13) here weaves a haunting tale of old magic in a changing world. When Clementine was a child, a torch-bearing mob burned out her family; Clementine escaped by virtue of a magical coma […]

Caught in Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web

I teach ESL to adults and have often used children’s books as educational tools with these students who are trying to master English. I’ve read picture books to lower level classes, but the year I taught Advanced Conversation, I knew I needed something different. Having taught lower level classes, I can say that in comparison […]

Review of Chasing the Milky Way

moulton_chasing the milky way

Chasing the Milky Way by Erin E. Moulton Intermediate, Middle School    Philomel    279 pp. 6/14    978-0-399-16449-1    $16.99    g Just-turned-twelve Lucy Peevey lives with her mom and sister in the Sunnyside Trailer Park. Though she thinks of it as “a black hole of a place,” it’s not all bad; next door is her best friend Cam, […]

Review of Revolution

wiles_revolution

 Revolution [Sixties Trilogy] by Deborah Wiles Intermediate, Middle School     Scholastic     538 pp. 5/14     978-0-545-10607-8     $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-545-63400-7     $19.99 Invaders arrive by the hundreds, making all in their path uneasy. Life as everyone knows it is about to change. Some join their ranks; others fight back. H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds? No, it […]

Review of The Last Forever

caletti_last forever

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti Middle School, High School    Simon Pulse    321 pp. 4/14    978-1-4424-5000-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5001-1    $10.99 In her latest YA novel, Caletti returns to her fictional Northwest setting of Parrish Island, most recently visited in The Six Rules of Maybe (rev. 5/10). Six months after her mother’s death from cancer, […]

Graphic novels for middle schoolers

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From poignant historical fiction to introspective coming-of-age tale, hilarious space caper to action-packed superhero story, four new graphic novels for middle schoolers showcase the range of the graphic novel format. In Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, thirteen-year-old Koji Miyamoto is living in San Francisco with his (white) mother when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Despite being […]

To infinity and beyond!

mass_space taxi

Inquisitive intermediate readers travel into the great unknown with these four new sci-fi offerings (two of which are series openers) involving space exploration, inventions gone berserk, and UFOs. In Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer’s Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight, eight-year-old Archie learns, on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” that his plain old dad is […]

Review of The Miniature World of Marvin & James

broach_miniature world of marvin and james

The Miniature World of Marvin & James [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    104 pp. 2/14    978-0-8050-9190-8    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-1-6277-9204-2    $9.99 A new early chapter book series follows the friendship of beetle Marvin and human boy James of Masterpiece (rev. 11/08), for a younger audience. The sentences are shorter […]