Review of Skies like These

hilmo_skies like these

Skies like These by Tess Hilmo Intermediate    Ferguson/Farrar    233 pp. 7/14    978-0-374-36998-9    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-374-36999-6    $9.99 Adventurous is the last word twelve-year-old Jade would use to describe herself — prudent would be closer to the mark — but that’s about to change. Though she’s always enjoyed her uneventful summers at home in Philadelphia, […]

From the Guide: Cultural Diversity in Middle-Grade Fiction

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Children’s books that acknowledge, respect, and celebrate young people from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are still too few and far between. These Horn Book Guide–recommended novels from 2013 and 2014 are fine examples of books that do. And for a full day of thoughtful, in-depth discussion about diversity of all […]

Review of The Great Greene Heist

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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    236 pp. 5/14    978-0-545-52552-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-52554-1    $16.99 Who knew a student council election could get so complicated? After pulling off a few legendary middle-school pranks, Jackson Greene has sworn off his scheming ways. But he gets pulled back in, in order to help […]

YA dragons and witches

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What fantasy fan worth her salt doesn’t love a good dragon or witch story? There’s no shortage of them; but these YA novels are wholly original offerings that focus on the development of complex main characters and the subversion of traditional notions of good and evil. Teenager Nathan is a prisoner in a cage in […]

Middle-school capers

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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

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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

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 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 […]