This wonderful collection compiled by the cofounder of We Need Diverse Books features short stories from some of the top names in middle grade literatThis wonderful collection compiled by the cofounder of We Need Diverse Books features short stories from some of the top names in middle grade literature: Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Pena, Tim Federle, Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers and more! These are stories about fitting in, following your passions, making friends, dealing with family, and growing up. Told with perspectives and voices as varied and authentic as the authors who pen them, this is a wonderful way to introduce realistic fiction to reluctant readers or to introduce new authors to fans. Highly recommended!...more
Set in the midst of the McCarthy era, Pete is caught up in a mystery too close to the pulp fiction books he loves after his father is accused of beingSet in the midst of the McCarthy era, Pete is caught up in a mystery too close to the pulp fiction books he loves after his father is accused of being a communist. Shunned by his classmates and harrassed by an FBI agent, Pete must uncover the truth if he is ever going to return to a sense of normalcy.
I couldn't put this one down! Weaving Pete's own favorite noir stories and imagination into the plot, Avi pieces together a fascinating mystery that is a puzzle until the end. Pete is a relatable character who matures as he discovers that being an adult does not automatically mean having all the answers, and being a kid does not mean you are helpless. Pete's coming-of-age is set amidst the backdrop of McCarthy era suspicion and Avi does a wonderful job bringing this strange and frightening era to life. The lessons learned by Pete are particularly powerful for kids growing up in the current age when they too may find themselves questioning the choices and assumptions of adults around them and the laws and government they are taught to respect. Sensitive tweens may be upset by a hospital scene in which Pete witnesses the death of an elderly patient, but it is an important moment in Pete's life and written with compassion and honesty. Great read with powerful and relevant lessons to be learned!
Audiobook: Mark Turetsky captures the noir tone of the novel perfectly....more
11-year-old Melody has cerebral palsy, and because she cannot talk and is confined to a wheel chair, many people also assume she has below-average int11-year-old Melody has cerebral palsy, and because she cannot talk and is confined to a wheel chair, many people also assume she has below-average intellect. This couldn't be further from the truth. Melody has photographic memory and is a whiz with facts and numbers. When she discovers a technological device that allows her to speak for the first time she sets out to prove her brilliance on her school's quiz team.
This was a wonderful book that inspires important discussions and thought-provoking questions about bullying as well and disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Melody is a fiercely intelligent and confident character who serves as a great role model for anyone who has ever felt different or left out, and a reminder to everyone that appearances can be deceiving and *everyone* deserves to be treated with respect. This is highly recommended although parents should be aware of one particularly frightening scene in which Melody's baby sister is injured in a car accident.
Audiobook: Sisi Aisha Johnson brings Melody to life! This is a beautiful audiobook that families can listen to and discuss together.
11-year-old Felix loves baseball, and when he wins the chance to attend a local game he can't wait to enjoy the experience with his mom. Except his mo11-year-old Felix loves baseball, and when he wins the chance to attend a local game he can't wait to enjoy the experience with his mom. Except his mom just never has time, and she ends up sending up with his babysitter. Tired of his mom's busy worklife Felix hides in the team's truck and ends up getting a position as a bat boy. During his time with the team Felix learns more about his mother's past, before she immigrated from Cuba, his father's baseball career, and himself.
This is a great read that tackles a lot of tough topics through baseball, sure to have appeal for reluctant readers....more
10-year-old Albie has always felt like a disappointment. He is never fast enough, smart enough, tall enough, or just plain enough. As his parents and10-year-old Albie has always felt like a disappointment. He is never fast enough, smart enough, tall enough, or just plain enough. As his parents and teachers struggle to keep their patience and determine if he may have a learning disorder, Albie's new nanny teaches Albie that he is great at just being himself -and helps him find a sense of confidence and discover hidden strengths.
This is a great book for kids who may be going through similar hardships. Albie is hillarious and loveable and his difficulties as well as his relationships with parents and teachers are straightforward and honest. Great book!
Audiobook: Noah Galvin does a great job bringing the lovable Albie to life.
Wayside School was a blunder from day one. Meant to be 13 classes wide, it was built 13 classes tall! Each story has it's own story to tell; from theWayside School was a blunder from day one. Meant to be 13 classes wide, it was built 13 classes tall! Each story has it's own story to tell; from the students, to the teachers, to the custodian and the principal, every member of Wayside School has a bizarre and hillarious tale that will keep kids rolling in their seats. This is the perfect read-aloud for older kids and tweens and a great choice for reluctant readers....more
**spoiler alert** Jake has been kicked out of school -again! Fed up, and unsure what else to do, his parents send him to The Applewhites' Creative Aca**spoiler alert** Jake has been kicked out of school -again! Fed up, and unsure what else to do, his parents send him to The Applewhites' Creative Academy. The Applewhites are a family of eccentrics, who believe children learn best with no order or discipline, set free to discover their own talents on their own terms. What this means is a house full of chaos as each of the family members (children and adults) embarking on their own projects and journeys to discover themselves. All except one family member -E.D. prefers order, lists, and schedules, and hates the chaotic lifestyle her family creates. When Jake arrives she assumes he will be just like them, with the extra caveat of being a known trouble-maker. Instead, E.D. and Jake might just find a way to balance each other out and bringer a more organized chaos to the family.
This was a fantastic read, and a Newberry honor too! Parents should be aware that Jake smokes and swears (although the acutal words aren't used), but by the end of his book he discovers that both habits were merely a form of self-defense and abandons his trouble-making ways. The underlying message of being true to yourself is balanced with the importance of working together, making for a valuable and entertaining read.
Four sisters, ages four through twelve, must amuse themselves while vacationing in a cottage in the Berkshire Mountains. It isn't long before they disFour sisters, ages four through twelve, must amuse themselves while vacationing in a cottage in the Berkshire Mountains. It isn't long before they discover a young boy living next door. Jeffrey, living with his overbearing mother, lives in a very different world from theirs -one with boarding schools, formal gardens, and strict obedience. The sisters, who are used to running free with their dog Hound, make Jeffrey a part of their family and completely transform his orderly world.
The Penderwicks is a gentle and lighthearted read with subtle humor and valuable lessons. The importance of accepting others for who they are is a truly important lesson for both kids and adults, making this a great family read-aloud.
Audiobook: Susan Denaker provides an evenly-paced narration for a gentle family listen....more