May 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Publisher’s description A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson. Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting […]

Book Review: We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

Publisher’s description Luke and Toby have always had each other’s backs. But then one choice—or maybe it is a series of choices—sets them down an irrevocable path. We’ll Fly Away weaves together Luke and Toby’s senior year of high school with letters Luke writes to Toby later—from death row. This thought-provoking novel is an exploration of friendship, […]

Book Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Publisher’s description From the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream. Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to […]

Book Review: After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay

Publisher’s description A powerful novel about friendship, basketball, and one teen’s mission to create a better life for his family in the tradition of Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Pena, and Walter Dean Myers.      Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny […]

2018 Newbery Award winner: Hello, Universe

2018 Newbery Award Winner: Hello, Universe Written by Erin Entrada Kelly Published by Greenwillow Books, 2017 ISBN #978-0-06-241415-1   Book Review   The start of summer vacation should be the bright spot in 11-year old Virgil Salinas’s year. But shy, insecure, and misunderstood, he only sees it as the official notice of his Grand Failure […]

Book Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Publisher’s description From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller This Is Where It Ends comes another unforgettable story of loss, hope, betrayal, and the quest for truth Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the […]

Book Review: Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Publisher’s description For fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Emery Lord’s When We Collided, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl,Anna Priemaza’s debut novel is a heartwarming and achingly real story of finding a friend, being a fan, and defining your place in a difficult world. Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to […]

Book Review: Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

This book will rip your heart right out of your chest. Several times. Literally. Publisher’s Book Description: Fishkill Carmel fends for herself, with her fists if need be — until a thwarted lunch theft introduces her to strange, sunny Duck-Duck and a chance for a new start. Born in the backseat of a moving car, […]

Review: Brave

Middle School is brutal. I know. I’ve been there for the last 15 years. (They won’t let me graduate!) Watching the ups and downs of my students is a real eye opener, and though it’s been a long time since I was really that age, it’s hard not to remember that sometimes lonely and confusing […]

Book Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Publisher’s description The Closest I’ve Come is a must-read from talented first-time author Fred Aceves, in the tradition of Walter Dean Myers. Marcos Rivas yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood, away from his […]

The Way to Bea

The Way to Bea Written by Kat Yeh Published by Little, Brown 2017 ISBN: 978-0-316-23667-6 Grades 5-8 Book Review “I mean, how do you keep someone and make sure they don’t leave? How do you figure out how to be and how to act, so they don’t even want to begin to think about leaving?” […]

Book Review: Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

Publisher’s description A powerful coming-of-age story about a girl whose encounters with loss, broken friendships, and newfound faith leave her forever changed, from Printz Honor winner and Morris Award Finalist Jessie Ann Foley When Wendy Boychuck’s father, a Chicago cop, was escorted from their property in handcuffs, she knew her life would never be the […]

Book Review: All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Publisher’s description Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire. Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a […]

Book Review: Boy Seeking Band by Steve Brezenoff

Publisher’s description Great music and great friendships aren’t always in harmony. Terence Kato is a prodigy bass player, but he’s determined to finish middle school on a high note. Life has other plans. In eighth grade, he’s forced to transfer from a private arts school to a public school, where the kids seemingly speak a […]

Book Review: Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Publisher’s description As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee. But when Janie Lee confesses to […]

Book Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Publisher’s description This young adult novel by Sheba Karim, author of Skunk Girl, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story for fans of Jenny Han, Megan McCafferty, and Sara Farizan. Shabnam Qureshi is facing a summer of loneliness and boredom until she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack. Shabnam […]

Book Review: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher’s description A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in […]

Wolf in the Snow

Wolf in the Snow Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell Published in 2017 by Feiwel and Friends ISBN 978-1-250-07636-6 Grades preK-3   Book Review Get ready to challenge all of your assumptions about stories of girls in red-hooded jackets and wolves. Counter to traditional fairy tales that caution (and condition) us to be fearful of […]

Book Review: Pointe, Claw by Amber J. Keyser

Publisher’s description Jessie Vale dances in an elite ballet program. She has to be perfect to land a spot with the professional company. When Jessie is cast in an animalistic avant-garde production, her careful composure cracks wide open. Nothing has felt more dangerous. Meanwhile, her friend Dawn McCormick’s world is full of holes. She wakes […]

Book Review: Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank

Publisher’s description Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll grow older than the brother he recently lost. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. When his parents sign him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the […]