April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Live in Infamy by Caroline Tung Richmond | SLJ Review

Gr 5-8 –The Allied powers have lost World War II. The United States, now sliced into pieces held by Japan, Italy, and Germany exists under strictly enforced racial and social hierarchies.

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta | SLJ Review

Gr 5-7 –On her 12th birthday, Kiranmala gets a lot more than she expected: a rakkhosh (an Indian demon) roars onto her home, wanting to eat her; even more surprising, a set of handsome princes arrive to help her escape.

Strange Star by Emma Carroll | SLJ Review

Gr 5 Up –Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Clare Clairmont, and Dr. John Polidori are all sitting around the fireplace on a stormy night. The goal of the night’s assemblage is to “tell a ghost story that will terrify the assembled company.”

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes | SLJ Review

Gr 4-8 –The Towers Falling author once again tackles a timely yet difficult subject.

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis | SLJ Review

Gr 5-8 –Oversized like an ox, 12-year-old Charlie Bobo and his sharecropper parents eke out a living on the Tanner Plantation deep in South Carolina in 1858.

Stella Diaz Has Something To Say by Angela Dominguez | SLJ Review

Gr 3-5 –When Stella was a baby, her family moved from Mexico City to Arlington Heights, near Chicago, where Stella still lives with her divorced mother and supportive older brother.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –A sweet story of a first crush and being stuck in the middle.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –Twelve-year-old Caroline and her father live on Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Caroline, known as a “Hurricane Child,” since she was born during a hurricane, is plagued with bad luck.

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Morris and Brown share the story of their daughter, 12-year-old Maddie, a charming young lady who loves mustaches, potatoes, and performing on stage—especially while wearing a mustache!

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Thirty – 2017 Middle Grade Novels

Not a particularly complete list, or a very long one. Yet for 2017 these were the books that left a lasting impression on my little noggin. I read ’em. I liked ’em, every last one. I think they’re the bee’s knees. And I hope you like them too. Fiction for the masses! 2017 Middle Grade […]

Refugee by Alan Gratz | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 3-7–The term “refugee” is constantly in the news. In direct response, Gratz gets personal with desensitizing statistics, policies, and politics by giving names, families, and histories to three tweens fleeing three countries during three time periods.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –Part historical fiction, part critical problem-solving exercise, part suspenseful mystery, this story weaves through the past and present of one town’s struggle with hatred and racism.

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 4-6 –When their grandmother ends up in the emergency room, 11-year-old Ivy and her 14-year-old brother Seb are whisked into a secret underground city called Lundinor hidden beneath streets of London.

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –An online Scrabble game is more than a pastime, it’s a lifeline for middle schoolers Charlotte and Ben: both children are coping with heartache.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Wallace, whom everyone calls Lolly, resides in Harlem with his mother. His older brother’s recent gang-related murder has left Lolly with raw, unresolved emotions.

Middle Grade: “Aunt Claire Presents” Two Series Reissues | December 2017 Xpress Reviews

Two books from the early 20th–century depict friendship and life among the elite in this month’s Xpress.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Novels Set in the Last Century | SLJ Spotlight

Four middle grade titles explore childhood in the 1900s.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor | SLJ Review

Gr 5-7 –Calvin Chumsky, a brilliant seventh grader and the only friend of Mason Buttle, says, “The Universe is amazing. It knows what we want. And sometimes… it hands it over like a gift.”

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery) is bustling on the eve of Dia de los Muertos, and all Leonora Logroño wants to do is help.

Middle Grade: New Titles from Frances Hardinge, Mariko Tamaki & More | November 2017 Xpress Reviews

A fur trapper makes a mysterious friend; a “Beyond Baylor” supernatural sequel; the Lumberjanes get a middle grade makeover and much more in November’s middle grade Xpress.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.