Archive of Middle Grade

11Dec2018

Book #47: The Wednesday Wars

I read Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt for my book club about a year ago and loved it.  What I didn’t realize is that it was a sequel to this Newbery-Award winning book, The Wednesday Wars.  Holling Hoodhood is a wonderful character and his agony over being forced to study Shakespeare with his teacher every Wednesday while his fellow students go to religious instruction was delightful.  Mrs.

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11Dec2018

Book #46: Beanstalks and Other Hilarious Scarytales

I read a book called Beanstalks and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White.  That time is now lost to me. Some books you read because your kids insist they’re funny and awesome and then you read them and think, “Do my children actually know what a funny and awesome book is?”  The only thing that redeemed it was portraying Snow White as a vampire, which is something I’ve been say

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Book #45: The Beyonders, A World Without Heroes

For the second half of the books in this reading challenge, there will be quite a few that I read for the book group of homeschooled teens that I am mentoring this year.  The Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull is one of them.  When I met Brandon Mull at Life, the Universe and Everything Conference in February, I told him that I was going to have my book group read that series.  I

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Book #38: 100 Cupboards

In this great big world, there are more books than I can possibly ever read, though I’m sure gonna give it a try.  I’m grateful for people out there who are digging through the piles and finding the gems.  Sarah Mackenzie, whose books I’ve reviewed here and here and whose blog I regularly read, is a pile digger and I trust her selections.  One day I was perusing the shelves at my local us

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06Oct2018

Book #33 The Family Under the Bridge

I read The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson to my 11- and 8-year-olds, based on the recommendation from The Read-Aloud Family.  It’s about an old Parisian man, Armand, who lives as a vagrant, happily and by choice.  He encounters a young mother and her three small children, who have lost their father and their home, and then his spot under the bridge.  He begrudgingly starts

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10Aug2018

Book #30: Time Jumpers

In order of my favorite Brandon Mull series, #1 The Beyonders, #2 Fablehaven, #3 The Candy Shop Wars, #4 Five Kingdoms.  I know, it’s sacrilege not to have Fablehaven as #1, but that’s just how much I love The Beyonders series.  Having Five Kingdoms at the bottom of the list doesn’t imply that it’s bad, just not my favorite.  It was definitely fun to read aloud as a family each book as

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09Aug2018

Book #29: Zombie Kid

The things we do for our kids, right?  Like reading Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage out loud to them because their older sister picked a “girly” book.  No offense to Savage, who impressed me at the LTUE conference, because I’m sure his other less bathroom-humor-oriented books are excellent.  This one tested my patience. Despite the gross-out jokes and general prepubescent-boys-being-them

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Book #28: Penny from Heaven

My 11-year-old wanted to read Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm for her book club.  Actually, she went to the book club without reading it, got excited by the discussion, then asked me to read it aloud to her.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t super excited about it.  My daughter couldn’t remember most of the details and the blurb on the book didn’t draw me in, but I promised and we went ahead.

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29Jul2018

Book #20: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

I’ll admit that my only knowledge of this book was based on the Disney movie, The Secret of NIMH, and I hardly remember anything from that.  Only that it was like a horror movie done Disney-style.  Out of curiosity, I checked the description of reviews of the movie on www.commonsensemedia.org, and though it follows the same plot, it’s not the same as what I read aloud to my 11-year-old and 8

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08Jul2018

Book #10: The Indian in the Cupboard

Nostalgia dictates a lot of the books I choose to read aloud to my kids and this book is a prime example of it.  Oddly enough, my library didn’t have a copy of it.  Is it because of it’s outdated title?  Or no one reads it any more or remembers reading it?  No idea.  But the first book in Lynne Reid Banks’ books about Omri and his magic key are worth reading. Originally published in

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