‘A Blind Guide to Stinkville’ by Beth Vrabel: Middle grade fiction

Rating: 5 stars "A Blind Guide to Stinkville" by Beth Vrabel is a middle grade book featuring an unusual protagonist, a girl with albinism. She has pale skin, light blue eyes, and nystagmus, a condition wherein the eyes flicker constantly, so it's difficult for those with it to see. Alice, the main character, is almost … Continue reading ‘A Blind Guide to Stinkville’ by Beth Vrabel: Middle grade fiction

‘Dog Sense’ by Sneed B. Collard: The story of a new kid, bullies and a dog

Rating: 5 stars "Dog Sense" by Sneed B. Collard III is the story of a new kid in a rural Montana town. Moving during eighth grade of middle school is a tough time for any kid, but for a kid whose father disappeared after suffering from depression, it's tough trying to live with a grandfather … Continue reading ‘Dog Sense’ by Sneed B. Collard: The story of a new kid, bullies and a dog

‘The Dog Who Loved Tortillas’: An English/Spanish picture book

Rating: 4 1/2 stars "The Dog Who Loved Tortillas/ La perrita que le encantaban las tortillas" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and illustrated by Geronimo García is a charming story about how a dog changes the relationship between a brother and sister. The story begins by introducing Gabriela and Little Diego, her younger brother. They both … Continue reading ‘The Dog Who Loved Tortillas’: An English/Spanish picture book

‘The Searcher’ by Simon Toyne: A thriller that is real literature

Rating: 5 stars The very beginning of Simon Toyne's new novel (and series), "The Searcher," pictures a man desperately escaping a fire in the desert. The fire was caused by a plane crash, and that lone man has no earthly idea why the plane crashed, whether he was a survivor of the crash, whether he … Continue reading ‘The Searcher’ by Simon Toyne: A thriller that is real literature

‘The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion’ by Chris McCoy: Crazy YA scifi Use your key for the next article

Rating: 4 1/2 stars If "The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion" sounds like a crazy mish-mash of a book title, then it accurately reflects the novel it names. Chris McCoy's young adult adventure is an exciting, wonderful, and very silly combination of just about every contemporary literature genre you can think of: Lonely Boy Nerd Searches … Continue reading ‘The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion’ by Chris McCoy: Crazy YA scifi Use your key for the next article

‘Whatever After: Beauty Queen’ by Sarah Mlynowski

Rating: 4 stars "Whatever After: Beauty Queen" is the seventh book in the lighthearted middle grade series (for younger middle grade readers) comprised of fractured fairy tales. In this delightful series, Abby and her brother Jonah go through a magic mirror into a fairy tale story. What Mlynowski does with the stories is clever and … Continue reading ‘Whatever After: Beauty Queen’ by Sarah Mlynowski

‘Smek for President!’: Hilarious sequel to ‘The True Meaning of Smekday’

Rating: 5 stars "Smek for President," Adam Rex's sequel to "The True Meaning of Smekday," is another phenomenal piece of work by that author/illustrator. Okay, Okay. The sequel may or may not be quite as beautiful and significant as its predecessor, but it is surely equally funny, perceptive, silly, and brilliant. As a matter of … Continue reading ‘Smek for President!’: Hilarious sequel to ‘The True Meaning of Smekday’

‘The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party’ by Shannon and Dean Hale

Rating: 4 1/2 stars "The Princess in Black" was followed by "The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party," both by Shannon Hale and her husband, Dean Hale. Both books are much loved by early chapter book readers, and local librarians report that they can't keep the books on the shelves. That's wonderful for … Continue reading ‘The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party’ by Shannon and Dean Hale

‘The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach’ by Stephen McGarva: Not for the faint of heart

Rating: 5 stars In his memoir "The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach: One Man's Quest to Find a Home for the World's Forgotten Animals," Stephen McGarva pulls no punches. It's not a story filled with feel-good vignettes or lots of tales about cute dogs that get happy homes. This book is about the nitty-gritty poor … Continue reading ‘The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach’ by Stephen McGarva: Not for the faint of heart

‘The Island of Dr. Libris’ by Chris Grabenstein: Middle grade scifi

Rating: 4 stars "The Island of Dr. Libris" is a cleverly conceived story that kids from fourth grade through middle school might enjoy. It's by Chris Grabenstein, author of last year's popular "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library." It's a perfect summer read -- the whole story takes place during twelve-year-old Billy Gillfoyle's summer vacation. The … Continue reading ‘The Island of Dr. Libris’ by Chris Grabenstein: Middle grade scifi

‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer’ by Rick Riordan

Rating: 4 1/2 stars "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer" by Rick Riordan will not disappoint his many fans. The creator of "Percy Jackson and the Olympiads" and many other very popular children's series brings a new set of myths to life. This time, instead of Greek gods, Magnus Chase … Continue reading ‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer’ by Rick Riordan

‘brown girl dreaming’ by Jacqueline Woodson: Brilliant and memorable memoir

Rating: 5 stars "brown girl dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson is her memoir about growing up during the time of the Civil Rights movement. She began life in Ohio but moved with her siblings and mom to her grandparents' home in South Carolina for a large part of her childhood. Then her mother moved them all … Continue reading ‘brown girl dreaming’ by Jacqueline Woodson: Brilliant and memorable memoir