‘Lily and Dunkin’ by Donna Gephart: Excellent middle grade fiction about heavy topics

"Lily and Dunkin" by Donna Gephart is a wonderful middle grade/young adult book about mental illness and being transgender. The publisher, Delacorte Press, says this book is appropriate for ages ten and up. This reviewer agrees. While the topics are sensitive and, at times, difficult to read, the story presents the issues in a matter-of-fact … Continue reading ‘Lily and Dunkin’ by Donna Gephart: Excellent middle grade fiction about heavy topics

Wonderful board books for young children entertain and teach

Board books are a fabulous choice for very young children. Their sturdy composition defies small clumsy fingers, and their often-complete stories are as good as many picture books. Some new board books are out just in time for the gift-giving season. "Baking Day at Grandma's" by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise (Philomel) is … Continue reading Wonderful board books for young children entertain and teach

Injured dog in danger after one month at high kill shelter

An eight-year-old gold German shepherd mix is in danger at the Miami Dade Animal Services. He arrived at the shelter a month ago with an injury to one of his rear legs. Since then, he has been treated with painkillers, but nothing else. Now volunteers fear that his time is up. The shelter has sent … Continue reading Injured dog in danger after one month at high kill shelter

‘Class Dismissed’ by Allan Woodrow: When the students take over the class they are in for a big surprise

  "Class Dismissed" by Allan Woodrow has an irresistible premise. A 5th grade class drives their teacher to distraction and she quits suddenly. But no one in the office realizes it. The students discover they are on their own -- and they decide to take advantage of it! What happens in the end is predictable, but … Continue reading ‘Class Dismissed’ by Allan Woodrow: When the students take over the class they are in for a big surprise

‘The Bookshop on the Corner’ by Jenny Colgan is a charming story of love and a bookworm who learns to live outside of a book

"The Bookshop on the Corner" is written by Jenny Colgan, author of the charming "Little Beach Street Bakery" books. She keeps her characters in Great Britain, but changes the bakery for a bookstore. The main character, Nina Redmond, loves to pair up people and books. Like many a lover of reading, she loves to find … Continue reading ‘The Bookshop on the Corner’ by Jenny Colgan is a charming story of love and a bookworm who learns to live outside of a book

‘Something in Between’ by Melissa de la Cruz: Young adult story about being American

In "Something in Between," bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz takes the subject of undocumented families and makes their stories real. This is specifically about a smart and driven girl who wins a national award for academics only to find out that her family is undocumented. Her parents had been hiding the situation from Jasmine and her … Continue reading ‘Something in Between’ by Melissa de la Cruz: Young adult story about being American

‘The Last Cherry Blossom’ is a touching middle grade historical fiction about the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima

In "The Last Cherry Blossom," Kathleen Burkinshaw writes about an incident that has largely been ignored in middle grade literature. While there are many books about the effect of the internment camps that Japanese Americans were forced into, often losing all their belongings and savings, little has been written about the effects of the atomic … Continue reading ‘The Last Cherry Blossom’ is a touching middle grade historical fiction about the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima

‘Ms. Bixby’s Last Day’: Hugely touching novel about a teacher and three students she inspired

"Ms. Bixby's Last Day" by John David Anderson is the kind of story that inspires, touches, and changes those who read it. In creating the character of Ms. Bixby, Anderson has touched on the ideal of what a teacher should -- and could -- be. The story revolves around this special, unique teacher and what … Continue reading ‘Ms. Bixby’s Last Day’: Hugely touching novel about a teacher and three students she inspired

‘The Female of the Species’ by Mindy McGinnis: Riveting YA novel

"The Female of the Species" by Mindy McGinnis is a commentary on justice, our society, small town life, and women's mistreatment by ignorant -- and at times savage -- males. Her protagonists each tell the story in strong, individual voices that McGinnis does an excellent job of differentiating. Alex is the meter-out-of-justice. When her sister was killed … Continue reading ‘The Female of the Species’ by Mindy McGinnis: Riveting YA novel