‘Code Word Courage’ by Kirby Larson: Touching Middle Grade Fiction about a Girl, a Dog, and a Soldier — All of Them Heroes

Kirby Larson creates another touching historical fiction story with an amazing dog in "Code Word Courage," a novel that is set during WWII, and features not just the love of a lonely girl for her dog but also the fabulous, and long- hidden, story of the Navajo Code Talkers. It begins, as do many dog … Continue reading ‘Code Word Courage’ by Kirby Larson: Touching Middle Grade Fiction about a Girl, a Dog, and a Soldier — All of Them Heroes

‘Welcome to Wonderland: Sandapalooza Shake-Up’ by Chris Grabenstein is the 3rd book in the Wacky Wonderland Motel series

Move aside, Disney World! Here comes the Wonderland Motel in "Sandapalooza Shake-Up," the third book in the humorous mystery series by clever children's author Chris Grabenstein. Fans of the series know that P.T. and his friend Gloria solve mysteries while having a great time in St. Petersburg, Florida. P.T. lives in the motel his grandfather … Continue reading ‘Welcome to Wonderland: Sandapalooza Shake-Up’ by Chris Grabenstein is the 3rd book in the Wacky Wonderland Motel series

‘Captain Superlative!’ by J. S. Puller; ‘Life is too Short to be Anything Less…’

"Captain Superlative!" is not the main character in this middle grade novel by J. S. Puller. She is, however, the inspiration and cause for the change Janey, a quiet, shy, and practically invisible middle school student, experiences over the course of this beautifully written and moving novel. Janey's mother died when she was nine, and … Continue reading ‘Captain Superlative!’ by J. S. Puller; ‘Life is too Short to be Anything Less…’

‘They Lost their Heads! What Happened to Washington’s Teeth, Einstein’s Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts’ by Carlyn Beccia

Not for the faint of heart, "They Lost their Heads! What Happened to Washington's Teeth, Einstein's Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts" by Carlyn Beccia is a nonfiction book filled with gruesome and gory details about strange things that have been done to the deceased. It begins with a beautiful love story -- or is … Continue reading ‘They Lost their Heads! What Happened to Washington’s Teeth, Einstein’s Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts’ by Carlyn Beccia

‘Whale in a Fishbowl’ by Troy Howell & Richard Jones Is a Touching Picture Book about Belonging

"Whale in a Fishbowl" By Troy Howell and Richard Jones is a picture book that children will love. They will intuitively know that whales don't belong in fishbowls. They will know that Wednesday, the whale who lives in a huge fishbowl in the middle of the busy city certainly does not belong there. And Wednesday … Continue reading ‘Whale in a Fishbowl’ by Troy Howell & Richard Jones Is a Touching Picture Book about Belonging

‘All Our Wild Wonder: A Poem’ by Sarah Kay and Sophia Janowitz

"All Our Wild Wonder" is a small book, but the brilliant tangerine cover surrounds the rectangle containing the title and an illustration of a hand holding a dandelion that is releasing its seeds into the world. It's a small package containing a powerful poem. At the center of the poem is Mrs. Ribeiro, "an Indian … Continue reading ‘All Our Wild Wonder: A Poem’ by Sarah Kay and Sophia Janowitz

‘My Red Velvet Cape’ by Dana Sullivan Is a Marvelous Mixup for a Superhero-Loving Child

A picture book that will cheer up any prospective birthday boy or girl is "My Red Velvet Cape" by fabulous author/illustrator Dana Sullivan. There is so much to love about Sullivan's newest picture book including the misunderstanding (Sullivan loves misunderstandings, just check out "Ozzie and the Art Contest"), the incredibly hip mom and grandma (go … Continue reading ‘My Red Velvet Cape’ by Dana Sullivan Is a Marvelous Mixup for a Superhero-Loving Child

‘The Summer of Broken Things’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix Illustrates What Makes Family in this Touching Young Adult Novel

In "The Summer of Broken Things," Margaret Peterson Haddix departs from her beloved sci-fi stories, and she includes no hidden children, just two teenagers from very different families -- and very different socio-economic backgrounds -- who are going to spend the summer together in Spain. But there is something hidden from their past. Although Avery … Continue reading ‘The Summer of Broken Things’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix Illustrates What Makes Family in this Touching Young Adult Novel

‘The Night Dairy’ by Veera Hiranandani: An Historical Fiction Middle Grade Novel About the Partition of India

In "The Night Diary" by Veera Hiranandani, readers will get a chance to learn about a piece of history that is not often included in children's books -- the partition of India. In fact, this adult reader learned much about that historic event. While many adults know that upon gaining independence from Great Britain, India … Continue reading ‘The Night Dairy’ by Veera Hiranandani: An Historical Fiction Middle Grade Novel About the Partition of India

‘The Window’ by Amelia Brunskill Is a Beautifully Written YA Mystery

How did Anna die? That's the question that her twin sister, Jess, can't get out of her head in the novel "The Window" by Amelia Brunskill. Identical twins Anna and Jess were inseparable growing up, but lately, not so much. In fact, after Anna's death, Jess starts to investigate what really happened, and what she … Continue reading ‘The Window’ by Amelia Brunskill Is a Beautifully Written YA Mystery