‘Two Roads’ by Joseph Bruchac Is a Middle Grade Historical Fiction About Identity and Prejudice

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With “Two Roads,” Joseph Bruchac again demonstrates his brilliance with a novel that inspires as much as it teaches readers about a neglected part of US history, the treatment of veterans after the first World War. The compelling story also shares very much more — including ideas about morality among the hoboes of that time, prejudicial treatment of Native Americans and prejudicial treatment by Native Americans, government wrongdoing, and the importance of family and friends.

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Don’t Miss ‘The Storm Runner’ by J. C. Cervantes; the First Book in a New ‘Rick Riordan Presents’ Series

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J. C. Cervantes is the talented author who has written the first book in a trilogy about Mayan gods and the kid who is the child of one of them. It’s Rick Riordan’s “Lightning Thief” taken south to Mexico (and New Mexico). In “The Storm Runner,” Zane Obispo, who limps because one leg is shorter than the other, discovers that he is godborn, the child of one of the Mayan gods. In fact, that explains his leg because as one character tells him, humans and the gods don’t mix perfectly.

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‘The Truth About Martians’ by Melissa Savage Is A Fascinating Glimpse into UFOs from a Middle Grade Perspective

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What really happened in 1947 when a newspaper reported that an alien disk had crashed in the desert near Corona and Roswell? While the US government first reported that they had captured a spacecraft and the news was on the front page of many newspapers, the story quickly changed. It was all a mistake, the government said. The “spacecraft” was really a weather balloon.

But many people don’t believe that, and many people had already seen the strange metal pieces with even stranger purple markings. In “The Truth About Martians,” Melissa Savage decides to write about what might have happened if some children nearby not only saw the spaceship but decided to investigate the crash. What if they raced out there and arrived before the military came and swept up everything and hushed it all up?

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‘The Darkdeep’ by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs Is a True Horror Story for Middle Grade Readers

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Both Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs are seasoned writers, and that shows in their newest release, “The Darkdeep.” The story is Stephen King for kids, and the horror is all too imaginable, thanks to the well-written descriptions by both authors of the horrors that main character Nico and his friends face in a haunted cove in the Pacific northwest.

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‘Squirm’ by Carl Hiaasen Is Yet Another Superb Middle Grade Adventure for Animal Lovers

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Carl Hiaasen’s adult books are crazy-wonderful, and his middle grade novels are just as crazy, but much more child-appropriate. They are crazy fun, crazy fabulous, crazily filled with wonderful animals, and wonderfully filled with crazy characters.

In this novel, which takes place both in Florida and Montana, Billy Dickens is the main character. He narrates the tale of his journey to find his father, and along the way he finds an unexpected extended family, performs some hero-worthy exploits, and develops appreciation for his quirky parents.

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‘In Your Shoes’ by Donna Gephart Is a Story About Finding Friends and Learning There Aren’t Always Happy Endings

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With “In Your Shoes,” author Donna Gephart teaches middle grade readers that while things may be going wonderfully at one moment, life is a series of ups and downs. And sometimes, in fiction just as in real life, you don’t get second chances.

There are two main characters in this story about children who aren’t necessarily perfect on the outside, but are perfectly wonderful on the inside.

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‘The Law of Finders Keepers’ by Sheila Turnage Is the Last of the Mo & Dale Mystery Series

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“The Case of Finders Keepers” by Sheila Turnage will keep fans of Mo LoBeau thrilled at the details that are unveiled about Mo’s Upstream Mother and Blackbeard’s treasure that they seek in this fourth book.

Moses, so named because she was found after a hurricane swept her into the arms of her rescuer on a huge wave of water and a large sign, has been writing to and searching for her Upstream Mother for a while. She writes to her, but luckily, Mo has the love of Miss Lana and the Colonel which whom she lives. They run a café where Mo serves and impudently garners big tips.

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‘The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case’ by Elizabeth Eulberg: Can Watson and Holmes Solve the Mystery on Ice?

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“The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case” is the third book in the clever series by Elizabeth Eulberg about a pint-sized detective named Shelby Holmes and her sidekick, John Watson. Both of the characters’ names, of course, are cute references to the famous duo of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

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Five Nonfiction Picture Books for Kids of Many Ages — From Monsters and Animals to Historical Figures and the Flight to the Moon

“Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky” by Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpré  shares with young readers the lonely, often tormented life of Vincent Van vincentGogh. Each page begins with “Vincent can’t sleep…” and begins with his childhood when at the age of nine or ten he once walked at night six miles from his home in the Netherlands to Belgium where he was “found with torn clothes and muddy shoes.” The author includes that he was moody, “Excited. Bored. Eager. Lazy. Explosive. Shy. His many-colored moods scare the customers — and he’s forced to go.” This is a wonderful book for encouraging discussion about being different. Van Gogh was different. He’s described as “A sensitive boy. A hidden genius. A brilliant artist.” But according to the Author’s Note, he may have only sold five paintings while he was alive. Questions to discuss can include what makes someone successful? Was Van Gogh successful? Was he crazy? Why are his paintings so revered and so valuable? A beautiful book about a brilliant — and tormented — artist. (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
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