Archive for the ‘Middle Grade’ Category

20 Titles of 2020 (Print edition)

December 22, 2020

[SAM]

I said it last year, and while a lot of things have changed, this particular sentiment of mine has not. So let me state once again that I’m not a big fan of creating best of lists, because I’m far too literal a person to declare anything “the best of 2020.” That being said, I have read all kinds of really wonderful books published this year. And I’ve read them in many of different formats. In this post I’ll focus on books we have physical copies of in the library, and in the next one I’ll do a round up of some 2020 favorites from overdrive and Hoopla. So as we head into the new year, here are 20 of my favorite titles published in 2020.

Young Adult Books

Just a boy and a girl in a little canoe by Sarah Mlynowski

The gravity of us by Phil Stamper

You should see me in a crown by Leah Johnson

Yes no maybe so by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

The voting booth by Brandy Colbert

Mind the gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

10 things I hate about Pinky by Sandhya Menon

Nonfiction

She came to slay : the life and times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Lifting as we climb : black women’s battle for the ballot box by Evette Dionne

True or false : a CIA analyst’s guide to spotting fake news by Cindy L. Otis.

Big friendship : how we keep each other close by Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman.

Why we’re polarized / Ezra Klein

Kids Books

Kenzie kickstarts a team by Kit Rosewater

Ice breaker : how Mabel Fairbanks changed figure skating by Rose Viña

Finish the fight! : the brave and revolutionary women who fought for the right to vote by Veronica Chambers 

Comics

Primer : a superhero graphic novel written by Jennifer Muro & Thomas Krajewski

Check, Please! 2 : Sticks & Scones by Ngozi  Ukazu

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America by Tommy Jenkins 

Fiction

Party of two by Jasmine Guillory

Party of Two: Guillory, Jasmine: 9780593100813: Amazon.com: Books

Poetry

Everything comes next : collected and new poems  by Naomi Shihab Nye

Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems: Nye, Naomi Shihab:  9780063013452: Amazon.com: Books

National Native American Heritage Month

November 7, 2019

[SAM]

November is National Native American Heritage Month. According to a study conducted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center only one percent of children’s books published in 2018 depicted characters who are American Indian or First Nation. Here are some recommended titles all written by native authors:

Image result for We are grateful : otsaliheliga

Sandwiches! More Than You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Eating and Making America’s Favorite Food by Alison Deering

November 1, 2019

[SAM]

I am not known for my cooking skills. I am also not a person who really wishes to acquire a wide variety of cooking skills. I am basically just looking to feed myself and not be bored to death in the process. So for those of you that share my very lofty culinary goals may I recommend the book Sandwiches! More Than You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Eating and Making America’s Favorite Food by Alison Deering

Part cookbook, part comic book, part infographic. Recipes are sorted by level, with level one requiring only a plate and knife to prepare, up to level five entitled “The Big Time.”  Interspersed with the wide range of sandwich recipes you’ll find “Between the Bread” pages that give you the history of classic sandwiches like the grilled cheese. This book is fun and easy to use. Definitely not your everyday average cookbook.

Click by Kayla Miller

September 30, 2019

[SAM]

Olive just wants to find her place. Used to always getting along with everyone, being left out of all her friends plans for the school’s talent show really throws her for a loop. With the date of the performance drawing near, Olive is convinced she will never come up with something good enough on her own. But with a little help from her fierce and fabulous Aunt Molly, Olive might just realize how wonderful it can be to be yourself and stand out. Click is a sweet and funny graphic novel. A lovely and quick read.

You can find Click on Libby/Overdrive.

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Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko

August 27, 2019

[Sam]

Sometimes books find us when we need them. This is a story of just such a book. It was a dreary Friday afternoon in March. With the energetic chaos of February school vacation week programs behind her your friendly neighborhood children’s librarian was feeling just a bit run down. There were books to be bought, budgets to be tracked, programs to be promoted, statistics to be compiled, meetings to be scheduled, and any number of other things that needed attending to. Really, it had just been one of those weeks where for every item she emphatically checked off her to-do list two more magically appeared in its place. And then, just as it was all getting to be a bit too much. It appeared in the check in bin. The book that would turn the whole week around. The book that would soon be pushed into the arms of many a library co-worker with only a cursory exclamation of “you have to read this! It’s so good!” (And dear reader it was so good. They thought so, and if you’ve continued reading this far into this rather unusual book review I believe it highly probable you will too)

Which book is it you ask? What great piece of literature could possibly inspire such a lengthy lead up? Well prepare yourself my friends, for you too may find that Julie Falatko’s “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School” is just the book you never knew you needed. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat,” really, really? Yes, really. I will endeavor to describe it just a bit, but honestly if you are in need of a laugh, you should just take my word for it and check this one out!

Do you have a deep love in your heart for office supplies, this book is for you. Do you wonder just what your dogs are thinking when you leave them to go to work or school, this book is for you. Do you enjoy wacky hijinks, this book is for you. Do you want a book that provides kid friendly jokes but also includes an astonishing number of Golden Girls references, this is that book. Is everyone in your household a little stressed about going back to school, and you’d like something that you could all enjoy reading aloud together? You know what I’m going to say. Put it on hold already

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School is available on audio on Hoopla, and both eBook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Image result for two dogs and a trench coat


Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

August 2, 2018

20971472[Sara]

I have thoroughly enjoyed several Alice Hoffman books for adults so I figured I’d give this one a try. I liked it a lot! Even though it is not as complex a story as her longer, more epic works, it is a beautiful story of family, understanding, and belonging. It contains just a hint of magic, enough to please those fans of her more witchy books, but leans more on the realistic elements. This makes it not only accessible to readers of different ages, but those of us who are not usually inclined to read fantasy or magical realism. Don’t judge this book by its cover 😉

Check for availability in Wiggin catalog

Check for availability in OverDrive

Women in Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky

December 11, 2017

[SAM] Look, I am here for all things Rachel Ignotofsky. I loved her women in science art long before it ever became her awesome first book “Women in Science.” So I was pretty sure I was going to like her follow-up “Women in Sports.” Then I opened to the first page and found the story of Madge Syers. Now, I know the story of Madge Syers, but I suspect you dear reader might not. And believe me, you want to know the story of Madge Syers. It might just change your opinion of her entire sport.

Oh, also the rest of the book is very good. You know, just in case you happen to not be as obsessed with Madge Syers as I am (not that I understand why, but hey people like what they like I guess). Filled with fifty stories and illustrations of amazing athletes. Learn a bit more about the awesome lives of Serena Williams and Simone Biles, and discover who Julie Krone and Patti McGee are. With one page of text on each athlete accompanied by an illustration surrounded with fast facts, this book makes it super easy to discover a new story each day! It’s definitely one of my favorite books of 2017. A great book for the whole family.

Available on audio at Hoopla.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

November 30, 2017

[SAM] November is family literacy month! One of my favorite new literary families is the Vanderbeekers! Siblings Jessie, Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney find out five days before Christmas that their beloved old brownstone in Harlem will no longer be their home. The landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has refused to renew the family’s lease on their apartment. But to the Vanderbeekers kids this building is like a member of their family, and they won’t abandon it that easily. 

This is a great middle grade novel about family and the meaning of home. Chapters alternate perspective among all the siblings. You get very specific pictures of all five kids ranging in age from five to twelve. Their apartment and the neighbors around it are also lovingly described.

It’s not a Christmas book book per say, but has a little bit of Christmas in it, which makes it a fun family seasonal read! A perfect book for fans of The Penderwicks or The Silver Sisters series! Find it HERE

The Vanderbeekers can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street - ebook

Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer

September 11, 2017

[SAM]

“But this, dear unauthorized reader (or should I say intruder?) is a playbook. My ultimate playbook, in case you wanted clarification. It’s where I keep all my thoughts and ideas and strategies about how to win at life. Yeah but how is that different from a diary, you ask? Look, diaries are usually about what happened. Playbooks are about how you make things happen.”  

What I love about this book is Gabby’s confidence. She’s good at baseball, she knows it, and she’s proud of that. Even when things don’t work out her way, even when she’s a little over confident, even when she struggles, this story never punishes Gabby for being loud and proud.

The transition to a new school and finding her place on a new team are not as easy as Gabby assumed they’d be. But the skilled, confident Gabby we see in the book opening scene is the same Gabby we see at the end of the book. And along the way, she learns that no one succeeds alone, and no one is an all star all the time.

This book is super fun with appealing Diary of a Wimpy Kid style illustrations. A great chapter book for fans of realistic graphic novels like Roller Girl. Find it Here

Also available on Hoopla.

Space Battle Lunchtime : lights, camera, snacktion! by Natalie Riess

May 9, 2017

[Sam] Have you ever watched Iron Chef and thought, this is great but I really wish the contestants were aliens? If you are currently shouting at your screen “YES, YES, I THINK THAT ALL THE TIME!!!” this graphic novel is so for you. Don’t read any further, just take my word for it and put it on hold,  Find it Here.

Now for the rest of you, who maybe don’t spend as much energy wishing extraterrestrials would invade your favorite reality show, don’t worry this book is also for you. In fact you may have a lot in come with the main character of this book. Peony was honestly very happy being an awesome baker in an adorable earth based coffee shop. But after unwittingly accepting an offer from a strange customer she finds herself the newest contestant on Space Battle Lunchtime, a super popular alien cooking competition broadcast all over the universe.

This graphic novel is just fun. The art is bright, the story is simple, but entertaining. A fun read for kids or adults! Check it out now and you’ll be all caught up when vol. 2 arrives this summer.