Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Middle School favorites: fantasy

As one of our early "getting to know you" style activities, I asked my seventh graders to share about a favorite book that other classmates might like. (Please note that my third graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for seventh graders.) Click on the middle school tag for more. (You can also check out #3rdfor3rd for book recommendations from my third graders.)

Middle School Favorites: fantasy


The Percy Jackson series (first series) by Rick Riordan

Recommended by Brynn


The Percy Jackson series is about a young boy who has troubles in school because of his ADHD and dyslexia. When he finds out that he is a half-blood, he must escape his school to go to Camp Half-Blood, where over the course of years he must endure multiple quests.

Recommendation: if you love Harry Potter, you will love these books! Rating: five stars. Recommended for grades 4-8 (broad audience).

The City of Ember by Jeanne du Prau

Recommended by Liv


The City of Ember. After the world ended, an underground sanctuary was crated to house the remaining survivors. Directions on how to exit the city were to be passed down by the leaders until the time came to return above ground. 241 years later, as the city is dying and supplies are running out, the instructions are destroyed in an act of selfishness.

Can one girl save the last of humanity on her own and lead them out of darkness?

This book was very good and arguably my favorite of the series. The characters and plot are well-written and made for an exciting and interesting book. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. [This is the first in a series.]


Heartless by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles 

Recommended by Akasha


Heartless. All Lady Catherine Pinkerton wants is to start her own bakery with her friend, Mary Ann. But all her parents want is for her to marry the foolish King of Hearts. Although Catherine is not happy with this path set out for her, she expects it. It's normal. But everything changes when, on the King's birthday, a new court joker named Jest arrives, bringing with him an adventure that will change Catherine Pinkerton's life forever.

Rating: five out of five stars.

Incarceron by Catherine Fischer

Recommended by Carson


Incarceron. The great prison. Outsiders believe it to be paradise. But it is a different story for those inside. The prison is alive, and it is vengeful. Incarceron kills without warning, recycling bodies to create new prisoners to destroy.

Then a prisoner finds a key. The key allows contact with an outsider holding the other copy. They attempt to escape. But the prison values its captives ...

I give this 5 stars. [This is the first in a series.]

Storybound by Marissa Burt

Recommended by Hannah


From talking cats to evil beasts to magic books, Storybound has it all. When Una Fairchild is brought to the world of story, she is forced into adventure and peril, all to find out more about the mysterious Muses, who wreaked havoc on the land of story in the past.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. [This is the first in a series.]

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Reviewed by Oliver


The book I am recommending is called The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. It is about kids who live in a society named Quill. No one is allowed to be creative, and if you are, you get an infraction. Those with three or more infractions are sent to their deaths at age thirteen in the Great Lake of Boiling Oil on the day of the Purge, the one holiday. The story follows a thirteen-year old boy named Alex who is condemned to death, but things don't always happen the way they should … [This is the first in a series.]


Want more book reviews? Click on the middle school tag for more middle schooler recommendations or check out #3rdfor3rd for book recommendations from my third graders.

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 10/16/17


It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



Recent Posts


Middle Grade



The Way to Bea (2017) by Kat Yeh. Seventh grader Bea is frustrated. She's been dumped by her best friend and getting increasingly stressed about school. This is a cute and engaging story about being yourself and accepting yourself and others.

Young Adult



The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (2017) by F. C. Yee. High school sophomore Genie is confused by new student Quentin's sudden interest in her and doesn't understand his explanation that he is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, or that she is ... [spoiler removed]. Soon they are off on a wild adventure to save California from the demons of Chinese literature. YA due to some kissing and scattered language.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 10/09/17


It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



Recent Posts


Middle Grade



All's Faire in Middle School (2017) by Victoria Jamieson. This great new graphic novel offering from the author of the Newbery-Honor winning Roller Girl, features endearing Imogene who has decided to leaves her homeschool / Renn Faire life for ... middle school! Focuses on issues of friendship, mean girls, and more (and has already vanished off the shelves of my classroom library).

Young Adult



Noggin (2014) by John Corey Whaley [National Book Award finalist]. In this not-to-distant science fiction future, Travis has just woken up to find out that his cryogenic experiment worked: his head has been successfully reattached to another body and only five years have passed since he nearly died of cancer. So ... now what? This is an interesting story about growing up (and dealing with others who have grown up more than you have), but I felt like the second half dragged out after the intriguing beginning.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October #diversekidlit

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is #ownvoices. The #ownvoices hashtag was created to draw attention to diverse authors and illustrators who are creating books that honor their own heritage and experiences. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, November 4th and the first Saturday of each month.

Upcoming Theme


Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. Do you have a suggestion for a future theme? Share your ideas with us at katie at thelogonauts dot com.

    Most Clicked Post from Last Time



    The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Myra's linkup post about Remembering Auschwitz through a picture book and a graphic novel. This post shares two powerful resources about the Holocaust in general, and Auschwitz specifically, as well as links to other sources. Thank you for sharing, Myra.

    Welcome, Bethany!



    #diversekidlit is excited to welcome new host, Bethany, of Biracial Bookworms. Bethany is an educator, blogger, world traveler, wife, and mom to two wonderful girls who inspired her web site. You can read more about her and her family here. We are thrilled to have Bethany joining our community as a host and advocate! Please follow here online: Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads.

    #DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


    Katie @ The Logonauts
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

    Becky @ Franticmommmy
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

    Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

    Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

    Gauri @ Kitaab World
    an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

    Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

    Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

    Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

    Myra @ Gathering Books
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook

    Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook


    Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

    Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





    Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

    (Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

    Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


    Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


    Share Your Link Below




    Wednesday, October 4, 2017

    Middle School Favorites: graphic novels

    As one of our early "getting to know you" style activities, I asked my seventh graders to share about a favorite book that other classmates might like. (Please note that my third graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for seventh graders.) Click on the middle school tag for more. (You can also check out #3rdfor3rd for book recommendations from my third graders.)

    Middle School Favorites: graphic novels


    The graphic novel format is always a big hit among middle schoolers, but what I love are the diversity of titles, topics, and content available in the graphic novel format. These are just a few that my students recommend.

    Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

    Recommended by Andrew


    Roller Girl is about someone who decides to do roller derby (and is pretty bad at it), and her friend goes to a different camp, which causes drama between them.

    I recommend this book for people who like graphic novels, such as Smile, Drama, and Sisters. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

    The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

    Recommended by Jordan


    The Nameless City is a graphic novel that follows the life of a kid that moves to "The Great City" to become a Dao solider. He meets a homeless girl that teaches him how to survive in the real world.

    This book is recommended by 5 out of 5 people that recommend things (and by Zan, but he hasn't read it). I would give this book a solid 76 stars. [There is also a sequel: The Stone Heart.]

    Sunny Side Up

    Recommended by Zan


    Sunny Side Up: this comic book is set in 1976 and the protagonist is a young girl named Sunny Lewin. She goes on vacation to Florida to see her grandpa and expects to have a fun time, but then she realizes that there are no kids there. She is also devastated because she finds out that her brother does drugs. Her vacation is going terribly so far but then she befriends a nice boy, and they read comics and eat candy together.

    Will Sunny somehow find a way to turn her terrible summer around? I would recommend this book to people who like friendship and a little bit of adventure. Five stars. [There is also a sequel: Swing It, Sunny.]

    Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

    Recommended by Will


    Boxers and Saints is a two-book graphic novel series that includes beliefs, religions, action, fighting, lots of violence (some content may be too gory for younger children), friendship, betrayal, magic, and a great story line that concludes with a crazy ending.

    I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be amazed. The story is set in 1890-1900s China and includes both a girl and a boy's look at what is going on. Oh, it also has enchanting sparkles of love and romance. Oooh, aaah. I'd give it a 24.5 out of 10 stars.

    Want more book reviews? Click on the middle school tag for more middle schooler recommendations or check out #3rdfor3rd for book recommendations from my third graders.

    Monday, September 4, 2017

    It's Monday! What Have You Been Reading? #IMWAYR 09/04/17


    It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



    Recent Posts


    The "Catching Up from Summer" Edition


    I read a ton this summer, which led to me getting very, very far behind in my blogging about my reading. To that end, I am giving myself permission to simplify the sharing process and just dump my quick notes, rather than longer, coherent reviews. So, here we go!

    Middle Grade


    Posted. (2017) by John David Anderson, p. 380. With cell phones banned, middle schoolers turn to sticky notes with wiggly escalating messages of meanness. About friendship, fitting in, and being true to yourself.

    Forever, or a Long, Long Time (2017) by Caela Carter, p. 310. Adopted siblings Flora and Julian do not think that they were born, they somehow just appeared. To try and help them (and to find the missing details of their past) they take a mini road trip with their mom. A moving story about trauma, but I have questions about the author's authority. She wrote the story while starting her foster parent journey. I would be very curious to hear the opinions of foster and adoptive parents on this one. (Also, the kids and their step-dad are "incidentally" black or Latino. It's mentioned in their physical descriptions but does not come into the story.)

    Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids (2017) edited by Elissa Brent Weissman, p. 200. Stories and illustrations from when authors were kids. Really fun as mentor texts and inspiration for your budding authors and artists.

    Nevermoor: the trails of Morrigan Crow. (2017 ARC) by Jessica Townsend, p. 420. Fantasy series about a cursed girl who finds another world attached to her own when she receives an invitation to join the Wundrous Society. Inventive but long and fairly predictable.

    Tumble and Blue. (2017 ARC) by Cassie Beasley, p. 400. Two families have been alternately blessed and cursed from a 200-year old meeting with a golden alligator. Blue is cursed to lose and Tumble is a damsel-in-distress. Can you guess what happens? Yes, you can. This one seemed really long to be this predictable.

    Orphan Island. (2017) by Laurel Snyder, p. 290. Magical realism novel about nine kids on an island - each year another arrives and the oldest leaves. Some hints about the outside world - books, but otherwise isolated.

    Thornhill. (Arc 2017) by Pam Smy, p. 550. Story told in alternating voices - a girl's journal from 1982 and illustrations of a girl in 2017. Like a less-well done Brian Selznick book. Supposedly creepy but really isn't. Predictable.


    Young Adult


    Saints and Misfits. (2017) by S.K. Ali, p. 330. YA about a Muslim teenager, Janna, who is nearly assaulted/raped by a respected boy from her mosque (and her friend's cousin). This is a story about friendship and learning to stand up to others.

    If I Was Your Girl. (2016) by Meredith Russo, p. 280. Amanda is a MTF trans person who moves in with her divorced father after her transition caused problems in her hometown. She finds a group of friends and a boyfriend but worries how/when/what to tell them. Incredible writing and story. The author is herself a trans woman.

    Poe: Stories and Poems (2017 ARC) illustrated by Gareth Hinds, p. 120. Graphic novel of several short stories and poems. Something about seeing Poe makes these even more creepy (if such a thing were possible).

    Revolution. (2014) by Deborah Wiles, p. 530. [Listened to first half as audio book.] Story of Freedom Summer of 1964, told mainly in 12-year old Sunny's (white) point-of-view but with some chapters of 15-year old Raymond (black) and a few about her step-brother, Gillette. Also interspersed with a bunch of nonfiction material: quotes, photographs, and news entries. The format didn't really work for me, the story was slow, slow, slow (6 hours of listening for half the book), and Raymond, in particular, was a type, not a character.

    Solo (2017 ARC) by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess, p. 320. Novel in verse from the perspective of 17-year old Blade, oldest son of a drug-addicted, fading rock star. A story about love, loss, family, and belonging. (Spoiler: it gets sprung on him rather roughly that he's actually adopted, leading him to jump on a plane to Ghana to find his birth mother.) Also I'm not sure there was ever physical description to confirm his race. YA but minimal YA content (Dad's drug addiction, girlfriend who is waiting for marriage). I've heard the playlists that accompany the book are fantastic.

    When Dimple Met Rishi. (2017) by Sandhya Menon, p. 380. Cute romantic story in two perspectives as Indian-American Rishi heads to coding camp to meet his future-wife, Dimple, whose parents neglected to mention him to her. Cue awkwardness! I thoroughly enjoyed this nerd-out of a story.

    Happy Reading!

    Saturday, September 2, 2017

    September #diversekidlit

    What Is #DiverseKidLit?


    Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

    We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

    DiverseKidLit

    We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, October 7th and the first Saturday of each month.

    Upcoming Theme


    Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you're interested, you can start planning now ...
    • Our theme for October (7th) will be #ownvoices. The #ownvoices hashtag was created to draw attention to diverse authors and illustrators who are creating books that honor their own heritage and experiences. Please share your favorite titles or authors / illustrators with us!

    Most Clicked Post from Last Time



    The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was one I am sure we all could use: 19 Multicultural Children's Books teaching Kindness & Empathy. This fabulous collection of picture books covers a wide range of cultures and topics including issues around immigration, acceptance, jealousy, and more. Thanks for sharing, Svenja!

    #DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


    Katie @ The Logonauts
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

    Becky @ Franticmommmy
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

    Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

    Gauri @ Kitaab World
    an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

    Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

    Jane @ Rain City Librarian
    Blog / Twitter / Instagram

    Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

    Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

    Myra @ Gathering Books
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook

    Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook


    Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

    Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





    Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

    (Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

    Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


    Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


    Share Your Link Below