Note: this review was originally published on February 4, 2011. Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus, Amulet Books, 277 pages plus historical note and glossary. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10 and up) One-line Summary: This Newbery-winning fictionalized biography for middle graders is as likeable as its hero, with […]
Nuts to You, by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow, 2014. 259 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) One-line Summary: Nuts to You is a charming animal fantasy for younger middle-graders to read alone, or for the whole family to read aloud. So…one day the author took her lunch to a […]
Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman and Company, 2014. 112 pages. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2, 3 (ages 4-8, 8-10) In this latest Lulu installment, Lulu bravely rescues a forlorn hedgehog during the “wettest [day] in sixty-four years.” Her love […]
Lulu and the Cat in the Bag by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman and Company, 2013. 112 pages. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2, 3 Lulu and Mellie’s grandmother (Nan) is staying with them while their parents are away, and the book opens with the three of […]
Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman and Company, 2012. 112 pages. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2, 3 (ages 4-8, 8-10) This is Lulu’s debut, and it is one of the strongest of the Lulu books by Hilary McKay. Lulu, her cousin […]
El Deafo by Cece Bell. Amulet, 2014. 241 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) Cece Bell is the main character of her own story, told in graphic-novel format with all characters pictured as rabbits. The story begins with a short but severe bout of spinal meningitis at the age […]
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Penguin, 2014. 320 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) If verse fiction is a neglected genre, verse memoir is practically nonexistent. Some verse novels make me wonder why they are written in lines and spaces, but this one doesn’t. Woodson’s free verse is […]
The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. Square Fish, 2000 (reprint; original pub. date 1998). 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades (ages 10-12) Maturity Level: 3, 4 (ages 10-12, 12-14) Fifteen-year-old Simon Green has just finished third grade for the fourth time, and his beloved teacher Miss Rogers has convinced him he needs to “spread […]
Young Houdini: the Magician’s Fire by Simon Nicholson. Sourcebooks, 2014. 232 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Imagine a pre-teen Harry Houdini as an immigrant shoe-shine boy in New York City, with a showman’s flair and two loyal sidekicks, and you’ve got the gist. The real Houdini grew […]
Come On, Seabiscuit! by Ralph Moody. Bison Books, 2003. 172 pages. Audiobook read by Jim Weiss. Greathall Productions. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12, Young Adult, ages 12-18, Adult, ages 16 and up Maturity Level: Level 4 (ages 11-12) and up Seabiscuit was the grandson of the great thoroughbred racehorse Man O’ War, but as a colt he […]
My Friend the Enemy by J. B. Cheaney. Yearling, 2007 (reprint edition). 272 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades (8-10, 10-12) Maturity Level: 3, 4 (ages 8-12) If another nation bombs the U.S. on your birthday and catapults your nation into war, abruptly changing your community, you’d be mad, too. When this happens to 12-year-old Hazel Anderson, […]
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