Middle Grade Mondays: We Like Spies

I mentioned before that I’ve been going through an adult fiction (no not THAT kind), reading streak to stretch my perspective and challenge my mind a bit. (and increase my vocabulary, I’ve picked up these words among others: commove, impecunious, and avoirdupois). It feels good, like yoga for the brain. So, this week I decided to ask some fellow writers (and one husband) what their favourite books were when they were 10. And why. I’ll start with The Husband, whose favourite book was THE SPY LADY AND THE MUFFIN MAN by Sesyle Joslin. It’s actually the only kids book he owns other than The Places You Will Go (by Dr. Seuss). Never heard of it? Neither had I. And unfortunately, not many other people have either. It came out in 1971, it’s...

Middle Grade Mondays: The One and Only Ivan

(I just realized this is my first post of the New Year. So, Happy New Year!) At the end of the year I was cruising through several “Best of 2012 Middle Grade Reading” lists and I would say that the most common denominator among them was this book: I really don’t need to sing its praises to you. If you spend any time in the blog-o-sphere looking for middle grade reading material, you came across this title. As a matter of fact, I had heard so much universal praise for it that I bought it, hoping to be able to use it in the classroom at some point. I actually thought it was a novel in verse when I bought it (may have something to do with the book store owner telling me it was a novel in verse). It’s not marketed that way as far as I can...

Middle Grade Monday: Best of 2012

Really, that title should read Best IN 2012, because the books on my own “best of” reading list were not necessarily published in 2012, that’s just when I happened to read them. I case you feel hornswoggled by this, I have added some other reviewers “Best of 2012″ Middle Grade fiction lists of books that actually were published this year. My favourite MG book I read that DID come out this year was WONDER. I was afraid this book would be too “Hallmark” for me and it wasn’t. A three-hankie read, I appreciated the multiple POV storyline, which I had not been expecting. You can find my original review HERE. My favourite Upper Middle Grade book this year was Scott Festerfeld’s GOLIATH (released late 2011), the...

Middle Grade Mondays: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien

I was thinking back to the books I read as a child, remembering my all time favorites, and I realized I had never blogged about one that I must have read a dozen times. MRS FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH was released in 1971 and the author died two years later. Two subsequent books were published by his daughter to make it a trilogy, but those books never garnered the same interest (and I didn’t read them myself). I hadn’t remembered that this was a Newbery Winner (and winner of many other awards), I simply remembered it as mysterious, suspenseful, and a bit ingenious. from GoodReads: Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son,...

(formerly The Accidental Novelist) Middle Grade Monday Sound Off

(Some subscribers might not recognize my new blog title when posts drop into their inboxes, so I may have to keep letting readers know it’s still me! I’m just feeling less accidental these days) I do not have an MGM post today. Not due to Thanksgiving, but due to my husband’s 50th birthday. And I’m not so much recovering as pining for the beachfront view we just left in Gibsons, a lovely town on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, where we spent 3 days staring at the water. Also, I’ve been reading very little MG/YA fiction lately. I’ve switched over to poetry and more literary adult / speculative fiction for a while. I wanted to get back to my roots and also expand my insight, vocabulary, and creative toolbox. Maybe...

Middle Grade Monday: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

I adored this book. It’s the late 60’s and humankind is about to take the first step on the moon. But this isn’t having much impression on one fourteen-year-old who just moved to “stupid Marysville.” from Amazon: So begins a coming-of-age masterwork, equal parts comedy and tragedy, from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever...