Middle Grade New Releases, Week of June 26, 2018

Happy release week to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.

Mr. Wolf’s Class  by Aron Nels Steinke
(June 26th 2018 ~ Scholastic/Graphix)img_6104

Review and Photo originally by Lauren on Instagram @thesmilelines

I WILL NEVER FORGET MY FIRST DAY AS A TEACHER! The emotions, nerves, laughs, confusion, and EXHAUSTION! ✨Mr. Wolf’s Class by @AronNelsSteinke is a fun graphic novel about the class and teacher’s first day of school. You learn about the student’s and teacher’s emotions! Losing a student is not something I would want to happen in my classroom, but my boys thought that idea was very funny in the story! This is a quick read because of the comic strip format. ✨Writing your own school themed comic strip would be a great extension to reading this book.

img_6106Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
(June 27th 2017 ~ Walden Pond Press)

Photo and Review by Jennie Naughton originally on Instagram @jennienaughton

This book is another winning volume from the dynamic duo of  Ammi-Joan Paquette (Author) and Laurie Ann Thompson, Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries does for history what the first volume did for science. This book begins with the phrase, “You can’t believe everything you read” and isn’t that the truth these days?
In this installment, the reader will encounter mysteries in history. There are three stories to a chapter. Two are true, and one is a lie. Through careful reading of the text, picture captions and sometimes even eyeballing the images themselves will give the reader a clue that something isn’t quite right and the story is made up.

My favorite story (not telling if its true) was of the Necropolis Railway in London. Londoners would buy a train ticket for themselves, and their dead loved one and ride out to the cemetery for the day. The dead person would get buried; you’d have lunch and catch the 3:30 pm train back to London. To this minimalist, it sounds ideal. You’ll want to take some time with the Research Guide included in the back of the book. It includes not only the answers, but a bibliography of books and websites about each story. We took quite a bit of time checking a lot of websites and practicing looking for clues that the information may not be legit.

As with the first volume, this makes a terrific logic study; you could add it in as a read aloud for science or history, and it also makes excellent bedtime reading. You can read a chapter a night, if you don’t get into too raucous a debate!
Verdict- Buy

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelowimg_6107
(June 26th 2018 ~ HarperCollins)

Photo and Review by Laura originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for this book about rock n roll summer camp and first relationships by @lisajennbigelow
Melly and Olivia are best friends headed to two-week summer band camp. Melly is a drummer and Olivia plays bass. But then Melly’s parents reveal they’re getting divorced, Olivia ditches Melly for a boy and Melly starts to have feelings for her new band-mate, Adeline. Besides all that, the girls are trying to make their bands come together, which is hard enough without all the drama!
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE is a great book for band kids, as well as students looking for a new LGBT book similar to DRAMA by @goraina. The campers are diverse; Adeline has brown skin and Olivia is Latina. This book addresses the following issues in a realistic way: divorce, friendship problems and first boy-girl and girl-girl relationships. Olivia and Melly’s friendship is strong, but it is going through natural shifts as they both grow and change. Melly’s first-person narrative is honest and rings true. Students will naturally connect with her. I also like how Melly’s parents are realistically flawed; they make a mistake, Melly suffers for a bit and then they recognize their mistake and apologize. If you have a lot of students who are into music and/or you need to beef up your #LGBT section (don’t we all??), then consider buying! Recommended for grades 3 – 7.

img_6109See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder
(June 26th 2018 by Scholastic)

Good Reads Summary: Juliet has just moved to a beach side town with her newly separated mother and her moody older sister. When she meets their new neighbor, Emma, the girls form an instant bond. Emma’s big family takes Juliet in, and the girls have fun together — starting with the night they throw bottles with secret messages into the sea.

Then someone writes back to Juliet’s message. An email arrives, inviting her to join the Starry Beach Club. All she has to do is make someone else’s wish come true.

So Juliet and Emma set off to help as many other people as they can. It’s fun! But as Juliet spends more and more time away from home, enjoying her new town and Emma’s family more than her own mom and sister, she starts feeling lost. It’s been easy to find others to help. But maybe her star would shine a little brighter if she brought it closer to home.

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

The Boy, the Boat and the Beast by Samantha M. Clarkimg_6108
(June 26th 2018 ~ Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

Photo and Review by Emily originally on Instagram @misspitlick7

This story very quickly held my attention and I found any waking, free moment I had, grabbing this book and turning the pages- wrapped in the plot.
We are quickly introduced to a boy who is lost on an island and has no memory of who he is or where he is. He fears leaving the island for the water because of drowning and fears going into the forest because of the beast.

Throughout the story, the boy must overcome his fears and the voices in his head telling him he’s not good enough and he’s a scaredy-cat, and that he can’t get off the island.

I truly appreciated this story because it’s quite easy for us to listen to the voices in our heads or the voices around us telling we aren’t good enough or that we can’t accomplish difficult things. We must find the courage to overcome those voices!

Strays Like Us by Cecelia Galant
(June 26th 2018 ~ Scholastic Press)img_6207

Review and Photo by Laura originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

Fred (Winifred) is being placed in foster care because her mother has a pill addiction. She sees a kindred soul in the neglected dog next door and jumps at the opportunity to help him.
This is an excellent readalike to Whipoorwill and When Friendship Followed me Home, both popular realistic fiction reads in my library. I read it in one quick sitting. I love dog/human love stories and this one didn’t disappoint at all on that level. This is also an excellent middle grade book for addressing opiate addiction and its impact on family members in an age appropriate way. Highly recommended for grades 3+!



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