Middle Grade New Release, Week of April 28, 2020

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to this middle grade book making its rounds through our reviewers! We only have one book to welcome this week, so we are treating you to two reviews.

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copy of this book. All opinions are our own.

img_0120THE SPACE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND – by Sandy Stark-McGinnis
April 28th 2020 ~ Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally posted on Instagram kateteaching7and8

Cassie has always looked up to her mom. She is adventurous, mischievous, and good with numbers. Her mom has even created a bucket list of things to do in the next ten years which includes things like swimming with dolphins again, swimming the English Channel, and seeing the Northern Lights. All these dreams, and life as Cassie knows it, change when her mother is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Now, Cassie is struggling to keep her mom happy, understand her dad’s new restrictive rules, and keep her focus at school. Things get worse the day her mom forgets her name, and Cassie decides she has to do something. She turns to her mom’s bucket list and takes it upon herself to make sure her mom gets to experience at least one thing from this list before she disappears completely.

This is a powerful and heart-wrenching story about a girl who is attempting to find her own path, while her mother is slowly slipping away and losing her memories. This is a pretty heavy topic for a children’s novel, but it is handled deftly making it completely accessible to a younger reader. While many readers may not have experienced a situation similar to Cassie’s, they will still be able to relate to her raw emotions and the pain of slowly losing her mother. I loved the use of extended metaphors. The author uses comparisons between Cassie’s mother’s condition and the ocean and math in order to help the reader conceptualize the situation. This book explores big questions and reminds the reader that not every question has an answer. This is a story of friendship, family, and the memories that make us who we are and will always be a part of us.

THE SPACE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND – by Sandy Stark-McGinnisimg_0121
April 28th 2020 ~ Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Photo and Review by Susan ~ originally posted on Instagram @redcanoereader

My mom, who had Altzheimer’s disease, died nine years ago, but those difficult years are still a fresh memory. It was so hard watching the caring, independent woman fade away. However, it is so much worse for Cassie, because she is just twelve years old and her mom,  a vivacious woman with a courageous bucket list, has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. 🐬
This awful news means Cassie’s family must struggle to find a new normal. Her Dad’s objective is to keep her mom safe, while Cassie’s main objective is to keep her mom happy. However, in the process she pushes her best friend away and loses the inspiration for her artwork. Finally, the day her mom forget’s Cassie’s name, Cassie decides no matter what the danger involved, she must help her mom achieve at least one goal on her list.
This is a powerful story about courage, determination, families, friendship and love. It is about Cassie’s growth and bravery as she supports her mom and fights for what she is certain is best for her. It is about the fragile friendship between Cassie and her best friend and how that friendship, not only with Bailey, but also with Bailey’s family gives her the support and understanding she so badly needs. It is a story about Cassie’s dad’s love for both Cassie and her mom and his struggle to do what is best for both of them. It’s a story that will break your heart, but will offer hope in the end.
This story helps us to understand those diagnosed with Alzheimers, and how it affects everyone in the family. It helps us understand the frustration, the anger and the grief felt by all involved. It’s such an important story for MG and middle school students. Hopefully, few will experience a parent with this diagnosis, but unfortunately many will have grandparents who suffer from Alzheimers, and this book will give them both understanding and comfort. I hope this is added to both elementary and middle school libraries when it’s released on April 28th.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @kidlitexchange!

You can also follow our tags on Instagram and Twitter to see all of our reviews:

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