Grenade by Alan Gratz

War. This is not a topic that I tend to read about. The human condition that goes along with wars, okay, maybe (I've been known to read way too many books about the Holocaust), but not usually books about the actual fighting. But I know a lot of young readers who are completely fascinated by … Continue reading Grenade by Alan Gratz

The Queen Girls are Back!

Last year I had the pleasure of being included in helping launch the Kickstarter campaign for Queen Girls Publications to present Bessie: Queen of the Sky and had a great interview with the team behind the books. So I am thrilled to announce that today they have launched their new Kickstarter campaign to promote their … Continue reading The Queen Girls are Back!

Spending a Year with Holling Hoodhood and The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt, is a quiet, subtle middle grade book written in 2007 but set in 1967. It captures your attention from the start, but progresses slowly to show just how the characters, especially Holling Hoodhood, grow during a school year. I never would have picked this book up had it … Continue reading Spending a Year with Holling Hoodhood and The Wednesday Wars

Refugee by Alan Gratz

There are times when books and history or social studies lessons go hand in hand. Refugee is one such book. This should be on required reading lists for middle graders, and adults might learn a thing or two from it as well. I first heard of Refugee as it was coming out last summer and … Continue reading Refugee by Alan Gratz

Renato and the Lion

Renato loved his home in Florence, Italy. He loved the people there. And the food there. But he especially loved the art there. It was everywhere. This is how Barbara DiLorenzo begins her beautiful book, Renato and the Lion. Through beautiful watercolor images, DiLorenzo brings Florence, Italy to life. This gorgeous book sends us back … Continue reading Renato and the Lion

My Brigadista Year

Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own. I have found that I really enjoy reading middle-grade historical fiction. They are an amazing way to learn about periods in history from a completely different perspective. Of course, I realize that you have to take … Continue reading My Brigadista Year

The Orphan Singer

There are times when books move us, but we can't put our finger on exactly what it is that sets it apart. The Orphan Singer, by Emily Arnold McCully, is one such book. Even more interesting is that the story is based on real Venetian institutions that cared for orphaned girls while giving them amazing … Continue reading The Orphan Singer

Queen Girls – A New Kind of Fairy Tale

All children enjoy fairy tales. They help inspire us, teach us, and entertain us. Many traditional fairy tales have had a main female character who needs help from a magical being and/or gets saved by a prince. As we as a society change, so too have our fairy tales. The newest addition to the fairy … Continue reading Queen Girls – A New Kind of Fairy Tale

Making the Civil War real

We stopped off at the library today before the roads got their first snow of the year. You must understand, we live in North Carolina and school was cancelled today when they thought that snow would be hitting us around noon or 1pm and they wouldn't be able to get the high schoolers home in … Continue reading Making the Civil War real