Category Archives: #amreading

#amreading Hodge Podge

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I’ve dabbled quite a bit in books like Love That Dog, which tell a single story through a series of interconnected poems. In this case, the young poet/protagonist is writing these poems as part of his English homework, so I can see it being useful to teachers doing poetry units. A Grain of Rice reads like a folk tale. A pleasant, hard-working man turns an empire upside down by being very, very clever. Math is involved! And The Everafter War is the next (seventh) installment in The Sisters Grimm series.

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#amreading Excitement

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While I mostly prefer the upper reaches of the Middle Grade range (10-12 year olds), I do dabble in books intended for younger readers (8-10 year olds). One of my favorite lower middle grade finds was The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great, mostly because Morris made me laugh. More than once. Tales from the Hood is the sixth book in the Sisters Grimm series, which I recommend. Serafina and the Black Cloak, the first in a series, is an intriguing blend of historical fiction and magical realism that is tense enough and scary enough that I’d caution against it for sensitive readers. But for those who enjoy teetering on the edge of their seats, this is a stand-out series.

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#amreading Good Books

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Happy to report the completion of a trilogy. Fork-Tongued Charmers and Rise of the Ragged Clover wrap up Paul Durham’s Luck Uglies series, which now ranks among my favorite MG trilogies. Creative and complex, daring and enduring. Highly recommended. And then there’s the graphic novel Drama, which follows a group of friends as they get ready for a stage production. It’s a classic kerfuffle of she-likes-him but he-likes-them … with friends doing their best to support one another while still figuring themselves out.

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#amreading Sequels

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Al Capone Shines My Shoes is a sequel (currently the second of four books) that makes the most of its setting. I was fascinated to learn that Choldenko spent time as a docent on Alcatraz. Now that’s commitment! Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki films, but the book that inspired it is even better. This is a reread for me, since I am eager to read its sequels. And Zia is considered a sequel of sorts to the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Once again, O’Dell presents the harsh realities and injustices surrounding the colonization of California, especially where native peoples are concerned. Not a happy story, so not really my cup of tea.

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#amreading Variety

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The Zenta and Matsuzo Mysteries are such a refreshing change from the usual brand of detective stories. Set in sixteenth century Japan, the protagonists are a pair of ronin (wandering samurai). In White Serpent Castle, Namioka lets us in on a secret about Zenta’s past. Al Capone Does My Shirts introduces readers to the small community of civilians who live on Alcatraz (wives & children of the guards), and I found the whole story fascinating. No Passengers Beyond this Point, which also happens to be by Choldenko, is an odd story with a surreal quality. It’s interesting that both of her books highlight the struggles and strengths of sibling bonds.

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December BINGO

Winter Reading. Fitting in reading time is actually easier for me in December, partly because the holidays offer a great excuse to leave off writing, cuddle up under a blanket, and while away an afternoon with a book. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be with this month’s BINGO board from Middle Grade Carousel, but let’s give it a go!


I read a handful more, but NONE of the titles I chose fit the categories on the December BINGO board. Oh well.