Children - MidChild

Bea Is for Blended by Lindsey Stoddard - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062878168
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperCollins - May 4th, 2021

I've finally figured out just why it is that I like Lindsey Stoddard so much - that is, in addition to her phenomenal craft and ability to slowly inflate unlikeable characters into fully-rounded, complex people, while still maintaining and honoring that negative first impression. It's that, in all of her books, she taps into one of the great traditions of children's literature: gracious recognition of the interconnectivity between books. So many of the all-time greats - Nesbit, Eager, Birdsall - use what their characters read as a way to define who they are. By continuing this tradition, Stoddard pays homage to the authors she's built off of, and, more importantly, offers their work as gifts to her readers. Add that to the biting feminist commentary in this book, as well as the blueprint it lays out for creating small-scale social change, and you've got the perfect blend of tradition and revolution. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780358272755
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Published: Versify - February 2nd, 2021

Haitian magical realism set in modern-day Brooklyn. Ten year-old Gabrielle immigrates to Brooklyn from Haiti to live with her aunt and uncle, with the promise that her parents will join her when they can afford it. After experiencing cruelty at the hands of her new classmates, she's desperate to find a way to be accepted in America. So, when a witch gives her a mango sliced into three pieces and tells her to make a wish for every piece she eats, Gabrielle doesn't hesitate. She wishes away her accent, her appearance - and a few things she hadn't bargained for. Witches always take payment, after all. I loved this book's playful energy and its undercurrent of serious commentary on the immigrant experience in America and the value of individualized identity. It would make a great choice for a classroom or book club read. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky

365 Days to Alaska by Cathy Carr - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781419743801
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Published: Amulet Books - January 19th, 2021

In the current wave of middle-grade outdoor adventure books, this novel stands out in a big way. It flips the script on the genre by starting its protagonist, Rigel, off in a wilderness-survival setting (her family lives in the Alaskan bush with no power or running water) and then displacing her to the world of suburbia when her parents split up and she's forced to move to Connecticut. To Rigel, who's completely at home in the wilderness, suburban life is fraught with danger - racing cars, escalators, and, most treacherously, strangers and their opinions. This book puts social survival on the level of intensity and immediacy usually reserved for physical survival, making the reader reexamine their own definition of civilization. Truly outstanding, especially considering that this is a debut. I'm already looking forward to reading whatever Carr publishes next. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky

The Trouble with Good Ideas by Amanda Panitch - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781250245106
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - January 5th, 2021

Magical realism rooted in Yiddish mythology with an eye to contemporary antisemitism. Twelve-year-old Leah's Zaide (grandfather) is showing signs of Alzheimer's, and her parents are thinking of sending him to an assisted-living facility. Leah can't imagine Zaide being trapped in "hospital jail" instead of living right down the street from her, so she makes a golem - a human figure made of clay, who must do her bidding - to take care of Zaide. What she doesn't account for is that a golem always turns against its creator. Absolutely fantastic. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062796783
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - February 25th, 2020

I found this to be an interesting deviation from Connor's usual style - she usually favors a highly eccentric premise with a hint of mystery. This is her first novel published since she became a National Book Award Finalist for The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle (2018), so perhaps she's using that career milestone as a pivot into experimental territory. It strongly reminded me of Polly Horvath's writing - the nutty estranged family members, the pastoral setting, and the protagonist's furtive work on a project aimed at reuniting familial ties. I really enjoyed this book, and am excited to see whether Connor continues with this new style. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky

Hatch (The Overthrow #2) by Kenneth Oppel - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781984894762
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Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - December 1st, 2020

In this next thrilling installment of The Overthrow series by Kenneth Oppel, Seth, Anaya and Petra - our beloved heroes from the first book - develop new abilities and appearances while struggling to sharpen the blurred lines between the “good” guys and the “bad.” Fast paced and emotional, this book solidly brings everything to a head, leading readers into what will most definitely be an epic final showdown between humans, Cryptogens, and the ravaging alien species that is destroying Earth. ~ Reviewed by Angela Turon


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