There's a moment in Kwame Alexander's middle grade novel, The Crossover, when protagonist Josh Bell's father is telling him all about jazz musician Horace Silver: "Josh, this cat is the real deal. / Listen to that piano, fast and free, / Just like you and JB on the court." Alexander's poetry is the real deal, and its action, energy and heart earned it the 2015 Newbery Medal as well as a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. Alexander told us all about what it's like to win the prestigious Newbery.
Eleven-year-old Ari Hazard is living in the shadow of her mother’s dying wishes: She must get into the prestigious Carter middle school and stick by older brother Gage no matter what. When Gage has a falling out with their guardian, he takes to the streets with Ari in tow. Staying with friends and occasionally at a juvenile shelter, they do the best they can, but the stress is overwhelming.
When young Ursula Brown reaches the estate of the Vaughns (who are also recognizable as the Three Bears) to be a governess for their son, Teddy, her story becomes less a simple fairy-tale retelling and more of a mash-up of classic literary tropes.
Three months after her friend Sarah dies, Iris Abernathy and her parents move from sunny California to an old farmhouse in rainy Oregon, where the miserable weather suits Iris’ mood. While Iris’ mother is adjusting well to her new job at a university and her father has taken to gardening and raising chickens, Iris can’t move past her grief. She believes Sarah is a ghost living in her new house.
Finding the Worm is Mark Goldblatt’s second book about Julian Twerski and his 34th Avenue gang, based on the author’s childhood experiences in Queens, New York. The sequel to Twerp continues with language that is simple and accessible but packs a punch, especially when dealing with the sensitive topic of cancer.
You could say Mark is running from death. But, in a way, he’s also running toward it.
The Chosen Prince occurs in a Greek world imbued with the mysticism of the goddess Athene. Zeus has rent the Kingdom of Acroferra into two warring factions doomed to fight until the time is right for Athene to send a champion to undo Zeus’ punishment. Prince Alexos is her chosen one, and his upbringing is harsh, but his love for his little brother glows brightly.
Grumpy Cat’s got nothing on Hissy Fitz, the eponymous feline of Patrick Jenning’s latest middle grade novel. Hissy lives with the Fitz family, and he loves his owner, young Georgie; she’s his favorite, and she treats Hissy just like a sibling. Unfortunately, Georgie’s actual sibling, young Zeb, lives to annoy Hissy. Zeb is noisy, rambunctious and does what little boys do.
Thanks to a smart-alecky student who sat in the back row of her classroom, Sharon M. Draper went from teacher to award-winning writer. Of course, there were other factors: a lifelong love of reading, plus years of hard work and outstanding scholarship, for starters.
This charming book by Sebastian Meschenmoser has the feel of a classic fable. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon begins with an illustration of a large yellow circle of cheese that bounces out of a wheelbarrow, shoots down a hillside and soars off a cliff.