Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads

What Lives in the Woods Book Review

Title: What Lives in the Woods
Author: Lindsay Currie
Published by: Sourcebook Kids
Publishing Date: Sept. 14, 2021

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Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me an early review copy!
What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie is a wonderful middle grade book for your favorite spooky readers in your life. I am not a fan of scary books, so my level of horror is middle grade. I read Scritch Scratch last year by Lindsay Currie and was obsessed! I was so excited to get this one in the mail.
Ginny is a middle school students with high hopes of becoming a mystery author like Agatha Christie. She is super bummed when her dad moves her family to Woodmoor Manor for the summer for a renovation project, taking Ginny away from writer camp with her best friend. When they arrive, Ginny begins hearing tales about Woodmoor and he woods surrounding the mansion, and the hauntings that have been sighted by the locals, Ginny gets spooked in her own bedroom. She has to figure out why the ghost is haunting her specifically, and what it needs to move on.
I loved Ginny’s character. She was realistic, while being relatable and funny. Her friendship with her brother and best friend are so sweet throughout the book and I love that the three of them end up working together to solve the mysteries of Woodmoor like Ginny’s hero, Agatha Christie, would have solved them. Overall I gave this 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend to my middle grade horror fans, anyone who loves a great mystery, and for fans of Goosebumps.

Uncategorized YA Reviews

Echo After Echo Review

Title: Echo After Echo
Author: A.R. Capetta
Publishing Date: Hardcover: Oct 10, 2017, Paperback: Oct 12, 2021
Publisher: Candlewick Press
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Thank you to Candlewick for sending me this review copy to celebrate the Paperback release of this beautiful love story/ murder mystery!
Plus: a good part of this plot takes place around the winter holidays so this is the PERFECT time to dive into this one.

Echo After Echo focuses on Zara who has come to the Aurelia Theater in NYC , home to the famous director Leopold , to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love, because she has never actually been in love. She is more than prepared for her role as Echo – what she is not ready for is Eli, the beautiful and talented assistant light director for the theater, multiple murders within the theater family, and the pressure to be perfect when nothing is perfect.

AR Capetta weaves this story together so beautifully, that you cannot help but be captured by Zara and Eli and root for their new and young love. Normally, I hate theater/movie set books, but the murder mystery element in this one drew me to want to read this one, and AR Capetta kept me on my toes for the entire story. Zara not only is a character to root for, but despite her flaws, she is a character you want to be like – for her perseverance, her courage, and her unwillingness to be anybody but herself, even when it isn’t easy.

I gave this book 4.5/ 5 stars and would recommend it to high school students who love their theater classes or drama club, to anyone struggling with their own identity, and for lovers of cozy murder mysteries.

Children's Lit Weekly Reviews

#Bookaday – June 3 – Twenty-One Steps

Twenty- One Steps Book Review:

Finding picture books that are non-fiction and as beautiful as fiction books is sort of one of my joyful librarian wins. Twenty-One Steps promised to be thoughtful, beautiful, informational, and emotional – and it fulfilled those things.

The history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t known by children, unless they perhaps have a military family member or have visited it. This little-known history is both sad and beautiful. The story behind it haunting, yet necessary to our country’s history. This book was so well written and captured these feelings perfectly. The illustrations were gorgeous and I took my time flipping through this book to really soak up these thoughts.

I gave this book 5/5 stars for its uniqueness and for the beautiful writing accompanied by equally beautiful illustrations. The powerful message, fantastic vocabulary, and stunning verse will keep kids engaged with this text more than once. A perfect read aloud for teachers, librarians and parents. Recommended by me for grades 3 to 7.

Children's Lit

#BookaDay June 2 – Code Breaker, Spy Hunter

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Picture book biographies are always on my radar because I think they make good read-alouds for all grade levels and they are such a great way for me to learn nuggets of information about people I have never heard of. I have read other picture book biographies by Laurie Wallmark and really enjoyed them so I was really glad to get this one and be able to read it.

Elizabeth Friedman was a code cracker during WWI and WWII when women really weren’t present in the organizations that used code breakers. I didn’t know her story until I read this lovely picture book. The art is so much fun with codes woven into the illustrations throughout the story. This story was just another reminder that women can do anything, even when its something that is suppose to be for boys.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for grades 3 to 7. This is a perfect read aloud for Classroom Book a Day for educators and a great bedtime story for parents. This will grab the attention of kids who love history.

Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

#BookaDay June 1 – Unsettled by Reem Faruqi

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This beautiful immigration story told in prose is one for every middle grade bookshelf, whether at home, in the library or in the classroom. Nurah, the main character, is just trying to blend in and find her place in her new school in Georgia after moving from Pakistan.

The characters weave this story together in ways that everyone reading it can relate to someone along the way, whether or not they have experienced moving across the world. I related to Nurah so much, because I had moved across the US at her age and felt so different in my new school in Texas. I loved reading Nurah’s story as she found her voice, and found a place to fit in , in her new world.

I highly recommend this to readers who love novels in verse, quick, beautiful reads, and realistic fiction. Recommended for grades 4-6 specifically. Nothing stood out to me as content to be aware of, but this is a good book to read about tackling bullying as well.

bookstagram Weekly Reviews

#BookaDay Day 2 – May 31 – When You Ask Me Where I’m Going


When I picked this up on May 31, I was already most of the way through this collection as I had started it in February and had slowly been making my way through it.

Jasmin Kaur has a beautiful way with words and art to make this amazing collection of poems and prose. There were a lot of poems I bookmarked because they had such a deep meaning to me and I understood them so well because of things I had personally experienced.

Throughout this book Jasmin explores what it means to be a young woman in today’s society and what it means to be a minority woman in today’s society. Her points of view are powerful and meaningful. I think there is something in this collection that will speak to every young woman who reads this.

I gave this book 5/5 stars because I know I will pick this up again and find something new to love about it. This is definitely a collection for adults, anyone who has enjoyed collections such as The Princess Will Save Herself in This One, and The Sun and Her Flowers.

You can order this collection from Amazon in Paperback for $9.99 or from for $10.11 (10% goes back to support Indie bookstores). Both links give me a little kickback which I use to add books to our school library!

This is the bookmark that I designed based on this book. Preorders are open on my website.

#BookaDay Day One – May 30th – My Hero Academia Volume 1

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For the very first day of #BookADay I selected one of my students’ favorite anime series as a manga to read. I have also enjoyed this anime series and my students are always in the library asking if I have any more of this manga in stock. I really need to get more copies of all of them. Here are my thoughts: My Hero Academia is such a fun manga series that combines a love of superheroes and school stories. The main character Deku is so relatable because the author intentionally made him seem “plain” to the reader at first. This is something I think we can all relate to – not being terrible, but not being great, not standing out, not grabbing attention. Deku doesn’t have a super power like 80% of the evolved population of Earth, but his heart is one of a heroes heart.

This initial book follows as Deku moves from Middle School to High School and tries his best to get into his dream Hero Academy. This is a strong start to a series of unbelievable characters of all sorts and has some great little references to our favorite already known hero stories – Superman, Mario Brothers, etc. 

I gave this series a 4/5 star rating and plan to continue to read this one. Great for manga fans of all ages – rated teen – but I am happy to put this in the library for 6-8th grade. Also great for those that love Marvel and DC movies and comics as well. Order the book Here on Amazon or Here on – I do get a small kickback which I use to buy books for my school library. You can also preorder the bookmark I designed based on this book. 

Children's Lit

New Book Mail – Sourcebooks

Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me mail!

Once More Upon a Time is 130 pages, adult fantasy romance, and will be released in hardback on October 5, 2021

PreOrder Link for $13.79:

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight is YA, 242 pages, is currently out in Hardback ( ) and will be released in paperback on September 7, 2021 for $10.11
Preorder the Paperback:

Beaver and Otter Get Along… Sort Of is a Non Fiction picture book for ages 4+ which releases September 7th in hardcover and paperback simultaneously
PreOrder the Paperback ($8.27) :
PreOrder the Hardcover ($15.62):


10 Books to Read about the Holocaust in your Lifetime

This is the beginning of a series of book lists that I recommend that you read “In Your Lifetime”. You can shop the “Books to Read in Your Lifetime” lists on (and support me and small indie bookstores everywhere) or on (still supporting me if you shop from this link)

  • Maus: the Complete Collection by Art Spiegelman
Recommended for High School and Adults, Graphic Novel format in black and white
  • Maurice and His Dictionary by Cary Fagan
Recommended for Middle Grades (graphic novel format)
  • White Bird by RJ Palacio
Graphic novel recommended for Middle School and High School
  • Irena’s Children by Tilar Mazzeo
For Adults, Although there is a Young Reader’s Edition that is good for Middle School/ High School
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
For Upper Middle School, High School
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
For Middle Grades
  • Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
For Middle School and High School
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
For Middle School
  • Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
For Middle Grades
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For High School/ YA

YA Reviews

YA Review- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: Feb 2017
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The Hate U Give is a timely and necessary novel that follows the story of Starr, a Black teen girl living in a rough neighborhood, but attending a private, and mostly white populated school. She often feels like she is split between two worlds. When her best friend is shot in front of her and killed by a cop, her entire world turns upside down – and the two parts of her collide in a poetic way.

Angie Thomas is a master of emotion. She writes her characters with such depth that you feel as if you know them. You will be immersed in Starr’s world, and gain a deeper understanding about Black Lives Matter is so important, why our culture is so divided, and how frustrating it must be to be Black in America in this day and age. This should be a must read for all high school students.

Recommended ages 14+

Trigger Warnings for violence, police brutality, under age drinking, drug use, gangs, sexual consent