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.
Welcome to Superhero School! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they’d never imagined. Will their collective Powers—Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more—be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories?
This action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough—or will Vork always be one step ahead?
A Superhero School Playlist
Add these songs to a Spotify Playlist or Youtube Playlist to listen to while reading Welcome to Superhero School:
Bang by AJR
Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting
My Hero by Foo Fighters
Kryptonite by 3 Doors down
Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones
Come and Get Your Love by Redbone
O-o-h Child by The Five Stairsteps
I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
Iron Man by Black Sabbath
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
About Gracie Dix:
Graceanne “Gracie” Dix is a high school author.
She has been writing since she could hold a pencil.
When Gracie isn’t writing, she can be found singing, creating art, in the theatre, volunteering, or playing tennis. She loves to travel and is a loyal friend. Gracie lives in Dallas, Texas with her parents, Richard and Jennifer, her brother, Nate, whenever he is home from college, and her beloved dogs, Snowball and Sandcastle “Sandy.”
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC
Scritch Scratch had me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this story! I couldn’t put this down. I was asked to be on Lindsay’s street team for this novel and I have enjoyed getting to know her while helping her get the word out about this story. when I finally sat down to read it I couldn’t have been more impressed. Horror is not an easy genre to write for kids. You can’t make it too scary or it becomes too much, but you don’t want it to come off as too silly either. Kids like to be thrilled and scared sometimes! I know this will be recommended in my library to my students who love a good thrill!
The characters in Scritch Scratch are so relatable so I know students in grades 4-8 will be able to relate to them as well. There is a good blend of frightening scenes with realistic friendships, sibling relationships, and relationships with parents.
I would recommend this to fans of Goosebumps and Mary Downing Hahn books.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an E-Arc of this book.
Maurice and His Dictionary is a wonderful true story of a boy who worked around so many roadblocks to get his education. Maurice fled Europe during WWII and ended up in an internment camp where he couldn’t finish high school. He managed to get tutors from all over the camp and studied to get into a local school and take a test to finally get his diploma. He then pursued University in Canada at the age of 16.
I really liked the perseverance of Maurice and his family as well as the fact that this was a true story. I do wish the ending was a little more resolved so that it was just a bit longer and we could find out what happened to Maurice in the later years of his life. The author’s note provides a little of this and the real history behind this story, but it still doesn’t feel totally wrapped up like it should.
Would recommend to lovers of history, fans of graphic novels and students in grades 3-6.
I have two words: MOST NEEDED. This should be the book put into every single classroom curriculum this year from 4th through 8th grade. Seriously, the discussions that could be had because of this book would change the way we discuss race with our students completely.
Let me back up, Zoe Washington is the story of a girl who loves baking, her best friend, her parents, and writing letters with her two besties. Then she discovers a letter from her dad, her biological dad who has been in prison her entire life. When she hides the letter and writes back the discussion about race and wrongful imprisonment come to light and shine throughout this book which is a great conversation starter for younger kids and definitely should not be the end of that discussion with them. Thankfully Zoe has a happy ending but I won’t reveal what it is or how we got there.
Though the material presented in this book is heavy, the way it is presented is easily relatable and understandable for our middle grade kiddos. I am so glad I had an opportunity to read this book, and I know most readers will. I recommend this book to everyone, young and old, of all races, religions, etc. Everyone needs to know Zoe’s story because it is the story of thousands of Black girls throughout our country. Thank you Janae Marks for writing this story.
In the spirit of Percy Jackson, this epic fantasy adventure novel had me turning the pages as fast as I could! Emblem Island is a place of magic, but none like we have read about before. And when a young boy wishes for a future different that what he has been given, he ends up cursed along with his best friend, and a girl from his class. They must break the curse by finding the Night Witch.
What I found the most lovable about this trio is that they reminded me so much of Harry, Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter franchise. Tor, born with the leadership emblem, is our fearless hero, his best friend, Engle, is the lovable side kick, and Melda, is witty, brave, and sometimes annoying, but overall a wonderful friend to have by Tor’s side. This type of trio is often found in epic fantasies and is one of my favorite parts of the structure of these types of middle grade literature.
The most frustrating part was the ending… WHAT A CLIFF HANGER! I cannot wait to see what happens in book 2! I highly recommend this to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, For readers ages 9- 14, and for anyone who needs a little magic and a little adventure in their lives.
This is one of the cutest debut novels I have read this year! I absolutely adored the premise of this story and the characters. Ellie is the owner of Horace, a slightly grumpy and anxiety filled Boston Terrier. When she moves herself and Horace out to a farm and adopts the adorable Bunwinkle, a piglet with a heart on her nose, chaos and mystery ensue!
I absolutely adored the playful and sweet relationship between Horace and Bunwinkle. This is a perfect example of a friendship where opposites attract.
This book is perfect for reluctant readers as it is just plain fun! I recommend for ages 7 – 9 (late 1st grade to early 4th grade), for anyone who loves a mystery or fun animal story!
This beautifully written fantasy novel weaves together a narrative about social injustice which is both timely to our current race climate as well as a good way to broach this subject with MG readers in a fun way. This book is about systemic classism taken to an extreme in a city where if a mother gives birth in a prison, that child is forced to grow up in prison. The system is set up where those who are poor can never make their way up in society.
The story focuses around three characters: Pong, who escapes prison at a young age, but still has a prison tattoo so he isn’t really free, Nok, who is the daughter of the prison warden, who find herself in a situation where she has to question what she has been taught to believe her entire life, and Somkit – who grew up alongside Pong in the prison, orchestrated his escape, and then helps him when Pong returns to the city.
I gave this story 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this as a diverse read by a diverse author, for students who love fantasy novels as they will find the subtle magic fun, and for those learning about social justice. What an important book to be published this year!
Don’t Check Out This Book is the perfect title for reluctant readers in 2nd through 5th grade. This novel is full of hilarious puns in a wild format of letters, emails, newspapers, post it notes and pictures. I found myself laughing out loud and not able to put this one down until I had finished it.
My favorite character in the novel is the librarian, who doesn’t follow the rules and always manages to get everyone to read more books. She is the perfect example of “librarians are the rebels of schools”.
I gave this book a 5 out of 5 for its clever antics. Go ahead, pick it up, just don’t check it out. Recommended for grades 2-5, for the young rebels, the reluctant readers, the kids who are a little different, and for those who enjoy hilarious stories.
Thank you to Penguin Classroom for providing me with an ARC to read and review.
Closer to Nowhere follows Ellen Hopkins writing patterns to a T in her debut middle grade novel. Like her YA novels and adult novels, this books is about the hard topics and is a novel written in verse. This story is told side by side by the two main characters: a boy who is grieving the loss of his mother, has PTSD, was homeless for a time, and his father is in prison for violence and drugs. He is living with his cousin and aunt, his cousin is perfect in each in every way: the popular girl, a perfectionist, but now she is dealing with the separation of her parents and trying to figure out how to deal with her not so perfect cousin living in her home.
Like most Ellen Hopkins’ books, I got completely sucked into this story and the characters. I love the way their stories are told side by side. This book has humor in it despite the hard topics it covers. This is considered middle grade which often includes upper elementary school, but I highly recommend that this book be used in middle schools or early high schools. The topics are important, but may be harder to explain to younger students.