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Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie- MG Fiction Review

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Title: Scritch Scratch
Author: Lindsay Currie
Publisher: SourceBooks for Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 1, 2020
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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.

Categories
Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island #1) by Alex Aster

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Title:Curse of the Night Witch
Author: Alex Aster
Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Publishing Date: June 9, 2020
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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.

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Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat: MG Book Review

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Title: A Wish in the Dark
Author: Christina Soontornvat
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publishing Date: March 24, 2020
For Ages: 9-12
Sensitive Topics: Racial injustice, prison, children born out of an affair
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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!

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Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads

8 Middle Grade Books You Need to Read

As a school librarian, I probably read more children’s fiction than the average adult reader. I love reading middle grade novels generally geared towards 9 to 14 year olds. This stack of books are some of my favorite Middle Grade Reads that I have read in the last year or two. Hopefully you can check out a couple of these reads and recommend them to your favorite middle grade reader as well.

  1. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
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  2. Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
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  3. Nightbooks by J.A. White
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  4. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshini Chokshi
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  5. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
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  6. Spark by Sarah Beth Durst
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  7. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
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  8. Breadcrumbs By Anne Ursu
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