Monday, November 14, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Treasure Island

I hunger for adventure, maybe that's why I love middle grade fiction so much. For middle graders anything is possible. One of my favorite adventures as a child was Treasure Island and I just handed it to my daughter this week. She's an adventure girl as well. She's excited to start and that makes me smile. My once reluctant reader is reading Treasure Island.

Treasure Island by Robert L Stevenson
First published in 1881

The Hook: Jim Hawkins, a young teenager, finds himself on a ship overrun by mutinous pirates who go in search of treasure.

Why I love it: Characters and Adventure. This is the classic pirate story and who doesn't love Jim or Long John Silver? This peg-legged man haunted my dreams as a kid. While this story is great for boys it is not for reluctant readers. It takes a while before the ship sets sea and mutiny ensues.

What classic story did you love as a kid?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Books I'm Drooling Over

Right now I'm salivating to get
my hands on a bunch of middle grade new releases. So today I thought I would do something a bit different for MMGM, instead of doing a review, I thought I would fuel the hype around the 3 books on my wish list right now:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
Why I geek out over Wimpy Kid: Voice and Humor. Kinney is one of the best examples of middle grade voice (to me). If I need help channelling my 11 yr old boy, I read Wimpy Kid. Plus the books are always hilarious and seem to capture all the magic and awkwardness of being in middle school. My husband loves them for the sibling rivalry. He was the oldest of 4 boys. He completely relates to Roderick. This series is perfect for boys and reluctant readers, but I also recommend them to parents. They crack me up and I can't get enough of them.

Heroes of Olympus #2: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Why this is the best series Riordan has put out: Style and twisting what wasn't broken. Percy Jackson was a great series but the story ended. The Red Pyramid did not fill my Riordan-read-lust...while it was entertaining, I just couldn't get into the Egyptian confusion and I hated Sadie. I only read the first 80 pages of the ...second book in the series (I can't remember the name and don't care to look it up) because I have no love for it. But then he redeemed himself with the Heroes of Olympus series by merging it with the Percy Jackson cast. Love the twist, love the characters, and finally love the style. (Riordan's writing style bothered me in Percy but I forgave him because he writes tight action and plot.) Heroes has great style and action. And I love that Percy is back in the story. I need this book.

An Accidental Adventure #2: We Dine With Cannibals by C. Alexander London
Why my daughter is freaking out about this book: Adventure and age-appropriate. The Accidental Adventure has great characters and tons of non-stop action. Lauren ripped through the first book and has asked me every week since when the second would be coming out. Hurray, it is finally coming out. Now do I get it now or put it in her stocking?

Exciting times we live in. What middle grade book(s) are on your want list right now?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Fave Middle Grade Historical Fiction: Sounder

When Micheal asked what is my favorite middle grade historical fiction, it was an easy answer: Sounder by William H. Armstrong. The first book to make me cry (actual tears) as a kid. It won the Newberry Medal in 1970. I read the book in 5th grade and the story still affects me.

The Hook: The story follows a poor African American boy growing up in the South. His father is a sharecropper and struggling to provide for his family. The father and his dog, Sounder, go hunting every night but come home empty-handed until one morning the family wakes to the smell of ham. Unfortunately the father is arrested, convicted, and taken away from his family. The boy and a wounded Sounder try to find the father.

Why I loved it as a child: Growing up in California, I didn't really comprehend racism or the struggles of African Americans in the South. This book really opened my eyes to their hardships, inequalities, and illiteracy. Also I loved a bit with a dog. I cried when Sounder was shot, I cried when the dad and dog died.

Love this book. Not so much for reluctant readers but a book I think middle graders should all read.

Do you have a favorite MG historical fiction from your childhood?