Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Speed Dating with Middle Grade: Part 6

Despite their wildly different format, these three books from our city-wide Battle of the Books list each tell the story of boys who are growing up, gaining a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. Potentially enjoyed by all, but especially geared towards a male audience!

Title: The Dumbest Idea Ever
Author: Jimmy Gownley
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir
Read If You Like...: A flawed protagonist, underdog stories, and realistic boy humor
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Thirteen-year-old Jimmy is rockin' middle school until a bout of the chicken pox and pneumonia forces him to miss his championship basketball game. Everything—his academic and social life—goes in a downward spiral after that, but a burgeoning love of comic books may be just the thing that saves him from teenage disaster. This humorous story of how Jimmy went from basketball star to comic book artist will especially appeal to boys.

Title: The Madman of Piney Woods
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Genre: Historical Fiction
Read If You Like...: Adventure tales, unlikely duos, and heartfelt friendships
Three-Sentence Thoughts: A chance encounter between Benji and Red, two exceedingly different boys, leads to an adventure neither of them could have expected. The two are on a mission to discover the true story behind the "Madman of Piney Woods," but the real story is in their growing friendship despite very different lives. This story is a good reminder of the various issues that have affected different groups of people throughout history and how people are often more similar than different.

Title: The Crossover
Author: Kwame Alexander
Genre: Sports (Realistic), Poetry
Read If You Like...: Stories about siblings, competitive sports, and the magic of words
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Josh and Jordan are twins that have always been a duo on the court and off, but Josh is starting to notice that things are changing...and he may not be ready for it. Jordan is chasing girls and crushing it on the court, and Josh is just trying to deal with feeling like second fiddle. Beautifully told through a creative verse format, The Crossover broaches significant subject matter with considerable style—highly appealing to the most reluctant of boy readers.

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