Sunday, February 21, 2016

Speed Dating with Middle Grade: Part 11

Title: Masterminds
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Adventure
Read If You Like...: Fast-paced plots, ensemble casts, and a Stepford Wives-level mystery
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Serenity, New Mexico, is the most perfect place to live in the country—at least, that's what Eli and his friends have been told their entire life. But the perfect houses, perfect lawns, perfect everything in this tiny idyllic town are starting to seem suspicious to Eli, and when a freak occurrence during a lightning storm gives a glimpse of life outside Serenity, Eli begins a quest for the truth. This conspiracy adventure is totally engrossing and just plain fun for all readers—and luckily its sequel just came out, which I can't wait to get my hands on!

Title: Goodbye Stranger
Author: Rebecca Stead
Genre: Realistic
Read If You Like...: Alternating point of view, quirky characters, and friendship sagas
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Three points of view tell the story of Bridge, her best friends Tabitha and Emily, wallflower Sherm, and an unnamed high school girl struggling with the betrayal of a best friend. Seventh grade is proving tougher than expected as friendships change, new relationships emerge, and the cast of characters struggles with individual identity. The style of storytelling may be unappealing for some readers [I've gotten mixed reviews from my students], but Stead gives us a real story about finding yourself and finding your place.

Title: The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...on Schindler's List
Author: Leon Leyson
Genre: Memoir
Read If You Like...: Child survivors, WWII/Holocaust stories, historical settings
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Leon Leyson credits his life to one man, Oskar Schindler, and in this middle-grade memoir he chronicles the collapse of his 12-year-old world when the Nazis invaded his homeland of Poland and his fight for survival through four years of horror. As an adult well-versed in Holocaust stories, I feel it's a story that is the same no matter how many times it has been told, simply because, at this point in my life, I've read so many of them that I know how things were, how they ended. For young readers, though, who are encountering historical moments like this for the first time, this is a welcome new perspective that introduces the gray-area definitions of people—that individuals are often more than a label.

No comments: