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Middle Grade Monday – Upcoming Excitement!

I had the opportunity to do a little hunting on Netgalley and Edelweiss this weekend, and found a few items I’m super exited to see. Let’s dive in!

The first is a new middle grade by one of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Woodson. I got to meet her at one of my first North Carolina School Library Media Association conferences – more years ago than I care to admit. At the time I had only read If You Come Softly, but I knew I was in love. Her books really resonate with me, and they’re very popular with my students. I’m excited that her new one will be middle grade.

Here is the publisher’s summary:

In vivid poems, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South. Raised in South Carolina and later New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place, and describes the reality of living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.

Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories—something she’s always loved to do, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Readers will delight in witnessing this gifted author discover her love of stories and storytelling and seeing the first sparks of the writer she was to become.

 The next title is from one of my perennial favorites, Joan Bauer. Her novels feature strong lead female characters who deal with contemporary issues. From the publisher:

A new friend.  An empathetic horse.  A flower festival.  And all of this in a town where “Nothing Bad Ever Happens.”  No wonder Anna is enjoying her visit to her grandmother, Mim.  But then Anna sees something that she can’t ignore: a girl who seems to be being held against her will.  Anna can’t forget the girl’s frightened eyes.  She wants to do something about it, tell someone, but can she get anyone to take her concerns seriously?  What good will it do to say something if no one is listening?

Finally, the latest installment in Jasper Fforde’s Chronicles of Kazam comes out tomorrow in the UK, but we have to wait until October. If I don’t get an early review copy, I may explode. Read more about my love of all things Jasper Fforde here. From the publisher: 

Although she’s an orphan in indentured servitude, sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is pretty good at her job of managing the unpredictable crew at Kazam Mystical Arts Management. After all, she solved the dragon problem, avoided mass destruction by Quarkbeast, and helped improve the state of magic in the Kingdom of Snodd. Yet even Jennifer may be thwarted when the mighty Shandar emerges from his preserved state and presents her with an utterly impossible task-how can a teenage non-magician outsmart the greatest sorcerer the world has ever known? But failure has dire consequences, so Jennifer has little choice but to set off on a journey from which she and her traveling companions may never return.


  1. Oh, I really liked the last Joan Bauer book I read. I didn't know she had another one!

  2. On one hand, I'm excited because “Yeah! A book about a Brown/Black character!” But on the other hand I'm thinking that since it takes place in the past, I can't get Black/Brown students to read it. Much like The Mighty Miss Malone, they'll take one look at the cover and put it down. They may very well be fantastic books, but they are tired of Black protagonists only being spotlighted for slavery or civil rights. And quite frankly, I am, too. I want to be able to hold up a cool, new dystopia or fantasy novel and say “Guess what! The main character looks like me and you!” And it not have any bearing on the plot line; the character just so happens to be Black. /endsoapbox

    I need to finish getting the rest of the Jasper Fforde series. I just bought the first book off of our book fair; the covers look really great.

  3. I'm hopeful for it, because it's autobiographical and I don't have much problem getting my students to read her books once I describe her – she's around my age, but infinitely cooler than I will ever be.

    I also think it will pair well with Rita Williams Garcia's One Crazy Summer and PS Be Eleven. My students are generally open to civil rights era historical, too. But, then, I'm fascinated with it.

  4. Have you created accounts on Edelweiss or NetGalley? It's a good way to keep up with some of what's upcoming.

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