Amara has always wanted to visit Harlem, where her father grew up. She wants to walk the streets he walked at her age, and meet her grandfather and cousins that she has only ever spoken with on the phone. With the imminent arrival of a baby sister on the horizon, Amara knows time is running out for now. When her parents finally relent and let Amara accompany her father on a business trip, Amara is beyond excited.
When she gets to New York she discovers that her family and the city are not exactly as she imagined. For one thing, her father isn't speaking to her grandfather. Also, her cousin Ava doesn't exactly give her a warm reception. Amara realizes she is going to have to navigate more than just the city streets to learn her family history. A well-crafted story about discovering your family history and finding beauty and joy in the small things. You feel as if you are walking the streets of Harlem with Amara. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
A beautiful story about home and family as told by a young wolf who loses everything, but never gives up hope.
Swift is a wolf who yearns to be a leader, a hunter, but he is not the largest or strongest of his pack. He is, however, the fastest. When he joins his first hunt, he is tasked by his father, the Alpha male, to run ahead of the elk and turn them towards the waiting wolves. What he really wants is to help take down the elk. When his pack is later attacked by another larger pack, Swift is quickly separated from them and left to wander on his own. His journey takes him to many new places, before finding his new home.
A beautifully wrought book with lots of inner dialogue. The pacing moves quickly, and has you wondering what new challenge will be around the bend for the young wolf. Parry was inspired by the true story of a wolf named OR-7 in Oregon who traveled hundreds of miles from its original territory. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
When Mia's family moves back to Vermont she breathes a sigh of relief to be away from Boston. When her mom tells her she needs to do two summer camps, one for her mind and one for her body, she chooses Warrior Camp and Launch Camp. In Launch Camp, she and her new friends are aiming to help her grandmother get her cricket farm successful, but something or someone is sabotaging it. She struggles more with Warrior Camp with bad memories from gymnastics surfacing as she grapples with something that happened in Boston. Part mystery, part friendship story this #metoo novel is all heart, Mia and her friends will make you smile and admire their bravery and creativity. Recommended for grades 5 and up.
Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fun adventure with a plucky heroine, scared sidekick, and their host of magical creature run-ins. Imagine arrogant unicorns, furballs that spontaneously burst into fire, scary grims, mean ducks and something called a hobgrackle and you have just scratched the surface of the imaginative creatures that appear throughout the story. Poor Pip has been banished to Cloverton after a fiasco at school involving show unicorns. She befriends Tomas, a boy who has allergies to his allergies and together they work to find out why Fuzzles are suddenly invading everyone's underwear drawers. Humourous, fun story with easy to like characters makes this is an easy one for middle graders to love.