Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I had heard of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s one of those books that has been on the top of “to read” lists since it came out in early 2012. Now that I have read it, I know why.

At the center of Wonder is a boy, August or Auggie Pullman, with a severe facial distortion. Since he has been in and out of surgery for his entire life, he had never been able to attend school. Now that he is 10, his surgeries have lessened, and it is time for him to try a mainstream school with his peers. But although Wonder puts Auggie in the center of the story, it is really a story about kindness, acceptance, and overcoming bullying. Continue Reading

Kid Presidents by David Stabler

Kid Presidents by David Stabler and illustrated by Doogie Horner (Quirk Books, October 2014) is a delightful picture book with stories of the presidents as kids. But it is not a typical presidential childhood book. Rather than following the presidents in chronological order, Mr Stabler has focused on the presidents’s childhood hobbies, trouble-making, and childhood jobs. The actual categories are “After-School Activities,” “Fantastic Journeys,” and “It’s Not Easy Growing Up.”Continue Reading

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

I love Jane Yolen’s talent for writing extends from children’s picture books and poetry to middle grade and older books! Her books almost always seem to delight or intrigue me, and her recent contribution to the middle grade bookshelf is no exception.

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen (Macmilian Children’s Publishing Group, October 2014) is a fantasy novel about a centaur being born to a simple but kind rural farm family in the 1960s. Arianne narrates the story from her perspective, sharing how Kai’s birth bridges the family and helps her severely physically handicapped brother find confidence.Continue Reading

Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

When I was a kid, I always wanted a twin. Someone who would understand me perfectly. An identical twin would be perfect. Then she would completely understand what it is like to be me.

So of course, I loved Sweet Valley Twins and The Parent Trap, the latter, of course, because I did not yet know I had a twin.

Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers (Arthur A. Levine Books, August 2014) is a perfect modern companion to the many other fun long lost twin stories.Continue Reading