The Old Tobacco Shop: The True Account of What Befell a Little Boy in Search of Adventure by William Bowen (first published 1922) and runner-up to the first year of the Newbery Medal, is even worse than the tobacco-filled title can suggest. With racist sterotypes, smoking by a young child, and bizarre, unconnected adventures, The

Read Post

The bright, engaging middle grade nonfiction book How Does Chocolate Taste on Everest? by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe (Charlesbridge, September 2023) highlights the most extreme places around the world. With a vacation guide book feel, How Does Chocolate Taste? emphasizes what you see, smell, taste, hear, and touch when you visit the highest, best, deepest, hottest, and coldest

Read Post

The children’s novel The Great Quest by Charles Boardman Hawes (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1921) has a nice beginning, with an adventurous tone similar to that in Treasure Island. But for the modern reader, that wholesome, adventurous spirit becomes much more sinister about a quarter of the way through the book, with a tone that feels

Read Post

In Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz (Tu Books, 2020), nine-year-old Julieta is caught in a scandal when she and her father witness the Regent diamond being stolen. When Julieta accidentally lets the thief out of the building and she and her father are suspected, she is determined to free themselves from

Read Post

The Left Behinds series so far contains two different historical fiction novels with time travel adventures in which preteens must save the day. In The iPhone that Saved George Washington, three kids travel to 1776 to discover that George Washington has been shot. Can they reverse this alternate history before history is changed forever? In Abe

Read Post

The Baby Santa stories by M. Maitland DeLand are both clever and also cheesy so of course, my almost 4-year-old daughter, Strawberry, loved them. A few years ago, I had the chance to review a copy of Baby Santa and the Lost Letters. This is the Christmas story my daughter still enjoys reading every year. Although

Read Post

Walk on the Wild Side by Nicholas Oldland (Kids Can Press, 2014) is a delightful story about three friends (a bear, a moose, and a beaver) who love to have adventures together. The cartoon illustrations show the humor of these particular friends hiking together, but ultimately the message of “enjoying the journey” is a memorable

Read Post

Alice Have I Been by Melanie Benjamin (Random House, December 2010) is a fictionalized historical biography of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the woman who was as a child friends of Charles L. Dodgson (the man who later wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll). It was young Alice Liddell who begged Mr. Dodgson to write down

Read Post