Doug Swieteck, a fourteen-year-old transplant to the small town of Marysville, learns to cope with his life as he adjusts to new situations during the 1968-1969 school year in Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books, 2011). Even as he faces the struggles of moving to a new middle school, Doug must still

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Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (HarperCollins, 1940) is a sweet chapter book about five-year-old friends who are across-the-street neighbors. The girls are so inseparable that they are called by a single name: Betsy-Tacy. Betsy is a creative girl who tells stories and Tacy is a shy and quiet girl who nurtures Betsy’s imagination. In many

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In the middle grade graphic novel Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books, March 2015), Astrid finds her interests differing from that of her best friend Nicole for the first time. Although Astrid wants to try an exciting new hobby the summer before sixth grade, Nicole wants to keep it safe by going to ballet

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The Hurricane Girls by Kimberly Willis Holt (Christy Ottavanio Books August 2023) vividly portrays a summer after the strong bond between three girls has started to unravel. Each girl faces her own personal “hurricane” as they struggle with recent decisions, an accident, and a parent who left. Thirteen-year-olds Greer, Joya Mia, and Kiki have been

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Since my kids and I are well involved in the summer community swim team, I wanted to pick up the tween graphic novel Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas (Harper Alley, May 2022) to celebrate our summer season. I have to say, it left me quite disappointed. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what exactly

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Who didn’t like Aven Green, the armless main character from The Insignificant Life of a Cactus? Author Dusti Bowling has created an Aven Green early chapter book series (Union Square Kids) featuring the loveable spunky girl in third grade. Just as the teenaged Aven, her eight-year-old counterpart is self-confident, determined, and out-spoken. Even though she

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With my past experiences with American Sign Language (ASL) and brief experiences with the unique Deaf culture, I was captivated by the fresh perspective presented in the young adult novel Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino (G.P. Putnam and Sons for Young Readers, July 2023). This story revolves around Lilah, a hard-of-hearing teenager, who

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Lina, the main character in Finally Seen by Kelly Yang (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, February 2023) has grown up with her grandmother in China, while her young sister and parents have spent the last years living in California without her. Now it is her chance to move to the United States to

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