As tweenaged Raina prepared for the growing pains of getting braces while beginning middle school, a surprise fall on a sidewalk knocked out her two front teeth. The autobiographic comic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix, 2010) is her growing-up story. It mixes the discomfort of growing up, the disappointment of changing friendships, and the

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The graphic novel Sisters by Raina Telgemeir (Graphix, 2014) is one that tweenage and teenage sisters can certainly relate to. As is often the case, two sisters struggle to get along, specifically while traveling on a long road trip to visit family. The story alternates between the current day (stuck in the car) with when

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Couldn’t Drive? by Dan Gutman (Norton Young Readers, 2022) is a part of the Wait! What? series by the creator of the popular My Weird School series (and a number of other fun middle-grade books). In this kid-friendly middle-grade biography, two kids, named appropriately Paige and Turner, teach the reader all about

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Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson is part a mystery story but also part a story of friendship in a friendly forest. Detective Gordon, a toad, is the only officer in the forest, and he sits alone at his desk. When a hungry and lonely forest mouse is caught stealing nuts from squirrel’s winter

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Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2011) is a lighthearted look at a serious time in Russian history. From the other books, I reviewed this week about Pakistan child slavery and the Sudanese civil war, I have had a heavy week reviewing difficult subjects. Breaking Stalin’s Nose, on the other hand, is

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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

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Socks (1973) is not a Beverly Cleary book I ever discovered as a child, but I love it! It’s a simple story told from the perspective of a cat named Socks, beginning with his first day of true consciousness: the day he would be sold by the boy and girl who had taken care of

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How Rude! by Alex J. Packer (Free Spirit Publishing, updated edition May 2014) is a hilarious and down-to-earth guide for teenagers about, as the subtitle says “good manner, proper behavior, and not grossing people out.” Each chapter covers a category of social etiquette, including what to say, how to act, what to wear, how to

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Chitchat by Jude Isabella (Kids Can Press, September 2013) is a delightful exploration of language for a young adult reader. It explores so many aspects of language that I felt like I was a little bit in heaven since I appreciate and love languages and words so much. At 48 pages, it obviously only skimmed

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