Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (Dial Books, 2014) perfectly captures the thought process and imagination exaggeration of a super creative first grader. With a mix of text and comical illustrations, Hanlon puts together a fantasmagory (“a shifting melody of real or imagined characters”) of any imaginary play time. My very imaginative eight-year-old loved the mix

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AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler (Carolrhoda, September 2021) portrays the trauma of dealing with a sibling’s death as well as the effects of a school shooting, even years after the fact. Twelve-year-old Lucy still mourns her younger brother, even as she moves into a community still reeling from the school shooting during third grade. Without

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Beezus and Ramona is one of my favorite books by Beverly Cleary. First published in 1955, it give the perspective of the the familiar character of Beatrice Quimby (a recurring character in the Henry Huggins books), showing the universal frustrations of having a little sister. Through the course of the book, Beezus comes to understand

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Ah, sigh. When you find the just right book for the just right time in your life, it feels magical! A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (Holiday House, February 2021) was just right. My then fourth-grader and I read it aloud last year, and it took a lot of willpower to pace

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The short middle grade novel Oh, Sal! by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, September 2022) gives us the story of Billy Miller’s little sister, Sal. Billy Miller got two books from his perspective: The Year of Billy Miller (reviewed in 2015) and Billy Miller Makes a Wish (reviewed last month, June 2023). Now, in Sal’s book, we

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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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My son and I enjoyed 999 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura dn Yasunari Murakami (May 2011) when we read it years ago, so I was excited to see the two sequels to it in our local library. 999 Frogs Wake Up (North South, 2013) is a fitting read for the beginning of spring. As the frogs

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The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) is my new favorite “expecting a baby” book for kids. Although it is full of nonsense as a a soon-to-be-big brother is told all sorts of whoppers about where a baby comes from, it is in fact a no-nonsense book for parents interested in opening

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Remember back when kids could run free all summer, having new adventures and exploring an ancient old mansion for excitement? No, neither do I. But in children’s literature, there is a classical repertoire of children’s adventure books, all rather delightful and full of fun.  The Penderwicks: A Story of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a

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In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dusan Petricic (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a subtle book about childhood and a special place. Two brothers create a tree house together, but when the older brother “grows up” faster, the younger brother is discouraged and alone. It takes a black out to bring

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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929). Some books are nearly impossible to explain in words, and The Sound and the Fury is one of them. You must experience it. It is narrated by three siblings in three different years in the early 1900s, one of whom is a mentally challenged man, Benjy, who has no

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