I recently reviewed two new novels for School Library Journal: Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern and After the Ashes by Sara Joiner.
Here are excerpts from my reviews….
Fourth grader Benny is not having any luck. His father had an accident for which Benny blames himself. His best friend moved to Florida. And his brother George, who is autistic, can do tricks on his bicycle while Benny is still having trouble starting and stopping. In her debut novel for middle grade readers, McGovern presents a heart-filled story of a likeable boy who doesn’t realize that his natural gifts are recognizable and valued by a supportive family and his teacher, Mr. Norris…..Recommend this sensitive novel to fans of Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff and Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. (ages 9-12)
Based on the catastrophic explosion of the volcano island, Krakota, in 1883, Joiner’s historical novel tells the story of thirteen-year-old Katrien, a Dutch girl who has spent her entire life in the Dutch East Indies. She feels most at home exploring the jungle with her best friend, Slamet, an indigenous boy, and collecting beetles to prove Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Katrien is also close to her father, who has encouraged her interest in the natural world, until recently when he seems to have joined forces with Tante Greet to teach Katrien to become “a productive member of society.” After a series of events, both in the natural world and in Katrien’s close-knit community, foreshadowing impending disaster, Krakota erupts leaving Katrien alone to navigate the destruction and chaos on her beloved island…. (ages 12-15)
I love the festive snowman art done by one of Inly’s Children’s House classrooms. Aerial views of a winter wonderland….