Posts Tagged ‘realistic fiction’

Mock Newbery Nominees 2019: Front Desk and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

by Morgan Reeves on November 26th, 2018

In the first round of Mock Newbery comparisons, we’ll take a look at the stories of two girls who learn the value of friendship and community. In “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang, Mia Tang’s courage and kindness makes readers root for the immigrant girl to achieve her dreams, which include owning a motel and becoming a writer. Stacy McAnulty’s book “The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl” follows the evolution of Lucy Callahan from lightning-struck, antisocial math savant to dog-saving middle school friend.

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

by Morgan Reeves on January 17th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image

In the eighth week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. This story of coincidence, fate, and friendship is a quick read with memorable characters. Can it earn your vote?

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

by Morgan Reeves on December 6th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Cover Image

I hope you’re ready for the second installment of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. Does Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail have what it takes to get your vote? Read on for my take on this funny, and  yes, awkward coming-of-age story.

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Fresh Picks: Middle Grade Medley

by Morgan Reeves on April 11th, 2017

booksThere’s something for every interest on the New Juvenile Fiction shelves. I’ve collected a few standouts for middle grade readers to showcase today. Fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, adventure, realistic fiction, and even a novel in verse. Check out one of these terrific titles today.




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Fresh Picks: Middle Grade Fiction

by Morgan Reeves on December 20th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Middle Grade Fiction Cover Image

Take a break from the winter cold and enjoy these new titles aimed at kids in 4th-7th grades. Mostly realistic fiction with some hints of mystery and speculative science themes, these will appeal to readers who relate best to real world issues.

First, check out The Best Man by Richard Peck. What do you want to be when you grow up? Archer isn’t quite sure, but he has a pretty good idea of who he wants to be. He’s picked out some role models to emulate in his family; his grandfather, father and favorite uncle. He’s even found a fantastic teacher to look up to. As middle school starts, Archer tackles all of the surprises and changes that come his way with humor and a love for the Chicago Cubs.


Check out The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz  for an eye-opening look at the hardships refugees and immigrants face as they look for a safer future. Jaime lives in Guatemalan village with his close-knit family. Life would be fine if it weren’t for the violent gang that controls the whole town. When his cousin is killed and a target placed on Jaime’s back, his family sends him on the dangerous and illegal journey through Mexico to the United States.



Take a look at The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach for fast-paced adventure for animal lovers. Lizzie has grown up with a love for all animals, as her father is a zookeeper. She often accompanies him to work and considers the John Muir Wildlife Park a second home. Her life takes a turn for the adventurous when she meets Tyler, runaway who has been living in the zoo. He’s sure something strange is going on at the zoo after dark, and asks Lizzie for help figuring out the mystery. Soon they end up running for their lives in the wilderness of Yosemite National Park.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

by Morgan Reeves on November 23rd, 2015
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate Cover Image

A couple of people told me I had to read Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate. Now I have to add my own recommendation, please read this book. This story made a huge impact on me in just a few hours (because that’s all it took to finish this page turner). Ostensibly, a middle grade novel, it brings hard issues front and center in a way that people of all ages can relate to. Poverty and homelessness are not issues often featured in middle grade fiction, but Applegate portrays them masterfully here. A father with a crippling disease too proud to ask for help. A mother underemployed after being laid off. A boy trying to cope. A little sister to be protected from the truth. A true friend. And one imaginary cat named Crenshaw.

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