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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Review of the Day: The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus

You know why you haven’t heard more people talking about this book? Because nobody knows how to sell it. Well, sorry folks, but the secret is out now. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read for kids, and maybe the best school rated children’s novel I’ve encountered period. This, right here, is the book of our times.

Review of the Day: I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

Set in contemporary Seattle with a Suquamish/Duwamish protagonist, Day (Upper Skagit) highlights a historical injustice by writing a book a kid might actually enjoy reading. No mean task. I think I may have devoured it entirely in one sitting.

Review of the Day: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Good news. I know exactly what to do with this particular middle school book. You need to weigh it down with awards, so many that it can no longer stand under its own weight and is forced to stagger to the display unit that stands front and center in the library where all the best books go. Then, and only then, will it have found its true home.

Review of the Day: A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée

Lisa Moore Ramée has taken the complexity of the real world, with all its police shootings and racism and destructive tendencies and made it personal for young readers. I don’t care what kid you hand this book to. Every single one of them will understand what’s going on here and, maybe, what’s going on in the wider world. The new required reading.

Review of the Day: Maximillian Fly by Angie Sage

“I am Fly. Maximillian Fly. I am a good creature. I am not bad, as some will tell you.” Considering that Maximillian is a human/cockroach hybrid of sorts, this is not particularly surprising news. Meet the dystopian/Steampunk/action adventure novel that’s like nothing you’ve ever read before.

Review of the Day: Trace by Pat Cummings

With Trace, Ms. Cummings takes time to examine what we owe our ancestors, even as we try to live our daily lives. We live with their decisions, whether we want to or not, and sometimes we relive their mistakes. This is a ghost story that asks you to stop and listen to the voices that are dead but not gone. Who are the ghosts that haunt your story? And what are they trying to tell you?

Booklist’s 50 Best Middle-Grade Novels of the 21st Century (Now With Ample Edits!)

If you received your latest issue of Booklist in the mail then you might have noticed that its editors got together and created nothing less than the 50 Best Middle-Grade Novels of the 21st Century. I substitute some of their choices for my own for fun.

Review of the Day: The Line Tender by Kate Allen

There are books for kids that dare to be more thoughtful than pulse pounding. If chosen freely by a child, they can unlock something inside. Something that means more to the person reading than anyone else. The Line Tender carries this promise in its pages. It’s the right book for the right reader.

Review of the Day: Spy Runner by Eugene Yelchin (bonus interview included)

Here’s an idea: Why not take the idea of a world gone mad and give it a jolt of lightning to the veins? Set your book in another era when America went a little crazy, then liven things up with spies, car chases, murder attempts, gunshots, traitors, double agents, and that’s just the first few chapters! A book for the kids that want to read a response to our age that will thrill them to the core, and maybe plant a couple of seeds of rebellion in their craniums at the same time.

Review of the Day: Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

Gracefully switching between text and comics, comics and text, author Remy Lai feeds breadcrumbs (or, more accurately, cake crumbs) of humor and sequential art to kids, luring them towards a storyline with a deeper, darker meaning. For the kid that avoids serious stories like the plague, Pie in the Sky is the perfect gateway drug.

31 Days, 31 Lists: 2018 Middle Grade Novels

The penultimate list! I’m so excited! This year I did a bit better than in 2017 in terms of reading middle grade fiction. Thanks to a system of following starred reviews, the recommendations of readers I trust, blogs, Twitter, Mock Newbery lists, the whole kerschmozzle, here are the 2018 books that I think are great.

Review of the Day: The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Season of Styx Malone By Kekla Magoon Wendy Lamb Books (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-5247-1595-3 Ages 9-12 On shelves now And it was around this time that I started wondering why more people weren’t talking about The Season of Styx Malone. So let me tell you a little story. […]

Review of the Day: The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle By Christina Uss Margaret Ferguson Books (an imprint of Holiday House) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-8234-4007-8 Ages 9-12 On shelves now. The term “quirky” has gotten a bad rap recently. I blamed forced quirk. Have you ever read or watched something where the book or movie is just trying too […]

Review of the Day: Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish By Pablo Cartaya Viking (an imprint of Penguin Random House) $16.99 ISBN: 9781101997260 Ages 9-12 On shelves now The other day a woman contacted me and wondered if I could offer any picture book/middle grade/ YA suggestions for a list of various topics. The list consisted of things like “OCD”, […]

Review of the Day: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Louisiana’s Way Home By Kate DiCamillo Candlewick Press ISBN: 978-0-7636-9463-0 $16.99 Ages 9-12 On shelves October 2nd There once was a book called Raymie Nightingale. Not a big flashy book with glitter on the cover and fonts that look like escaped balloon animals. Just a quiet book set in the late 1970s in Florida, patiently […]