- Ripper by Isabel Allende
- Big Dose of Lucky by Martha Jocelyn
- Olivia by Ian Falconer
- We're All Wonders by R. J. Palacio
- Pinned by Sharon Flake
- Pride by Ibi Zoboi
- Jump Cut by Ted Staunton
- Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Coda by Ted Staunton
- All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
- Drawn Together by Minh Le; illustrated by Dan Santat
- Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Julie Morstad
- The Fog by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Kenard Pak
- The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Katty Maurey
- Bird by Angela Johnson
- Miracles' Boys by Jacqueline Woodson
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- Ink Me by Richard Scrimger
- Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandha Menon
- Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- Blended by Sharon M. Draper
A serial killer is on the loose and a cast of characters, a family really, needs to find out who is it. A little confusing near the end, but I love the suspense and how one thing connected to the other.
Part of the Secrets series-- a young girls trying to find the origins of identity after their orphanage burns down. This installment is about Malou, a mixed race Black girl who tries to find her roots. Please find my review on Goodreads.
Sweet, funny, and short story. Lovely, quiet illustrations. I have seen this book cover for a long time but was curious for what was inside. I feel these jokes will be enjoyed by both adult and child.
Cute illustrations. Positive message about acceptance of self and others and creativity. This story is okay. It is is a little didactic in tone for my tastes but I love the illustrations and the message essentially. I like that it portrays diverse characters. I have still yet to read the middle grade novel called Wonder, by the same author. Bright, colourful illustrations.
Spoiler Alert: I loved this story. It was very sweet and telling. Sharon G. Flake's story is a "coming of age"/"coming to page" (you like that pun? see what I did there?) of Autumn, a female wrestler reluctant reader and low scoring student. This is a nice flip on the traditionally portrayed male athlete who hates reading. Autumn is madly in love with Adonis, a boy in a wheelchair who is a perfectionist, academic scholar with high standards and low tolerance for students who don't try or can't read. In many ways, I identified with these parts of his personality yet his tough exterior is no match for Autumn's persistence and love. Autumn is also the name of the main character in the manuscript I just finished for NaNoWriMo so imagine my shock. I thought it was an original name so imagine my shock to find Autumn is also the name of the main character in Pinned. And although school does not come easy to her, I like that she is a master baker, gifted swimmer, and well-liked by her teammates and other students but seems to get under the skin of the object of her affection. This was a sweet, heartwarming story. I also loved how author Sharon quietly referenced her own book as Autumn volunteered in the library with an eager young librarian who recommended a book about skin for a student's book report. (Sharon Flake's novel, The Skin I'm In, was a bestselling novel that was published in 1998.) Portrayals of nerds and academically-inclined characters who are both Black males and disabled are hard to come by as well but they are portrayed here in Pinned. I also loved how she shows the connection and reasons behind why some students have difficulty in school (e.g., family legacies) and the hurdles they must overcome. This is a sweet love story about kids in eighth grade although it seems that they are older.
A retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in Brooklyn with an audiobook narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo. Pride is Ibi Zoboi's second novel. A lovely interplay of a Dominican-Haitian-American teen finding her voice and love in a gentrifying Brooklyn.
This book is part of the Seven series when the grandchildren are trying to fulfill the wishes of their deceased grandfather. In this book, a young man tries to secure a kiss from his grandad's favourite starlet. High jinks ensue.
A beautiful collection of three short stories set in Africa told through the eyes of children. The first is a story taking place during the Rwandan genocide. The second is a story of an impoverished Kenyan family desparate to survive. A friendship between a Muslim and Christian child set in Ethiopia. I listened to this book on audio however I feel like it was an abridged version since the other three stories were missing.
A continuation of the saga of a grandchild trying to fulfill his grandfather's wish. Part of the seven series.
Set in Winnipeg and Toronto, All My Puny Sorrows is the first-hand account of Yolande, a non-practicing Mennonite woman tells the story of her love for Alfrieda, a severely depressed concert pianist, child prodigy, and sister of the protagonist. A depressing and morose book that deals with mental health but has instances of hope and humour. It explores the depth of mental illness, the ethical questions of suicide and euthanasia, and the impact that it has on family. A quiet book, this was entirely new world for me and at times was difficult to read. However, I love the theme of resilience that emerges with Yolande and her mother.
Beautiful illustrations. Lush and a beautiful tale of how an immigrant non-English-speaking grandfather and a second generation grandson find connection through art.
Cute and delightful I love these illustrations and how two girls develop friendship through cooking.
Mysterious and lovely. Very quiet. What happens when the fog clears?
A specific ocean lures a girl to its magic and it becomes the highlight of her summer. A quiet and lovely book.
A story about a little girl who goes into hiding as she looks for the only man she knows as dad. The lives of two boys who know her whereabouts and keep her secrets, changes forever.
What a beautiful story about resilience and survival as Charlie, a twelve-year old boy, tries to keep his mother's memory alive. He is the youngest of two brothers-- Ty, the eldest and the father-figure and Lafayette, a troubled youth. Jacqueline writes so beautifully and describes loss and grief in such palpable terms. I love how she covers so much ground in such a short book with such emotional depth.
I knew a lot about this book before reading it so I had low expectations originally. What it did was exceeded it and showed me what a novel could do. This book is like Dear Martin meets The Hate U Give meets A Christmas Carol. Jerome is a boy who was killed by a police officer. He becomes a ghost who observes the trial of the guilty officer while having conversations with his daughter and other boys murdered due to racial injustice in history such as Emmet Till and Trayvon Marton. This book did so effectively in a way that middle graders can access.
A beautiful story narrated by Sherman Alexie about an indigenous boy's coming of age-- brutally honest, tongue in cheek, and authentic.
What happens when a tattoo leads to so much trouble? I know this author and have been mentored by him so my review will be brief as well.
Grabbed at my "heartstrings". Oppel is a great storyteller and took this story about a boy and "his chimp" into a detailed and compelling one. Set in beautiful Victoria, BC, Ben is the narrator of a story-- Zan the baby chimp was adopted by his famiiy. Zan feels more like a brother than a pet or a research subject. This story is reminiscent of animal protection stories in the tradition of films like Whale Rider and Free Willy only without the cheese factor and with teenagers who deal with real emotions. I thought of the displays of masculinity throughout the book and the displays of "alpha" males and anger which I have never seen portrayed in vivid details as the author did. Good work!
This was a beautiful story about Melody Brooks-- a brilliant girl who lives with a disability. She has cerebral palsy meaning that she lives with a physical (she is wheelchair bound, limited control of hands, arms, and legs) and mute. Her voice lives in her head. She is observant and her voice so passionate. The story almost made me cry. It reminded me of an incident that happened to me at grad night at Canada's Wonderland in which the group of "so-called" friends abandoned me and our disabled classmate at one of the rides. The night was spent looking for these friends in time so my friend with a disability didn't have to be alone, all before my dad arrived early to pick me up. I felt Melody's pain especially with the following incidents that took place after. Sometimes life is tough. What I love about this story is how it encourages resilience in young readers but also gives such intelligence and voice to a person living with a disability. This story is also about maintaining ones dignity and "fitting in" or "not fitting in", "being liked" or "not being liked". Thank you once again Sharon Draper for writing such an amazing story. I wish I had discovered it years ago when it was a New York Times' Bestseller. What a gem! (I read it on audiobook.)
A familiar story that feels fresh and exciting in how it was told. It was part Bollywood movie in terms of story arc as well as some things were typical of many romantic films-- enter airport scene. It also reminded me of The Sun Is Also a Star as well as the manuscript I am working on based on a play I wrote in high school. I would love to revisit more of the author Sandhya's work. It is the whole arranged marriage tradition vs. modern dilemma that a lot of first generation kids experience. A beautiful new adult/young adult novel.
** spoiler alert ** Spoiler alert: This story was introduced to me and I had the pleasure of seeing author Sharon M. Draper read at her Toronto book signing. Isabella Brooks is blended-- a mix , a product of her divorced parents' interracial marriage. She straddles two worlds-- one white and one black, one week scheduled with mom and the other with dad. She is becoming aware of issues around race. This was an audiobook read by Sharon which I enjoyed. The gun shot, I almost predicted, but I wondered if the point could have been proven through another way. Maybe it is because I have read a few books recently about police brutality and I felt that it could have been handled differently in this book.