Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘contemporary-fiction’

The Theory of Hummingbirds is “a sweet, gentle novel says Youth Services Book Review

Posted on November 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_WebsiteRating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Everything works out in the end, but in a way that feels natural and realistic. A glossary of hummingbird facts and an author’s note add dimension to the story. This is a sweet, gentle novel about friendship….Recommend to readers who are moving beyond early chapter books into middle-grade fiction. Also recommend White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan and Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.”
—Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

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CM Magazine praises The Theory of Hummingbirds for “aspects of the story [which] make for excellent critical literacy discussions”

Posted on October 21st, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“…Like Alba, author Michelle Kadarusman experienced juvenile surgeries for clubfoot, as described in her ‘Author’s Note’, and Alba’s perspective here is delightfully authentic….

Indeed, it is these facts that will keep readers intrigued over and above the more common theme of friendship that binds this story, elevating this novel to a rich and thought-provoking read. A glossary of Alba’s Hummingbird Facts appears at the end of the book….

The total design of the book, including its various fonts and hummingbird images, is captivating.

In a couple of places, aspects of the story make for excellent critical literacy discussions. Alba’s single mother takes a shine to Alba’s medical specialist; is a personal relationship between them appropriate? And Alba constantly longs to be ‘normal’ until the ending when she decides that her bad foot ‘didn’t have to be normal, because it wasn’t normal that mattered.’ Is Alba really abnormal, or is diversity, and the way we think today about difference, the new normal? Important discussions for classrooms and beyond.

Highly Recommended.
Bev Brenna

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Canadian Children’s BookNews calls Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess a “beautifully crafted and affecting novel-in-verse”

Posted on October 20th, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“Shari Green’s beautifully crafted and affecting novel-in-verse provides a sensitive depiction of a young girl wrestling with change and learning some important life lessons in the process. The unlikely friendship that develops between Macy and her neighbour Iris (who is facing some major life changes of her own) as they bond over books and fresh-baked cookies, is heartwarming and inspiring. Even once Macy and Olivia reconcile, both girls are increasingly struck by the need to help Iris and her friend Marjorie to remember and to tell their stories. This book is a thoughtful reflection on what makes a family, the power of friendship and the sacredness of stories (our own and others).”
—Lisa Doucet

Read the full review on page 23 of the Fall 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

Canadian Children’s BookNews calls Road Signs That Say West “an engaging story”

Posted on October 18th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“…Sylvia Gunnery is able to show that the path through life has many bumps and turns along the way. She illustrates that, with good travel companions, the journey to healing and self-discovery can be very rewarding. Gunnery is sensitive, empathetic and insightful with these characters as they explore their paths.

Young teens will easily identify with the characters as they enjoy a youthful summer trip. They may also relate to the secrets the characters disclose, navigating who to trust, and the bonds of siblings and true friendship. It is an engaging story about what it means to let go of the past and align yourself with the path to your own journey in life.”
—Christie O’Sullivan

Read the full review on page 37 of the Fall 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

Dragonfly Song is an impressive work of middle-grade historical fiction” says Quill & Quire

Posted on October 16th, 2017 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_WebsiteDragonfly Song is an impressive work of middle-grade historical fiction. Aissa is a brave, tenacious girl, who rebels against the constraints of her life without appearing anachronistic. There isn’t a lot of young people’s fiction set in the Bronze Age, and the details here are lovingly researched, creating a transportive world. Especially noteworthy is the representation of religion in a pre-Christian setting, as the book explores both its beauty and brutality.”

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Vicki is “so glad” she decided to read The Theory of Hummingbirds before gifting it to a middle grade reader

Posted on October 14th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“[4 1/2 stars]…

I am giving this book as a gift to an eager middle grade reader, but I decided to read it myself before passing it along. I’m so glad I did. Michelle Kadarusman draws on personal experience to craft well a story about learning to see past the surfaces of people and situations to go deeper and achieve understanding and empathy….These messages and the intertwined insights into hummingbirds – beautiful, resilient, fiesty, all in a tiny, exquisite package – are all conveyed with a light but resonant touch.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians praises The Theory of Hummingbirds for its characterization of “real children with strengths and challenges”

Posted on October 13th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“Alba is like the hummingbirds of the title. Most people would see them as delicate creatures, perhaps fragile and vulnerable. But Alba and Levi, hummingbird aficionados, know that the little birds are not always what they seem. They can be intense, even ferocious, not unlike Alba herself….

The Theory of Hummingbirds is Michelle Kadarusman’s first middle-grade novel (Her first book, Out of It (Lorimer, 2014), was written for young adults) and she’s made it reader friendly in more than just vocabulary and content. Her characters are both sensitive and gritty, as the need requires, and neither goody-goody nor reprehensible. In other words, they are real children with strengths and challenges. Because she underwent a series of surgical procedures to correct her own congenital talipes equinovarus, Michelle Kadarusman writes from experience. Hence Alba’s determination and drive for normalcy is written with authenticity and reads the same. If there’s a lesson to learn, it’s that seeing the hummingbirds and Alba and Levi and others only one way does a disservice to them and anyone. We are all far more than our greatest challenge or weakness or even strength. For that, on this day, we should all be ever thankful.”

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CM Magazine recommends Slug Days to “readers who wish to learn about diversity from a trustworthy source”

Posted on October 12th, 2017 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Sara Leach’s writing is dependable in its craftsmanship, including appropriate word choice for this age group, and Lauren’s first-person voice is clear and direct. In addition, Rebecca Bender’s engaging black-and-white illustrations offer consistent support for reading comprehension….Because this author has taken such care with Lauren’s characterization, however, the book will find an audience in readers who wish to learn about diversity from a trustworthy source.
Bev Brenna

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Canadian Bookworm calls Slug Days “A great choice”

Posted on October 12th, 2017 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“This chapter book features Lauren. Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she has several tools at her disposal both at home and at school to help her when she begins to feel frustrated or panicky….The illustrations are charming simple black and white drawing, but give a sense of the situations Lauren finds herself in. A great choice.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians praises Lauren’s voice as “the most compelling element of Sara Leach’s Slug Days

Posted on October 11th, 2017 by pajamapress

SlugDays_WebsiteSlug Days is told in the first-person narrative of a young girl on the Autism Spectrum Disorder….

Sara Leach makes Lauren’s voice young and blatant, focusing on what is important to the child and often ignoring what others deem priorities. Who the girl is, is undisguised. She needs her routines and obsesses about things that others might ignore….

The voice is the most compelling element of Sara Leach’s Slug Days, as it should be. Here is Lauren’s story, up close and personal. Whether readers can empathize is not on Sara Leach but on the readers themselves because the author makes it clear and it is an arresting text spoken true by a child on the spectrum. Regardless, it’s evident that Lauren’s life is full and complex and often wholly unpredictable. But, with an arsenal of strategies, she will hopeful have fewer slug days and expand her days, as well as those around her, to those of butterflies.”

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