Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘diverse-middle-grade-books’

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

Click here to read the full review

Foreword Reviews says “Slug Days wisely presents autism as neither disability nor exceptionalism”

Posted on October 31st, 2017 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Without delving into fine detail, the book portrays enough aspects of living with ASD to be familiar to those on the spectrum and those who care for them. From agendas (the Canadian version of IEPs) to a teacher’s lesson on making friends to a father staving off a tantrum during a project by using clever redirection, Slug Days weaves in challenges with ease.

Slug Days wisely presents autism as neither disability nor exceptionalism. It’s a fact that Lauren lives with; it shapes her encounters without necessarily limiting them. At the book’s core lies a wish that anyone can identify with: the need for a friend. This winsome, gentle introduction to differences will be a positive addition to school and home libraries.”
—Karen Rigby

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

Click here to read the full review

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

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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

Click here to read the full review

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is “highly recommended” by StoryWraps

Posted on September 16th, 2017 by pajamapress

macymacmillan_website“This heartwarming story unfolds a beautiful bond between the elder ‘rainbow goddess’ and the younger ‘seeker of comfort’….The book is written beautifully in free verse and the characters are well developed….I highly recommend this book. The author’s previous book, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is worthy of checking out also. Storywraps Rating… 5 +++ HUGS!!!!!

Click here to read the full review

Slug Days “is a fine, affecting addition to the literature for kids on the spectrum” says Kirkus Reviews

Posted on August 23rd, 2017 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Lauren’s narrative voice is honest, poignant, and spot-on in describing her often baffled perceptions as she tries but frequently fails to navigate a confusing world….Bender’s pencil-and-digital illustrations appear on nearly every generously leaded spread. Her tender, winsome depictions of Lauren, sometimes endearingly engaged but other times steamy with anger, broaden the tale and make it accessible to even children transitioning to chapter books. This nondidactic effort is a fine, affecting addition to the literature for kids on the spectrum and for those who know those kids—in short, for just about everyone.”

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The Horn Book Magazine calls Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess “a

Posted on August 1st, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“Green’s free verse makes this a quick, accessible read, focusing on Macy’s realistic reluctance to share her mother and her gradual acceptance of the changes in her life (“Babysitting was actually okay / but I can’t imagine / a lifetime of it,” she comments feelingly). Macy’s deafness is a feature but not the focus of this…sympathetic rendering of a twelve-year-old’s angst.”
—Deirdre F. Baker

Read the full review in the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine