Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘diverse-middle-grade-books’

“Using Lauren’s voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty” says Sal’s Fiction Addiction of Slug Days

Posted on April 7th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Using Lauren’s voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty that make it easier for readers to feel the frustrations she sees in her world. Those slug days are hampered by outbursts, confusion, and a lack of patience all around. Lauren also experiences butterfly days when many things go right – her teachers, the kids at school, and her family enjoy her humor, her growing ability to communicate and find joy in some activities….This perceptive and sensitive tale chronicles a week in the life of a young, determined girl who thinks differently than many others. She is learning and we are learning with her.”

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Red Canoe Reader calls Slug Days an “amazing book”

Posted on March 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“We all need to feel that we’re not alone; that there are others in the world who feel the same way and experience life as we do. This amazing book offers just that mirror to kids with ASD. It offers the comforting truth that other kids with ASD have slug days when nothing goes the way it should, as well as butterfly days when everything is in its place, nothing’s changed and you feel safe and secure….Slug Days is an easy to read story for children in late first, early second and older. The charming illustrations add so much to the story and will keep even a reluctant reader reading. This book is one that needs to be in every public and elementary collection and is a book that not only children need to read, but also every parent and teacher.”

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Children’s Books Heal calls The Theory of Hummingbirds “a powerful and captivating story”

Posted on February 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“Why I like this book: Michelle Kadarusman has crafted a richly textured story about [Alba], who has a leg that is directionally challenged. It is a powerful and captivating story about differences and abilities and ‘learning to love who you are and what you can do.’ It is emotionally honest and filled with heart.

It is important for readers to see themselves in realistic characters like [Alba]….

The author’s use of hummingbirds as a poignant metaphor to help Alba embrace her life in a meaningful way and pursue her big dream. ‘Hummingbirds don’t sit around moaning about their tiny feet and that they can’t walk,’ she says. Like [Alba], the author was born with talipes equinovarus (CTEV), more commonly called club foot.

The plot is paced well with the perfect amount of tension to keep readers intrigued, engaged and guessing.  This is an excellent book for any school library.”

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“The reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts” in The Theory of Hummingbirds says Winnipeg Free Press

Posted on December 23rd, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“In this book for a middle-grade audience (eight to 12 years), the reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts. Kadarusman also provides plenty of information on hummingbirds, which have such small feet that they only perch, never walk.”

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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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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