Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘middle-grade-books’

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on April 4th, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“…One of the striking things about the characterization of Macy is that she is profoundly deaf, communicating primarily through sign language. Green’s portrayal is highly authentic, and the various interactions Macy experiences are seamlessly introduced.

Both Macy and Ms. Gillan love books, and this connection offers a chance for intergenerational reading. Ms. Gillan responds to Macy’s favourite title, The Tale of Despereaux, just as Macy finds solace in a book of Ms. Gillan’s, Anne of Green Gables….

Told as a verse-novel, in a light yet poignant style similar to Green’s previous title, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, there is much to admire here including a clear plot line, rich character development, and sudden, incisive humour. In addition, it’s clear that Macy is a young girl living in contemporary times rather than a projection of the author’s own childhood, and the book’s details, including its school and community settings, feel modern and accurate….Choices in formatting enhance readability, extending this book to a wide age and ability range….

Highly Recommended.

Bev Brenna, a literacy professor at the University of Saskatchewan, has 10 published books for young people.

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Kirkus Reviews calls Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess a “powerful tale”

Posted on March 29th, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“Macy, a deaf sixth-grader who attends a mainstream school with an interpreter, faces enormous challenges, as her mother will soon marry, necessitating a move to her new stepdad’s house. Macy and her mother have always been a team of just two; adding Alan and his twin daughters is scary and distressing….The verse trails down the pages in narrow bands leaving plenty of white space. Even characters that are barely sketched emerge fully realized through the spare yet poignant narrative….When one twin endearingly makes the sign ‘sister’ to Macy, it’s an affecting moment of deep promise. Macy’s life lessons are realistic and illuminating; that she is deaf adds yet another dimension to an already powerful tale. (Fiction. 9-12)”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians says “Young children being challenged to read their first chapter books will appreciate [Waiting for Sophie]”

Posted on March 29th, 2017 by pajamapress

waitingforsophie_website“Waiting can be so hard for little ones, especially when it’s for a baby sister who is taking her time being born and growing up so you can play with her. And this waiting is just about killing little Liam….

Sarah Ellis gives Liam a voice that is so filled with hope about his new sister and the promise of having a familial playmate that even his frustrations are natural and unfeigned. He speaks with his heart, never with meanness or anger, though he acknowledges the annoyance of biding his time. Sophie has a great big brother. And, although Waiting for Sophie is an early reader, rather than a picture book, the illustrations by Carmen Mok augment Sarah Ellis’ story with the innocence and family that the author’s words already convey.

Young children being challenged to read their first chapter books will appreciate this early reader as it will undoubtedly speak to them. So many know the anguish of waiting, whether for a new sibling to be born or some other significant life event, and will easily put themselves in Liam’s shoes. Maybe they’ll undertake their own DIY project, with a little help from an adult, or maybe they’ll find their own coping strategies but you can be sure that they’ll appreciate Liam’s story of Waiting for Sophie and the fun that can be had with it.”

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Both reviewers at Library of Clean Reads agree that The Wolves Return is “an amazing book for both adults and children”

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

thewolvesreturn_website“We are always amazed at how much we learn from children’s non-fiction books. This one is an educational and excellent portrayal of the value of wolves in maintaining a healthy wildlife and ecosystem.

Our Review:

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

Who couldn’t love this book about the value of wolves? From the pencil crayon and watercolour illustrations to the beautiful text, it’s an amazing book for both adults and children. It highlights how very important are all creatures and how one animal alone contributes to a thriving natural world….

The colourful illustrations will certainly appeal to children, especially those who are already animal lovers. I appreciate the information pages regarding the history of wolves in North America. I can’t say enough about this beautiful book that contains such important life lessons. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Laura Fabiani and Son

It’s a sad reality that most city children have never seen live wild animals (except perhaps at the zoo) or know much about them. Both my son and I were surprised by how much we enjoyed and learned from reading this book. With clear informative text and beautiful illustrations, the author has succeeded in teaching us that large predators play a vital role in the health of the ecosystems where they live….

Children who are animal lovers will especially enjoy the depictions of the various animals…My son and I enjoyed this book and we especially liked that on the front and back inside covers are the names and illustrations of all the plants and animals in the book.

This book should be included in all school libraries and can be used when teaching science and nature in elementary schools. An excellent addition to a home library too.”

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Waiting for Sophie is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

waitingforsophie_website“Sarah Ellis is one of Canada’s most successful writer of children’s books (Back of BeyondBen Overnight, and several volumes in the “I, Canada” series). She is also a critic, a teacher and a librarian.

Utilizing the trope of “new baby – concerned older brother – problem with new baby – happy ending”, Ellis begins her story with Liam, who looks about six, being woken up by Nana-Downstairs, a hip lady in pants and designer specs. Mom and Dad have gone to the hospital because new sister Sophie is on the way.

Ellis’ trademark wry humour comes into play almost immediately…

Carmen Mok, who has many picturebook and magazine credits to her name, has graced the pages with some charming digitally-created art with the look of watercolours, mostly images of the characters in the story. The font chosen is a large, clear one, and the layout beckons new readers of ‘chapter books’ to give it a try. The book would also be appropriate for a slighter younger audience for reading aloud.

Waiting for Sophie is a fine addition to library collections, especially those requiring more easy novels with contemporary themes.

Highly Recommended.
Ellen Heaney

Click here to read the full review

Two Times a Traitor is a Junior Library Guild Selection

Posted on March 9th, 2017 by pajamapress

twotimesatraitor_websitePajama Press is thrilled to announce that Two Times a Traitor by Karen Bass is a Junior Library Guild 2017 selection.

The Junior Library Guild “is a book review and collection development service helping thousands of school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books, saving them both time and money….Our services help librarians with collection development and our members trust us to put only the best books into the hands of their eager young readers.” For more information, please visit the Junior Library Guild website.

Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Karen Bass. Our sincerest thanks go to the Junior Library Guild for promoting reading through this outstanding program.

Timo’s Party is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

timosparty_website“There is a lot to love about Timo’s Party. The premise and its attentive execution are particularly noteworthy. Timo is honestly anxious about hosting a party but decides to do it anyway. The story provides tools for dealing with intimidating situations (e.g., make a list of tasks) and gives tips on dealing with mild social anxiety as well as navigating social situations (e.g., ask people questions as they like to talk about themselves!). Not only does the book have some good advice, but it embeds that advice in a story that children will want to read….

The illustrations are charming and expressive. The inclusion of news articles and the party invitation are neat additions that not only add visual interest, but help to keep the reader’s attention on the story using environmental text. The presentation of gender was also refreshingly neutral for most of the book (although female characters did noticeably veer towards more traditionally feminine attire when attending the apple festival). The illustrations are placed strategically, complementing the story but not drawing attention away from it. As the reader becomes increasingly engaged with the narrative, the frequency of pictures goes down, subtly increasing the amount of text on each spread.

Timo’s Party is a thoughtful story with emotionally authentic characters….[T]his is a sweet chapter book with an empowering message. Highly Recommended.
—Sadie Tucker is a children’s librarian with the Vancouver Public Library.

Click here to read the full review

Recently Read Highly Recommends Two Times a Traitor

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by pajamapress

twotimesatraitor_websiteTwo Times a Traitor is the newest endeavor by multi-nominated and celebrated Canadian author, Karen Bass.

Two Times a Traitor is a surprising departure from what YA readers have come to expect from this dynamic author….Readers will be swept up and away in this riveting middle-grade historical/time travel nail biting adventure, and into the pages of an exciting part of Canadian history!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! [for Junior and Intermediate readers!]

FIVE STARS!!”

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Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is a Junior Library Guild 2017 Selection

Posted on January 25th, 2017 by pajamapress

macymacmillan_websitePajama Press is thrilled to announce that Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green is a Junior Library Guild 2017 Selection.

The Junior Library Guild “is a book review and collection development service helping thousands of school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books, saving them both time and money….Our services help librarians with collection development and our members trust us to put only the best books into the hands of their eager young readers.” For more information, please visit the Junior Library Guild website.

Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Shari Green. Our sincerest thanks go to the Junior Library Guild for promoting reading through this outstanding program.

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles gets 4 out of 5 stars from Moon Shine Art Spot

Posted on January 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

RootBeerCandyAndOtherMiracles_Website“My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book offers a peak inside a child’s mind. The questions a child must have about parents and a failing marriage. Still young enough to believe in magic and miracles, but too young to fully understand marriage, the reality of divorce, or the ailments of the human body.

A dream for better things and hope of understanding that “leaving” doesn’t mean someone doesn’t still love you.

I loved the cover art. I chose the book based solely on the title and cover art. I was surprised by the story when I started reading it. I was expecting summer fun, beaches, candy, and all things happy-happy. That’s not this book. It had everything except the happy-happy.

For any child reading the story, it is a way to gently explore some of the changes many children face today. I think the author did a great job with the story….”
—Aunt Meanie

Click here to read the full review