Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘middle-grade-fiction’

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess gets 5 stars from Puss Reboots

Posted on January 21st, 2018 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_WebsiteMacy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green is a novel in freeform poetry about a girl trying to come to terms with the big changes in her life. Big changes coming: a new school at the end of sixth grade, a new house, a step dad, and step-siblings (twins)….

The poetry and type face help to express both Macy’s emotional state and the rhythm of sign. ASL has its own grammar — something that is lost when writing out dialog into standard prose. By keeping the lines short and focused on the core actions, items, emotions — there’s more of a sense of how Macy is actually thinking and expressing herself….

Though Macy’s town is never given a name, there are enough clues to suppose it’s somewhere on the north eastern edge of Vancouver Island. The author is from there and it shows in how she lays out the geography of Macy’s world.

Five stars.”

Click here to read the full review

Slug Days gets 5 stars from Blazer Tales

Posted on January 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“5 out of 5 stars!!!…Sara Leach does a fantastic job of letting us into the mind of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is a must read for anyone that works in a school system. This book should teach us patience and understanding. The illustrations are incredible also. They really depict the emotions that Lauren go through throughout her day.”

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Dragonfly Song is “an unusually thoughtful offering in the middle-school mythology genre” says Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Posted on January 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_Website“The narrative style shifts between straightforward, lyrical prose and imagistic free-verse poetry, a technique that infuses the story with a dreamlike atmosphere. Both forms advance the action, but the poetry enhances the sense of intimacy by focusing attention on Aissa’s impressionistic views of the world and her sense of isolation among the people who fear, bully, and reject her. Her ultimate triumph is credibly compromised, making this an unusually thoughtful offering in the middle-school mythology genre.”

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Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is a selection in ILA LiteracyDaily‘s list, “More Poetry, Please”

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“In this poignant verse novel, readers will be touched by the humor and heroism of Macy McMillian, who faces unwanted changes in her life as her mother is remarrying and she soon will be forced to move into a different home with her new stepdad and two stepsisters….While Macy’s deafness is a feature of the book, the focus is her gradual acceptance of the changes in her life. This novel in verse is an accessible read about the families we chose for ourselves and the power of stories.”

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Slug Days “is a sensitive, playful, lovingly told [story]” says Resource Links

Posted on January 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Rating: E…

Slug Days is a sensitive, playful, lovingly told chapter book about school, friends, and days both good and bad, drawn from author Sara Leach’s real-life experiences in classrooms. Lauren is charming and frustrating; many readers will recognize her pattern of taking two steps forward and – sometimes – two steps back. Dan, Lauren’s persistent frenemy, is equally recognizable, and the big and small moments of Dan and Lauren’s dynamic are insightfully captured in both prose and illustration.

Although it’s written for readers making the transition to independent reading, Slug Days would make an outstanding read-aloud book for early elementary classrooms, particularly in schools where anti-bullying policies and programs aimed at fostering empathy and respect for others are priorities. This sweet, gentle book is rich with Aha! moments for everyone – including teachers….

Whether she’s making homes for insects, visiting her favourite tree, or playing with her baby sister, Lauren is a lovable character at the centre of a relevant story. I hope Slug Days reaches a wide audience of parents, teachers, librarians, and kids: it’s a winner!”
—Leslie Vermeer

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Dragonfly Song gets 5 stars from Youth Services Book Review

Posted on January 15th, 2018 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_WebsiteRating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? …This is a fascinating story, well-told. The kingdom is so realistically drawn that it feels more like history than fantasy.

Anything you did not like about this book? Not a thing.

To whom would you recommend this book? Give this to kids who like to root for the underdog, who like fantasy kingdoms and you could also give them The Moor Child by Eloise McGraw….

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Very, very near”
Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

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Kiss the Book says Dragonfly Song “would be a rich classroom experience”

Posted on January 10th, 2018 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_Website“At first I was thinking, well, let’s get Aissa to the Bull King’s land and get her into training already, but by the end, I was glad that I was able to connect with Aissa through knowing about her and her struggles – that made the triumph all that sweeter. Aissa’s story will not be the kind of book where students pick it up and share it with each other. Only a few students at this level are emotionally mature enough as readers to appreciate her story. What should happen is teachers need to read this and adopt it to read together as a class. With the poetry of Aissa’s thoughts combined with all of the other elements of story, this would be a rich classroom experience.
—Cindy, Library Teacher

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The Theory of Hummingbirds “is a great story about doing what one can and not always comparing oneself with others” says Resource Links

Posted on January 9th, 2018 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“Rating: G…This is a great story about doing what one can and not always comparing oneself with others. I found this a satisfying read which could stimulate some interesting discussion about limitations and friendship. The love interest of Alba’s mother which is hinted at I found unnecessary, although it does add to the happy ending.

A glossary of hummingbird facts is included as an epilogue.”

Thematic Links: Disabilities; Families; Friendship; Hummingbirds
—Mavis Holder

Read the full review in the November/December 2017 issue of Resource Links

Dragonfly Song “is simply a beautiful book” says Resource Links

Posted on December 27th, 2017 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_Website“Rating: E…Dragonfly Song takes readers on a magical journey back to the Bronze Age when a magnificent civilization called the Minoans prospered on the island of Crete. Legends claim that a half-man, half-bull Minotaur lived in the palace and demanded that surrounding cities send youths each year as tribute for the bull to catch and devour….

This novel is a lyrical account of an ancient civilization. Aissa is a strong and courageous heroine who grows up to become the leader of her small island. Her determination to survive is severely tested throughout the narrative when she is rejected by her family and her community. The novel’s narrative structure is exceptional with sections in poetry revealing Aissa’s thoughts and feelings. The cover graphic is vibrant and innovative showing images which represent the major themes of the novel. Overall, this is simply a beautiful book which will definitely appeal to readers who appreciate a good adventure in a mystical setting!”
—Myra Junyk

Read the full review on page 35 of the December 2017 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Canadian Bookworm calls Timo Goes Camping a “delightful chapter book”

Posted on December 26th, 2017 by pajamapress

TimoGoesCamping_Website“This delightful chapter book is due to be released in March 2018, plenty of time before camping season here in Canada kicks in….

When the trip begins, Timo immediately finds his knowledge useful, helping tie the frying pan to Hedgewick’s pack with the knots he learned about. As the trip progresses, Timo’s knowledge continues to come in handy. There is much teasing from Suki about the mistakes made along the way, and even about Timo’s book-learning until Timo gathers the courage to discuss how teasing can hurt people’s feelings. I liked the opportunity taken for this discussion and the way it came up naturally through the plot. I liked the topic of a typical Canadian pastime such as camping.

Of course, the thing I loved most about this book was how even Suki agreed by the end that every adventure needs a librarian.

This is a good book for kids to introduce the idea of camping and some of the activities involved in such an adventure, the importance of not going into an adventure without some knowledge and preparation, and about ensuring that teasing doesn’t become hurtful. The illustrations are lovely, bringing the animals to life, along with their environment.”
—Shonna Froebel

Click here to read the full review