Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘middle-grade-fiction’

CM Magazine gives 4/4 stars to Dragonfly Song and calls it “a work of beauty”

Posted on November 16th, 2017 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_Website[4/4 stars]…Wendy Orr’s Dragonfly Song is a work of beauty. From the stunning cover to the mythological imagery and lyrical prose, readers are drawn in and carried along on an intense ride. Since Aissa is mute for much of the story, her thoughts and observations are inserted in the form of short poetic phrases. This change in format does not remove the reader from the story in any way, and these pieces could, in fact, stand alone as beautiful poetry. Those with no knowledge of Greek mythology will benefit from the opening author’s note, but prior knowledge is definitely not a requirement to enjoy this book. Orr’s language is gripping and enchanting, and Dragonfly Song would make a perfect read-aloud chapter book for middle grade teachers. While the academic cross curricular subject areas are obvious, including history, mythology, religion, spirituality, even bullying, I enjoyed this story simply as a pleasure read. Readers will find that Dragonfly Song and its fearless heroine will stick with them long after the final chapter.

Highly Recommended.
Cate Carlyle is a librarian at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS.

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

Resource Links praises Two Times a Traitor for “its attention to historical detail”

Posted on October 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

TwoTimesATraitor_Website“To utilize a thirteen year old and place him directly in harm’s way proves to be quite a zany approach to tackling historical fiction, and a young reader will certainly relate to the main character…At the beginning of his other-worldly experience, Laz will try to conceptualize it through electronic texts he wants to send to a friend, but eventually those texts are dismissed for a more genuine attachment to the past, one where Laz will befriend the French defenders in Louisbourg and feel himself conflicted by his initial promise to betray them.

Two Times a Traitor is well researched and although Bass does shift some of the events around to further her plot she does the honourable thing to mention those inconsistencies in an historical note at the end of the book….[P]erhaps the real worth in this book is in its attention to historical detail and for that it should be regarded as an excellent educational resource.”
Zachary Chauvin

Read the full review on page 34 of the October 2017 issue of Resource Links

The Reading Castle raves about Dragonfly Song, calling it “a magnificent, magical book for teens and young adults”

Posted on October 15th, 2017 by pajamapress

DragonflySong_Website“From the first glimpse of the magnificent cover I knew that Dragonfly Song would be a glorious read. A fantasy story embedded in history? A strong heroine? Sign me up!

Long story short: Dragonfly Song was all that I expected it to be – and, at the same time, completely different. Is that a good thing? Definitely! Dragonfly Song is a magnificent, magical book for teens and young adults. During a sleepless night, I couldn’t put the book down. I suffered, laughed and, yes, cried. And although I live and die with books, I don’t cry often….

Dragonfly Song is more than just a good read. It’s a saga, not just a retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, but a tale of fighting for one’s identity. It’s the story of a strong girl taking her life in her own hands, finding her way against all odds….

Wendy Orr slows down significantly. She incorporates rhyme, which makes Dragonfly Song lyrical and interesting to read. Orr’s poetry might be challenging for the average midgrade reader. The sections are not bothersome, though. Embedded in Aissa’s story, at the right time and in the right place, they intensify the feeling of Dragonfly Song being a saga. Orr’s writing makes the book really special and a wonderful read – even for mid-graders!

Dragonfly Song – an outstanding book for young (and old) adults! Read it! Now!”

Click here to read the full review

Two Times a Traitor “overflows with compelling action” says Kirkus

Posted on July 4th, 2017 by pajamapress

TwoTimesATraitor_Website“The past is accurately and engagingly depicted, and Laz’s reactions to the harsh conditions, especially bad food and filth, are totally believable….[T]ime travel is a thrilling concept, and the tale overflows with compelling action…”

Click here to read the full review

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is “heartwarming and thought-provoking” says The Loud Library Lady

Posted on May 19th, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5…Perfect middle grade free verse! I am so excited to share this with my elementary and middle school students, as I am always talking up free verse, but can’t find enough excellent examples to share with them. Macy’s story is heartwarming and thought-provoking…I especially loved the book references throughout the story, like to the books El Deafo and The Tale of Despereaux - books that kids today will know and be able to relate to….I can’t wait to read this author’s other middle grade novel Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles and order both of these titles for my libraries.”

Click here to read the full review

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is one of Shari Green’s “insightfully poignant tales” says CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by pajamapress

MacyMacMillan_Website“Shari Green, author of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, has found her story as a writer of extraordinary middle grade novels in verse. Though I suspect she can write just about anything–middle grade, young adult, speculative fiction, non-free verse–her talent is definitely in writing insightfully poignant tales in the impassioned and crisp free verse style. As in her earlier book, Shari Green uses few words, but the right ones, to grow a story of such sensitivity for and awareness of her characters and readers that all will leave the story fulfilled. Her characters’ stories connect with us in ways we cannot put into words. I was astounded that a little girl could gain so much wisdom, courtesy of Iris and Shari Green of course, about life’s stories that she has a middle-aged woman such as myself in tears and heeding her advice.

Hearts are waiting, worrying, hurting
–in need of a message
you can send.
 (pg. 226)

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is a message from the writing goddesses that everyone’s life is just a story or series of stories that need to be told to be fully appreciated but no worries here because one of their scribes, Shari Green, has taken on that task capably and, like Iris, with wholehearted extravagance.”

Click here to read the full review

Dance of the Banished is “a dynamic and compelling story” says Worlds of Words

Posted on May 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websiteDance of the Banished is based on true accounts about Alevi Kurds who were victims of war in Anatolia and the Canadian government’s internment camps in Ontario during World War I. The novel sheds light on the subtleties of cultural groups within geographical regions and their fate at the hands of the more powerful….

A dynamic and compelling story with likeable and realistic characters, this fictionalized narrative about how war often makes no distinctions between cultural groups will appeal to middle and secondary readers interested in history, romance, and how political movements on an international scale often wreak havoc at the local and individual levels. A deeply engaging plot that addresses many of the nuances of World War I, this book will make a great companion to Sanders’ series, The Rachel Trilogy, as well as Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys, 2012), which also address the concepts of movement, transitions, and how politics disrupt individual lives….”
—Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

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.

Waiting for Sophie “is a good book for any expectant sibling” says Mom Read It

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by pajamapress

waitingforsophie_website“…Waiting for Sophie is a great older sibling book for younger school-age kids. Sarah Ellis not only captures the excitement of waiting for a new baby brother or sister, but also gives voice to the little frustrations kids can experience when dealing with a new baby in the house, and the desire to have a playmate their age. Sarah Ellis shows readers the fun side of being an older brother, like being the one to make the baby giggle. The gently colored illustrations make this a cozy reading choice for parents and kids, or educators discussing caregiving, to gather together and enjoy. This is a good book for any expectant sibling…”

Click here to read the full review