Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘free-verse-novels’

Missing Mike is "tragic and uplifting" says Sal's Fiction Addiction

Posted on October 16th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Having spent a good part of the summer here listening to reports of the destruction caused by wildfires on the west coast of Canada and the United States, this book is an excellent way to get kids thinking about the dire consequences of such events in peoples’ lives. It is a moving account of the terror and anguish felt by those who live where those fires rage….

The tense telling will keep readers intent on reading (or hearing) more. While there are bright spots along the way, Cara and her family are faced with uncertainty, fear, and a hope for a return to their community. When they finally get the okay to go back, they are faced with the tragic and uplifting results of the catastrophe. To say much has changed is an understatement. Cara, who has been reflecting on the meaning of ‘house’ and ‘home’, discovers they are distinctly different things.”

Click here to read the full review

Missing Mike review from middle-grade author Yolanda Ridge

Posted on October 13th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press

“Having just spent the summer breathing in the smoke blanketing the entire province of BC, with fires burning close enough to my home that I packed up photos and essentials in preparation for evacuation, this story really resonated. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down and I’m pretty sure I didn’t take a full, deep breath until I finished. Luckily as a novel in verse, it’s a pretty quick read….

Missing Mike is filled with the kindness of strangers which gives the book hope. The conclusion is a satisfying mix of reality and happy ending….I loved this book because it placed my fears into a story of survival and resilience where the main character discovers what home really means.”

Click here to read the full review

"Middle school readers will enjoy the accessible, lyrical text of this poignant story" says ASLC Lit Picks of Missing Mike

Posted on October 12th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Canadian author Shari Green has penned a timely novel in verse with a dramatic and emotional account of a wildfire and the impact on a family and their community….Middle school readers will enjoy the accessible, lyrical text of this poignant story about human-animal bonds, family dynamics, and strength in the face of adversity, and will appreciate being left with an optimistic ending and a new definition of ‘home.’”

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Youth Services Book Review calls Swallow's Dance "Top notch historical fiction"

Posted on October 11th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Swallow's Dance Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama PressWhat did you like about the book? Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient!…Set during the Bronze Age, the story shows that migration has been a constant since time began, and that it has never been easy to lose your home and those whom you love and start over in a new place, in this case, Crete. Leira narrates, in prose and alternating poetry, the catastrophe and the emotional toll it takes on her and her family. Lots of animal sacrifice, daily ritual worship of the gods, and intense heartbreak for a young person unused to any hardship. The poetic interludes do a good job of describing the emotional journey. The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor….

To whom would you recommend this book?  Definitely offer this to fans of Orr’s Dragonfly Song and to fans of historical fiction, ages 10-14.”
—Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

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School Library Journal says Missing Mike “poignantly captures the harrowing impact of wildfires”

Posted on August 9th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“GR 4–6—When wildfires threaten her small Canadian town of Pine Grove, almost 11-year-old Cara Donovan and her family must abruptly evacuate, leaving behind her beloved dog, Mike, who has run off in the turmoil….This novel-in-verse poignantly captures the harrowing impact of wildfires and the cascade of emotions that engulf Cara. She agonizes over Mike’s fate, vacillates between hope and despair, and learns from the anxiety, grief, and resilience of others. Cara is an appealing, believable narrator whose story unfolds through succinct and vivid descriptions, interactions and vignettes with family and friends, and self-reflection. Her mix of fears, insecurities, optimism, and penchant for crossword puzzles will resonate….An appropriately realistic—but still happy and hopeful—ending brings a satisfying resolution. VERDICT Cara provides a dramatic and youthful eyewitness perspective on wildfires, evacuation operations, the kindness and generosity of strangers, and the traumatic uncertainty of loss. A timely addition to middle grade collections.”

Read the full review in the July 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Missing Mike will have dog lovers "waiting on the edge of their seats" says Resource Links

Posted on June 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Rating: E…The verse novel format lends itself well to the frantic and emotional nature of a natural disaster and Shari Green’s writing is carefully crafted. This is a timely book, as wildfires have become a more common occurrence in western Canada and the United States….Dog lovers will also be waiting on the edge of their seats to find out if Mike and Cara are reunited.

Cara’s search for her dog and for a feeling of home will resonate with readers of all ages, and this book would make an excellent addition to a classroom or school library.”

Thematic Links: Natural Disasters; Wildfires; Family; Home; Dogs
—Alice Albarda

Read the full review on page 7 of the June 2018 issue of Resource Links

CanLit for LittleCanadians says "Cara's love for Mike is so deep that her anguish at being separated from him is palpable" in Missing Mike

Posted on June 5th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“With high summer temperatures and low precipitation predicted for the western provinces this year, there could be record wildfires again like the ones that imposed extensive evacuations on Fort McMurray in 2016. The circumstances of those forced evacuations and the tragedies and stories embedded within cannot be easily told or read but Shari Green, herself an evacuee in 2016, has the voice, the words, and the heart to tell it in her newest middle grade novel Missing Mike….

Missing Mike was…a heartbreaking story to read. Cara’s love for Mike is so deep that her anguish at being separated from him is palpable. She envisions a multitude of scenarios that Mike might be enduring or anticipates where he might be, alternating that distress with reflections on the things she and he did together. But more than the story about a missing dog, Missing Mike is about home and the different configurations it might take. Cara who spends some time working on crosswords, realizes that the synonyms for home are not always structures. They can be feelings and people and more.

Shari Green, who has impressed all readers with her exceptional novels in verse (Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, Pajama Press, 2016; Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, Pajama Press,  2017) does not disappoint with this latest middle grade novel in free verse. The genre is a tough one to write but Shari Green has perfected it. She gets the voices dead on with a limited vocabulary and still tells an honest story about a family’s response to disaster and specifically a young girl’s determination to be reunited with the dog she loves and finding home whatever and wherever it may be.”

Click here to read the full review

“[Green’s] ability to convey complex emotions is on point: uncertainty, regret, nostalgia, loyalty, love, and friendship are palpable” says Quill & Quire in their review of Missing Mike

Posted on June 5th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“In Missing Mike, Vancouver Island-based writer Shari Green, known for her award-winning middle-grade verse novels Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles and Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, mines the dynamics of loss, change, and belonging when a family is forced to flee from encroaching wildfires….

The recognition of grey areas in life – and the attempts we make to classify and resolve them – is a theme well suited to upper-middle-grade readers; many will identify with Cara’s desire to have a solution for everything. Green highlights this struggle by including crossword clues and answers in the text, some of which Cara finds easier to solve than others. Her troubles resonate as well in the definitions of her puzzle words: for example, what is ‘lost’ can be found, while what is ‘abandoned’ does not always have the same potential for a happy ending.

…[Green’s] ability to convey complex emotions is on point: uncertainty, regret, nostalgia, loyalty, love, and friendship are palpable. Missing Mike is a novel that subtly shifts from being about a missing dog to become an exploration of the emotional journey of losing home and finding it once again.”
—Jen Bailey

Read the full review on page 28 of the June 2018 issue of Quill & Quire