Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘middle-grade-fiction’

The Joplin Globe says Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is “touching…

Posted on December 2nd, 2018 by pajamapress

The Joplin Globe

“Written in sparse prose, SHARI GREEN’s MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS is touching without being full of angst. Macy McMillan is a typical sixth grader with one exception — she’s deaf. In a refreshing twist, this story doesn’t use Macy’s hearing as a main focal point. Instead, we are introduced to a pre-teen who is anxious about making and keeping friends, her mother’s wedding, a new step family, a school project, and oh, by the way, she also happens to be deaf. Green’s ability to relate the story through Macy’s eyes sets this book apart….

As Macy’s life moves on, she is forced to face some hard truths. But with the help of Iris the Rainbow Goddess and her advice, her perspective changes. The ‘life is hard but friends can make it easier’ message of this story comes through but is relayed subtly. Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is sure to appeal to anyone struggling with the challenges of friendships in the middle grades.”
—Tammie Benham

Click here to read the full review

 

Missing Mike is a “story about the meaning of home,” says ILA Literacy Daily

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama PressILA Literacy Daily, “Celebrating Poetry”

“Cara’s sadness is palpable, and her descriptions of the setting are moving….The heart of this story is whether or not Cara will be reunited with Mike, if he’s survived the wildfire. It’s is also a story about the meaning of home….These varied ways of thinking about home are key to Cara and her community’s survival.”

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Wendy Orr’s Swallow’s Dance is “top notch historical fiction,” says Youth Service Book Review

Posted on November 15th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Swallow's Dance Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama PressYouth Services Book Review

What 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

Click here to read the full review

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.”

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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.’”

Click here to read the full review

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

Click here to read the full review

Three Starred Reviews for Swallow's Dance by Wendy Orr!

Posted on October 3rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Booklist ★ Starred Review

“As she faces the demands of sheer survival, Leira gradually realizes that the privileges afforded to her, thanks to her social status, are meaningless, and she starts taking on whatever unpleasant job she must to protect herself and

her family. There are no miracles and no clear answers for Leira, but she learns to love what she has and that she can cope with anything. Leira’s lyrical first-person narrative advances the story along beautifully with a fitting sense of urgency, and free-verse songs clue readers in to her emotional development. Immersive historical fiction.”
—Donna Scanlon

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

“Gr 5-8–Leira’s sheltered life of privilege is all she has ever known. Her biggest concern is becoming a woman so she can start her priestess rites. Her people believe the earth goddess will protect them if the proper rituals and sacrifices are carried out, but an earthquake rocks their existence. Leira’s mother is crushed inside their home and suffers severe brain damage, and eventually her family chooses to take their chances by boarding a boat to Crete. As tragedy upon tragedy befalls the sweet but naive Leira in this Bronze Age–set tale, readers will cheer for her to succeed, grow, and to find her way in this new world. Some chapters written in verse make the more emotional plot lines sing. An eye-opening look at how difficult it is when one’s status changes in life, and how attitude can shape outcome. VERDICT Beautiful writing and a fast-moving plot will give young historical fiction fans much to love.”
–Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX

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

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

“Spiritual and cultural beliefs blossom into a celebration of life—at least until the darkness of fear and ruthlessness of the earthmother rip apart a homeland and a cherished way of life. This mesmerizing, aching tale explores ancient beliefs in gods and nature and their impact on an Aegean island society in the Bronze Age….Orr nimbly shows Leira’s imperiousness and her humanity alike as the girl witnesses the jarring shift in order when once-exalted priests and priestesses find themselves cast adrift. Her mixture of prose and free verse to tell Leira’s story is lyrical and magnetic—and devastating. Not for readers searching for a simple or happy journey, this is a beautiful song of a book that shows that life isn’t always fair, but change is always constant.”

Click here to read the full review

Missing Mike "is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home" says Canadian Children's Book News

Posted on September 21st, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Award-winning author Shari Green has crafted an emotional and lyrically gripping tale capturing readers by the heart strings from page one with the unmistakable voice and keen observations of a young girl wise beyond her years. Indelible characters and realistic dialogue add depth, while short chapters and a free-verse format make for smooth transitions and quick comprehension, especially ideal for reluctant readers.

Missing Mike is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home. A standout book in the collection of any middle-grade reader, it will resonate particularly with those who love stories about the resiliency of the human spirit and the unbreakable bond between animals and their human families.”
—Jennifer D. Foster

Read the full review on page 32 of the Fall 2018 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

Winnipeg Free Press calls Missing Mike “especially topical”

Posted on September 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“With the rash of wildfires that have threatened many communities this summer, B.C. author Shari Green’s middle-grade novel Missing Mike seems especially topical….

Green’s novel, written in blank verse, is full of dramatic images of the fire that engulfs the town, and helps emphasize the trauma wildfires can have not only on buildings but on the people who live in them. Good for ages eight to 12.”
—Helen Norrie

Click here to read the full review