Today I recommend: The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez.
The First Rule of Punk is an awesome fictional novel about a Mexican punk rocker middle schooler, Malu. Malu is moving to Chicago with her mother who loves Mexican heritage, far away from Malu’s father who owns a small record shop. She does not have any friends, until she tries to start up a band with some classmates for the school talent show. Will Malu’s band be good enough to get into the talent show, and will she make friends? Read this novel to find out more.
I loved this book! It is different from other books I have read. This one is about being who you are, the importance of heritage, being a tough punk rocker and staying strong. My favorite character was Ellie, the band’s guitarist. She was very confident and smart, and was not afraid to speak up for what is right, always making petitions and helping others. I really enjoyed this novel, and I hope that you will too.
-Elizabeth N, Teen Blogger
You can find The First Rule of Punk in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PEREZ, and during the 2018-2019 school year on our Battle of the Books shelf.
While trying to cheer up her depressed mother, twelve-year-old Sophie gets roped into doing a triathlon as part of a school project on risk-taking, and discovers she can see people’s thoughts in bubbles above their heads.
This middle-grade novel deals with important topics including depression, therapy, preteen insecurities, and more. While seeing people’s thoughts sounds exciting Sophie quickly learns that you may not want to know what other people are thinking- luckily she has some good friends on her side. For middle-grade readers who like their realistic fiction to have a feel-good ending and don’t mind some low fantasy elements.
You can find this novel in the Juvenile Fiction section at J COOPER.
Matilda, a brilliant, sensitive little girl, uses her talents and ingenuity to seek revenge on her crooked father, lazy mother, and the terrifying Miss Trunchbull, her wicked headmistress, and save her beloved teacher, Miss Honey.
Published in 1988, Matilda is another example of Roald Dahl’s work and another classic novel that has been released as a movie. The humor and the triumph of good over evil with the girl as the hero make this a book that has become a classic.
You can find Matilda in the Juvenile Fiction section at J DAHL.
Paper Things – Jennifer Jacobson
Paper Things is a thrilling novel by Jennifer Jacobson that tells the life of a nineteen-year-old Gage and his younger sister being homeless for six weeks. When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So, when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she must go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama?
This novel will engender empathy and understanding of a serious and all-too-real problem. Jacobson’s story is poignant but never preachy. — School Library Journal
Paper Things by Jennifer Jacobson is a heart-touching novel and is originally published on February 10, 2015. Paper Things is a Rebecca Caudill 2019 nominee and has won several awards such as, the ILA Social Justice Literature Award for Fiction winner, and Hudson Bookseller’s Best of Summer 2015. I would recommend Paper Things to a reader that is looking for a thrilling novel.
~Vishnu, Teen Blogger
You can find Paper Things on the Rebecca Caudill shelf during the 2018-19, and in the Juvenile Fiction section at J JACOBSEN.
Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
This is a classic that isn’t as old as most that we have featured- it was published in 1996 and won the Newbery Award. Still this heartwarming tale about being kind, civil, and inclusive is undoubtedly a classic. My favorite part of the book was that it was written from multiple perspectives which allowed me to feel as though I was getting to know each of the students. This is perfect for upper elementary school readers who enjoy realistic fiction, and for those who enjoyed the recent Newbery winner Hello Universe by Erin Kelly Entrada.
You can find The View from Saturday in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KONIGSBERG.
Today I recommend: All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson.
All’s Faire in Middle School is a fictional graphic novel about Imogene, a girl who is homeschooled and whose parents work at a medieval faire. Her father acts as an evil night, and her mother runs a shop. Imogene is about to embark on her own journey, middle school! She doesn’t know if she will make any friends or fit in at middle school, but she tries anyway. She faces a strict science teacher, sort of teasing and bossy friends, homework, and many other things.
I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, and the art style is cartoonish and cool. I loved this book because it had a lot to do with medieval fairs, old english and the craziness of middle school. Imogene’s life and problems were often compared to folk tales and dragons. I suggest this graphic novel to who ever likes medieval times or graphic novels. Victoria Jamieson also wrote Roller Girl, a wonderful graphic novel about a girl learning how to roller skate.
~Elizabeth, Teen Blogger
You can find All’s Faire in Middle School in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC JAMIESON.
Today I recommend: All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson.
Homeschooled by Renaissance Fair enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.
Fans of Jamieson’s graphic novel Roller Girl won’t be disappointed! Imogene is another strong female character, and the situations that she grapples with feel realistic even if growing up at a Renaissance Fair sounds far-fetched. Imogene deals with bullying and her desire to make new friends as she adjusts to going to middle school while also training to be a squire at the Ren. Faire. I recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed Awkward and Brave by Chmakova or Real Friends by Shannon Hale.
You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC JAMIESON.
Today we recommend: The Losers Club by Andrew Clements.
Alec, a sixth-grade bookworm always in trouble for reading instead of listening and participating in class, starts a book club, solely to have a place to read, and discovers that real life, although messy, can be as exciting as the stories in his favorite books.
From the author of Frindle and Extra Credit comes this school story that features Alec, an avid reader who often gets in trouble while reading his favorite books while NOT paying attention to his teachers or assignments. When his working parents need him attend the After School program, he plans a way to read uninterrupted by forming an unusual book club. And to avoid unwanted members from joining, he names the club “The Losers Club” to keep other students away. Unfortunately, trouble follows him wherever he goes. Readers will discover many favorite titles introduced in this novel.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CLEMENTS.
Today I recommend: The Best Man by Richard Peck.
Archer has four important role models in his life–his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer’s sixth-grade year becomes one he’ll never forget.
This book is an award winner! It was an American Library Association Notable for Middle Readers 2017, School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2016, and a Booklist Editor’s Choice for Middle Readers 2016. For readers that have enjoyed other works by Richard Peck, this book has the same focus on family and navigating childhood that many of his novels have. You’ll cheer for Archer as he grows up with help from all of his role models. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PECK or as an audiobook in the Juvenile Audiobook section at jCD FIC PECK.
Sophronia Temminnick is 14 and supposed to be concerning herself with becoming a lady, Sophronia however, would much rather concern herself with matters such as spying on house guests using her house’s dumbwaiter (it doesn’t end well). Sophronia’s mother decides the only thing to do with her is send her off to finishing school, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. However, before she (and fellow new student Dimity) arrive at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s their carriage is attacked by flyaway men (like highway men, but they, you know, fly).
Upon arrival at her new (floating) finishing school Sophronia begins to realize she’ll be learning much more than just how to become a lady (although that is still part of the process). The school’s teachers include a vampire and a werewolf (who makes sure to keep his top hat on, no matter his form) and Sophronia quickly earns herself a nemesis in a far more accomplished student, Monique de Pelouse. In between learning how to curtsy properly, how to most effectively blush and flutter her eyelashes, and making sure to always have a handkerchief on her person (“not only a communication device, but it an also be dropped as a distraction, scented with various perfumes and noxious gases for discombobulation, used to wipe the forehead of a gentleman, or even bandage a wound, and of course, you may dab at the eyes or nose if it is still clean” (p124)), Sophronia is trying to figure out what Monique is up to and keep her mechanical dog Bumbersnoot fed a steady diet of coal.
Etiquette & Espionage is a fun steampunk story that isn’t too heavy handed with the steampunk. Sophronia gets stuff done and without much waffling on weather she should or not, such as scale balconies on the airship to get coal for her mechanimal, she just does it (which is quite refreshing). It’s not your typical beach read, but this book could definitely serve as an entertaining summer read.