It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.
There are middle grade books that literally make me dance a bit and want to fist pump when I finish them. They are few and far between, and this year, mainly about video games. (Which is weird, because if there is one thing in real life that I hate, abhor and despise, it would be video games in ANY permutation!) I'm a huge fan of books involving grandparents, and also love road trip books. May I also say that my father had a 1968 Buick Electra of which I was very fond? Go out and read this book immediately!
Acampora, Paul. How to Avoid Extinction
September 27th 2016 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Since his grandfather passed away, Leo's job is to keep track of his grandmother. She's fiesty, loves doughnuts, and has decided that for the anniversary of her husband's death, she wants to visit a dinosaur site that they were going to travel to together. She knows enough that she shouldn't go alone, so inveigles not only Leo but his cousin Abbey into going with her, since "I'm old. I'm able, and I've got an extremely high credit limit." Soon, the group takes off, armed with doughnuts. The first stop is the Natural History Museum in Chicago, where they meet Honey Buenafe, a student who is heading home to Nebraska. They offer to drive her, since it's on their way and she can help them find the dinosaur site they need in Utah. Her dog, Kermit, comes along. When they get out to Nebraska, they are warmly welcomed by Honey's Filipino family, but Gram takes off on her own, somewhat in part because she wants to stop by Denver to get a tattoo. Leo and Abbey, provisioned with spicy octopus snacks by Mrs. Buenafe, take off after her, eventually calling Leo's mother to come and join their trip. Leo learns a lot about his father, whom he has never met, his mother and her past, and is able to keep his grandmother safe and also help her dreams come true.
Strengths: This is a fantastic mix of funny and serious. Leo is apprehensive about going, but loves his grandmother and wants her to be happy. Abbey is up for a road trip, especially since she would really like to be a paleontologist, and she's great about looking out for everyone. The Buick runs into understandable problems for its age. Honey and her family are so much fun, and a great lesson in how friends can be made under the most surprising circumstances. I also loved how grief was handled-- it's there, but we don't necessarily have to keep going over and over it. In fact, if there are some instances that we want to pretend never happened, that's okay, too. Loved that.
Weaknesses: The dog is old. You have been warned. Could have done without that.
What I really think: Great cover, great story, can't wait to get this one!
You haven't nominated a book for the Cybils Awards yet? GO RIGHT HERE and do that!
Stuck as to what to nominate? Here's some Middle Grade Fiction that I would love to see added to the list. It's good to have a mix of books on a variety of topics-- notice there are a few more sports books on the list. I'd like to see all of these books get a little more attention. The list is not complete, but a good start!
Acampora, Paul. How to Avoid Extinction
Arnold, Elana K. Far From Fair
Berend, Janet Eoff. True Vert
Brown, Gavin. Josh Baxter Levels Up
Callaghan, Cindy.Lost in Hollywood
Cavanaugh, Nancy J. Just Like Me
Frazier, Sundee T. Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire
Gerhardt, Jake. Me and Miranda Mullaly
Hashimi, Nadia. One Half from the East
Key, Watt. Terror at Bottle Creek
Lawrence, Iain. The Skeleton Tree.
Lupica, Mike. Fast Break
McDonough, Yona Zeldis. The Bicycle Spy
Moore, Wes with Shawn Goodman. This Way Home
Moss, Miriam. Girl on a Plane.
Osborne, William. Winter's Bullet
Reynolds, Jason. As Brave As You
Senzai, N.H. Ticket to India
Surrisi, C.M. The Maypop Kidnapping
Vaught, Susan. Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry
Volponi, Paul. Top Prospect
Woods, Brenda. Zoe in Wonderland