Sunday, June 09, 2013

Middle Grade Monday-- Battles

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Practically Paradise.

Congratulations to Heidi Grange for winning the Matilda 25th anniversary giveway. The prizes for the 48HBC will be announced later in the week, after all the participants have reported in.

Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little WomenKrull, Kathleen. Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women.
5 March 2013, Walker Children's

In this picture book, Krull (who is a great biographer-- she knows just want interesting parts to include!) gives a brief overview of Alcott's decision to become a Civil War nurse, and the impact that recounting her experiences in Hospital Sketches had on her writing career. I learned some interesting things (women could sign up to be nurses if they were "at least thirty, "very plain", unmarried, strong, with two letters about her good character."), and may well purchase this, since we just had a history class doing a biography cereal box project on famous people who had an impact around the time of the Civil War. My only quibble with this was that the illustrations weren't that attractive.

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel Lopez, Diana. Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel
11 June 2013, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Chia is ready to start 8th grade, hang out with her friends, and maybe get a boyfriend, but when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and has a mastectomy, this becomes more difficult. Her mother needs her rest, and Chia and her sister Carmen are expected to babysit their two year old brother and help out around the house. TO complicate matters, Chia makes a promesa that she will sign 500 people up to sponsor her in a 5K to benefit breast cancer research. Her friends help out a bit, but it's still difficult to get through her mother's illness, especially since her entire family is stressed about it.
Strengths: As in this author's Confetti Girl, the main character is clearly Hispanic, but that's not what the story is about. This is a very detailed account of a struggle with breast cancer, from the family traveling to a shrine, to Chia and her mother shopping for a prosthesis, students facing the same situation will find this comforting. There's no false hope, just straight forward facts and a good example of a child worrying about a parent's health and trying to do something to help.
Weaknesses: I didn't like Chia's friends! While I thought the whole book was very realistic, some of her friends seemed unhelpful and silly.


  1. I will read anything about Louisa May Alcott. I have loved her books my whole life.

    I had forgotten the release date for "Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel". Last time Diana Lopez was in town she shared the new proposed title with us and I thought it was a brilliant choice. Most girls love mood rings. I know it will be good and will definitely buy it for our school library since she is a local author and a terrific writer.

  2. I have a friend who named her daughter Alcott in honor of the author.

    Will have to share this one with her.

  3. I posted about the Alcott book, too! What a wonderful find.

  4. Anonymous11:01 AM EDT

    I like the Civil War time period!