Sunday, October 05, 2014

MMGM- Friendship OVER (The Top-Secret Journal of Celie Valentine)

17469952Sternberg, Julie. Friendship OVER (The Top-Secret Journal of Celie Valentine)
1 October 2014, Boyds Mill Press
E ARC from

Celie is struggling with her friendship with Lula. As is the case with many 10-year-olds, the slightest misunderstanding can be blown into epic proportions. Lula was uncomfortable with something Celie saw at Lula's house, and so the two begin bickering to the extent that their classroom teacher recommends them for a friendship workshop with a guidance counselor. Celie also has to content with her older sister Jo, projects at school, and embarrassing cousin Carla, who comes to watch Celie and Jo when their mother has to go visit their granny. Granny is having lapses with her memory, resulting in her putting her garbage in the freezer, and Celie's mother just want to see what's going on. Luckily, most of Celie's other issues are figured out before the biggest change of all occurs-- her grandmother is going to move in with the family.
Strengths: This hits many issues that concern younger middle grade readers: friend issues, sibling issues, getting in trouble in school, and grandparents in an honest and funny way. It also touches on some growing up issues like wearing deodorant, which is for some reason completely fascinating to girls until they actually need to wear it! Since series books, especially notebook novel types, are always in demand, I can see this being a very good purchase for elementary school libraries.
Weaknesses: By 6th grade, my readers have moved beyond most of these issues, and the problems with friends are much less accidental and much meaner and purposeful, so I think this may be a bit young for my crowd.

For those of you who need books for that wonderful grade 3-5 group, hop on over to some of these sites for the full blog tour. Bonus: you might come across a great middle grade blog you've never seen before!

Mon, Sept 29Mother Daughter Book Club
Tues, Sept 305 Minutes for Mom
Wed, Oct 1Sharpread
Thurs, Oct 2KidLit Frenzy
Fri, Oct 3The Hiding Spot
Sat, Oct 4Booking Mama
Mon, Oct 6Ms. Yingling Reads
Tues, Oct 7GreenBeanTeenQueen
Wed, Oct 8Great Kid Books
Thurs, Oct 9Teach Mentor Texts
Fri, Oct 10Unleashing Readers
Sat, Oct 11Bermuda Onion

Julie Sternberg is the author of the best-selling Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and its sequels, Like Bug Juice on a Burger and Like Carrot Juice on a CupcakeLike Pickle Juice on a Cookie is a Gryphon Award winner and a Texas Bluebonnet Award finalist; Like Bug Juice on a Burger is a Gryphon Honor Book, a Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Nominee, and an Illinois Monarch Award Finalist. Formerly a public interest lawyer, Julie is a graduate of the New School's MFA program in Creative Writing, with a concentration in writing for children. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. For more information about her life and work and to download free activity materials based on her books, visit her website:

20759619Schutten, Jan Paul. Hello From 2030 The Science of the Future and You
October 7th 2014 by Aladdin/Beyond Words
E ARC from

Once I get my time travel machine working, what I really want to do is to travel back to 1983 and snag a copy of the Seventeen magazine that gave us a glimpse of what clothing would look like in 2000. Silver lame and  stretch fabrics figured largely.

This is definitely a great book to purchase on many counts. It has topics of interest to students, like houses, food, and technology, combined with an aesthetically pleasing layout, complete with requisite cartoon robots. Why don't I have the Jetson's Rosie doing my laundry? Actually, the chapter on robots was interesting in the way the past vision of robots was addresses-- the machines that do things like laundry and cooking have become so efficient that robots would be superfluous! Who knew that microwaves were not a fabulous technology. My grandmother, who was born in 1893, would have begged to differ. She never locked the doors to her house until we bought her a microwave in 1980! Lots of good notes and statistics, as well as beautiful pictures, make this a good jumping off point for discussions about lots of different issues.

I am looking forward to seeing the physical book, though-- even though E Books are the thing of the future, sometimes the pages (at least on e ARCS) take longer to load than I would like, and make it hard to flip back and forth between sections for cross referencing.

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 at Anastasia Suen's blog.


  1. This book on the future sounds like fun. I know of many young people who won't touch a fiction story but will spend hours turning the pages of a title like this. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

  2. thanks for sharing a couple of interesting books. I often wonder what we'll have in the next 25 years... reminds me of "world of tomorrow" at the Worlds Fair back in the last century.

  3. My kids would love reading "Hello From 2030 " - perhaps we could make predictions of our own before reading through it, too.

  4. I think my granddaughter might like Friendship Over. She's in fourth grade and dealing with those issues. Hello from 2030 sound interesting. Maybe I'll check it out. Thanks for the reviews.

  5. Thanks for your ideas about Hello from 2030-sounds interesting, but it's not that far away! And, I know some of those I work with will enjoy hearing about the Julie Sternberg book. I like her other books. I know what you mean about e-books-hard to move back & forth.

  6. We're currently doing a time travel theme - this one in 2030 sounds like a perfect fit! :)