Monday, October 10, 2016

MMGM- How to Avoid Extinction

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!

28697361Acampora, 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
Bauer, Joan. Soar.
Berend, Janet Eoff. True Vert
Brown, Gavin. Josh Baxter Levels Up
Burkinshaw, KathleenThe Last Cherry Blossom
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
Grosso, Mike. I Am Drums
Hashimi, Nadia. One Half from the East
Key, Watt. Terror at Bottle Creek
Knowles, Jo. Still a Work in Progress
Lawrence, Iain. The Skeleton Tree.
Lorenzi, Natalie Dias. A Long Pitch Home
Lupica, Mike. Fast Break
Narsimhan, Mahtab. Mission Mumbai
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


  1. Thanks for the review. I will definitely add How to Avoid Extinction to my TBR list.

  2. This sounds like a fabulous read. Love the feisty grandma.

  3. I'm definitely adding this one to my list, both to purchase for the library and to read personally. The grandma sounds a lot like mine and I remember road trips with her and my mother in an older car like the Buick. It sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a fun sounding plot (except for the dog part). I hope someone will nominate this one for CYBILS.

  5. The book sounds good, Karen, and you already know I like grandparent stories, too! Nice of you to share a list! I have nominated, but perhaps others will take your advice!

  6. I'm always looking for books that make me dance and fist pump! The plot summary of this one reminded me of the movie The Fundamentals of Caring, which was quite funny. I guess you can never have too many road trip stories!

  7. Love the title and the cover! This sounds like a fun read, and I'm all for books where grief doesn't take over the whole plot.

  8. What an engaging story. Sounds like a fun plot. Love that cover!

  9. I'm not that big a middle grade reader, so there are so many titles on this list of nominees that I've yet to pick up - so many books, so little time!

  10. Can't wait to read How to Avoid Distinction - Sounds like we will need a box of tissues by our side. Thanks again for sharing the link to nominate books for they Cybils.

  11. The story looks like it is going to be a big hit in my classroom. I'll have to get it!

    Happy reading this week :)

  12. Thank you for having THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM on your list! :)

  13. Thank you so much for the shout-out for A Long Pitch Home, Ms. Yingling! Looking forward to checking out the other books on your list. :-)

  14. I absolutely love road-trip books. Thanks for telling me about this one.