Category Archives: Children

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

Aya is an 11-year-old dancer from Aleppo, Syria, forced to flee with her family due to the war. Making their way across the Mediterranean her father is presumed drowned and her mother’s mental health breaks leaving Aya basically in charge of her baby brother. In England they claim asylum and await the verdict of whether they can stay or if they must leave. Aya begins dance classes at a community center with a teacher who was herself a refugee during World War II. The book does a really good job of presenting the concepts of asylum seeker and refugee and what having to flee your home can do to you short and long term in a way that middle grade children – the age the book is aimed at – can understand. The story is told very effectively through both present day narration and flashbacks. It’s very well written. I recommend No Ballet Shoes in Syria to people of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 7
Pages Read in 2020: 2404
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Filed under Children, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Good Luck, Ivy! by Lisa Yee

Good Luck, Ivy! focuses on Ivy, the best friend of the 1974 American Girl doll, Julie. Ivy is a Chinese-American gymnast who has to make a hard choice between going to her family reunion (and eating Chinese food… again) or going to her gymnastics tournament (and risk falling off the beam… again). As with all American Girl books, it’s historical fiction written in a way that really interests kids. I highly recommend this book to both girls and boys.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 125
Pages Read in 2019: 31,819
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Filed under Children, Historical Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Julie Takes a Stand by Megan McDonald

Julie Takes a Stand is the second book about Julie, the American Girl from 1974. Julie participates in the wagon train east to commemorate the bicentennial and then runs for study body president for her elementary school. My sons, especially my 11-year-old, loved the book. American Girl really is historical fiction done right. It tells the story on a kid’s level, but still is as accurate as possible. The last few pages are historical background showing where they got the ideas for what happens to Julie in the book. Julie Takes a Stand makes an excellent family read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 124
Pages Read in 2019: 31,734
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Filed under Children, Historical Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

Melody: Never Stop Singing by Denise Lewis Patrick

Melody: Never Stop Singing is the second American Girl book about Melody, an African American girl from 1964. Melody is just turning 10 and learning about some of the more serious concerns in the world. Things addressed include JFK’s assassination, Civil Rights, racism, and difficulties in the inner city black community. Everything is told on a level tweens can understand. My 11-year-old son especially liked it. It makes a great family read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 121
Pages Read in 2019: 31,106
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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

Kaya: Smoke on the Wind by Janet Shaw

Kaya, a Native girl in 1764, experiences the death of a loved one and coming to terms with her own failings. American Girl books are everything right about historical fiction for kids. They tell the story in a way that gives the history as well as keeping it interesting for children. Kaya: Smoke on the Wind is no exception. I highly recommend this book to kids (boys and girls) of all ages. It makes a great read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 117
Pages Read in 2019: 30,047
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Filed under Children, Historical Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth is a strange book. It’s so full of puns and amusements and plays on words that it is also delightful. My 11- and 13-year-old boys enjoyed it very much, especially the older one since he absolutely loves clever jokes. I recommend this book to everyone of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 102
Pages Read in 2019: 25,997
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Filed under Children, Classic

Humbug Holiday by Tony Abbott

It’s Christmas in Humbug Holiday, the fourth Cracked Classics book, and this time Frankie and Devin find themselves inside of A Christmas Carol. They learn a lesson right along with Scrooge as they work their way through the book and also discover that going back in a book to reread it doesn’t cause the meltdown they are used to when they skip ahead. Like the other books in the series, this one is super fun and sparks an interest in reading the classic book. Both my boys (11 and 12 years old) loved it. I highly recommend Humbug Holiday and all the books in the Cracked Classics series to people of all ages. It makes a great read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 77
Pages Read in 2019: 20,707
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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys