Teaching My Baby To Read

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Monthly Archives: February 2016

“Sticks and Stones” by Abby Cooper

All year my ten-year-old son has been reading advanced review copies of middle grade books we borrow via my membership as a debut author in The Sweet Sixteens. Here’s his review of Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper.

Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper is a middle grade read that comes out in July of 2016. The hook is that Elyse is a middle grade girl with a special affliction called CAV which makes everything she calls herself and other people call her show up on her skin. So if somebody gives her a compliment, it feels great, but if someone insults her, it’s super itchy. Most people don’t know about Elyse’s CAV. On top of all that Elyse is dealing with her first break up and her best friend leaving her for the popular crowd.

I thought this was a great book, even though as a fifth grade boy I wasn’t exactly the target audience. It had more romance than I was used to. The hook was really clever. “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you.” Or  … do they!

“The Eye of Midnight” by Andrew Brumbach

Two cousins and one mysterious adventure make for a suspenseful story that middle grade readers will love. The Eye of Midnight, by Andrew Brumbach, is a book my ten-year-old son finished in 24 hours. This book comes out March 8th. Here’s my son’s review:

William and Maxine are practically strangers, even though they share the same grandfather. Will is brave and likes living on the edge. Maxine is clever and tends to be cautious. Their grandfather, Colonel Battersea is always getting into one scrape or another.

Will and Maxine have to work together to save their grandfather — and the world.

Secret passages, dark mysteries, exotic taxidermy, a wooden genie that speaks Arabic; step into Battersea Manor and prepare for adventure. The Eye of Midnight will not disappoint!

“The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society” by Janet Sumner Johnson

These past few months my ten-year-old son has been reading every Advanced Review Copy I can borrow through my membership as an author in The Sweet Sixteens. Here’s what he thinks of The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society by Janet Sumner Johnson, which comes out April 1st, 2016:

The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society, by Janet Sumner Johnson, is a quick, fun, middle grade read. The hook is that two best friends work desperately not to be separated by changing circumstances.

Jason and Annie have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Unfortunately, Jason has to move away. Jason and Annie are frantic, looking for a way to reverse it. They have a multitude of plans, including lottery tickets, pirate treasure, and much, much more. Things are looking bright! Can they save the situation after all?

I thought this book was a good read and I would recommend it to kids from 8 to 13.

“Paper Wishes” by Lois Sepahban

When I first heard about Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban I was eager to purchase a copy for my family. I’ve read No-No BoyObasan, and Farewell to Manzanar, but those are books about Japenese Internment camps meant for older readers or adults. Paper Wishes is geared towards kids. I want my children to learn the dark side of American history as well as the light, but would this book capture my ten year old’s attention? He read it in one afternoon! Here is my fifth grader’s review:

Paper Wishes is a compelling historical fiction read for kids who are in third grade on up to middle school. It tells the story of a young girl named Manami on her desperate need to console herself after losing one of her best friends, her dog Yujiin. Manami and her family are shipped away to a Japanese internment camp shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her family is Japanese American. The dog can’t come with them. While in camp, Manami creates artwork featuring her beloved dog Yujiin.

Before I read this book I knew all about Japanese internment camps but now I can fully realize the pain and longing that went on inside them. I have tons of Japanese American friends and I would flip if this happened to them.


“Bounders” by Monica Tesler

As soon as my ten year old saw the advertisement for Bounders by Monica Tesler on the back of “Boys Life Magazine,” he wanted to read it. Here’s my fifth grader’s review:

Bounders is an intriguing middle grade Sci-Fi book with twists and turns at every corner. The main plot is that children are being bred to “bound.” Bounding is basically teleporting anywhere they want–even planets. Life sounds good, or so it seems, until some of the bounders make a strange discovery.

Probably anyone from nine to fourteen would enjoy Bounders. It might be too hard for third graders, unless they were advanced third graders. This was a really good book and I would rate it five stars.

My son’s review of “The Rat Prince”

RatFinding books that my ten-year-old hasn’t read yet is a challenge. Have you seen our home library? So this year we are concentrating on brand new books. Luckily, I’m an author and my membership in The Sweet Sixteens means I have access to advanced review copies of books that haven’t come out yet.

So far my son has reviewed Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan, Fenway and Hattie by Victoria Coe, and The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop. Here’s his review of  The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder: 

The Rat Prince is an intriguing story I read start to finish in less than twenty four hours. I didn’t put it down, except when my mom made me. It’s a blend of the classic story Cinderella and The Secrets of Nimh. The hook is Cinderella meets the rat guardians of her family and they embark on a great adventure. That the rats have a ruler that is much smarter than you would think for a rat. He’s a good guy. The bad guy is {——} {——–}. As the story unfolds you will see how it resembles the classic tale of Cinderella but still stays mature enough to pull in an upper middle grade audience.

Stay tuned for more reviews!