Friday, September 14, 2012

Katie's Friday Finds

Lately I've been reading lots of middle grade books since that's what my daughter currently reads and since I'm in the process of revising my middle grade novel. Then I thought, Well, I love sharing my favorite books with anyone who will listen, so why not put them on my blog?

So here it is, the first installment of Katie's Friday Finds. Each Friday you can stop by and find my recommendations for some great reads. I'll put the age level and a brief synopsis of why you should read this book (or have your child read it, or your niece, or your second cousin's neighbor's kid). I can't guarantee they'll all be middle grade books, or that they'll all be award winners of some kind or even how many books I'll put on the list each week.

What I can guarantee is that all these books have somehow inspired me, made me laugh or cry, helped me to think outside the box, and otherwise had characters that spoke to me and stayed with me long after the book was finished. That's what I deem a great story.

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor; middle grade novel
I first read this book several years ago based on a recommendation from an editor at a writing conference. I loved the book then and I still love it. My daughter (age 8) finished reading this about a week ago and adored the story, too. If you're looking for a funny, heartwarming and sincere tale, here it is. The main character, Georgina, is homeless and lives in her car with her mom and brother. She devises a plan to steal a dog and get some reward money so her family can afford an apartment. Barbara O'Connor does a wonderful job taking the reader on an emotional journey with Georgina, as we sympathize with her plight even though we know what she's doing is wrong. This is a great story with a thoughtful message and deserves to be read.

Junie B., First Grader Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) Barbara Park; early chapter book
I'm including this Junie B. book because not only was it hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny, but the message at the end was perfect. The premise of the book is Junie B.'s class has to make a list of everything they are thankful for and enter it to win a school contest. Of course, Junie B.'s class comes up with some outrageous items to put on their list. But really, all the items are stuff that kids are thankful for. And that's what makes the book so great, when you stop and think about all the little things in life that make us thankful, like toilet paper and remote controls. I mean, can you imagine life without either of those, particularly the toilet paper?!

Thanks for stopping by,
Katie M.

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