Thursday, September 28, 2017

Middle Grade Novels With a Message

In the past two days I've raced through two middle grade novels (a good thing since my TBR stacks keep growing) and enjoyed them both. Although the two don't seem to have much in common, the lessons and words of wisdom contained in both are fantastic.

Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

I read this middle grade novel in one sitting last night.  Lolly is a character I loved and wanted to protect.  He is growing up in the projects trying to get over the death of his older brother, Jermaine.  Jermaine was killed in a recent shooting, a victim of gang violence.
Not much makes Lolly happy right now, but when his mom's girlfriend starts gifting him with Legos, Lolly builds his way out of his grief, creating an entire Lego city in storage closet at school.  
There are ups and downs along the way.  Lolly finds an unexpected friend who helps him build his city, he is jumped and his cell phone taken. 
Moore's novel made me feel as though I were right there with Lolly and I couldn't help but root for him to find happiness.  

The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea -

Buyea, the author of the Mr. Terupt books is back with a style that has worked well for him in the past.  The Perfect Score is also a school story, told by a variety of narrators who are a part of the same classroom. Each student has their own style and personality, and not all are very fond of each other.
When they decide to ace the standardized tests that are fast approaching, they learn more than they ever thought possible.  
There are some good lessons and words of wisdom tucked into this story that readers will understand without them seeming too preachy. I loved the teachers in this novel most of all as well as the appreciation for class read-alouds with some shout-outs to great children's books.  Perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers.

Two winners in two days.  Which middle grade novel will I choose next?  Whatever it is has a tough act to follow.

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