Monday, April 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze

Today’s pick:  Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

Aladdin, 2010

From the Publisher:
MILO is the funny and poignant story, told through text and cartoons, of a 13-year-old boy’s struggle to come to terms with the loss that hit the reset button on his life. Loveable geek Milo Cruikshank finds reasons for frustration at every turn, like people who carve Halloween pumpkins way too soon (the pumpkins just rot and get lopsided) or the fact that the girl of his dreams, Summer, barely acknowledges his existence while next-door neighbor Hilary won't leave him alone. The truth is – ever since Milo's mother died nothing has gone right. Now, instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. In love with the girl he sneezed on the first day of school and best pals with Marshall, the “One Eyed Jack” of friends, Milo copes with being the new kid (again) as he struggles to survive a school year that is filled with reminders of what his life “used to be."

My Take: 
Even though it seems like humour and grief don’t mix, both are part of this quirky but touching story. Milo has a lot to deal with—starting a new school, trying to make friends, trying to get the attention of the girl he likes, and adjusting to life after losing his mother to brain cancer. The author’s cartoon illustrations help to tell the story and also keep it funny, even though the overall theme of dealing with grief is sad. The first person point of view made it easy for me to connect with the character of Milo and I quickly got wrapped up in his problems. Even though the main character is a boy, I think girls would enjoy this book too. As a writer, I’d study this novel to see how to weave in specific details that help to create the perspective of a middle grade reader (e.g. “her smile is like a curly French fry”, “hoping the conversation can be rewound like a DVD”). 

Other Info:
Alan Silberberg is a children's TV/film writer who lives with his family in Montreal, Canada.

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze is his second novel. It is the winner of the Sid Fleischman Humour Award.
Alan Silberberg’s blog is funny and interesting to read (it hasn’t been updated in a while but I enjoyed reading back through the process of Milo’s publication.)

This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2012. I’ve profiled some of the other nominated books: The McGillicuddy Book of Personal Records, Crossing to Freedom, Ghosts of the Titantic, Neil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction, That Boy Red, The Glory Wind, Ghost Messages, and Undergrounders.

Other books by this author include:
Pond Scum  

For more, check out Alan Silberberg’s website.

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:
  • Joanne Fritz
  • Shannon Messenger
  • Shannon O'Donnell
  • Myrna Foster
  • Ally Beecher
  • Barbara Watson
  • Deb Marshall
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast
  • Gina Carey
  • Nye Louwen - My Spirit
  • Laurisa White Reyes

    1. Sounds like a good book. I don't think you could get a kid to read a book about grief if there wasn't something else like humor there. Thanks for sharing.

    2. This sounds like such a great meld of the super serious with the super funny--and to do that (and do it well) takes something really, really special.

    3. If it won the Sid Fleischman award, it's bound to be funny. I've never read this. Thanks for the heads-up!

    4. i've been meaning to check out milo - thanks for the post!!

    5. Milo looks like so much fun! I enjoyed your rundown of the novel.

    6. I believe this is the second time I'm coming across this book. I'm adding it to my tbr list.
      Thanks for the feature.


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