Monday, February 15, 2021

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU MANGOS by Kereen Getten – A story of friendship, adventure and mystery

The setting of this story is wonderful! It's a fun read with a twist ending and supernatural elements.

Why you want to read this book…

If you’re wishing for the warmth and escape of summer, this book will take you there. I really enjoyed reading about Clara’s adventures and her secrets. Clara has a memory issue related to a mysterious event that happened last summer, leading to fears and complicated feelings about friends that unfold as the story develops. And there’s a surprising twist! 

I loved all the details of the island that we experience through Clara’s adventures—including her secret hideout.  


Description from Goodreads

Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call exotic. But there's nothing exotic about it to Clara. She loves eating ripe mangos off the ground, running outside in the rain with her Papa during rainy season, and going to her secret hideout with Gaynah--even though lately she's not acting like a best friend.

 The only thing out of the ordinary for Clara is that something happened to her memory that made her forget everything that happened last summer after a hurricane hit. Sometimes things come back to her in drips like a tap that hasn't been turned off properly. Other times her Mama fills in the blanks...only she knows those aren't her memories and it is hard feeling like she is not like everybody else.

But this summer is going to be different for Clara. Everyone is buzzing with excitement over a new girl in the village who is not like other visitors. She is about to make big waves on the island--and give Clara a summer she won't forget.

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten was published by Random House Children’s Books in 2020. I read an electronic version from my local library.


 If you’re looking for another fun or maybe spooky middle grade book to read, check out Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.

Monday, February 1, 2021

ANA ON THE EDGE by A. J. Sass - A story about deciding who you really are

After an extended holiday break (which included returning to teaching kindergarten online and writing about my students' wonderful progress for their report cards), I'm back to reviewing some of the many books I read. This year, one of my reading goals is to expand the types of books I read to better reflect the diversity of children who read them. Along with choosing stories that call to me personally, I will also be choosing books that may help me broaden and challenge my own perspective. 

 Why you want to read this book…

Ana’s story is intriguing, full of tension and a few surprises. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book, but it didn’t take long before I was hooked on the story. The way Ana’s character develops and grows seemed so natural, especially the way Ana questioned and thought about their own feelings. The backdrop of the competitive figure-skating world adds another layer to the story with the pressure to perform. This is a much-needed book and it’s so well-written that I really didn’t want to put it down.

The author’s note and an explanation of dysphoria at the back helps to explain what nonbinary means and some of the feelings a nonbinary individual might experience.


Description from the publisher…

Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season's program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.

Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn't correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he's around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it's tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.

Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2020. I read an e-version from my local library.

If you’re looking for more thought-provoking middle grade books to read, check out Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.