Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Middle Grade, Middle School, Tween Reads

Life in the Muddle: Middle School, Muddle School

Muddle School, by Dave Whamond, (Sept. 2021, Kids Can Press), $15.99, ISBN: 9781525304866

Ages 9-13

Based on author/illustrator Dave Whamond’s own middle school experiences (with photos as proof!), Muddle School is all about Dave, an artistic kid who starts Muddle School: middle school in a town called Muddle. Think that’s bad? He’s also the new kid. He’s also the kid whose mom has him wear a blue leisure suit on the first day. Poor Dave can’t catch a break: he’s beaten up by bullies on his first day; he blows an accidental snot bubble during class, and his secret crush is revealed, all in record time. As he helps his classmate, Chad, work on a science fair project – a time machine! – Dave starts thinking this is the ticket to retconning his entire middle school experience thus far; he could go back in time and fix everything before he becomes the bully target with a runny nose, right?

Cartoon drawings, narrated by a first-person character who’s lovably awkward and self-deprecating, this is another hilarious addition to middle grade and middle school kidlit. Kids are going to see themselves in Dave; they’ll cringe at his most cringey moments, and they’ll wonder about making their own time machines, and what they could undo. Muddle School sums up the muddle that is tween life for readers, complete with hopelessly out of touch parents (Hey!) and language teachers who pretend not to hear you if you’re not speaking the language they’re teaching: even if there’s a zombie right behind them. A hilarious look at self-preservation and perseverance.

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Ace is A-Okay!

A-Okay, by Jarad Greene, (Nov. 2021, HarperAlley), $12.99, ISBN: 9780063032842

Ages 9-13

Eighth grader Jay gets a prescription for Accutane to deal with his acne, but that medication comes with serious side effects. A-Okay, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Jarad Greene, covers some of the scary moments most middle schoolers feel at some point: body issues, identity, and finding your people. Jay suffers bullying because of his acne, and he’s disappointed because none of his friends are in his classes or share his lunch period, and his best friend seems to be avoiding him. Meanwhile, Mark and Amy, two of his classmates, are each showing more than friendly feelings for him, and he doesn’t feel the same. Written with sensitive humor and insight, A-Okay is about the middle school experience as a whole, and about asexuality: a diminished or lack of sexual attraction.

The middle school years are fraught with a hormonal mix of emotion and reaction that would frighten anyone: our bodies seemingly go haywire, leaving us feeling confused and betrayed; friendships are fraught with drama and complexity; fears about the future threaten to crush us. Greene understands his audience and quietly gives middle schoolers a voice with his A-Okay characters, who let middle schoolers know that every one of these feelings and emotions are okay. Colorful and upbeat illustrations put readers at ease, and he writes with a gift for both dialogue and introspection. A story whose time has come, Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnson nailed it when he wrote that A-Okay will be “to kids with acne what Smile was to kids with braces”. And then some.

For Ace resources, read the BBC’s article, “The Rise of the Invisible Orientation”; Stonewall.org’s “Six Ways to Be an Ally to Asexual People”; and visit the Asexual Visibility and Education Network’s website and follow them on Twitter. A-Okay is featured in HarperAlley’s Classroom Conversations brochure, offering booktalks and discussion questions.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Middle School, Non-fiction, Realistic Fiction, Teen, Tween Reads

I’m back with more graphic novels!

Hi all! I gave myself a mental health break for the holidays. I didn’t get anything done around my home, as I’d hoped, but I did take a break, knit, and read for a bit, and it was nice. I hope you all had warm and happy holidays, and are safe and well. Let’s finish this year strong and look forward to a better 2021.

In the meantime, I’ve got some graphic novels to crow about.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald/Illustrated by K. Woodman-Maynard, (Jan. 2021, Candlewick Press), $24.99, ISBN: 9781536213010

Ages 12+

The Great Gatsby is getting lots of graphic novel love lately; Fred Forham’s vision was a 2020 CYBILS graphic novel nominee. K. Woodman-Maynard’s envisioning of the Fitzgerald classic is much more surreal, with dreamlike watercolors and narration blended into the background: Nick’s words wander around rugs and through lightbulbs, run over sidewalks, and curl into cigarette smoke. The story of Jazz Age love and murder feels like a series of beautiful watercolors, but a large chunk of the story is missing, making this hard to follow for readers who haven’t read the original story. In her author’s note, Woodman-Maynard even states that she was excited by the metaphors in the story, and it was not her intent to be “an exact literal interpretation of the novel”. As a surrealistic exploration and companion to the original, Woodman-Maynard’s book certainly provides a compelling look. Get a look at a chapter excerpt here, thanks to publisher Candlewick.

 

Beetle & The Hollowbones, by Aliza Layne, (Aug. 2020, Atheneum Books for Young Readers), $21.99, ISBN: 9781534441538

Ages 9-13

First, I have to make a huge apology here: I was invited to a blog tour for Beetle back in August, which also happened to be a point where things were falling apart here, and I blew the date. I am still embarrassed and mortified, because I really work to keep to things like that. So I hope this post makes up, in some way, for the oversight. That said, Beetle & Hollowbones is adorable! A homeschooled goblin-witch named Bettle befriends Blob Ghost, a blobby ghost that inhabits space at the local mall in the town of ‘Allows. Blob Ghost – or, BG, as Beetle calls them – is relegated to the mall, so Beetle happily visits, and is sad when she has to leave. Beetle’s old friend Kat shows up for a sorcery apprenticeship with her intimidating Aunt Hollowbone, and Beetle is fascinated: Kat’s cool, she’s social media famous, chic, and great at magic, to boot. The two start spending time together, to BG’s disappointment, but when Aunt Hollowbone’s awful plan to raze the mall becomes public news, Beetle realizes she has to save BG and find a way to release the mall’s hold on them.

A story about friendship, doing the right thing, and standing up for yourself, Beetle & The Hollowbone’s illustrations are beautiful and vibrant, with adorably creepy creatures that I could easily envision in an animated series. This is the kind of story my library kids love: warmth, family, and friendship, with some magic to infuse the tale.

Beetle and the Hollowbones has starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist. It is also a CYBILS 2020 Graphic Novels nominee.

 

Galileo! Galileo!, by Holly Trechter & Jane Donovan, (Aug. 2020, Sky Candle Press), $13.99, ISBN: 978-1939360083

Ages 8-13

Narrated by the historical Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, Galileo! Galileo! is the story of NASA’s mission to Jupiter. We get a brief recap of Galileo’s life, for an understanding of why the mission bore his name; the narrative then moves into a comprehensive, illustrated lesson on the history of aeronautics and space missions. Holly Trechter’s time as a NASA Ames History Archives intern provides great insights, including a peek at Carl Sagan’s letter-writing campaign that saved the Galileo after budget cuts by the Reagan administration. Holly Trechter and Jane Donovan make Galileo Galilei a cartoony, amiable character who explains the science and politics of space travel in friendly, understandable terms, and the artwork is colorful and includes diagrams, maps, and colorful illustrations. Back matter includes discussion questions. Give this to your Science Comics and History Comics readers for sure. Galileo! Galileo! is a CYBILS 2020 Graphic Novels nominee.

 

Bear, by Ben Queen & Joe Todd-Stanton, (Aug. 2020, Archaia), $24.99, ISBN: 978-1684155316

Ages 7-12

This is another CYBILS 2020 Graphic Novels nominee that I really enjoyed. An original graphic novel from Pixar writer Ben Queen and illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton and published by BOOM! imprint, Archaia, Bear is the story of the relationship between a guide dog and his human. Bear is service dog who lives with Patrick, the blind man he takes care of. Bear and Patrick are happily living together, but when Bear suddenly loses his vision; he worries that he’s lost his purpose. He gets separated from Patrick while trying to get advice from a raccoon, on getting his vision back, and ends up on a grand adventure where he’ll meet bears, run through the streets and subways in Manhattan, and try to find his way back to Ulster Country. Bear is gentle and noble; he will do anything for Patrick, and in turn, Patrick will stop at nothing to find Bear. I loved the relationship between these two, and I thoroughly enjoyed the raccoons, largely played for comic relief, and Stone, the bear who takes it upon himself to keep Bear safe on his travels. The story is also a positive portrayal of a blind character: Patrick repairs vending machines, is a passionate reader and “a decent athlete” who applies for a guide dog in order to pick up more machines on his service route; he hears that having a guide dog will allow him to travel faster than walking with a cane.  The book also gently corrects ableist language; when Patrick mentions having a “seeing eye dog”, the trainer responds that they are called “guide dogs”.

Beautifully illustrated with gentle colors and empathetic characters, Bear will make my graphic novel  shelves when we reopen. Until then, I’ve handed this one to my Kiddo. Results to come.

 

Twins, by Varian Johnson/Illustrated by Shannon Wright, (Oct. 2020, Graphix), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1338236132

Ages 8-12

Twin sisters Maureen and Francine share a room and a life, but starting sixth grade is BIG. Francine, the more extroverted, can’t wait for the chance to start meeting new people and having new experiences, but Maureen is more introverted, more hesitant. She misses dressing like her twin, and she’s really not thrilled that she has no classes with her; when Francine starts calling herself “Fran”, Maureen doesn’t know who this alien who took off with her sister is! Maureen is also intimidated by her school’s Cadet Corp, especially her instructor, Master Sergeant Lucinda Fields. Maureen, the straight-A student, is frustrated by her difficulty in getting marching in formation down and the overwhelming experience of middle school, so discovering that Francine and their parents were behind the decision to put the girls in separate classes AND enroll Maureen in Cadet Corp makes her take action: she decides to run against her sister in the race for Class President. A story of growing up and facing adolescence with all its challenges, Twins features main characters of color in a strong family and a relatable story that anyone with siblings – and close friends – will recognize. It’s hard enough growing apart from one’s best friend, but what happens when that best friend is your sister – and a person you share a friendship group with? I loved the story, the relationship between the sisters and the relationship between family members, the realistic frustration of sharing friends when you have a falling-out, and the challenges of taking on new experiences. Give to your Varian Johnson readers and your graphic novel fans that loved the Invisible Emmie, Becoming Brianna, New Kid, Class Act, and the Nat Enough books.

Twins has starred reviews from The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. Twins is also a CYBILS 2020 Graphic Novels nominee. See the full list of honors at Varian Johnson’s webpage.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade

Webcomics on Wednesday: Dylan Campbell’s Scared by the Bell

I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while, now: create a list of webcomics that I could post by the computers at my library, so the kids could check them out and maybe discover a comic to follow. They’re huge graphic novel fans, and this would give them something new to read while they’re waiting for the next volume of Amulet/Pokemon/anything by Raina Telgemeier to publish.

I started going through my inbox, and lo and behold (and with much embarrassment), I found an email from Dylan Campbell, a creator who let me know about his new webcomic, Scared by the Bell, back in January 2017. It is insane, how one thinks, “Oh, I’ll get to that in a second”, and a year later, it’s still in the inbox. But the good news is, there are three issues online now! But I’ll get to that. First, Scared by the Bell.

Peter is a kid on his first day at Lighthouse Middle School, but this is no ordinary, run of the mill school. Peter’s classmates include Maggie (a Medusa), Vlad (a vampire), Frank (Frankenstein), and Marv (a werewolf), for starters. Principal Merlin takes Peter under his wing to explain a little bit about Lighthouse, but Peter’s still baffled: how did he get here, and how is he going to make it through middle school when his classmates want to snack on him?

Scared by the Bell has three complete issues under its belt, and Dylan Campbell had a successful Kickstarter earlier this year, all great signs. The art is cartoony and fun, and the classmates are familiar and inspired; there’s a Cthulhu-faced kid (and you know how I love my Lovecraftian monsters); a mummy, a skeleton, even a scary looking teddy bear. Now that the infamous Goldilocks has also joined the crew, I’m looking forward to even more adventures. Scared by the Bell updates on Fridays – a great way to end the week! For Spanish speakers, Dylan offers “Asustado por la Compana” (http://asustadoporlacampana.smackjeeves.com/), and translates it himself, which is pretty fantastic. He welcomes comments and suggestions!

Also – I have a Spanish version of “Scared by the Bell” called “Asustado por la Compana” that updates every Friday as well.  You can find the link to the Spanish version over here at: http://asustadoporlacampana.smackjeeves.com/  

 

 

Dylan, I am so sorry that it’s taken almost a year to get on board with your comic, but Scared by the Bell is going on my list of webcomics. I like the writing, I like the character interaction, and I enjoy the artwork.

If you’ve got graphic novel readers, let me know if webcomics are working for your readers!

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Choose Empathy. Choose Compassion. Read Mustaches for Maddie.

Mustaches for Maddie, by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown, (Oct. 2017, Shadow Mountain), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1629723303

Good for readers 9-12

Maddie’s a 12-year-old kid who loves to laugh and make people laugh, and there’s nothing better for that – at least according to Maddie – than a fake mustache. She carries them around with her, always ready to hand out and pop one on to make an uncomfortable situation better, to add some bravery when a situation calls for it, or just to make someone laugh. She’s also trying to secure her spot within the school queen bee’s clique; Cassie dictates who gets to hang out with her, and demands favors of her “friends” in order to stay in her favor. When she tells Maddie not to hang out with a perfectly nice classmate for no other reason than she said so, Maddie struggles with it, but ultimately – at first – sticks with Cassie. The thing is, Maddie’s noticing her body acting weird lately. Her arm isn’t acting right; it’s curling against her chest. She’s tripping over her own two feet quite often. But she tells her mom it’s just growing pains. It can’t be anything weird, right?

Wrong. When she finally goes to the doctor, she and her family learn that she has a brain tumor that will require surgery. And Maddie just landed the part of Juliet in the school production of Romeo and Juliet! Maddie learns to face her fears – including her fear of not being in Cassie’s orbit – and embraces real friendship with those around her. When Cassie turns into a bully, Maddie focuses on the bigger picture: surgery and recovery. Her friends and family rally around her, and there are plenty of mustache moments to look forward to.

This book is brilliant. Based on the true story of the authors’ daughter – who is okay now, thank goodness! – this story, told in the first person from Maddie’s POV, is engaging and heart-felt. Maddie has a great sense of humor and a big heart, and strives to see the good in everyone: even a bully. Despite wanting to be in Cassie’s orbit, she enjoys embracing her quirky sense of humor, making her a lovable heroine – even moreso, when you realize she’s an actual person. SLJ calls Mustaches for Maddie a good readalike for RJ Palacio’s Wonder and I have to agree. I’ve booktalked it exactly once, and that’s because the second I put it on the shelf and talked about the plot, it was gone and hasn’t stopped circulating yet. The book’s website offers a free, downloadable reading guide with Common Core Connections, activities for the classroom and beyond, and CIA (Compassion in Action) activities. There are also fantastic extras, including downloadable mustache posters and greeting cards. I’m considering a CIA program myself, where I provide the kids with mustache templates that they can decorate and we’ll display in the library, along with a list of CIA intentions. If I can get the kids to join in, I’ll make sure to blog it.

In the meantime, this is a great book for discussion, for gift-giving, for just about everything. It addresses the need for compassion that our society needs some help with these days, and take on a special importance during the holiday season and as we prepare for a new year.

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Victoria Jamieson’s Back! All’s Faire in Middle School

All’s Faire in Middle School, by Victoria Jamieson, (Sept. 2017, Dial Books), $12.99, ISBN: 978-0525429999

Recommended for ages 9-13

Newbery Honor winner Victoria Jamieson’s newest graphic novel, All’s Faire in Middle School, introduces readers to Imogene (Impy), an 11 year-old who’s about to start middle school after being homeschooled. She’s also a knight-in-training at the Renaissance Faire that her parents and extended family – the other RenFest players – run. She’s got a different lifestyle, but never really thought anything of it; it’s all she’s known. Once she gets to public school, though, she finds herself embarrassed by her family and RenFest friends, her thrift store clothing, and her small apartment. But will she be a noble knight and rise above her challenges?

Victoria Jamieson’s got a gift for telling middle grade stories about quirky heroines who buck tradition. Roller Girl introduced us to Astrid, a girl who found herself in the roller derby arena; with All’s Faire, she gives us Imogene, who finds herself in the RenFaire. She’s got a different upbringing, which she’s embraced up until now – she meets kids who think she’s weird because she’s different; for a moment, she falls prey to the self-doubt and fear of standing out that plagues tweens. She meets the Mean Girls, and she has to draw on her internal strength and the love of the RenFest family around her to be her authentic self. There’s great storytelling here, with memorable characters and fun moments at the Faire.

This will appeal to everyone who loves realistic fiction, and all the Raina Telgemeier fans who love authors who get them. A must-add to bookshelves everywhere. Check out an excerpt from All’s Faire in Middle School at Entertainment Weekly.

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Blind Guide to Normal brings back old friends!

blind-guideA Blind Guide to Normal, by Beth Vrabel, (Oct. 2016, Sky Pony Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781510702288

Recommended for ages 8-12

Taking place in Beth Vrabel’s Blind Guide universe, readers get to hang out with Ryder, also known as Richie Raymond, in Beth Vrabel’s A Blind Guide to Normal. Ryder is leaving Addison, the school for the blind we were introduced to in A Blind Guide to Stinkville, to head to “normal” school for eighth grade. The thing is, at Addison, Richie was the Big Man on Campus. With his jokes about his prosthetic eye and ability to find a witty comeback for every situation, he was the King of the Hill at Addison. In a mainstream school, it’s starting all over again – and to add to the chaos, he and his mom are moving in with his grandfather while his dad is off studying buffalo. Gramps has a very strange sense of humor, and his cat, General MacCathur, can’t stand him. On his first day of school, Ryder finds himself enrolled in a Quilting class (thanks, Grandpa!), making his bio teacher pass out, and putting himself at odds with the town hero, Max. Forget about fitting in – can Ryder get through the school year as the school punchline? He’ll need some help from his best friend Alice and, unbelievably enough, Gramps, to find out.

Less of a sequel and more of a companion to Blind Guide to Stinkville, Blind Guide to Normal is every bit as great to read as any Beth Vrabel book. Yes, I’m a Vrabel fangirl, and with good reason: she creates characters that I love. They tend to have a sarcastically upbeat outlook, which I can appreciate, and so do many of the kids I talk to in a given day. Her villain here isn’t even a villain, it’s just someone who Max starts off on the wrong foot with, and Max’s gift to see himself descending into car wreck territory but not being able to stop it is so refreshingly normal – how many times have you just not been able to stop talking when you know you’re just making things worse? – that you’ll laugh with embarrassed relief that you’re not alone. I was happy to see Alice again; her FaceTime conversations with Ryder provide a nice, familiar anchor for both Ryder and us readers. His relationship with his grandfather is a great subplot that I hope reaches kids who just don’t get their own grandparents, who they may see as weird or old-fashioned.

I hope Beth Vrabel finds more ways to bring us back to this group of friends. There’s a lot of great diversity in kid lit these days, and Vrabel’s ability to address disability with the suppressed emotion that spills over into a Don Rickles-like wit adds a spark to the expanding dialogue. Get this one and give it to your Blind Guide to Stinkville readers, sure, but also hand this one to your Wimpy Kid readers and tell them that Ryder and Greg would, in the ultimate literary multiverse, probably get along just fine.

 

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Middle Grade, Middle School, Puberty, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Realistic Fiction that works: Still a Work in Progress

still-a-work-in-progressStill a Work in Progress, by Jo Knowles, (Aug. 2016, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763672171

Recommended for ages 9-13

Noah’s trying to make it through seventh grade: his friends are weirding out, girls are weird, and his home life… don’t ask. His older sister, Emma, has been acting strange again. Her increasingly difficult food demands are driving Noah crazy – he really doesn’t like seitan; he just wants a burger – and she’s doing things like wearing lots of bulky clothing layers, moving her food around the plate without actually taking a bite, and arguing with everyone. Just like she did when The Thing They Don’t Talk About began last time. Noah’s only solace these days seems to be in the art room, where he can express himself without stress.

Still a Work in Progress is one of those great middle grade books that tackles tough issues within the framework of every day life: meaning, there’s a lot of laughter, a lot of confusion, and some pain. Overall, the book, narrated by Noah, is hilarious. The dialogue between him and his friends sounds like things I’d overhear my kids talking and arguing about, and Jo Knowles really captures Noah’s inner dialogue beautifully: the mixture of anger and concern for his sister, in particular. Ms. Knowles gives readers a realistic novel that brings together school life, home life, friend life (any kid will tell you friends are a separate sphere), and the frustration of moving through these areas while in the pull of something much, much bigger than you. I also loved the real star of the book: a hairless cat named Curly, who lives at the school and hangs out with the kids (Curly’s on the cover of the book, so you know this is an important cat.)

Great middle grade novel for realistic fiction readers. There’s always a call for good, realistic fiction in my library, so this one will get a good booktalk. Check out Jo Knowles’ author website for a link to the book’s Pinterest page and downloadable discussion guide.

Want more? Here’s Jo Knowles talking about the inspiration behind Still a Work in Progress.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Like science news with a fun spin? Check out Brain Bug Mag!

I’m always trying to get kids to read. It’s a librarian, it’s what I do. I’m also constantly on the lookout for fun ways to get them creating and learning about science – yes, I’m one of those STEM/STEAM wannabe librarians. When Brain Bug Magazine got in touch with me and asked me to check out an issue of their “gross science magazine”, I jumped at the chance. Come on, gross science? Those two words are gold to a children’s librarian!

ISSUE 5 COVER

This fifth issue of Brain Bug is their 3-D issue, and comes with a nifty pair of 3-D glasses! No old school red and blue, though – these are clear, chromadepth glasses that you can use to make images in the magazine pop, and use them for cool stuff like checking out the night sky, or a picture with cooler colors in the background (like, blue) and warmer colors in the foreground (like, red). Other great features in this issue include articles on the origins of 3-D, an profile on 3-D printing, an interview with two chemists, and comics galore.

3d printing sample

The magazine is aimed at middle schoolers; I’d also suggest 4th and 5th graders. There’s a real ‘zine spirit to it, which I love; a really independent spirit, and the artwork is largely comics illustration, to appeal to all learners, especially visual learners that may be turned off by a chunks of intimidating science-y text. The interview with the two chemists, for instance, is illustrated – such a great spin on publishing a traditional interview! Brain Bug doesn’t dumb down information, either: there’s technical terms used and explained, in language that treats the kids as intelligent learners.

There are some fun comics in here – regular features, I’m pretty sure – including a group of Super Foods that are fighting the good fight against junk and processed foods; Grillboy, chronicling the adventures of a grill cook who’s less than enthusiastic about his job, and the Pun Police, who patrol the magazine in search of awful puns.

grillboy

I really enjoyed the magazine, but I know mine would be wrecked in circulation. I’d consider getting one subscription for myself to keep as a reference copy and let the kids look at it and pull projects and ideas from it, for sure, and I think it would be a good addition to classroom or school libraries. It’s $50 for six issues, $35 for four issues, and they offer reduced rates to librarians and educators. Check out their online store for back issues and subscription info.

 

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Middle School

Spotlight on: Pippa Morgan’s Diary!

cover64902-mediumPippa Morgan’s Diary, by Annie Kelsey (December 1, 2015; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

Hardcover ISBN 9781492623281

Price: $12.99

Pippa is beside herself when her BFF moves to Scotland. TO SCOTLAND! In a move of self-preservation, she tries to make a new friend when Catie Brown, one of the most popular girls in school, sits next to her in class. Catie Brown has a rotating list of people who get to sit next to her at lunch every day! Pippa discovers that she and Catie both love the talent reality show, The Voice Factor, and in a desperate bid for something to get Catie’s attention, Pippa tells her she auditioned for the show. AND blew the judges away. She and Catie become BFFs, but Catie’s dying to hear Pippa sing – so much that she signed her up for the school talent show. And Pippa couldn’t catch a tune if she was carrying a barrel.

Pippa Morgan’s Diary is perfect for readers who love Jim Benton’s My Dumb Diary, Rachael Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries, and Marissa Moss’ Amelia’s Notebook series. Pippa gets herself into hilarious trouble with her overactive imagination, but you have to appreciate her creativity – and her honesty. This is a fun start to a new series, and the kids in my library LOVE this diary/journal fiction trend.

Praise for Pippa Morgan’s Dairy

“With its approachable style and friendly language, this is sure to please both older fans of Rebecca Elliott’s “Owl Diaries” (Scholastic) and reluctant readers alike.” –School Library Journal

“Likable characters in humorous situations make for a promising series opener.” –Kirkus

“A charming story about the lengths you can go to win someone over, this is a great addition to the perennially popular illustrated-journal trend in middle-grade fiction. Although the character-created sketches can draw Wimpy Kid comparisons, the tone more closely matches Marissa Moss’ Amelia’s Notebook (1995)… the perfect quick read for any student with starry-eyed aspirations and a big imagination.”- Booklist

Summary:

Sometimes a little white lie can land you in a whole lot of trouble…

Pippa’s new BFF Catie Brown is perfect. So perfect, that Pippa tells her a teeny tiny lie—that she once auditioned for Voice Factor—to impress her. And it works. It works so well, in fact, that Catie enters Pippa into the school talent show.

The only problem? Pippa can’t sing. Not at all. In fact, her singing is so bad it scares the neighbors. But if she doesn’t participate in the talent show, Catie will know she lied. But if she does participate, the whole school will find out what a horrible singer she is…including Catie!

It’s up to Pippa to put an end to this pesky problem!

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26457243-pippa-morgan-s-diary

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/UZb5z

Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/UZcJF

Books A Million- http://ow.ly/UZcQi

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/UZd4f

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/UZd9D

About the Author:

Annie Kelsey is a pseudonym for a well-known children’s book author.

Excerpt from Pippa Morgan’s Diary

attachment;jsessionid=aaa3PxeNO8JsDdSuYCdgv

 

 

Sunday

I can still smell the stink of the moving van. Rachel and I just hugged and cried as they loaded her stuff on. Then I watched like a big-eyed kid who’d just lost her puppy while Rachel waved out of the window of her parents’ car.

I will NEVER forgive Rachel’s parents—I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE THEY DECIDED THAT RACHEL SHOULD LIVE IN SCOTLAND INSTEAD OF THREE DOORS AWAY FROM ME!

Scotland is, like, a gazillion miles away.

Rachel said Nothing Would Change Really. *rolls eyes* She said, We’ll still be best friends even though I’m so far away. I love Rachel but sometimes she can be one fry short of a Happy Meal.

Of course we’ll be best friends. But it’s not the same. I can only talk to her on the phone. I don’t get to see her every day.

We can NEVER AGAIN dress up in my dad’s extra-high-visibility cycling gear and go and stand under the fluorescent lights in the supermarket and see how many shoppers we can dazzle. The frozen-food section was best because the freezers had this cold blue glow that turned us practically luminous. We’d offer to help shoppers reach for fish sticks or ice cream and try not to giggle when they’d half-close their eyes like they were staring into the sun.

We loved dressing up. Last summer, we pretended we were characters from The Lady of Morpeth Abbey—which was our favorite TV show EVER. It was soooo romantic and all the characters wore beautiful old-fashioned clothes. Rachel and I raided every thrift store in town until we’d made the BEST costumes. Rachel dressed as Mr. Hunderbentleman (buckle-y shoes and a frilly shirt and a big hat and everything) and I wore ten big skirts on top of each other and put my hair in a bun so I looked like Lady Monteith, and we spent the whole day talking like our characters.

RACHEL: Lady Monteith, may I bring you something from my morning stroll as a token of my admiration?

ME: I would be eternally grateful if you brought me a dozen roses, Mr. Hunderbentleman, for my pretty nose needs something delicate to smell.

RACHEL: (giggling) My dear lady! Why don’t you stroll with me and we may smell the roses together?

ME: Oh, Mr. Hunderbentleman! I am so lucky to know such a kind gentleman as you.

And we did it ALL day. Mom and Dad thought it was really funny (Mom and Dad were still married then) and it was the best day ever. Then Mom told us to go and get changed because my big skirts kept sweeping things off her knickknack shelf and Rachel had to go home for dinner.

I wonder what Rachel’s having for dinner tonight? I could have the same thing and it’d be like we were having dinner together like we used to when Rachel’s mom went to yoga.

But I can’t even text her to ask because she’s living on the side of a mountain in the middle of NOWHERE.

image005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of Pippa Morgan’s Diary (U.S. & Canada only)!

 

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js