The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017), Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley
I read a lot of middle grade fiction. It’s probably my favorite genre. And it isn’t often that I can tell that a book is going to be special before the first chapter is even over, but this is one of those books.
This is the story of the Vanderbeeker family, who have lived in a brownstone in Harlem for several years, and have built a wonderful community of friends and neighbours. A few days before Christmas, they discover that their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has decided not to renew their lease and expects them to vacate their apartment before the end of the month.
The Vanderbeeker children – Isa, Jessie, Hyacinth, Oliver and Laney – are determined to do whatever it takes to change Mr. Beiderman’s mind and stay in their beloved apartment. Their plans, schemes and ideas are delightful, but don’t pan out the way they hope, and time is running out. Will they get the Christmas miracle they need to stay in their home?
This is a heart-warming book, with a similar feel to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I can hardly wait until its release in October so I can share it with young patrons to enjoy before the holiday season. And even better…there’s a sequel on its way in 2018.
You know you’ve made it when you can put “professional” in front of reader!
Moon Shadow by Erin Downing, Aladdin (May 16, 2017) Ages 8 + Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley
The cover of Erin Downing’s new book, Moon Shadow, was the first thing that caught my eye. It’s gorgeous. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do, and when I saw that NetGalley had this book available, I immediately requested it.
Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank is struggling with the changes that have happened to her over the past few months. Her parents divorced and her mom has temporarily moved to Sweden to be with her new girlfriend. Her former best friend, Velvet, wants nothing to do with her, and refuses to let her hang out with their mutual friend, Will. Her old sister, Romy, is distant, and her Dad doesn’t want to go out anymore. Nothing is the same as it used to be.
Then Lucia’s thirteen birthday takes place the night of the lunar eclipse, and strange things start to happen. Lucia has these weird dreams where she imagines she’s someone she’s not…daring, bold, and outspoken. But Lucia soon discovers these may not actually be dreams, and the moon magic might be affecting her in unexpected ways. How can she get things back to normal again, and does she really want to?
I really enjoyed this book, and think it’s magical realism will appeal to many readers who like a “touch of magic” in the books they read. I like that Lucia learns what real friendship means, and discovers the power of her own voice.
Welcome everyone! I’m so glad that you’re here. This blog is a place to share my reading life with you, to talk about those books that get added and removed from the neverending stack that sits on my nightstand (and on my Kindle), and to hear about your stacks too. I’m excited to start talking books with you.