For this round of posts we are mentioning a favorite book that we've read recently. I've chosen three.
The first is THE ROMEO AND JULIET CODE by Phoebe Stone. Don't be turned off by the misleading cover. This is not a tween romance novel. Instead, it's a beautifully written middle grade novel set during the beginning of World War II. 11-year-old Felicity Bathburn Budwig is sent from London to live with her relatives on the coast of Maine while her parents are off to...well, she doesn't know where. The book is filled with mysteries and interesting characters and a vivid setting. I looked forward to reading it every night.
My second recommendation comes from my dear friend and school librarian extraordinaire, Julie Reimer. Even though BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE by Eugene Velchin won the Newbery Honor Award, without Julie's recommendation, I would have never picked it up. Historical fiction set during communist Russia? No thank you. But I read this gripping tale in one night. This short middle grade novel portrays a young school boy who learns that the government he has put complete faith in is not at all what he was led to believe. This powerful story taught me a lot about a period in which I was ignorant.
And my final recommendation is BLUEFISH by Pat Schmatz. Travis is a 13-year-old who has gone through school without learning to read. With the help of a flamboyant girl named Velveeta (who has secrets of her own) and a dedicated teacher, things start to change. I found the story very moving, especially Travis' grieving for his lost hound dog. BLUEFISH has rightly won a number of awards, including our region's SCBWI Crystal Kite Award.