Post-It Note Reviews: Books for younger readers featuring graphic novels, a handbook for being awesome, middle school woes, and interdimensional demon-slaying
Now that I work in an elementary library, I’m reading a lot more titles for younger readers. It’s been super interesting to me to see what the students (grades K-5) check out. I’ve spent so long completely in the world of YA and am glad for an opportunity to work with younger readers and to read all of the great picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books I’ve missed out on!
Post-It Note reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.
All summaries are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
(POST-IT SAYS: SO enjoyable. We definitely need more graphic novels featuring black kids. Fantastic full-color art enhances this story of racism, privilege, day-to-day middle school issues, and fitting in. Ages 9-14)
The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson
Quiet, sensitive Faith starts middle school already worrying about how she will fit in. To her surprise, Amanda, a popular eighth grader, convinces her to join the school soccer team, the Bloodhounds. Having never played soccer in her life, Faith ends up on the C team, a ragtag group that’s way better at drama than at teamwork. Although they are awful at soccer, Faith and her teammates soon form a bond both on and off the soccer field that challenges their notions of loyalty, identity, friendship, and unity.
The Breakaways is a raw, and beautifully honest graphic novel that looks into the lives of a diverse and defiantly independent group of kids learning to make room for themselves in the world.
(POST-IT SAYS: Great look at finding your people. Diverse cast including queer, questioning, and trans characters. Only downside is so much packed in here. Would’ve been great as a series. Easy wide appeal. Ages 9-12)
You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed, Toby Triumph (Illustrator)
(Comes out July 9, 2019)
WHAT IF YOU COULD BECOME AWESOME AT (ALMOST) ANYTHING?
It’s not as impossible as you might imagine. If you’re the kind of person who thinks …
- I need a special type of brain to do math
- You’re either good at sports or you’re not
- I don’t have a musical bone in my body
Challenge the beliefs that hold you back! Whatever you want to be good at, the right mindset can help you achieve your dreams.
Times journalist, two-time Olympian, and bestselling author Matthew Syed demonstrates how grit, resilience, and a positive mindset can help in every aspect of your life—from school to friendships to sports to hobbies. Using examples of role models from Serena Williams to Mozart, You Are Awesome shows how success is earned rather than given, and that talent can be acquired through practice and a positive attitude.
Practical, insightful, and positive, this is the book to help you build resilience, embrace your mistakes, and grow into a more successful, happier YOU!
POST-IT SAYS: An encouraging lesson for the middle school set on determination, confidence, and failure. The appealing layout and upbeat, conversational tone will engage readers. Great messages about attitude, mindset, and motivation. Ages 10+
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal
Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.
Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.
(POST-IT SAYS: A moving and funny book about middle school, friendships, family, and bullies. Readers experiencing their own complexity and transitions will especially love the strong and vulnerable Merci. Ages 10-13)
Game of Stars (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series #2)
by Sayantani DasGupta
Saving the multiverse is no game in this New York Times bestseller!
When the Demon Queen shows up in her bedroom, smelling of acid and surrounded by evil-looking bees, twelve-year-old Kiranmala is uninterested. After all, it’s been weeks since she last heard from her friends in the Kingdom Beyond, the alternate dimension where she was born as an Indian princess. But after a call to action over an interdimensional television station and a visit with some all-seeing birds, Kiran decides that she has to once again return to her homeland, where society is fraying, a terrible game show reigns supreme, and friends and foes alike are in danger. Everyone is running scared or imprisoned following the enactment of sudden and unfair rules of law.
However, things are a lot less clear than the last time she was in the Kingdom Beyond. Kiran must once again solve riddles and battle her evil Serpent King father — all while figuring out who her true friends are, and what it really means to be a hero.
(POST-IT SAYS: Just as good as book one in this series. Kiranmala is my favorite interdimensional demon-slayer! Hilarious and full of action, this Bengali folktales-inspired romp through the multiverse is supremely enjoyable. Ages 10-14)
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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