10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning by Mary Hershey. In this sequel to My Big Sister Is So Bossy She Says You Can’t Read This Book, ten year old Effie’s happy with her two best friends, Nit and Aurora, and her mom, the coach, and her bossy sister even though Effie’s dad is in prison for embezzlement. But when Aurora leaves their private school to go to public school, and when Mom’s friend, Father Frank moves in to get himself sorted out, and when bossy Maxey starts acting like a saint to impress the priest, Effie feels she must figure out how to straighten them all out and make everything return to way it used to be.
Longhorns and Outlaws by Linda Aksomitis. Twelve year old Lucas Vogel’s parents died in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and now his older brother Gil wants him to go with him to Montana and become a cowboy. But Lucas wants to go to school and eventually become a Pinkerton agent who chases down outlaws like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I’d recommend this one as a supplement to state history studies of Montana or of the turn of the century time period. Ms. Aksomitis has a website with free resources for teachers and links to free Old West movies. There’s a sequel in the works called Kidnapped by Outlaws.
A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg. In Kuckachoo, Mississippi, 1963, twelve year old Addie Ann Pickett sees injustice and the courage of those who fight against it as the Civil Rights movement begins to change life even in a small town in the Deep South.
Complete review at The Well Read Child.
Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb. Set on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains during the Great Depression, this book is narrated by the eponymous Autumn who prides herself on doing things “different.” However, when she and her sister and her mama move in to Gramps cabin to take care of him instead of going to live with Pop in Knoxville, Autumn must deal with a great deal of “different” that she didn’t plan on at all.
Itch by Michele Kwasney. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Delores aka Itch moves with her grandmother from Florida to Ohio, under protest. She makes a new friend, Gwendolyn, but finds that the talented baton twirler has serious family problems (child abuse). Delores/Itch must learn to speak up and tell the truth even when it’s hard.
Full review from Bill at Literate Lives.
The Buddha’s Diamonds by Carolyn Marsden. A coming-of-age story set in present day Vietnam, this short book tells about Tinh and how he comes to understand his relationship to his father and his spiritual heritage of Buddhism.
Good review by cloudscome at a wrung sponge.
The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis. We’ve come full circle with a book in which a girl loses her best friend due to a misunderstanding, worries because her mother’s (boy)friend is moving in, and decides that she’s the victim of the McMahon family curse. Pair this one with 10 Lucky Things.
Cynsations interview with Katie Davis.
These are briefly mentioned because I’m reading furiously to complete as many of the 139 books on the Middle Grade fiction nominees list as I can before our panel must decide on the finalists. Stay tuned for more reviews and news about Cybils nominees.