Friday, August 26, 2016

RICBA Nominees 2017

I will be adding to this post as I make my way through the list ... favorites at the top.

Full Cicada MoonFull Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you liked Inside Out and Back Again, you will love this. It made me full of righteous anger. Poor Mimi. But she keeps bouncing back. And then Santa gave her a gift and I cried.

Paper ThingsPaper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Powerful depiction of how easy it is to fall through the cracks, and a reminder that you don't always know what's happening in the life of the kid sitting next to you. I kind of wanted to kick Gage, though. Will recommend as a readaloud to classroom teachers.

Quote: "That's the great thing about librarians; they'll help you find information without being too nosy."

The Honest TruthThe Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of those books I didn't really want to read: terminally ill kid + pet dog + some survival stuff does not equal my usual reading interests. But the story pulled me in, and I think it would make a great book club read for middle grades. Lots of choices to discuss.

Ruby on the OutsideRuby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short and sweet. Ruby's voice was so realistic, especially her hesitation and worrying about doing/saying the wrong thing. The fear of "getting in trouble" was heartbreaking.

p. 2: But just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. And just because you don't remember something doesn't mean you don't miss it. And just because you are used to something doesn't mean it's normal.

p. 32: I wanted to keep my two worlds apart. I didn't want anything from this inside world that might affect my outside world. When I got home and that world became this world again.

p. 86: I guess you never know what you should be grateful for.

p. 108: I don't even realize what I've written until I pass it back to Margalit and then I realize that in order to keep the lid on, and keep anything from spilling out, I just switched pots on the stove completely.

p. 127: My inside and my outside are colliding. Everything is about to spill over the top, making a mess on the stovetop.

I have to add, looking at other reviews, I am not the only one who got distracted by poor proofreading ... you need to hire better freelancers, Simon & Schuster!

Trombone ShortyTrombone Shorty by Troy Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Engaging memoir that I'll be sharing with the music teacher. Thought the text was great. But the illustrations had some issues; I liked the collage-iness, but I didn't like how Trombone Shorty's face looked deformed in some of the pictures. And he definitely didn't look young enough! The photos in the back were surprising because they showed just how tiny he was ... he found his first trombone when he was FOUR.

Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Powerful, although students will need background information filled in before or after.

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal KingdomHow to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super interesting, although a bit long for a readaloud. One star deducted for the sometimes confusing layout.

Masterminds (Masterminds #1)Masterminds by Gordon Korman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn't going to win any writing awards - I couldn't tell the difference between the narrators, and the plot was a little holey - but said plot is definitely interesting. It's like a SyFy show presented for middle graders - most of the time, this kind of story is YA. Will recommend to my kids.

Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic, #1)Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute, quick read. Never hurts to remind kids to "Just be who you are, not who you think you should be."

The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (HiLo #1)The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am not the target audience for this book, and I found some of it kind of dorky. However, I know my kids will LOVE the combination of adventure and humor. I forsee a long hold list. Also, I love that Judd was on the Real World: San Francisco and is now finding success in his chosen field!

Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major LeaguesGrowing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues by Matt Tavares
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice messages re: family ties and working hard.

SistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Solid depiction of adolescent angst and sibling annoyance.

View all my reviews A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1)A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bit heavy-handed with the anti-testing message (not that I disagree), but overall a nice early-middle-grade book with sports and classroom angst mixed together. Will definitely recommend as a readaloud to 4th grade teachers.

Books mentioned: Out of My Mind; Lawn Boy; Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities; I Survived series; From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun; Real Revision by Kate Messner.

A Handful of StarsA Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lily was a realistic character - a somewhat paranoid, stubborn character. My 4th grade girls will LOVE the book.

RatscaliburRatscalibur by Josh Lieb
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was fine for a fantasy adventure with talking animals. Not my cup of tea. And Uncle Patrick calling Joey "honcho" was very annoying. However, the twist with the villain was definitely interesting.

Wondering how they will explain everything to Mom?

Took: A Ghost StoryTook: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was my first Hahn book - and my first eBook! I thought it would be scarier.

Into the Killing SeasInto the Killing Seas by Michael P. Spradlin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So stressful. And the twist at the end was annoying.

Stella by StarlightStella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I just did not connect with Stella, and the dialogue seemed stagey.

The Misadventures of the Family FletcherThe Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Just because a family has two dads and four adopted kids doesn't make them all that interesting. I didn't get a true sense of anyone's personality; the omniscient narration seemed all over the place, and I didn't really care about any of the characters. I did, however, like the short notes that started each chapter. That was a nice touch. Maybe if the entire book had been epistolary, I would have liked it more.

Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose)Ellie's Story by W. Bruce Cameron
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I didn't think I'd like it, but I read all the RICBA books each year, so I suffered through it. However, my kids already LOVE it. And they're the audience.

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