This brilliant debut novel by Yaa Gyasi tells the story of two Ghanian families connected by half sisters who never new one another. Their tales stretch from the 1700s on the Gold Coast of Ghana, spanning generations to present day America. No matter their age, their geography, their gender, or their status, each generation faces new hardships and oppression that shows how slavery has persisted on both continents. Because of the complexity of the relationships, this book is best read in a short time period (and with frequent references to the family tree at the beginning!).
The new middle grade novel 14 HOLLOW ROAD is a story of loss, grieving and friendship. It explores normal middle grade relationship drama and early romance, all while tackling the larger issue of recovery and loss related to a natural disaster. Author Jenn Bishop has written an extremely readable novel that I’m certain will have many tween readers on the edge of their seats. In addition to being forced to live down the hall from her crush (eek!), Maddie struggles with evolving relationships and friendship drama that will feel familiar to many readers. Read our full review here.
Wishtree is narrated by a 216-year-old red oak tree. Red has seen many generations of immigrants come through the neighborhood, but the tree notices that people are treating the new family on the block differently. Some people are unfriendly to, scared of, and even hostile toward these new neighbors. Red and its many critter friends come together to figure out if a Wishtree can help remind people of their humanity. All levels of middle grade readers will be able to handle the writing and themes in WISHTREE, which focus on diversity, inclusion, kindness, and love. Exactly the themes our kids should be thinking and talking more about these days. Read our full review here.
The girls and I listened to LEMONS on audiobook this month. We had CDs from the library, so the girls were extra excited to drive everywhere until we finished. We all LOVED this book. It’s another good one about grief. LEMONS tackles much deeper grief issues than 14 HOLLOW ROAD does, but in a way that keeps younger readers interested and engaged. When Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mother dies, she moves to a Northern California town to live with her grandfather in a town that is obsessed with finding Big Foot. Her only friend is Tobin, the founder of Big Foot Detectives, Inc. Liberty soon learns that busying herself finding Big Foot helps to stave off the sadness—and that everyone who surrounds her has also experienced deep loss. Her new family teaches her how to go on making lemonade out of life’s lemons.