#MiddleGradeMarch | a readathon celebrating #MGLit | #MiddleGrade stories – Find out what is on Jorie’s TBR!

Posted Wednesday, 11 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

#MiddleGradeMarch badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Found out via the tag #MiddleGradeMarch on Twitter

Then discovered A Dance with Books blogged about it

Whilst I traced down who is hosting: @BooksAndJams

This runs concurrently with @MGBookVillage‘s #MGBookMarch!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I’ve been appreciating Middle Grade Fiction for quite a long while now – as a book blogger, I’ve had the chance to explore this category of fiction a bit more closely than I might have on my own – however, my local library has a hearty collection of Middle Grade titles – whilst they are also open to purchase requests for either print or audiobook copies. My regional libraries are of the same mind and it makes finding Middle Grade stories to read quite lovely because there is such a wide sea of choice nowadays for readers who are of the age Middle Grade stories were initially meant to be discovered by and for today’s adult reader who likes to revisit the stories of their childhood whilst being updated for today’s market, world and audience of Middle Grade Fiction.

I first started to revisit Children’s Lit due to feeling inspired to convey selections to my nieces and nephews whilst at the same time, knowing I would be an adoptive Mum in the future – I also wanted to find stories being writ by contemporary writers who were writing the kind of stories I would feel comfortable sharing with my future children. This is partially why ever since I first started book blogging in [2013] (as 31st March, 2020 marks the start of my 7th Year) I’ve elected to feature works of Children’s Lit (known on Twitter as #KidsLit) which encompass all stages of a child’s reading life – from Picture Books to Chapter Books, to Middle Grade and Young Adult.

A Sampling of my Favourites over the Years are as follows:

Book Review | “The Walking Fish” by Rachelle Burk & Kopel Burk A new #MGLit novel speaking directly to girls & boys who love science and the curious realms they can endeavour to explore!

Book Review | “Call Me Amy” by Marcia Strykowski – a #middlegrade coming-of age story set amidst the rescue of a baby seal

Finding a readathon this March which champions #MGLit is a wicked chance for me to find redemption in reading the stories which arrived on my shelf to be reviewed but which were not able to be read the months and years they first arrived. The timing was off due to health afflictions and/or my chronic migraines – whilst I am sure there were more than a few unexpected life moments peppered in for good measure as well!

Whatever first took me away from these stories – this particular readathon is re-aligning me with these books and I am wicked thankful for it! As you’re about to find out – I have a rather eclectic mix of Middle Grade stories – from a diverse group of authors and the genres are a brilliant dance of topics, subjects and the kind of world-building I love to disappear inside! If you’re taking part in #MiddleGradeMarch this year – kindly share a link to your blog or your Twitter *thread of updates for me – as I’d love to see what you’re reading as well!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Share this #booktuber’s tweet!

& let them know you’re joining #middlegrademarch!

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The Challenges I am undertaking this year:

  • Challenge Two: Non-Human Main Character
  • Challenge Three: Read a MG Fantasy novel
  • Challenge Four: Written in Verse (*)
  • Challenge Five: Diversity of Any Kind

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I decided to skip round to the challenges which befit the stories I have on hand to be read this year rather than trying to seek out more titles than I honestly have time to devout to reading. In regards to the challenges I’ve picked – the only one I’m most worried about finishing is “Written in Verse” as I only have one book on hand which fits this category choice and I’m uncertain if it will even count – as various sites list this as either YA or MG depending on whose defining where it ‘belongs’ in Children’s Lit. The book is “The Crossover”.

The rest of the selections I’ve made will become quite obvious once I start talking about them! Especially as the category for “diversity” is being read from different perspectives & angles this year whilst I sadly only had *one!* Fantasy novel which was considered to be Middle Grade.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Jorie’s TBR List

for Middle Grade March 2020:

All the stories featured on my list were received in exchange for an honest review with the exception of the following: Viva Durant & the Secret of the Silver Buttons by Ashli St. Armant which was my own choice of purchase from Audible whilst I had a Christmas gifted membership in 2019.

(with few exceptions all titles are off my book blogger’s backlogue list!)

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The Smell of Old Lady Parfum by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez

The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by Claudia Guadalupe MartinezThis novel originally came to my attention whilst I was hosting for Diverse Book Tours – a very short-lived blog touring company which allowed me to receive two novels by Ms Martinez. This one and also “Pig Park” which I’ll be reading and reviewing during #MyYASummer which kicks-off this June, 2020. As I decided to separate my #MiddleGrade and #YoungAdult readings between Spring and Summer this year.

The reason I found this story such an interesting one is because at the centre of the story is Chela – whose a girl who doesn’t quite fit in with her peer group at school and whose home life is disrupted by a medical crisis – two themes I could personally relate too and of which I looked forward to exploring through how Ms Martinez was going to bring the book to life. On that note directly – there is a scrapbook styling to how this story is assembled – when you first open the pages of the novel you’ll find a photograph snapshot, a hand-written journal entry and then, the story begins. It is like stepping into the private diary of the lead character and then seeing how her life unfolds from her own perspective.

Although this book is labelled as being YA, I felt it would benefit as either a Middle Grade read and/or a cross-over into Young Adult. It is definitely a story I felt both audiences would enjoy as the lead character is in 6th grade which is right on the fringes of where a reader would be moving between both MG and YA selections – as I had been myself at that age. I hadn’t started to seek out Adult Fiction titles until two years later when I turnt thirteen in 8th grade. This is also an #ownvoices selection of Children’s Literature and celebrates Latinx culture and identity.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Secret Life of Lucy Liu by Jean Ramsden

The Secret Life of Lucy Liu by Jean RamsdenThis has an interesting story attached to it as I partially was keen on reading this novel through inter-library loan services coordinated by a lovely conversation I had with an ILL librarian at the Charlotte Public Library whilst at the same time – it was through that search and conversation where I first learnt the book was MISSING from their shelves! This of course led-in to a conversation by email with the author and the long/short of the story is I did receive my own paperback copy to read and to review direct from the author herself. I also went on to interview the author by phone and had had the full intentions of bringing both the review and the interview to Jorie Loves A Story.

The year was [2015] and I was dealing with my migraines as well as other illnesses whilst life was hitting a bit harder that year as well. With everything going on it was a story I kept pushing forward to ‘read later’ and sadly, in the ensuing years since ‘later’ became five years LATER. Quite late indeed! I knew when I was going to participate in #MiddleGradeMarch I wanted to finally finish reading the story of Lucy Liu as I had originally begun it and read most of the novel (none of which I remember, sadly!) in order to interview the author by phone! It was one of those lovely moments where I could talk to an author on the phone and transcribe notes as the conversation developed. I’ve been able to do this a few times over the course of the past seven years and it is something I truly enjoy doing.

This is a story about a Chinese-American young girl whose in the 5th grade and is trying to adjust to a new class and a new state – as she’s moved from California to South Carolina! I would imagine just transitioning from one side of America to another would be difficult enough – but to go from Cali to the Deep South had to be quite extreme as well. This about multiculturalism, coming-of-age and finding your own voice when you don’t feel very comfortable or confident in your life. It is a story I enjoyed beginning to read and one I look forward to completing!

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 Anni Moon & the Elemental Artifact by Melanie Abed

This title will also count for my #WitchAthon Reads!

Anni Moon by Melanie AbedYou might have remembered I started to read this at long last during #WyrdAndWonder, 2019? It was our second year of the month-long Fantasy event and I was enjoying delving into quite a few #WitchyReads? I had re-attempted to read the rest of this novel during our secondary event #SpooktasticReads in October, 2019 – however, I clearly picked two of the worst months to attempt to read much of anything last year! May brought on a deluge of serious migraines and October was the first of three months from Autumn-Winter (ie. October, December & February) where I experienced month-long illnesses.

Which is why when I first realised #MiddleGradeMarch was a wicked time to revive my MG Reads – this was definitely at the top of the list! It would also mark the first story I would pick up to read this March which combines not only this lovely readathon but also a secondary one #WitchAThon which is specifically for stories about Witches! I couldn’t be happier – because I have several which fit that category as well – from the rest of the Magical Midway series I didn’t get to finish last #WyrdAndWonder to two Wonky Inn installments – one will be a re-listen and one is brand new to audiobook! Eek. Plus, several others you’ll have to await that announcement tomorrow to find out the fuller details of what I’m reading and listening too!

Now, back to Anni Moon! The best way to share what this story is about is to offer a bit of insight from my forthcoming review:

Abed draws you into reading her character, Anni Moon with a penchant for detailing the little bits of Anni Moon’s life at the Academy by giving out certain clues that would give the reader’s impression this is not a place you’d willingly want to live but rather were lucky you had a place in residence there instead of the alternative! She knits together little lessons for educational joy for children, such as how she created the name ‘Brat’ (presuming here) as a compound word sliced short for ‘bat rat’ as he is a sub-species of the two! She even found a way to make conversational speech a bit cheeky in places, such as when Brat and Anni Moon first get the chance to converse outside the Academy by the clock tower!

The rest of the story keeps this quick-step pace between action, clever dialogue, expansively descriptive narrative and an adventure lurking around the shadows where Anni Moon has to unravell a mystery!

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The Beat on Ruby’s Street & Fool’s Errand

by Jenna Zark

The Beat on Ruby's Street by Jenna ZarkFool's Errand by Jenna Zark

When I first learnt about this series it was September [2019] and I hadn’t realised as I was accepting to read and review the first two novels in the series my migraines would gather speed and become a bit cumbersome throughout the month whilst reappearing in November. Anchoured between October & December where I fell ill for thirty days – you could say I hadn’t much hope of reading these lovelies sooner than now!

The lead character in this novel is eleven year old Ruby – who had intended to go to a Jack Kerouac reading – it is two years shy of 1960 and this Middle Grade series comprises her life living in a Beat Generation family of artists in Greenvich Village! I loved the look and sound of this series rather immediately and I am truly itching to dive into the two novels now that #MiddleGradeMarch has begun! I love finding Historical stories of the recent past within either Middle Grade or Young Adult Fiction. It helps re-align us with the history which is not that far removed from our world now and it gives us a fresh perspective on what we might know about an earlier decade of the 20th Century.

The sequel picks up when Ruby is 12 years old and her best friend has gone missing – these stories remind of the stories I used to gravitate towards as a middle grade reader myself. And, that is the allure of reading them now as an adult reader who still appreciates these kinds of stories and the ways in which authors are trying to give thought-provoking and entertaining stories to the Middle Grade bracket of Literature.

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& two of the Dream Horse Adventures stories by Susan Count:

Mary’s Song & Selah’s Sweet Dream

Mary's Song by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream by Susan Count

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a Book Blitz – showcasing a lovely Book Spotlight w/ Extracts from the Dream Horse Adventures series by Susan Count! Lateron in March, (starting on the 21s) I’ll be sharing my review for “Mary’s Song” which I’m listening to on audiobook before reading “Selah’s Sweet Dream” in print. It was one of the first times where I could receive review copies in both print and audiobook – whilst anchouring my showcases for a series through two separate blog touring companies I work with to host reviews, spotlights and guest features.

I am happy to announce today that this post is still gaining momentum and traction with my readers and visitors alike! Warmed my heart seeing the comments coming in – as some are from Mums who want to see if their daughters might enjoy this series themselves! I love being able to unite a reader (or readers!) with stories and the fact that one of my Children’s Lit posts is helping Mums find stories for their children is just the best truly! As this is why I re-ventured back into reading these stories myself! I just happened to re-fall in love with reading them for my own sake along the journey of finding them – but evenso, those are the moments I appreciate knowing about and why I cherish the moment a note and comment alight on my blog!

This is an INSPY horse drama series which is realistically written for today’s reader (child or adult) who wants to dive into the Equestrian world and take up residence next to the horses and characters alike! There is a horse drama via Canada I love watching as well – called “Heartland” and I think watchers of that series might be equally happy with reading this one – even though I haven’t started it yet these are the vibes I am getting whilst becoming acquainted with the series.

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& if I have time I want to start listening to this audiobook:

Viva Durant & the Secret of the Silver Buttons

by Ashli St. Armant

When your a member of Audible – you now get to select two FREE Audible audiobooks – these are generally special presentations by Audible Studios and whilst I had my Christmas gifted membership from my parents, this was one of the selections I had made. I did regret a bit I had taken a pass at doubling up on more Children’s Lit at the time – as they had other Middle Grade selections at the turn of January where you could have bought two for one credit but alas, as it takes me forever to make a choice about which audiobooks I want to gather any given month, I was thankful with the ones I have now.

This particular one stood out to me because of how it reads like a cleverly spun mystery but it is also considered a sweet story for those of us who LOVE New Orleans! The lead character is fourteen and spends her summers with her grandmother in NOLA. Personally I felt it had the aesthetic of NOLA and the curiously spun mysteries of my youth percolating out of its premise enough to tempt me to hear it!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

These are the STORIES I am reading this #MiddleGradeMarch!

IF you’re taking part in the readathon & reading challenge – share a link to your announcement page on your blog OR the *thread you’ve started on Twitter! I’d love to see what you’re deciding to read and see if we share any favourite authors / genres in common! Likewise, if any of the stories I’ve shared remind you of story you’ve read for #MiddleGrade Fiction – kindly let me know the title / author in comments!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

{SOURCES: #MiddleGradeMarch banner created by Jorie via Canva. All individual book covers were given to me by either the publicists/publishers/authors/or blog touring companies who encourage me to talk about the books after I’ve reviewed them and thus, all are being used with permission. In particular, the covers for “Mary’s Song”, Selah’s Sweet Dream” were provided by Lola’s Book Tours and are used with permission. “The Beat on Ruby’s Street” and “Fool’s Errand” were provided by Pam Labbe and are used with permission. “Anni Moon” was provided by the author Melanie Abed and is used with permission. “The Secret Life of Jenny Liu” was provided by the author Jean Ramsden and is used with permission. “The Smell of Old Lady Perfume” is being used with the permission of the author Claudia Guadalupe Martinez. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Post Dividers provided by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

 I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 11 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Reading Challenges

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4 responses to “#MiddleGradeMarch | a readathon celebrating #MGLit | #MiddleGrade stories – Find out what is on Jorie’s TBR!

    • Hallo, Hallo Annemieke,

      I did and I didn’t – I did get to read a few of these selections but overall, considering what happened in my life during March, I simply lost the will and heart to continue with the project. I’ve been trying to requeue the stories and my reviews for these lovelies ever since. When emergency medical issues arise in the family, your attention goes elsewhere and I honestly barely remember what I was able to read or blog for most of March and April; as those were just hard hitting months. Things turnt round in the end but sometimes just the weight of living through our lives can take their toll. I appreciate your kind note and be sure to watch my blog and/or social feeds on Twitter – I’ll be announcing when these go up on my blog as I’m trying to determine how long I have to do a series of #MyYASummer reviews too. I want to offset those with these Middle Grade lovelies!!

      I know you haven’t had it easier this year either – I’ve been thinking of you and looking forward to visiting with you soon. I’ve been responding to my comments in different cycles this year; for the most part I fell behind, and therefore I apologise the reply comes to dearly late!!

    • Hallo, Hallo Carol,

      My apologies this reply comes so dearly late after you’ve left it for me. I read it closer to the time it posted to my blog – however, this was the kind of year where I let my replies slip past me and as my life seems to finding a level of calm right now, I’m taking advantage of it to get caught up with the comments which have given me so much joy to receive this year!! I’m so thankful to know by visiting with me you’ve increased the Middle Grade stories you desire to be reading. I hope you’ve picked some off this list and have found your next favourite authors!! That would truly be wicked sweet if you had. May you’ve been hugged inside stories and may your year have been without adversity. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll visit with me again. I read quite eclectically.

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