Summary: Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is Angela Ahn’s second middle grade novel. Her debut, Krista Kim-Bap is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint either. Peter, or Petey, as he’s…
Simon B Rhymin’ is the story of 11-year-old Simon Barnes (aka Notorious D.O.G.), a shy kid who loves to rap. His best friend Maria (aka Ri-Ri) is a talkative Latina who often has to stand up to Simon’s bullies. His other best friend, C.J. is mostly chill, but also supportive of Simon. Simon’s parents also support his rapping, but he still doesn’t feel confident about rapping in front of strangers.
Maggie loves animals and has been waiting patiently to get a dog, only to discover that she’s allergic. She’s also dealing with a changing family in which she feels less and less like she belongs. Her two little brothers are seemingly obsessed with each other and couldn’t care less about her. Her mother is heavily pregnant and excited for the new baby.
Grant Falloon is a super fast track runner, so it’s a no brainer when he gets the chance to sign up for the million dollar race organized by Babblemoney. The mega-rich sneaker company wants to give back a million dollars to the winning kids from their international contest. Unfortunately Grant runs into a couple of snags.
Vera feels like the outsider with her American friends who are more well-to-do and have slumber parties in their larger houses.
When she tries and fails to fit in repeatedly, she decides that she will go to summer camp just as her friends do. This way, she’ll have something to say when they’re all sharing summer plans and experiences. However, the Russian Scout camp she and her brother are sent to is not at all like the American summer camp she envisioned. Gross toilets, snobby older kids, a lot of reading in Russian and tough outdoor conditions teach Vera much about life and friendships.
Kate Albus’s debut middle-grade book, A Place to Hang the Moon follows three orphaned kids in England during the WWII evacuation. Orphans William, Edmund, and Anna (aged 12, 11, and 9) are evacuated after their (not nice) grandmother dies. The kids are instructed not to disclose how well off their family is until they’re placed with a new family that feels like a forever family.
Stella Diaz Dreams Big is the third book in the Stella Diaz series and Stella is finally in fourth grade! Her brother Nick is a high schooler, and both he and Stella are shocked by the volume of HOMEWORK they now have to do compared to what they did in their prior classes. Nick is also working part-time at a pizzeria and Stella’s fourth-grade goals have her signing up for several extracurriculars — and stretching herself thin.
Larissa Fan’s Ten Little Dumplings is based on a true account of the life of a family member. It follows a family with 10 sons in the village of Fengfu. In Taiwanese culture, male children are prized over females, and so as Fan writes, the family is viewed as special. They’re “special because they had ten sons. To have one son was considered lucky. To have ten was great luck indeed.” As we see the 10 boys grow through life, a beautiful surprise awaits readers in the middle of the story.
In Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum, Luna and her family go out for dim sum on her birthday. When the mouthwatering meal arrives, the kids have six buns which they can share equally, but in her excitement, Luna drops one pork bun, leaving the three kids only five buns to share. As they negotiate using the Lunar calendar, common sense, and math skills, they find a surprising solution to their dilemma.
The Sea in Winter is the story of 12-year-old ballet dancer Maisie Cannon who is recovering from a torn ACL. Maisie is Native American and part of a blended family; her mom remarried after her father’s death and she has a younger half-brother. With regard to her heritage, her mom is Makah, her father was Piscataway, and her stepfather, Jack, is from the Elwha Klallam Tribe.
Maisie is miserable because her two closest (and only) friends Eva and Hattie are also ballerinas and now that she isn’t dancing, it’s too difficult to maintain her friendships with them. She’s also struggling with how slowly she’s recovering and is a bit depressed in general because of how much she loves ballet how tightly woven into her identity it was.
14-year-old David is a quintessential middle child. His sister Bridgette is in college and the family’s academic success story. Mal, his younger brother is on the autism spectrum, although his family prefers not to use the autism label. Mal is almost non-verbal and only says the word “okay.” David has always has a large appetite and an interest in competitive eating, but after he accidentally leaves a $2000 bill on his mother’s credit card, he’s forced to join a pizza eating contest to win the grand prize of $5000.
In between finding his place in the family and trying not to ruin his internal organs by overeating, David also has to navigate the fact that his two oldest friends Cyn and HeyMan might be dating each other. Where does that leave him? As the third musketeer still, or an unwanted third wheel?
Fourth grader Mya Tibbs is excited for Spirit Week! She has made plans to partner with her best friend Naomi Jackson. Mya’s life seems pretty good with her brother Nugget, his best friend affectionately known as Fish, and her other friends, identical twins Starr and Skye. The one scary part is Mean Connie Tate, who everyone knows is the biggest fourth-grade bully. So, you can imagine Mya’s terror when she’s partnered with Connie and Connie refuses to trade partners. On top of that, Naomi is mad at Mya for not trying harder to trade partners. Even the twins who agree on everything are getting torn apart because Skye wants to stay friends with Mya, while Starr is on Naomi’s side.
But as Mya works with Connie, she realizes that things aren’t as she’s thought.