Book Review of the Middle-Grade read One Last Word by Nikki Grimes



Beautifully written and crafted. Thought provoking line by line. Here are a few lines from the poem, “On Bully Patrol” I wanted to comment on:

Worse yet–again, like–my child tarries
over each assigned task far too long,
ever seeking impossible perfection in
the doing of it. Never mind that the
symmetry she desires is beyond the human depth.
I sigh, recalling the ultimate value of
such doggedness, the strength implied, the
sturdy beauty of a stubborn seed.

I bet Grimes “tarried” over the task of writing this book. And how ever long it took her to accomplish this, thank you Ms. Grimes. Even though Grimes may feel it’s imperfections, I feel she achieved the “impossible perfection”. She was able to teach me, a Caucasian, the feelings of how an African American living in Harlem felt–“beyond human depth”. This book was probably her “stubborn seed” but I see the “sturdy beauty” of it.

This book will not be a read aloud for my 2017-2018 students. This book will serve as a mentor text. I can not wait to share and study the beauty of this book with my students.


Do I think it is a 2018 Newbery contender?  Yes

Is a contender as a read aloud for my 2017-2018 class?  No, because I will be using this a mentor text rather than a read aloud.


Book Review of The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli


Review:  This book could have easily earned 5 stars. I like how Spinelli opened the novel with a setting of the present while the bulk of the book is set in the summer of 1959, then ending the book right smack back in the present pulling the whole story together. I also like how Spinelli eased into the progression of the mourning process of the protragonist, Cammie over the loss of her mother whom she never knew with the climax smacking the reader in the face. I liked how Spinelli included the trustee’s “the housemaid” diary entry as another point of view that provided a summary of the events that happened in the summer of 1959 towards the end of the book. Spinnelli’s writing is so beautiful that it just stops you in your tracks as you read. However, I think including the character, Boo Boo was a mistake. Including the events of the protagonist with Boo Boo was the book’s biggest downfall. So much so, I don’t think this book is a Newbery contender for 2018. However, it is a good read–just not notable.

Do I believe it is a 2018 Newbery Contender?  No

Is it a contender as a read aloud for my 2017-2018 class? No

The 17 Middle-Grade Reads I Am Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2017

These are the following middle-grade books that I am, as of today, most looking forward to reading this year.  2016 was a fabulous year for middle-grade reads.  I’m thinking 2017 is just as promising.

Release Date:  January 3rd

      Release Date: January 3rd

Release Date:  January 3rd

    Release Date:  January 3rd

    Release Date:  January 31st

    Release Date:  February 14th

    Release Date:  March 14th

    Release Date:  March 28th

    Release Date:  April 11th

    Release Date:  May 2nd

    Release Date:  May 2nd

    Release Date:  May 16th

    Release Date:  May 30th

    Release Date:  September 12th

    Release Date:  September 26th

    Release Date:  September 26th

    Release Date:  October 17th

What middle-grade reads are you most looking forward to reading?