Fierce Friendship

myatibbsMya Tibbs is a nine-year-old full of sprit, which is good because it’s almost Spirit Week, and she and her popular best friend Naomi are ready to win the week full of competition.

But what happens when Mya and Naomi don’t get to be partners? Instead Mya is stuck with Mean Connie Tate, the biggest bully at her school. Will she sneak information to Naomi and her partner to help them win? Or will she learn there might be more to Connie Tate than meets the eye?

A touching, rollicking look at friendship in elementary school. Sometimes the person we think is being mean isn’t. And sometimes when we don’t intend to, we become the mean one. And what do you do then? Fast-paced with a satisfying ending, including someone getting lassoed in the hall, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs will leave you smiling and thinking. Mya’s creator, Crystal Allen, talks with me about Mya, friendship, and her own experiences in elementary school.

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Christine at Book Club Advisor: Thanks for talking with us today, Crystal! Mya Tibbs loves having Naomi as a new best friend. What did you know about Naomi when you began to write her?

Crystal Allen: I knew that Naomi was a beautiful, but bratty, nine-year-old girl.  The more she developed in my mind, the more I began to see her as a child who was the product of beauty pageants that emphasized outward beauty. Continue reading “Fierce Friendship”

Life in Four Directions

crazybraveJoy Harjo’s Crazy Brave is part history, part memoir, and part poetry. A recounting of a life from inside the soul that encompasses the way history impacts our lives at every turn.

Joy Harjo barely survived a rough childhood by running. Not running away, but finding a place where she was known. At an arts boarding high school she learned ways to express what her stepfather and life had told to be quiet and to bury. Turned on to the arts, her soul began to fly again. But even the sky has storms. Continue reading “Life in Four Directions”

My Family is Ruining My Life!

great-wall-of-lucy-wuAt least that’s what Lucy Wu thinks when her family springs the news on her, days from the beginning of sixth grade. Sixth grade was going to be perfect. Her older sister was leaving for college, meaning Lucy was going to get her own room! Basketball on weekends and a great best friend meant a great year-until her parents dropped the news. She would not be getting her own room, yet. Her grandmother had a sister in China who no one knew about. Now that sister is coming to stay with her family, in her room! Lucy uses her furniture to build a wall between her and her great-aunt’s side of the room. They can let her come visit, but Lucy isn’t going to make it easy. To make it worse, she may have to quit basketball so she can go to Chinese School on the weekends with the most annoying girl in school. Laugh and cry along with Lucy as she discovers that sometimes everything going wrong can lead to everything turning out right. A funny, lovely, candid take on life as a sixth grader, when nothing is in your control, and everything is a big deal.

Study Guide from Scholastic

Catch up with author Wendy Shang on her website

If you love Lucy, check out Wendy’s other great middle grade novel:

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Your child is not your own…

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“In English there was a word for every object. In Ojibwe there was a word for every action.” LaRose

What would you do if you accidentally killed a child? And not a stranger, not a family you would never see again, but the child of your friend, the child of your family.

A modern mutigenerational masterpiece from Louise Erdrich-Two families are torn apart by a horrible hunting accident. One family’s patriarch accidentally kills the son of his friend, next door neighbor and family by marriage. LaRose is the best friend of the little boy who was killed. His parents decide that to make things right, they have to give LaRose to the family who lost their child. Continue reading “Your child is not your own…”

Race, Family, and Belonging

9780812993455 With laughter and heartache, Mat Johnson creates a world so absurd it seems unreal, and yet so real, it cannot be ignored. Using humor as an armored shield against deep hurt and questioning, Loving Day is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt they didn’t belong, and didn’t know if there was a home for them to come back to. -BCA

Continue reading “Race, Family, and Belonging”

Unlock the Surreal

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Take a trip into avant-guarde with this luminous collection of stories tenuously connected by keys. Sometimes it is best things are left locked, but in these stories, you will hope that the characters turn the lock, so you can see what might be. Modern fairy tales that read as stories and pieces of art come alive, echoes of surrealist painting, nightmares, and unknown worlds firmly grounded in the real will keep you spellbound. So much to discuss and so much to try to decipher, a literary fiction book club pick that mustn’t be missed. -BCA Continue reading “Unlock the Surreal”