By Karen Rivers
New York: Algonquin Young Readers, 2017.
Genre: Realistic Fiction Grades: 5 and Up Pages: 279
Mischa is twelve years old, has two older “normal” sisters and her parents might just call her peculiar. Ish, as she is known by family and friends, wants nothing more than to be the first human to live on Mars. She is okay with being up their alone and can deal with the possibility of never coming back as long as she can be the first. First is important to Ish because she has always felt slightly inferior—even when she was adopted she felt her sister was chosen (because she is so adorable) and Ish was just the plain looking little sister who was just part of the package. Ish does not make friends easily; she does not have a sense of humor, often has headaches and is not materialistic. She had a best friend named Tig, who said they would always be friends no matter what but he moved away and she has not heard from him since. Now a nerdy kid has moved into his house; she is hopeful that he might be a friend until the first day of school when he makes fun of her! Then her headaches get worse until one day when she has a seizure and wets her pants right at school. All the kids laugh at her wetting herself. It was that time she is whisked off to the hospital and Ish’s life changes forever. Karen Rivers writes a heart wrenching story about friends, family and making sure you always stay right with the world. Never let a day pass when you do not right all your wrongs.
By Svetlana Chmakova
New York: Yen Press, 2017.
Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction Grades: 5 and Up Pages: 239
This is a great realistic fiction, graphic novel from the author who brought us Awkward. Yes, middle school students are very awkward but they are also brave! Author Chmakova likens middle school to one of the Top 10 Natural Disasters! Not only does main character Jensen agree but also he thinks he is in a video game where his mission is just to make it through each day… “without getting eaten by the game monsters…” Just who are those monsters? The math teacher who has no mercy for mediocre, the girls who laugh at him and the boys who bully him for being overweight. Therefore, each day he runs “the gauntlet” where the only safe spots are art club and the school newspaper. Jensen is the boy at school who sits alone at lunch and the one not picked for a group in class. However, today when the teacher asks for a volunteer to partner with Jensen, Jorge raises his hand and volunteers! Jorge is a big jock with a soft spot for those who get bullied and so Jensen begins to have some allies in school. This is a great book to help students establish some empathy as you feel the pain of being laughed at, being used and finally cheering as Jensen becomes brave enough to speak up for himself!
By K.A. Holt
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2014.
Grades 6 and Up Pages:
Genre: Realistic Fiction Themes: Bullying, Friendship,
Family and Librarian
Kevin is the baby of the family and he is a seventh grade bully! He bullies other kids, under his breath he bullies teachers and he just is a mixed up kid.
Kevin’s only outlet is his poetry. There he expresses his inner most feelings and thoughts! Then disaster strikes and he has lost his journal—then the bullied begin to bully Kevin. He becomes known as Poetry Boy. Kevin is sentenced to library duty for his past deeds and that is when he becomes connected to his school librarian, although he will never admit to it! His life begins to turn around as he embraces his poetry.
Kevin’s voice is told in verse—so it is a quick read that guys should love!
By Morris Gleitzman
New York: Henry Holt, 2010.
Pages: 184 Grades 6 and Up
Could not wait for the 2nd book, Then, when I found the final book, Now, was available. Snow days are great for reading books from start to finish!!
Now, could be a standalone read but it was a great conclusion to a powerful series by Morris Gleitzman. Felix is now eighty, a well-respected pediatric surgeon, who is retired and looking after his granddaughter Zelda. Zelda’s parents are working in Africa for three months and Zelda has moved in with him and started in a new school with not so nice classmates. Bullying seems to be the theme to pull the past horrors of the holocaust together with injustices of today. Zelda tells the story in this book and often reflects on the courage and fortitude that her grandpa and his friend Zelda must have had in order to survive. This book is set in present day Australia where a disastrous event sends Zelda on a treacherous journey of her own. Don’t miss this commanding finale to a wonderful historical fiction series.
Author Website: Morris Gleitzman