This is always such a fun time of year. The CYBILS awards are in their first round and there are SOOOO many books to be read. This year I'm a second round judge so I'll have a shorter list to read, but I'm keeping my eye on things, just so I can keep up. Two great books caught my eye this fall and they are great!
The first one is a sequel to the CYBILS middle grade speculative fiction award winner last year-Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. I devoured that one last year during Thanksgiving weekend when people were giving me long looks when I would bust out laughing and then try to explain the entire story line without giving too much away. I started reading it aloud to my fifth graders this year and they are only annoyed because I only get to see them once a week. It's great being able to slow down a bit and talk about some of the amazing symbolism and cultural connections. SO NOW, I just finished reading the second one, which is called Tristan Strong Destroys the World. I'm going to TRY to tell you a LITTLE about it without spoiling any of the story lines from either book. Tristan is back at his grandparents' farm in Alabama and his grandad is determined to turn Tristan into a boxer, so Grandad has arranged a training bout with a local boy. It turns out the local boy outweighs Tristan and looks like a giant. The fight turns out well for Tristan but his beloved grandmother is kidnapped in an attack afterwards and Tristan is thrust back into Alke. There are new characters in this story along with some familiar faces (GUM BABY!!!) and the story is just as exciting, just as compelling, just as much fun as the first one. This one will be easier to understand if you've already read the first one, but it's a really fun ride!
Here's a video of how the illustrator created the book jacket.