I've been meaning to read all the Sunshine State Young Reader nominees for this year. I tried downloading them from Mackin Via and I ended up with a spinning rainbow wheel of death, both on the iPad and on my laptop. FINE. So today I made a trip to the public library and happily, they had most of the titles I hadn't read yet. YAY for public libraries! I can't think why I waited so long to read this one, because it was terrific! It's called "Save Me A Seat" by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. It's told from two different boys' perspectives. Ravi and Joe are both in the same fifth grade class. Ravi's family just moved from Bangalore, India where his family had been quite well to do and he did very well in school. They are living with his grandparents in a much smaller house and without all the servants they had in India. Joe has lived in this community all his life. He has a learning disability and his mom just started to work at the cafeteria in his school because she lost her nursing job. His dad is truck driver and so he's gone a lot. There is a third boy, Dillon, who also plays a big part in the book. Dillon is a bully and at first, Ravi thinks he and Dillon will be friends, but pretty soon Ravi figures out that's not going to be the case. This is a terrific, fast paced story and each voice is very vivid. I loved both of these guys and I LOVED the ending. Don't miss this one!
Here's a book trailer for Save Me a Seat.
This second one is called "My brother is a superhero" by David Solomon. It's about Luke, who is crazy about superheroes and comic books. His older brother Zack is a serious student and all around good boy. One day when they are hanging out in their treehouse (Zack is working on his homework and Luke is reading comic books), Luke has to go to the bathroom and when he gets back, Zach has been paid a visit by a space alien distributing super powers. Luke is extremely disappointed but decides he's going to help Zach, since Zach knows nothing about super heroes. Luke tries getting Zach a proper costume (Zach says no to a cape) and mask (no to that too) and he's struggling with a name, but the powers are something he can work with (as long as his parents don't figure it out). It turns out there is a danger to the Earth AND to the world where the super power dispensing alien lives. Zach's job is to get rid of the Nemesis. What I thought was great about this one, in addition to the funny premise, is the language of the book. It has some of the best figurative language I've read in a long time-smilies that will make you laugh out loud and metaphorical leaps that are just amazing. There is also a character who makes vocabulary mistakes that are absolutely hilarious. I think with the super hero tie and the funny language in this book, it's going to be a big hit.
Here's the book trailer for "My Brother is a Superhero".
This last one is more a graphic novel than a traditional middle grade fiction book and it's also very funny. It's about a little bird named Speed Bump. Speed Bump has a big head and small wings and is not much good at flying. He also wakes up late, so he never gets a worm, like his big brother, Early Bird. He and his friend Slingshot decide they are going to go and look for food (Slingshot is always hungry and he speaks a little French-he's trying to impress a beautiful French hen he met). They get lost and end up on a big adventure and ultimately try to save Early Bird's life. It's a super quick story to read and there are so many funny things that happen (and especially if you like things that are kind of disgusting, like worms and poop), the kids are going to really love this one.
This is the cover art.
And here's one of the inside pages. You can see the art work is interesting AND funny.