by David Barclay Moore
A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death.
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
His path isn’t clear–and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape–and an unexpected bridge back to the world.
I’m not sure how to review this one. The Stars Beneath Our Feet was such a hard read, not in a bad way. It was a very emotional book and the reader really feels for Lolly and all he is going through. I can’t even imagine how most 12 year old’s would process losing a sibling. The grief process and his interactions seemed real to me. I really think that for some this book will really touch them and stay with them. It was a little harsh to read at times and made me really uncomfortable. I think that is what the author was going for? I will say there is some language in there that might upset some readers, I know it did for me. However sometimes those are the ones that really get people talking and discussing issues that need to be on the table. Overall it was a good book on topics and subjects I haven’t read many books about and not sure if there are many like this in the middle grade reader genre. I know there are many in the YA genre so I’m glad there a book for middle grade. That being said I could see this crossing over and some YA readers liking this book as well. While the main character is 12 it didn’t read as a young middle grade. I think that this will be a very buzzed about book and up for many awards. I’m glad I was able to read it.
Thank you Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of The Stars Beneath Our Feet. All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book.
by Carrie Mac
10 Things I Can See From Here deals with a lot and I mean a lot in just 320 pages. At times I felt like I was getting way to much information about every body else but not a whole lot about the main character Maeve. Maeve has a lot on her plate but throughout the book I think she handles it pretty good considering her anxiety and panic attacks. 10 Things I Can See From Here was a good book that at times the characters and their decisions drove me a bit bonkers. How could they not see Maeve needed their love and support – she was what comes first not what they wanted! Maeve’s step brothers and stepmom were awesome and really without them in her life I’m not sure she would have had any loving support that she needed!
summary: Think positive. Don’t worry, be happy. Keep calm and carry on. Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it were something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. When Maeve is sent to Vancouver to live with her dad, her very pregnant stepmom, and her twin six-year-old half brothers, she struggles to rise to the challenge.
Vancouver brings a wide array of new worries, but Maeve finds brief respite—as well as even more worries—in Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Though the summer includes catastrophes than even Maeve could never have foreseen, she is able to reach inside herself to find the courage to be there for the ones she loves.
Thank you Alfred A Knopf for sending me 10 Things I Can See From Here. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.
a holiday how to book…
by Jean Reagan
illustrated by Lee Wildish
This picture book duo has written several how to books that are fun to read as well as listen to. They are great for story time, bed time or any time and now they have added a holiday themed book the series. How to Catch Santa is sure to become to the go to book each Christmas season. I mean what kid hasn’t wanted to catch Santa, I know mine have. The question’s in the book are all ones my kids have asked me and I’m sure I asked my mom also. The author gives kids many great ideas on capturing Santa’s attention long enough to get a hold of him. Then there are the been here clue’s like a trail of glitter to missing carrots. The text is funny and easy to read and holds the youngest of listener’s to the older readers. The illustrations are bright and colorful with cute drawings. It’s a win win in my book and one I would gift to families who are looking for cute Christmas books to add to their holiday collection.
summary: Two sibling narrators give clever tips for “catching” Santa (be crafty! be clever! be gentle!) on Christmas Eve.
thank you so much Random House Kids, Lee Wildish and Jean Reagan for allowing us to read and review How to Catch Santa. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.