Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Middle Grade books that build stamina, part 3 - 4.18.23

It's time for the next roundup of middle grade novels that are perfect lengths for readers who are growing stamina or just looking for a shorter read.
I've written about these books and if you would like additional suggestions, check out:

And now on for some more books to add to your shorter books recommendation list!

The Button Box
The Button Box
by Bridget Hodder and Fawzia Gilani-Williams
139 pages
Cousins Ava and Nadeem are having a rough time at school with one other student, in particular.  This student is making fun of their cultural and religious backgrounds.  Ava is Jewish and her cousin Nadeem is Muslim.  It's through the wise words of their Granny Buena and her magical button box that gives Ava and Nadeem new ideas and perspective in how to solve their problem.
Granny Buena sets up the mysterious button box by sharing a piece of a story about one button in particular.  All of the buttons in the box have stories, but this one is personal since it came from a long-ago relative.  But when Ava holds the button and it seems to come alive in her hand, Ava and Nadeem know there is more to this box.  While Granny goes to take a "nap", the cousins find the button and it whisks them back in time.  There, they meet their relatives and help them with a special refugee.  Along the way, the cousins learn it's the differences among them that can actually bring them together.
I really liked the historical aspect of this novel and the magical adventure the main characters get to go on together.

Just Right Jillian
Just Right Jillian
written by Nicole D. Collier
224 pages
I fell in love with this one more and more as I continued to read it.  Jillian has anxiety and being in situations where she has to think on her feet are very stressful.  She wants to participate in a school trivia contest, and she knows she is up to the task, but will her anxiety cooperate?  This story features a wonderful teacher who sees Jillian's strengths and what is stopping her from achieving her goal.  With nudges from her teacher, support from her family, and some unhatched chicks in her classroom, they give her the strength to keep pushing on.
The page length is perfect for this story and it will appeal to young readers.  I have found this one to be a great story to book talk and use for a First Chapter Friday reveal! 

Fenris & Mott by Greg Van Eekhout
Fenris and Mott
written by Greg Van Eekhout
195 pages
A story based on Norse mythology, this one features Mott, a girl living in CA, and Fenris, a wolf pup that is featured in mythological stories.  When Mott rescues little Fenris from a recycling bin, she first confuses him for a sweet little puppy.  But when mythological characters start showing up and natural catastrophes seem to be happening all around them, Mott finds herself in a fast adventure to save Fenris... and the world!  
I love the Marvel movies, so this one was fun to read about some of the Asgardian places and characters.  Before starting the book, I had no idea it was going to be based on mythology, so that was a fun surprise!  A short, quick read, perfect for mythology and adventure fans, who aren't quite ready for the longer Rick Riordan stories.

Time to Roll by Jamie Sumner
Time to Roll
written by Jamie Sumner
197 pages
This follow-up to Roll With It, starts right back up with Ellie and her friends and family.  Ellie's mom has just married her gym teacher and are about to set-off on an extended honeymoon.  Ellie's father, who hasn't always been the most supportive of dads, and his family are moving in to stay and bond with Ellie.  But having not been around Ellie much, there are a few things that make Ellie feel in the way.  Of course, Mema and Grandpa aren't too far away and provide comfort and support.  Which is good because Ellie needs to borrow $75 to enter a pageant that she doesn't want to tell anyone about in order to support her BFF, Coralee.  And that's how her summer is filled, with pageant "fun" with Coralee and their manager/friend, Bert.  
I loved the ending of this story because that's when some great lessons are learned.  From Ellie speaking up for herself and her identity, to her growing in her relationships with her friends and her family - lots of heartwarming parts!
Fans of Roll With It will be glad to join up with Ellie, and while this is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone.  Readers will identify with Ellie and love watching her grow throughout the story.

Hope you found some new books for your readers!  Part 4 will be here soon!

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