Hello from behind the scenes! We’re CJ and Elza, the mother-daughter duo responsible for Middle Grade Carousel’s challenges and content. As you may have guessed, we’re both avid bookworms who enjoy stocking our home library with kid-friendly reading material.
We’re so excited to show and tell and share what we’ve been reading, so you might be seeing more of us this year.
To kick off our brand new blogging schedule, we’ve decided to pick and share the Top 5 best books we read in 2019.
CJ’S CHOICE: Ghost (really, the whole Track Series), Jason Reynolds
Ghost is a boy from a rough neighborhood who mostly tries to stay out of trouble. But when he sees a track team strutting their stuff in the park, he can’t resist showing them that they’re not so fast. He knows how to run (and for good reason), and in proving he can, he earns himself a place on the team. I’ve always loved sports stories, and this 4-book series brings a great one.
ELZA’S PICK: Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell
This lucky library find was packed with all the paranormal thrills and Gothic horror trappings that I love. Sweet orphans vs. power-hungry villains, a creepy old hotel and a foggy pier, new friends and final requests. Don’t read this one too close to bedtime!
CJ’S CHOICE: Plain Kate, Erin Bow
Plain Kate is a woodcarver of incredible skill. Circumstances conspire to force her into a deal with a witch. A fascinating fantasy in a setting reminiscent of Russia, with folk lore and gypsy caravans and needing to learn the roamer way. Sometimes dark and often wistful, a stellar stand-out in my year’s reading.
ELZA’S PICK: Who Could That Be at This Hour?, Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is a favorite author. And, in this case, a favorite main character. Surreal settings, satirical humor, and sinister scenarios make this first book of the All the Wrong Questions series a thriller.
CJ’S CHOICE: Almost Super, Marion Jensen
Rafter and his brother Benny are Baileys, and they’re about to come into the family legacy. On Leap Day, every Bailey who’s turned twelve inherits their super power. Which they use in their ongoing battle against the Johnsons (insert fist-shake). But their big moment doesn’t arrive in quite the way it should. Rafter and Benny are determined to get their due, even if it means taking on the Johnsons (insert fist-shake) alone.
ELZA’S PICK: Brave, Svetlana Chmakova
While all the Berrybrook Middle School graphic novels are excellent, I especially loved Jensen’s story. Heartfelt and emotionally honest, it delves into topics like bullying, heroism, and friendship in delightfully unexpected ways.
CJ’S CHOICE: Lost and Found, Orson Scott Card
Ezekiel has a knack that’s only brought him trouble. He finds lost things. A useless “micropower.” But then a police officer shows up at his door and asks for help in finding a lost child. Suspenseful. Orson Scott Card has long been a favorite author. This story kept me riveted from start to finish.
ELZA’S PICK: Kimchi & Calamari, Rose Kent
Adoption and an identity crisis, first crushes and the new kid, good food and family traditions. This was a book that made me laugh, made me cry, and even managed to surprise me a few times.
CJ’S CHOICE: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Dan Gemeinhart
Coyote lives in a bus with Rodeo, and every day’s a journey. But when Coyote hears from her grandmother that a park in their old neighborhood is being torn out, she knows she needs to get back before that happens. One of those books I read with a smile. Except for when I was laughing. Or swiping at tears. Hands down favorite. The kind I’ll reread and always recommend.
ELZA’S PICK: Airball: My Life in Briefs, L. D. Harkrader
Surprise, surprise! I don’t usually read books about sports, but stepping outside my comfort zone paid off big time in this hilarious basketball-centric story. Honestly, it’s one of the funniest books I’ve read.
What were your Top 5 Middle Grade reads of 2019?