Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of 2018

Kirkus has released their list of the Best Middle-Grade Books of 2018. On their website, they list them in categories, but I will list them alphabetically here. Here are the titles:

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle Akissi: Tales of Mischief

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss, illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Mathieu Sapin

All Summer Long Amal Unbound

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)

Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge Baby Monkey, Private Eye

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

37570583 The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife by Amy Cherrix

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor

The Book of Boy Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr

Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor by Temple Grandin

Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild by Catherine Thimmesh

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls, Selina Alko

Capsized!: The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster The Cardboard Kingdom

Capsized!: The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic, #1) The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez

Dragons in a Bag (Dragons in a Bag #1) Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back)

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B

Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How to Fight Back) by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Peggy Collins

Everlasting Nora Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man

Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden

Fake Blood The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

Finding Langston First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace, Rich Wallace, illustrated by Agata Nowicka

Front Desk The Ghost Road

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science Gone to Drift

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay

The Great Googlini Harbor Me

The Great Googlini by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Charlene Chua

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

The House That Lou Built The House With Chicken Legs

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Hurricane Child 35721253

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery, photographed by Nic Bishop

Illegal The Island at the End of Everything

Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

It's Up to You, Abe Lincoln Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln by Leila Hirschfeld, Tom Hirschfeld, illustrated by Lisa Weber, Neal Swaab

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

The Journey of Little Charlie Knights vs. Dinosaurs

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan

The Language of Spells Look at the Weather

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett

Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup

Love Like Sky Martin Rising: Requiem For a King

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Meet Yasmin! Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl The Night Diary

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

North to Benjamin Otherwood

North to Benjamin by Alan Cumyn

Otherwood by Pete Hautman

Out of Left Field The Parker Inheritance

Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Sanity & Tallulah The Science of Breakable Things

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis

The Season of Styx Malone The Sky at Our Feet

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi

Small Spaces 35804743

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle

So Done Stanley Will Probably Be Fine

So Done by Paula Chase

Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla, illustrated by Steve Wolfhard

Struttin' with Some Barbecue: Lil Harden Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Struttin’ with Some Barbecue: Lil Harden Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Rachel Himes

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina

Tortot, The Cold Fish Who Lost His World and Found His Heart The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Tortot, the Cold Fish Who Lost His World and Found His Heart by Benny Lindelauf, illustrated by Ludwig Volbeda

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

The Turnaway Girls We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! You Go First

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P. by Alex Gino

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Zenobia

Zenobia by Morten Dürr, illustrated by Lars Horneman

Review: Snow Lane by Josie Angelini

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini (9781250150929)

Annie doesn’t live in the type of family that lets them take tropical vacations during school breaks like some of the kids she goes to school with. She is the youngest of nine children in her family and money is tight. Her father works so much that she barely sees him at all unless it is while she is helping out at their family farm picking berries. Her mother doesn’t pay much attention to any of the children except the two talented ones. As Annie returns to school for a new year, she realizes that she is very different than the other kids and it goes a lot deeper than her having to wear hand-me-downs from her older brother and wait to get new shoes that don’t have a huge hole in them. Annie is consistently resilient and cheerful in the face of everything she has to deal with, something that is all the more impressive as her family secrets are revealed.

Angelini has drawn from her own family history to create one of the most heart-wrenching books of the year. Readers will immediately know that there is something wrong in Annie’s life as they witness her older siblings being cruel to Annie and her closest sister. Annie struggles with dyslexia and one older sister who is physically violent and also emotionally abusive, telling Annie that she is stupid all the time. As the book steadily reveals the truth about the family, things fall into place and leave Annie to find a way forward using her optimism and intelligence.

Angelini writes beautifully here. She allows the story to play out in front of the reader with Annie herself living in denial about what is actually happening in her family. That denial is even explained clearly towards the end of the book, which gives readers hope that Annie will not just survive but start to thrive. Angelini gives Annie two critical friendships at school that allow her to be successful. Both friends clearly have some ideas of what might be happening to Annie, but neither push that too hard, offering instead friendship, food, and safety.

Heartfelt and painfully honest, this book will speak to so many children living in similar circumstances and allow them to know they are not alone. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from library copy.