Shaunta Grimes’ Center of Gravity (2020)

Center of Gravity

Shaunta GrimesCenter of Gravity (2020) is steeped with references to 1980s culture and aesthetics. Tessa, the novels twelve-year-old protagonist, is losing everything: her mother, her best friend, even her home in Colorado. She’s also gaining things shCenter of Gravity Chapter 1e doesn’t want: a twenty-three-year-old stepmom who is pregnant and a beach house in California. Her pre-existing anxiety is amplified amidst all the uncertainty and change.

Once in California Tessa bonds with some local boys with trouble of heir own. This helps put her own in perspective as she slowly begins to process the changes in her life that she has no control over.

Center of Gravity is a beautifully written middle-grade novel. The themes explored, including parental loss and child abuse, are expressed though the perspective of pre-teens whose lives are tethered to those of adults in their lives. This allows for critical reflection on adult-child relationships and constraints on youth agency.

Check-out Center of Gravity Chapter 1 (attached) and click here to purchase your copy today!

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On

 

Check out guest contributor Kristy Elam’s reviews of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On! Kristy is an avid reader, former English teacher, current tutor and book editor, and a life-long learner. She is married and the mother of two amazing boys. She loves Harry Potter, Stephen King, own voices stories, and dystopian novels.

Fangirl: A NovelCarry On (Simon Snow Series)Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series)

I read Fangirl years ago, well before this blog, so I can’t give you a “first time” review. However, after reading this gem the second time, I can easily say I loved it even more. I was introduced to Rainbow Rowell’s books via an online book club, and I was skeptical. Her works sounded too cute for me. My first of hers was Eleanor & Park, which dealt with difficulties like bullying and a difficult family. I quickly realized there was more than “cute” to this books. My next book was Fangirl. And as much as I loved Eleanor & Park, Fangirl will always be my favorite of hers. I’ve read dozens of coming-of-age stories, but the main character in this one, Cath, really just captured my attention. She’s off to college, separated from her twin, Wren, and really struggling. Cath and Wren write fan fiction. But Wren has a new roommate and the divide between the twins is growing, much to Cath’s horror.

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Christine Emery’s The Black Cloud Blues

The Black Cloud BluesWritten by Christine A. Emery and illustrated by Kellie R. Emery, The Black Cloud Blues does the important work of acknowledging childhood depression. In doing so it makes a valuable contribution to children’s literature. Kellie Emery’s deliberate illustrations provide access to the unnamed narrator’s feelings as he takes readers on a journey into his experience with depression. Continue reading

J.E. Morris’s new series Maud the Koala

Fish Are Not Afraid of Doctors by J. E. MorrisJ.E. Morris’s new series Maud the Koala introduces early readers to a wonderfully relatable character and helps build visual literacy as well as reading confidence. The series is thoughtfully illustrated in the tradition of comics with action moving across panels and tiers. Full-page spreads allow the reader to become immersed in imagery. Fish are Not Afraid of Doctors is a delightful book about a young koala’s apprehension about visiting the doctor. Continue reading