Review: A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy

As Evelyn enters 5th grade, cue the arrival of a boy in a pink shirt with eccentric, bohemian, tattooed parents. Queen is my hero as he wears what he wants, builds a force field against bullies, starts his own school clubs, and makes personalized, collage birthday invitations. Evelyn instantly accepts Queen into her world and is rewarded with self-awareness and courage. Reading much like a younger version of Stargirl, A Boy Named Queen addresses what it is like to grow-up and more importantly, grow into one’s skin. This heartwarming realistic fiction novel is suitable for third to sixth graders and left my heart feeling fuzzy. However, as I scrolled through the last page on my iPad, I questioned if half of this eBook failed to download. To say that the story ends abruptly is an understatement, and while this quick read felt more like a short story, I would recommend A Boy Named Queen to any child who…

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Review: The BFG by Roald Dahl

Sophie, an orphan, finds herself awake during the witching hour and is snatched by a big-eared, dream-catching giant. This monstrous being happens to be one of the only giants in all of Giant Country who does not eat “human beans,” which is why he is known as the Big Friendly Giant or BFG, for short. The BFG is the master of creating dream stories, and his tales of mean giants inspire Sophie to take action. She devises a plan involving a realistic nightmare and the Queen in order to save the world from this gaggle of man-eating giants. For third to sixth graders, The BFG is magical and imaginative.  Growing up, this was one of my favorite books. As an adult, I have a few more concerns: The references to families in Baghdad having ten children or how the Sultan recently had to chop off heads is racist rather than…

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Review: Spork by Kyo Maclear

Spork is the hybrid of a mother spoon and a father fork. This marriage is rare in the utensil world, as cutlery remains segregated.   With his points and roundness in conflict with each other, Spork does not fit in with the other spoons or forks. He attempts to artificially change his appearance but fails. Useless and lonely, Spork contemplates his existence on the dinner table. One day, a messy creature struggles to use the other utensils, and Spork seizes the opportunity to shine.   Unafraid, he rushes in to save the meal. This “messy thing” turns out to be a baby, and Spork is just what this infant needs—a little bit of everything—to eat. Maclear notes that she too is a “Spork,” coming from a biracial household with a British father and Japanese mother. A story about interracial relations and fitting in, Spork is a unique way to explain acceptance, differences,…

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