Posts tagged ‘Cleveland’

It’s Tough to Fit In

Sophie Washington: Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie

Written and Illustrated by Tanya Duncan Ellis

This is Book Three of the Sophie Washington book series. In this tale, Sophie is about to turn eleven. She is excited because she has a crush on Toby, a new boy in school who has recently moved from Cleveland. Of course she wants desperately for him to notice her. Her other big concern is talking her parents into getting her a cell phone for her birthday. Sophie tells her friend that she is getting an Apple phone, but her parents have not agreed yet. In an effort to impress her friends, she might just jeopardize her fondest wish.

This series is popular with late elementary school and middle-grade readers. Sophie is a character with which many of her readers empathize. Her mistakes and hijinks move the story along. She is funny, genuine, and contemporary. I recommend the series to students ages seven through thirteen.

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Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte


Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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