Mini-Confessions- Part 3: Middle Grade

This will be my last mini-confessions post for the month. I am trying to read at least 2 middle grade books this year, I fell woefully behind last year and so I need to make it up. Both of these books were good, solid middle grade books that I very much enjoyed.

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

Publication Date: January 25, 2021

Mini-Confession:

Christine Day is a local native american author and this is her second fiction book. It was wonderful. Just like in her debut book, we have a modern setting with characters that are proud of their native heritage. I really like how the author weaves in the cultural history of the local tribes into the narrative, it always is interesting and includes things that I was not aware of.

I really liked Maisie. She is going through quite the struggle with losing her ability to dance ballet, and all that it meant to her, including some friendships. She is feeling very lost and depressed, although I don’t think that is ever stated as her issue. Her feelings and her anger are dealt with well by her family, and they are very supportive and understanding of her issues.

The setting and the story are so well crafted. Her books are set in the Seattle area, with great descriptions of places important to the local natives. Ms. Day does a really nice job of bringing her characters and settings to life with just enough descriptions and not letting it overwhelm the reader.

A well crafted story of a young girl dealing with emotions and grieving over something that was so important to her. I think kids will be able to identify and learn from the things that Maisie goes through. I recommend both books by this author for anyone who likes well done realistic middle grade fiction.

The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh

Publication Date: MArch 3, 2020

Mini-Confession:

If you are looking for a middle grade book with fun characters and a fast paced plot this is a book you should consider. If you are looking for a book with lots of dragons, then no. The dragon alas, does not show up until the end, which was disappointing. But the rest of the book was great, so that kind of makes up for it.

I really like Jiho and Princess Koko, they were both very interesting and relatable characters. In fact all of the characters were quite relatable and had interesting personalities. There is a diverse cast of characters that come from all over the kingdom and for the most part they respect each other, and get along. There are no put downs of any culture.

I loved the Kidahara forest and the variety of creatures that inhabited it. These were mostly based in asian mythology, but were quite interesting, even the scary ones. I also liked the magic vs. technology issues that were brought up throughout the story. The plot is fairly fast paced with lots of action, but there were some cohesion issues and the ending was quite rushed and kind of kept you hanging. It was just open ended in a way that makes you think there will be a second book, but as far as I know there won’t be.

A very fun book with great characters that could easily be a series. I would love to learn more about the creatures and the world that the author has built here.

I hope you enjoyed these two mini-reviews. If you are into middle grade books or know a kid in that age range, you can’t go wrong with either of these books.

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