Fiction Friday: August 7

I've been trying to finish a BUNCH of books since I'm back at work on the 17th. I particularly wanted to get a few more of the Sunshine State books read, and definitely made some progress this week. I now have 11 of the 15 done, with three of them to write about this week. As usual, click the book cover to go directly to Amazon.

Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleepaway camp, writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. S.C.G.E. has been a summer home to some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy!contestants), but it has a reputation for being, well, a Nerd Camp. S.C.G.E = Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads. (Amazon)
One of the things that makes this a really fun story is that Gabe has always wished for a brother - and now his Dad is getting re-married to someone with a son Gabe's age! He is so excited to meet his new stepbrother and is really hoping that they will have a lot in common. When he meets Zack, he immediately realizes that Zack sees guys like him as nerds. Gabe walks on eggshells, trying to make sure Zack won't find out who he really is.
At camp Gabe works on a list of things to tell Zack in his letters without looking like a nerd. When Zack writes back - a letter full of poor grammar and misspellings - he sees how big the gap between them actually is. Will they become friends / brothers?
I really enjoyed this book from our Sunshine State Young Readers Awards. All the kids in the story are interesting and I loved reading about their adventures at Nerd Camp. When I have time I am definitely reading the sequel - Nerd Camp 2.0!

Another SSYRA book. I really like reading books written about the experiences of  black children in earlier times. A big part of that is that my school's demographic is primarily multiracial. There are many years that only one or two of my students would be identified at a glance as "white." I find that my students respond very positively to stories with people of color as main and supporting characters. I'm sure another part of my interest is that I grew up during the 1960's, in a state that was almost all white, and it further's my own understanding of our nation's history.
Kizzy Ann Stamps is 12 years old in 1963 and her black school has been closed. She will be going to the white school because integration is here like it or not. Her teacher assigned students to write a letter to their new teacher and Kizzy, who is a very talented writer, does so. This begins a long correspondence. One interesting feature of this book is that while it is epistolary the writing is all from Kizzy. We know her new teacher is responding, but we do not see her letters. Once Kizzy is actually in school her writing is in her journal.
I found this a wonderful example of one point of view, one voice. I like Kizzy's voice and loved getting to know her, especially her love for her dog Shag, through her writing. 

Miss Moses LoBeau was rescued from the water after a hurricane. She was an infant, floating on a makeshift raft, and no one knows where she is from. She is on a quest to find her "upstream mother," but in the meantime she has a family - even a whole town - in Tupelo Landing, NC who care for her. A murder occurs in the little town, and 11 year old Mo and her best friend Dale form a detective agency and try to solve it. I just finished this book yesterday and absolutely loved. it. I had both the book and the audio book, and I must say that the audio is great - I loved hearing the southern accent.

I did finish some other books, but just plain ran out of time to write about them! Maybe next week.


  1. I have all of these books and haven't read them yet, but I think you just convinced me to move them to the top of my pile because they all sound great. Thanks for the recommendations and linking up! Nerd Camp is one of our battle books this year, so I'm excited to get that one in before school starts. Happy reading!

  2. I love Kizzy Ann Stamps. I read that aloud two years ago. I haven't read any of the other SSYRA books this year. I need to get on that!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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