Thursday, January 5, 2023

Best of Elementary Fiction 2022


As a reader for the Iowa Children's Choice Award committee I am pushed to read quite a few interesting elementary chapter books. This year 9 took me by surprise and worth passing on to you.

1. Alone by Megan E. Freeman (2021) : This is a fabulous dystopian novel in verse about young Maddie who finds herself completely alone after a secret sleepover. She learns to survive on her own with only George, her neighbor's Rottweiler, as her only companion.

2. The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake (2019) : This was the perfect year for me to read this sweet novel about Sunny and how her heart transplant pushes her to figure out much about her life. 

3. Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman (2021) : Kabir has been in jail his whole life with his mother who was convicted of a crime she didn't commit. A new ruling pushes Kabir into an unknown world for him and he needs to learn to survive the streets of India on his own. 

4. Violets are Blue by Barbara Dee (2021) : Wren is dealing with divorced parents, a new stepmother, and trying to fit into a new school. She finds her niche helping out with makeup for a theatre production as her mother struggles with this new life without her husband. 

5. Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing (2021) : Maya is nervous about moving up to 5th grade and how her school life will go with her two best friends in a different class.  When she discovers a forgotten robot her life takes off in a new direction. 

6. Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (2021) : Reha is tied between two worlds-school where she navigates being the only Indian American student and home where her parents have certain expectations for her.  She doesn't feel connected to her amma until Reha discovers that her mother is sick. 

7. Where We Used to Roam by Jenn Bishop (2021) : At the beginning of Emma's 6th grade year, just as she's making cool artsy friends, her brother is injured in a football game which sends their family on a whirlwind year. 

8. The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloane (2021) : I love Sloane's writing and this one was no exception. Sila's mother travels to Turkey to fix an immigration issue  and has been gone for a long time. Sila and her father have to learn to live on their own and the two discover quite a bit about each other with a few new friends. 

9. 365 Days to Alaska by Cathy Carr (2021) : Rigel loves her life off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness until her parents get divorced and she has to move to Connecticut with her mother and siblings. Life is very different in her new surroundings as she learns to deal with city life, other people, and her father's betrayal. 

While the list is numbered it isn't in any particular order because each of these chapter books stand on their own with different stories to tell. I think fiction books help young people learn something new and unique about other people and cultures. Give any of these books a try and let me know what you think. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for including 365 DAYS TO ALASKA in this list. I feel honored to have my book keeping such distinguished company.