Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Slice of Life: Thinking about Tough Topics in Kids' Books!

Our lunchtime book club recently discussed why so many kids' books feature the death of a parent. The response from one of our members, brought a smile to my face, "They have to get them out of the way." A sentiment that might be shared by other middle schoolers. 

As I continue to read Newbery possibilities this season, I continue to see tough topics. A quick perusal of my 100 middle grade books I love list reveals that many of my favorite books also deal with tough topics. Here are just five that jump out at me today - One for the Murphys, Counting by 7s, Ida B, The 7th Most Important Thing, and Three Times Lucky.

So you may be wondering about some of my favorite Newbery possibilities for 2020. At the top of my list are The Line Tender by Kate Allen and The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.  I can't stop thinking about the debut novel I just finished last night, The Miraculous by Jess Redman. All three books are about grief and loss. 

I'm ready for something different. So my next read will be Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis. You can read Betsy Bird's glowing review by clicking on the title. Graphic novels aren't usually my thing, but I can't say enough good things about They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott. I was inspired to pick it up after reading Cynthia Kadahota's Newbery hopeful, A Place to Belong (not a graphic novel).

If you have a favorite that you're hoping will win the 2020 Newbery, let me know in the comments. We still have almost three months of reading before the winner will be announced. 


  1. You are living a book rich life. Thank you for new titles!

  2. Thanks for filling my head with all the excitement of reading great books, Ramona. Happy Reading to you.

  3. I've read many but not all of these titles - always amazed by your reading voracity and am thankful for the insights you share! Authors are always accused of killing off characters to get them out of the way ... but ... how many of our kids ARE dealing with such loss? Even having an indefinitely estranged parent can feel like a death - at least of that relationship. I think of the courage and strength kids might find in those pages.

  4. Right now Coyote Sunrise is at the top of my Newbery hopefuls.