book recommendations for middle grade teachers and students
No Place Like Here Blog Tour
Welcome to our blog! I'm excited to review No Place Like Here by Christina June. I love her books because each is inspired by a fairy tale. This novel is a modern retelling of Hansel & Gretel.
From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel. Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
Fans looking for clean teen fiction, with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.
If you haven't started your summer reading yet, add this coming-of-age story to your list! Ashlyn's parents are a mess. Her dad has been arrested and her mom enters rehab in order to get help for depression. These two incidents propel Ashlyn's summer in an unexpected direction-one that involves a zipline, a love triangle, and hiking!
There were so many things I loved about this book, but my favorite part was Ashlyn's journey. She starts the summer thinking it's going to be filled with poolside chats with her best friends. Instead, she's shipped off to a rustic camp where she's expected to reconnect with her cousin, Hannah. It's here where she learns to take back control of her own life.
The Hansel and Gretel connections are there, but subtle. There's an Aunt Greta, a metaphorical witch (Deb!), gingerbread houses, a trail of quotes rather than breadcrumbs, a water element, and abandonment. In the original version of Hansel and Gretel, the kids are taken to the woods by their parents where they must cross water before returning home. Similarly, Ashlyn is sent to the woods, abandoned by the people she loves. Towards the end of the book, there's a scene involving water where Ashlyn learns a valuable lesson about family and truth. Overall, this was a perfect summer read, with elements of family, friendship, and learning to be yourself!
I am creating a list currently for Mock Newbery titles next year to see which ones I will be purchasing for our group - so far these are the top contenders of which I have seen other's post about, or that I have read and feel like children need to have in their "read" pile. What do y'all think? Anything else you think I should add? The year is still early and already so many amazing titles for 2017!
What is this book about? Hayden’s answer: Aven is trying to fit in in Arizona even though she doesn’t have arms. Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is about Aven, a thirteen year old girl that was born without arms. What’s special about Aven is, she can do almost anything anyone with arms can do, she just uses her feet! When her dad gets a new job in Arizona, Aven is forced to move from Kansas and all her friends that are used to Aven and don’t stare at her like strangers do. Making new friends is hard for anyone, arms or no arms, so what is in store for Aven in Arizona? Spoiler (not really): Aven DOES make some new friends in Arizona and maybe even stumbles upon a mystery in her new home … Have you ever had a similar experience where you felt different and worried about meeting new people? Hayden’s answer: When I broke my leg. Mrs. Kuehler’s answer : I think we all feel different at some point in our lives and it’