November Book Highlights

November was a wonderful month of stories! Now that the weather is getting colder and the evenings have become darker sooner, I am particularly enjoying the time I have to read. Below, you'll find some of the stories I read this month separated by target age group and alphabetized within that segmentation. I hope you'll find your next great read!

Also, if you aren't already, make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, which goes out on the 15th of each month, so you don't miss another blog. These emails are a digest of great stories and include tidbits about reading and books for young people. And now, on to the highlights!

Kids (Picture Books and Early Readers)

Dayana, Dax, and the Dancing Dragon

By: Once Upon a Dance

(Independent Request) - Picture Book

Dayana loves to dance, and when her new baby brother Dax finally arrives, she can’t wait to teach him how to dance with her. Unfortunately, Dax is too little to dance with Dayana. One day, however, Dax demonstrates a special skill that summons an unexpected dance partner to share her stories and skills with the two siblings. This latest in the Dance it Out series by Once Upon a Dance is a whimsical inclusion and invites dancers of all ages to participate in Dayana’s delightful adventure. Please see my full written review here and my video review here.

The Flower Girl

By: Nicole Patrice Thomas

(Reedsy) - Picture Book

Grace lives on a hill in a lovely home with her mother and father. She loves collecting flowers from the nearby land, but Grace’s mother reminds her to stay within sight and to not venture into the nearby woods. When Grace is drawn to a beautiful specimen within the confines of the forest, she discovers exactly why her mother’s rule is so important. This book teaches an important lesson through a comfortable design and an accessible presentation. While the illustrations and text do not always match, readers will find the story helpful nevertheless. Please see my full review here.

Freya, Flynn, and the Fantastic Flute

By: Once Upon a Dance

(Independent Request) - Picture Book

Freya and Flynn love to visit their Aunt Gail, who lives on an island with a collection of cats. Though her house can become spooky at times, the children enjoy spending time there, exploring their surroundings and playing in the sea. When strange noises come from the attic in the middle of the night and Flynn goes to investigate, he discovers the cause and it is up to his sister Freya to return him to safety. This is a delightful addition to the canon of stories by Once Upon a Dance that is both whimsical and heartwarming while being a good fit for the Halloween season. Dancers of all ages will look forward to bringing this narrative to life through movement. Please see my full written review here and my video review here.

Indy and Jenny

By: Charlie Griffin

(Reedsy) - Picture Book

Based on a true story, this picture book tells how a dog named Indy found his forever home with a girl named Jenny. July fourth is the day the book begins, as Indy is abandoned by the side of the road and Jenny is finding her place in the big city. Throughout the narrative, their separate stories appear side-by-side until ultimately converging midway through the book. Lovely illustrations and an important message make this picture book an excellent addition to nonfiction collections for young readers. Please see my full review here.

Tweens (Middle Grade)

The Old Person Curse

By: Chris Von Halle

(Independent Request) - Middle Grade

This is the first in a series of standalone horror books for children, and it is a well-crafted introduction that will leave readers excited to continue on to the subsequent installments. Twelve-year-old Azie Kruze has moved into a new house with her parents, and if she thought moving was hard, it’s nothing compared to the fact that her new home is supposedly cursed, and she might become the next unsuspecting victim. I found the delivery of this story to be quite well-done, adding just enough fear to the mystery to be particularly engaging. Middle grade readers with an interest in the things that go bump in the night are sure to enjoy this succinct and well-designed story. Please see my full review here.

Teens (Young Adult)

The Finest Lies

By: David J. Naiman

(Independent Request) - Young Adult

This captivating story delighted me from the first pages, and I am thrilled to share it with you. Nicole is a self-absorbed high school freshman, who wants nothing to do with her senior brother, Jay. However, an unexpected snow day begins an unprecedented series of events that cause the siblings to reevaluate their actions and behavior toward one another. Well-written and engaging, this story is one that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking for anyone who has experienced the challenges of both high school and managing life with a sibling. Please see my full review here.

In the Name of the Otherworld

By: Hermione Lee

(Independent Request) - Young Adult

Fourteen-year-old Alexandria Richardson has had a rough childhood. Raised in an orphanage surrounded by people who treated her badly, Alexandria somehow manages to survive thanks to the depth of her willpower. In the Name of the Otherworld is a fantasy adventure that focuses on redemption and friendship, transporting readers to a complex parallel world. I enjoyed the overall concept of the book very much and while more can be done to amplify the story, this book shows great promise. Please see my full review here.

Rise! A Girl’s Struggle for More

By: Diann Floyd Boehm

(Independent Request) - Young Adult

This historical fiction novel is an interesting look at life in the 1920s from the perspective of the author’s grandmother, Ruby Pearl. Though the story itself has been fictionalized, it incorporates many of the challenges and changes occurring in rural America in the early part of the twentieth century. I appreciated learning more about the beliefs of the time through this approachable narrative, and found myself asking about my grandparents’ own experiences during this time after learning Ruby Pearl’s story. Please see my full written review here and my video review here.

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