Tag Archives: Jennifer L. Holm

Eleven Numeracy-related Books

For National Numeracy Day on 19 May, here are some middle-grade books somehow related to numeracy, or with numbers in their titles. I’ve included their Goodreads blurb.

numeracy-books.jpg

The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

The Jamie Drake EquationThe Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge
Jamie’s dad is an astronaut. This is a good thing – because how cool is that? And a bad thing – because he’s going to be orbiting the Earth for several months and Jamie already misses him badly. Doing his homework at the observation lab one night, Jamie inadvertently picks up a weird signal on his mobile phone. Could it be from an alien civilisation with a message for humankind, a message that Jamie has to get to his father before it’s too late? But how do you rescue an astronaut without heading into space yourself? My review

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning GirlThe Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test–middle school!

Lucy’s grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook!). Lucy’s not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy’s life has already been solved. Unless there’s been a miscalculation. My review

 

Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue by Sarah Rubin

Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue (Alice Jones, #1)Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue by Sarah Rubin

Maths-whizz Alice has already solved a mystery or two. Persuaded by wannabe sidekick Sammy to investigate a scientist’s disappearance, she’s soon entangled in her trickiest case yet. Dr Learner is reputed to have invented an invisibility suit, but is whacky science really to blame for his vanishing? With the unlikely help of erstwhile nemesis Kevin, Alice solves the puzzle – only to face another. Should she reveal the truth, or protect her most devoted friend?

#1. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1)One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.

#3. The Clockwork Three by Matthew J Kirby

The Clockwork ThreeThe Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. .  .

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician who sees no way to escape from his ruthless master, until the day he finds an enchanted violin.

Frederick is an apprentice clockmaker with a past he cannot remember, who secretly works to build the most magnificent clockwork man the world has ever seen.

Hannah is a maid in a grand hotel, whose life is one of endless drudgery, until she encounters a mystifying new guest and learns of a hidden treasure.

As mysterious circumstances bring them together, the lives of these three children soon interlock, and they realize that each one holds the key to the others’ puzzles. Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears.

#5. Five Things They Never Told Me by Rebecca Westcott

Five Things They Never Told MeFive Things They Never Told Me by Rebecca Westcott

Five Things They Never Told Me is story to be felt and not forgotten, from Rebecca Westcott, author of Dandelion Clocks and Violet Ink . . .

It’s a glorious summer and Erin and Martha are both stuck at Oak Hill Home for the Elderly. Misunderstood and feeling ignored, they are equally frustrated by the situation. But as Erin learns to listen to Martha, she discovers some very important lessons about making her own voice heard.

#7. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7sCounting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

#13. 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

13 Treasures (Thirteen Treasures, #1)13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

No one else can see the evil fairies that rouse Tanya from her sleep, torturing her at the slightest mention of their existence, but they are as real to the 13-year-old as anything she’s ever known. She cannot rid herself of them, nor can she ignore them. But it is her insistence on responding to them that has her banished to her grandmother’s secluded countryside manor.

There is much to explore and even more to fear in the woods surrounding the estate. But, the forest isn’t the only source of dark secrets, and Tanya soon finds herself entangled in a mystery that could trap her in the fairy realm forever.

#14. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Fourteenth GoldfishThe Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

 

#43. The Boy who Fell Down Exit 43 by Harriet Goodwin

The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43 by Harriet Goodwin

For a millionth of a second the car grazed the drenched moorland. If it had come down on any other patch of ground Finn would simply have been another statistic. Death by dangerous driving. But the car hit the surface of the Earth at Exit 43. It slid through the membrane like a hot knife through butter, plunging into the darkness and catapulting Finn from its shattered windscreen as it fell. Finn Oliver knows he’ll never come to terms with his father’s death, but joy-riding over the moors in his mum’s beat-up old car is a quick fix of freedom and forgetting. Until the accident happens – and Finn finds himself hurtling through the wafer-thin divide between the worlds of the living and the dead. Adventurous, charming and poignant by turns, “The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43” is a quirky debut novel laced with humour and a dollop of magic.

#60. House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong

The House of Sixty FathersThe House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong

Tien Pao and piglet he names “Glory-of-the-Republic” after baby sister “Beauty-of-the-Republic” drift free in storm downriver back to Japanese territory. Following tiny mountain trails back to parents, he meets American aviator. Guerillas sneak them free. Based on real story of boy adopted by squadron of sixty flyers in bunkhouse. My review

Do you know any books that will fit into this list? Drop your suggestions below and I’ll check them out.

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    Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

First published 15 May 2019. Updated 2 May 2021

Eight Middle Grade Books to Read with Grandparents

International Day of Old Persons is on 1 Oct. In many countries, Grandparents Day falls on October too: UK celebrates it on 4 Oct, Australia on 25 Oct and Italy 2 Oct. To mark this special month, here are some middle-grade books that remind us that these are special people with a wealth of experience. Just because they are old it doesn’t mean they haven’t got any feeling, personality or gifts.

1. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

Blurb

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read. My review

2. The Dog Who Saved the World by Ross Welford

The Dog Who Saved the World

Blurb

When eleven-year-old Georgie befriends an eccentric retired scientist, she becomes the test subject for a thrilling new experiment: a virtual-reality 3D version of the future.

But then a deadly disease threatens the life of every dog in the country and Georgie’s beloved dog, Mr Mash, gets sick. And that’s only the start of her troubles.

Soon, Georgie and Mr Mash must embark on a desperate quest: to save every dog on earth, and maybe even all of humanity …

… without actually leaving the room. My review

3. Vote for Effie by Laura Wood

Vote for EffieBlurb

Join Effie Kostas as she fights to become Student Council President in her new school. With a campaign team of loveable misfits, she tackles the truly important subjects: gender imbalance, outdated school conventions…and good-looking boys stealing the last slice of chocolate cake at lunchtime. A laugh out-loud rallying call for switched-on kids everywhere. My review

4. Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

ShortBlurb

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive – one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins – and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia! My review

5. The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

The Matilda EffectBlurb

Matilda loves science and inventing. Her heroes are Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and one day she wants to be a famous inventor herself. So when she doesn’t win the school science fair, she’s devastated – especially as the judges didn’t believe she’d come up with her entry on her own. Because she’s a girl.

When Matilda shares her woes with her Grandma Joss, she’s astonished to learn her grandma was once a scientist herself – an astrophysicist, who discovered her very own planet. Trouble is, Grandma Joss was also overlooked – her boss, Professor Smocks, stole her discovery for himself. And he’s about to be presented with a Nobel Prize.

Matilda concocts a plan. They’ll crash the award ceremony and tell everyone the truth! So begins a race against time – and against Matilda’s strict mum and dad! – on a journey through Paris, Hamburg and Stockholm, and on which they encounter a famous film star, a circus, and a wanted diamond thief… My review

6. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Fourteenth GoldfishBlurb

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth? My review

7. Five Things They Never Told Me by Rebecca Westcott

Five Things They Never Told MeBlurb

It’s a glorious summer and Erin and Martha are both stuck at Oak Hill Home for the Elderly. Misunderstood and feeling ignored, they are equally frustrated by the situation. But as Erin learns to listen to Martha, she discovers some very important lessons about making her own voice heard

8. Check Mates by Stewart Foster

BlurbCheck Mates

Some people think that I’m a problem child, that I’m lazy and never pay attention in lessons. But the thing is, I’m not a problem child at all. I’m just a child with a problem.

Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When Mum suggests Felix spends time with his grandfather, Felix can’t think of anything worse. Granddad hasn’t been the same since Grandma died. Plus he’s always trying to teach Felix boring chess. But sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and Granddad soon shows Felix that there’s everything to play for. My review

That’s the list of old treasures I’ve come up with. If you know of any more books that feature a grandparent, old neighbour or friend who turns out to mentor our main character, can you leave the title in the comment below so I can check it out?

books-with-old-treasures