THE DERBY DAREDEVILS: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team
By Kit Rosewater (Illustrations by Sophie Escabasse)
On Sale Date: March 2020
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
This new chapter book/early middle-grade series set in Austin, Texas, features the sport of Roller Derby and a diverse cast of characters. The reader follows Kenzie on her mission to put together a roller-derby team as mighty as the one her Mom plays on. With the help of her best friend, Shelly, Kenzie unites a group of eccentric individuals and teaches them the basics of the sport just in time for try-outs. She also admits to herself that she may have feelings for one of the girls she enlists.
This straightforward story carries important themes including friendship, self-acceptance, and balancing individuality with teamwork and team spirit. The short chapters and simple language are well-pitched for the intended audience and the character's voices read as authentic and age-appropriate.
Lace your skates and enjoy!
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NOT IF I CAN HELP IT
By Carolyn Mackler
This is a sweet middle-grade story featuring Willa, a dog-loving girl with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Willa lives with her father and brother in a New York City apartment during the week and visits her mother and step-father on the weekends. She has regular sessions with a therapist and a reliable best friend, Ruby, who keeps her grounded at school. But Willa's world is flipped upside down when she discovers her father has fallen in love with Ruby's mom and intends to marry her.
Readers will quickly connect with likable Willa and empathize with her need for stability and her dislike of change. The detailed aspects of her disorder are well integrated into the story without them overtaking the plot or Willa's character development.
Strong themes of friendship, family, self-acceptance, and honesty abound as Willa grapples with disclosing her diagnosis to Ruby and contemplates how she will function with a new sister and step-mom in her daily life.
Grab some gummy bears (Willa's favorite candy!) and enjoy.
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