Newbery Challenge Mini-Reviews

It's only March, and I've read four of the six books I selected for the Newbery Reading Challenge. I reviewed Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming last month. Here are mini-reviews of the other three Newbery books I've read so far: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai This novel, based on the author's own experiences, follows 10-year-old Hà as she and her family flee Saigon during the Vietnam War, ultimately ending up in the United States, in Alabama. This is a child's perspective of not only a complex political situation and humanitarian crisis, but a family crisis as well: Hà's father was missing, so they had to leave Saigon without him. Hà talks about the painful process of learning English: She…

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The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

I felt wary about checking out The Pants Project because, as far as I can tell, this is not an #ownvoices book and, honestly? I'm kind of tired of cis authors writing what feels like the same trans story over and over again. (Also, the wording of the synopsis raised some flags for me.) But I'd heard good things about this middle grade novel, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I ended up reading this straight through! I could not put it down. I loved the characters and the representation (a trans main character, a happy, close-knit family with two moms, and a secondary character with a disability). I enjoyed the storyline and above all, the hopefulness! Everything about…

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