NEW this week--Middle grade books Plus a GIVEAWAY!


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Yesterday I shared two new this week picture books and today I have two new this week middle grade novels to share. Middle grade novels have a recommendation for ages 7 to 12. One of the books is a mystery having to do with sports and the other is a multicultural book about family, friends, and math. Plus there is a giveaway for one of them. We are going to start with Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan and illustrated by Natelle Quek. This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

From the Publisher:

A touching and funny middle-grade story about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother moves in

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.

From Me:

This book has so much about life and the Chinese culture. It has the Tiger Mom and stereotypes of Asian people being good at math. It has the upset tween who isn't getting his way. It has the bullies and the best friend who is always there for support even when they have been fighting. Plus it has the Chinese grandmother who can't speak English and thus communicate with Danny but wants to show him how much she loves him. It is a wonderful story that pulls you in. I couldn't put it down once I really got into it. Although it is somewhat predictable the story is well written and makes you want to read it. Since Danny is an artist there are illustrations throughout the book--which are meant to be Danny's. 

I love that Danny and his grandmother end up connecting over math and art. Danny is worried about his math project and has no idea what to do. He claims he is not good at math. His grandmother shows him the connection of math with art and the world. She introduces him to Fibonacci and math in nature. Danny goes from hating his grandmother's presence in their house and his room to loving her. It is a wonderful story with so much about family, friends, life and math! 

Fred Bowen's Sports Story Series

Fred Bowen is celebrating 25 years of his sport story series! FRED BOWEN is the author of Peachtree’s popular Fred Bowen Sports Story Series for middle grade readers. A lifelong sports fanatic, he has coached youth league baseball, basketball, and soccer. His kids’ sports column “The Score” appears each week in the KidsPost section of the Washington Post. Bowen lives in Maryland. Visit his website at As part of the celebration there is a giveaway of three of his books!! I will be reviewing one of them here for you and then give you the summaries of the other two. Our second book is Soccer Trophy Mystery by Fred Bowen. It is recommended for ages 7 to 12 or grades 2 and 3. This one is definitely an easier read than the first one.

From the Publisher:

Fred Bowen is back with more soccer action--and a mystery--in his newest Sports Story, perfect for fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green.

While soccer-playing twins Aiden and Ava lead their teams to a championship season, they try to solve the mystery of their town’s missing soccer trophy.

Thirteen-year-old twins Aiden and Ava and their good friend Daniel, all avid soccer players, have just learned their county league soccer trophy mysteriously disappeared forty years ago from the town library. It was never recovered. So between games and practices for the town’s soccer championships, the three friends try to solve the case.

But will these amateur detectives be able to unravel the mystery and find someone who had both motive and opportunity to commit the crime? Will their teams make it all the way to the championships?

Award-winning author and Washington Post KidsPost sports columnist Fred Bowen returns with another installment in his Sports Story Series, this time tackling important topics like equal recognition for women in sports. At the end of the book, Bowen includes "The Real Story" behind the disappearance of the original World Cup trophy.

You can read an excerpt.

From Me:

This book is a fun book for soccer lovers and sports oriented kids as well as mystery lovers. I love that the mother of the twins was the athletic star and the father was into drama. There is definitely a focus on women's rights and girls' sports, which I love. It also has the appeal for boys with two of the main characters being male. I can see many kids loving this book!!

The book itself as a lower reading level meant for the early middle grades. It is a fun story and as a mystery lover I really enjoyed it. There is enough action as well as mystery to hold the readers interest as well as some twists and turns. I think this one should be added to most second and third grade classrooms so kids can find books they enjoy on topics they enjoy. I also love that Fred puts into the back of the book the real story. In this one it is about the disappearance of the original World Cup trophy as well as a bit of history on women's sports. 

The Other Two Books

Hardcourt Comeback (2010)
Part of Fred Bowen Sports Story Series
by Fred Bowen
Calling all basketball fans! Return to the court in this action-packed Sports Story Series book from Washington Post KidsPost columnist and author Fred Bowen – perfect for fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green.

“Reads like a successful drive to the hoop—quick, purposeful, and effective.”

Brett Carter, the Wildcats’ star forward, is a hotshot on his basketball team—or at least he was. After missing an easy layup shot at the buzzer in one of the most important games of the season, he feels like a total loser. And things only get worse from there…At his best friend’s birthday party at a rock-climbing center, Brett freezes on the wall. Then he blows an easy question in the American history bee at school. And when he gets back on the court, he can’t get rid of this terrible pounding in his chest. Brett is losing his confidence fast. With the championship game is coming up, can he overcome his fears and play like a “winner” again?
In the afterword, author Fred Bowen shares real stories of well-known players and their hard-fought comebacks.

Read an Excerpt and get the Discussion Guide

The Golden Glove (2009)
Part of Fred Bowen Sports Story Series
by Fred Bowen
Ready to hit the baseball diamond? Check out this action-packed Sports Story Series book from Washington Post KidsPost columnist and author Fred Bowen – perfect for fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green.

Jamie’s lucky glove is the most precious thing in the world to him. He’s spent all winter oiling it while readying his skills for the upcoming season. But what happens when he loses the glove?

After an unsuccessful search and a disappointing first game, Jamie realizes he’s lost much more than his glove. He’s lost confidence. So when he seeks help from the owner of a local sporting goods shop—a former minor league player—the old-timer shares the history of baseball gloves along with a few fielding tips to help improve Jamie’s game. But will it be enough to rebuild his confidence and replace the “luck” his beloved glove gave him?

Author Fred Bowen engages baseball lovers in this relatable story of self-doubt, luck, and facing your fears. In the afterword, readers can learn more about the history of baseball gloves.

Read an Excerpt and get the Discussion Guide


The books in the Fred Bowen Sports Story series are fast-paced, and at just over 100 pages, they’re perfect for reluctant readers…. Young readers will devour these stories, along with their painless lessons, and still have time to join their friends for games.” —School Library Journal

Hardcourt Comeback: “This entry in the Fred Bowen Sports Story series is flush with life lessons about perseverance, dedication, and picking oneself up after a hard knock, not to mention loads of on-court action. It reads like a successful drive to the hoop—quick, purposeful, and effective.” —Booklist

“Fred Bowen never disappoints. His many action-packed novels speak to the hearts and minds of young sports lovers, and he demonstrates know-how and grace in writing about baseball, basketball, soccer and football.” —Washington Parent Magazine


Enter to win a set of these three books from the Fred Bowen Sports Series!
  • 5 winners will receive a 3-book set from the Fred Bowen Sports Story Series: Soccer Trophy Mystery, Hardcourt Comeback, and The Golden Glove.
  • US/CA/PR
  • Giveaway ends 9/19 at 11:59pm ET