Whatcha Reading? January 2023

By: OwlCrate Jr Photo By: @pages.for.dawn

Whatcha Reading? January 2023

After a well deserved end of year break, Team OwlCrate is off to a strong reading start in 2023! Here are just a few of our favorite middle grade reads from January. We'd love to hear yours in the comments!

Wildoak by C.C. Harrington 

Wildoak C.C. Harrington

For those looking for a gentle eco-fable with disability rep, it would be hard to beat this quiet story about a young girl in the 1960s struggling to have her voice heard as she grapples with her stutter. Escaping to the English countryside to rest with her kindly grandfather, she befriends an unlikeliest of friends —an abandoned snow leopard cub! Relying on her smarts and strength she helps him survive and eventually must find a voice for them both to protect his life when he catches the harmful attention of predatory people.

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden 

Dead Voices Katherine Arden

This is the sequel to Katherine’s popular first Middle Grade horror story Small Spacesand I believe it might be my favourite yet! A snowed-in ski resort that used to be a boarding school, ghost girls in white nightgowns, and a vengeful ghost headmistresses combine in this delightfully spooky, wintery read. Perfect to curl up with right now!

— Cheryl

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Frizzy written by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra

Frizzt Claribel A Ortega
This terrific middle grade graphic novel tells the story of Marlena, a young Dominican American girl with a long mane of curly hair. Sunday is her least favorite day of the week: salon day. It takes hours of painful heat and hair pulling to straighten her natural curls and make them "presentable" and she is just so over of it. Luckily, she has the coolest curly haired ally a girl could have on her side, Tía Ruby. 
Claribel Ortega does a masterful job of portraying Marlana's tween POV while also guiding us through complicated topics like racialized beauty standards and how they get passed down through families as well as the outside world. The story is a wonderful journey through self acceptance and Rose Bousamra's beautifully warm artwork draws you even closer to the characters. A must read!
 — Sally

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The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop

The Secret of the Night Train Sylvia Bishop

 This middle grade story follows 11-year old Max, who one day is sent by train to Instanbul, to stay with her Great Aunt-Elodie and keep her company while she’s ill. Little did she know that an already exciting trip across Europe was going to turn into the adventure of a lifetime, when Max is thrust into a mystery full of jewel thieves, secretive strangers, exciting locations, and a house-plant-carrying nun. If you love a good train mystery, I highly recommend you pick this up!

— Babs


What did you and your readers enjoy this month? Let us know below!

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