Whatcha Reading, Jr? April 2022

By: Shanleigh Klassen Photo By: @meredith.mara

Welcome again to our monthly reading wrap-up from the OwlCrate Jr team!

Take a peek at some of our favourite books we read in April 2022. If you have a read you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

The Great Bear (Misewa Saga #2) by David A. Robertson 
Book cover for The Great Bear by David A. Robertson. Image shows a large brown bear standing on its hindlegs, surrounded by two human children on either side, and a human-sized squirrel in clothing wielding a staff in the center. The background color-scheme is orange in various hues.

I finally picked up The Great Bear by David A. Robertson in April and I am so glad I did! This is the second book in the Misewa Saga, so I don't want to reveal too much, but we again follow foster siblings Eli and Morgan as they navigate life in our world (bullies and birth mothers!) and Misewa (old friends and more peril!). I loved getting to see the foster siblings develop an even closer relationship as they took on the struggles of both worlds.

The Great Bear was recently removed from libraries by the Durham District School Board in Ontario, but thankfully as of yesterday, the books are being returned to their shelves! Even so, this is a reminder how much we need to uplift and support the books we love. Read David A. Robertson's statement HERE about the banning, and his statement HERE on their return.

— Cori

Check out the other books in the Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson

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Rise of the World Eater (Frostheart #3) by Jamie Littler
Book cover for Rise of the World Eater by Jamie Littler. The mostly red cover centers around a circular window in the center that shows a child with dark hair pulled into a wild top knot standing with arms outstretched as a light green magical aura surrounds them. On either side of the child are two menacing-looking adults. Stylized symbols and patterns repeat around the red and teal cover.

This is the third and final installment in the Frostheart trilogy, which follows a young Song Weaver named Ash on his journey through the perilous Snow Seas to find his long-lost parents. I don’t want to spoil the first two books, but I’ll just say that in this one, all of the Frostheart crew’s previous adventures come to a head in an absolutely epic way!

If you haven’t started this series, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s got song magic, a grumpy yeti guardian, a lovable crew of misfits, misunderstood creatures, and so much more! And did I mention the stunning illustrations? I cannot wait to see what Jamie Littler comes up with next.

— Babs

Check out the other books in the Frostheart trilogy by Jamie Littler

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Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Book cover for Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Image shows three children flying above a residential street below them. The first child is a dark skinned Muscogee Creek child in pink pajamas with two pigtails flying above her. The second is a White child with short red hair in green pajamas, who holds onto a brown, multiracial child with short brown hair wearing blue pajamas.

I now consider this the gold standard of modern retellings of classic  literature. As much as I loved Peter Pan growing up, it's impossible to look at the story the same way with more educated eyes. And that's where Sisters of the Neversea shines, by providing a powerful retelling of the Peter Pan story that doesn't shy away from addressing the flaws and racism present in the original story. Smith has this remarkable ability to address an issue in a way that feels natural to the story and also informative without being preachy. The most compelling way she does this is by shifting the focus away from the bratty and sinister boy who never grows up to Lily and Wendy — stepsisters and best friends who share a family and come from two different cultures.  

This story held all the magic, wisdom, and honesty that I look for in a middle grade fantasy. Though I'm once again sad to leave the sandy shores of Neverland behind, I look forward to Smith's next middle grade adventure!

— Shanleigh

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