Whatcha Reading: June 2021

By: Shanleigh Klassen

Hello again, readers!

We’ve been so busy here that June has flown by in a blur of sunny days and good books.

Today, we’re sharing with you some middle grade book recommendations that the OwlCrate Jr team read this past month. If you've read any of these great picks, let us know what you thought, or tell us what you read this month in the comments below!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg.
Book cover of 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' by E.L. Konigsburg. Shows two kids standing at the top of red-carpeted stairs, bags in had. A Newbery Medal­ has been placed to the left of the title text.

My recommendation this month is an oldie but a goodie. How had I never read this book?!

This is the story of 11-year-old Claudia Kincaid who is bored and tired of being underappreciated at home, so she convinces her little brother Jamie (who has cold-hard savings in his piggy bank and can fund an adventure) to run away from suburban Connecticut to New York City to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once they settle in they get wrapped up in an art history mystery involving the origins of a small angel statue.

Personally, my favorite parts of the story were scenes of the two siblings getting by in their new "home", including late night baths in the museum fountain, evading security guards and eating street food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Originally published in 1967, this book is still an absolute treat.


- - - - - - - - - -

The Language of Ghosts by Heather Fawcett
Title reads The Language of Ghosts by Heather Fawcett, author of Ember and the Ice Dragons. Image shows an island with a castle on a mountain top, small houses towards the bottom at the beach, sailboats in the water, and a blue serpent emerging from the water to wrap around the whole island. Background is mostly green.

A moving island, a cake loving sea monster, and dark magic—this book is a worldbuilding delight!

Noa Marchena, is no ordinary princess. In fact, she is now an ex-princess, forced into exile. Smart, strong, and loyal to her family, she sets out to find a long-lost magical language that might undo her exile.

If you haven’t read this epic adventure, put it on your summer reading list right away!


- - - - - - - - - -

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
by Dawn Quigley, illustrations by Tara Audibert
Text reads Jo Jo Makoons The Used-To-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigly and illustrated by Tara Audibert. Cover is peach with polka dots with a young girl and grey cat centered. Girl has long brown hair with two buns at the top of her head, and she's wearing a light blue shirt with a bear face and green pants.

Jo Jo moves through her world a little differently than most. She knows what she knows, and she loves what she loves, and that's that. Sometimes it seems that Jo Jo is the one teaching everyone else—her mother, her kokum, and even her teachers—instead of the other way around. 

This short and sweet chapter book is for the younger crowd, but don't let that stop you from discovering this delightful new character in children's lit!

Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Text reads Lisa Fipps, Starfish. Image shows a young girl with her arms and legs spread out, floating in a pool. The girl is wearing a peach bathing suit with tropical leaves and flowers.

Starfish is a novel-in-verse that follows a young girl who faces prejudice and fat-shaming from almost every direction in her life, and honestly shows how deeply words can actually hurt. I felt on the verge of tears for the entirety of my read, feeling what I know can only be a fraction of the kind of exhaustion and frustration Ellie must feel everyday.

This is a deeply moving story full of heart, hurt, and the strength it takes to live as yourself when the entire world is telling you to change. This should be requisite reading for everyone.


What books are you starting off your summer with? Let us know in the comments below!

- - - - - - -

Subscribe to OwlCrate Jr today at www.owlcratejr.com!