Whatcha Reading? March 2022 — OwlCrate Jr

By: Shanleigh Klassen Photo By: @meredith.mara

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

Take a peek at some of our favourite reads from the last month, and let us know what your favourite book from March was in the comments below.

Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford
Book cover for Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford. A young Black child with afro puffs on head, wearing a yellow polo shirt, jean shorts, and yellow sneakers stands smirking with one hand on their hip and the other holding a book at their waist. Behind the main character are two other Black children running up to them. The main character stands in the shadow of a massive creature, which is off-screen.

Ruby Finley is an entomology (a.k.a bug science) loving eleven year old whose whole world turns upside down after her discovery of a bizarre insect in her front yard. Despite Ruby's plans to study this new specimen, it burns its way out of its cage and government agents swarm the neighbourhood in search of it! What on earth is going on and why are random things suddenly disappearing all over town? Maybe it’s not something from earth at all!

I just loved Ruby and her scientific approach to life. I’m crossing my fingers we get to read more from her in the future! Get your pre-orders in now, this one will be on shelves September 27th.

— Sally

Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur
Book cover for Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur. A young white child with brown-red hair and wearing a blue domino mask peeks out from a person-shaped hole in a tan wall.

Well, this was fun! Eleven-year-old Wyatt Flynn just got super powers and he got them the old fashioned way — you know, being sprayed by a glowing space rock, then drenched in nuclear waste, before being electrocuted. After a summer away, he and his brainy sister Adeline are returning to school. Despite not being in control of all his powers, Wyatt has dreams of being a superhero — even though his dad says he’s too young. But as they say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Adeline discovers a clue in the disappearance of the town's animals and teams up with Wyatt to investigate.

There were definitely some twists I didn’t see coming and there is a bigger mystery that is sure to continue in the sequel. This story had humour, heart, and probably the best grandmother in history. I definitely enjoyed it and would pick up this sequel. This is a March 2022 release so you can grab it now!

Through the Bamboo by Andrea Mapili and Byron Abalos
Book cover for Through the Bamboo by Andrea Mapili and Byron Abalos. A silhouetted figure stands in a lush forest with their arms held open, gazing out onto a river. A long blue scarf winds up from the foreground towards the sky, following the line of the yellow title text.

I read this delightful Filipinx-Canadian play on a cozy morning with coffee, and was transported! While accepting the loss of her lola (grandmother), twelve-year-old Philly is pulled into a fantastical world through a book in her lola’s basement. The world of Uwi is filled with magical characters, both friendly and dangerous, and ruled by three sisters who have forbidden storytelling. When Philly arrives, she is believed to be the long lost fourth sister and the key to saving Uwi. With her trusty sidekicks Ipakita and Giting (my favourite characters), she's on a mission to find her lola and save the kingdom.

The story is funny yet touching and reminds us that telling stories and sharing memories is a way to keep loved ones with us. I really felt like I was transported into this magical world. It has The Neverending Story and Narnia vibes for sure!

— Crystal

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
Book cover for The Insiders by Mark Oshiro. Two images forming a 'V' show three children of various skin colours running down the hallways of a school, with multi-coloured lockers behind them. The background colour is a bright yellow with the text and author name in red.

Héctor's new school has a completely different culture than his old one. There, being gay didn't feel like being different, but here, he's targeted immediately by the school bully, which is how he discovers that the janitor's closet is much more than it appears. The room becomes Héctor's much needed safe space, and soon it also magically connects him to other kids across the country who are likewise seeking refuge. Together they help each other face their respective trials with love, humour, and friendship.

This book can be hard to read at times, but this story is ultimately uplifting and honest in the best possible way. One of the best middle grade contemporaries I've read a good long while.

— Shanleigh

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