Sardines by Sashi Kaufman
Release Date: 10/18/2022
Why I loved this book:
I'm always on the hunt for books that are truly Middle Grade- it felt like, for a little while, that everything I came across was too high or too low, but in the last few years Middle Grade authors have been absolutely crushing it- hitting that perfect sweet spot that my students can relate too.
Sardines absolutely nails it. This is a book that find the perfect balance of dealing with serious issues and kids just being kids, having fun adventures and making friends.
What I really liked about this book is that it really captured that first days of middle school moment. Where there are people who know the old you, the elementary school you, but there is still room to be someone new, someone who feels more like the person you want to be.
The 5 kids at the heart of the book are dealing with various issues, some more serious then others, but when they are thrown together in the after school program they discover that sometimes to get what you need, you have to trust people who you never thought you would. Seeing them let down their walls and learn to rely on each other was really great.
I can't wait to get this one on the shelves at the library.
Why I love this book: As a middle school librarian I’m constantly on the look out for books that I think my kids will connect to- this one is absolute perfection. My school is an Expeditionary Learning school and we do a lot of adventure/outdoor education where we ask students to set aside their normal routine (phones, tv, fast food, etc) and just go along for the adventure. That might be hiking, fishing, or watching the stars- doing nothing special, that turns into the most special memories. This book and the artwork captures that perfectly.
At its center is a boy who is staying with his Grandparents for a week. Their house in coastal Virginia a big change from his life in Detroit. He has his own routines, his likes and favorites, but what he finds is that when he's here, they can do things that his PopPop loved as a kid... crabbing, chasing fireflies, making meals in the backyard. What seems like Nothing Special becomes memories that he will take with him. The message is simple, but so important. It's the small things, the moments shared, the memories made.
I immediately snuck this one into my first book order for the school year, I can't wait for my students to check it out.
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