National Dog Day: A Book List for Dog Lovers

Today is National Dog Day – a holiday that makes my dog-loving heart soar – despite the fact that I am still, somehow, only an imaginary dog owner. 🙁

Doglessness is tough. Ask any kid who has longed for a furry friend. Which is why today, I’m celebrating National Dog Day with a dog-centered book list. (Think of it as a gateway imaginary dog friend for those of us who can’t or don’t have the real thing).

I’m including some of my favorites, both old and new, because as any dog-lover knows, a dog friend stays in your heart forever.

Natinal Dog Day | Wish | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Barbara O’Connor’s WISH is one of my favorite middle grade novels. It’s one of those books that I wish I had written – and Barbara is one of those authors I wish I could write as well as. Kid me would have adored this book.

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite.

But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is, until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

National Dog Day | Henry Huggins | www.patricibaileyauthor.com

This is a classic. Beverly Cleary’s first novel about life on Klickitat Street, HENRY HUGGINS pulled me in as a child and has stuck with me my whole life. When I think of the friendship between a kid and a dog, I think of Henry and Ribsy.And that scene in the street at the end? I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I refer to it far too often for far too many hard choices. Beverly Clearly followed up this book with two more great Henry Huggins books, Henry and Ribsy and Ribsy, but this one is my favorite.

Just as Henry Huggins is complaining that nothing exciting ever happens, a friendly dog sits down beside him and looks pleadingly at his ice-cream cone. From that moment on, the two are inseparable. But when Ribsy’s original owner appears, trying to reclaim his dog, Henry’s faced with the possibility of losing his new best friend. Has Klickitat Street seen the last of rambunctious Ribsy?

 

National Dog Day | Rules of the Ruff | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

I read Heidi Lang’s RULES OF THE RUFF in ARC form and discovered I have a unrealized dream of being a dog walker. How did I not know that was a job when I was twelve? And why is it not my job now?

Twelve-year-old Jessie is in for a long, lonely summer at her aunt and uncle’s house. Her uncle is clueless, her aunt is downright frosty, and worst of all, her cousin Ann thinks Jessie isn’t cool enough to hang out with anymore. But Jessie is industrious, and—not content with being ignored all summer—she convinces Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, to take her on as his apprentice. Sure, dog walking turns out to be harder than she expected, but she has Wes’s dog-walking code, the Rules of the Ruff, to guide her, and soon, she’s wrangling her very own pack like the best of them. But when Monique, a charming rival dog walker, moves to town, she quickly snatches up most of Wes’s business—and Jessie decides she isn’t going to take this defeat with her tail between her legs.

 

National Dog Day | Where the Red Fern Grows | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comThis book breaks all my rules about animals and media, but I can’t keep myself from putting WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS on this list. The first time I read this book, I was working as a student-teacher in a seventh grade language arts class. I cried as I read it in my studio apartment when I prepared for our novel circles, and I cried again with my group of students as we read and discussed it one chilly winter afternoon. [Spoiler Alert:  It will break your heart, and is my only exception to my Does the Dog Die rule.]

Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.

Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.

 

National Dog Day | Beacuse of Winn Dixie | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comA student introduced me to Kate DiCamillo’s BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and I am forever in her debt. (Thanks, Casey <3) A near perfect story about a girl and the dog who helps her make friends is a masterpiece of heart-felt story-telling. We should all be rescued by a dog like Winn-Dixie at least once in our lives.

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

What are your favorite dog-centered books? Please, share in the comments below. We can all use more imaginary dog friends. And, if you’re in a position to help, check out the National Dog Day website to learn more about ways to celebrate and rescue organizations, or make a donation to your local animal shelter or dog rescue.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Happy Book Birthday – Help Wanted Must Love Books

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Book Birthday post on the blog, and today’s is extra special. My good friend Janet Sumner Johnson’s debut picture book HELP WANTED MUST LOVE BOOKS is out in the world today and it is adorable and amazing!!

Happy Book Birthday | Help Wanted Must Love Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Shailey loves bedtime, especially reading with her dad. But her dad starts a new job, and it gets in the way of their bedtime routine. So Shailey takes action! She fires her dad, posts a Help Wanted sign, and starts interviews immediately. She is thrilled when her favorite characters from fairytales line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings along her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

See, adorable, just like I promised in my Goodreads review:

Help Wanted, Must Love BooksHelp Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sweet and funny read that both kids and adults will enjoy.
A solid story, great illustrations, and a host of fun characters make this a must for anyone’s picture book shelf. The resumes at the end were a perfect and adorable touch. I’m looking forward to more from this author.

View all my reviews

Head over to your local independent bookstore or to one of these online vendors to pick up a copy of HELP WANTED MUST LOVE BOOKS.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powells

You can also learn about Janet’s Middle Grade book, THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB & J SOCIETY here.

Congratulations, Janet!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

 

 

 

Middle Grade Book Love: American as Paneer Pie

I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC of Supriya Kelkar’s upcoming Middle Grade novel, AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE, this week.

You may remember Supriya and her Middle Grade debut AHIMSA.

Well, she’s back. This time with a contemporary novel set in the Midwest that’s sure to become a middle grade favorite.

Middle Grade Book Love | american-as-paneer-pie | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn Indian American girl navigates prejudice in her small town and learns the power of her own voice in this brilliant gem of a middle grade novel full of humor and heart, perfect for fans of Front Desk and Amina’s Voice.

As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian.

When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha.

To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school.

When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.

 

American as Paneer PieAmerican as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lovely, heart-felt story that does a brilliant job of looking at everything from friendship to racism from the very believable perspective of an eleven year old.

Lekha is a great middle grade heroine. She’s smart, funny, and trying so hard to both be herself and to fit in – at home, at school, and at swim practice – that the reader is pulled right into her story and can’t help but cringe and cheer along side of her. Her pain is easy to connect with, her missteps are real and oh-s0-relatable, and her triumphs are just the right size to make any reader see that growth, change, and forgiveness is possible.

Great supporting characters – including present and realistic parents – round out this story and make it one of my current favorites.

A must read!

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A easy-to-relate-to kid with real life concerns.
  • Great friendships (and believable rivalries).
  • Puns!

For teachers

  • A smart, funny, and engaging handling of some big topics.
  • True-to-life examples of racism (macro and micro), including classroom-level aggressions from kids and adults.
  • A couple fun lesson ideas (an Op-Ed assignment and cooking assignment) that would work great in any classroom.

AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE releases May 12, 2020, but is available for
pre-order online.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

TrishSignatureblue

Presidents Day

presidents-day | american-flag | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comIt’s Presidents Day, and I’m over at the From The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog talking with my writing friends about middle grade characters who would make great presidents. One of them even suggested Kit for president!

I was too shy to put it on the list over there, but I’ll share it with you all here.

 

Kit Donovan (From The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey). Kit is fearless! She stands up to bullies, she fights for justice, and she doesn’t quit. Kit would be an amazing president!

Janet Sumner Johnson, Author of THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE THE PB and J SOCIETY.

Read the rest of my post – Charlotte For President!! – over at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors and nominate your favorite Middle Grade Character!

And, Happy Presidents Day!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

 

Middle Grade Book Love: Stef Soto, Taco Queen

I read Jennifer Torres’s Stef Soto, Taco Queen as an ARC at the end of 2016 and loved it. I was making a list of some of my favorite middle grade characters the other day, and Stef Soto (and her family’s taco truck Tia Perla) came to mind almost immediately. There’s so much to love in this heart-warming debut novel. It’s a must read for middle grade kids and for their taco-loving parents and teachers.

Middle Grade Book Love | stef-soto-taco-queen | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSeventh grader Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as the “Taco Queen” at school.

But just when new city regulations are proposed, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion.

 

 

Stef Soto, Taco QueenStef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful debut that’s sure to be a hit among middle graders. Stef Soto is a perfect middle-grade heroine – determined to get out from under her overly-protective immigrant parents’ thumbs, endlessly embarrassed by the family business (delightful Tia Perla, the taco truck), struggling to fit in at school – and full of love and support for her family and friends. This book is full of great friends, a fun goal, and an authentic portrayal of middle grade life. And tacos! A beautiful book that teachers and students are sure to love.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A kid you can totally relate to.
  • Great friendships (and believable rivalries).
  • Tacos!

For teachers

  • A bilingual protagonist
  • A true-to-life financial problem that will make for a good discussion topic.
  • Author-created Activities and Resources.

STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Middle Grade Book Love: Rules of the Ruff

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (heck, even if this is your first ever visit to my website)  you know I love dogs. I don’t own a dog (YET!), but I adore them, which is why I eagerly snapped up an ARC of Heidi Lang’s latest middle grade novel, RULES OF THE RUFF. It has everything I love in a middle grade book – family drama, friendships, a yearning for something just out of reach, and a bit of a mystery. Plus, it has dogs. Lots and lots of dogs!

MG Book Love | rules-of-the-ruff | www.patriciabaieyauthor.comTwelve-year-old Jessie is in for a long summer at her aunt and uncle’s house. Her cousin Ann has a snotty new best friend, which leaves Jessie all alone. But Jessie is industrious, and—not content with being ignored all summer—she convinces Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, to take her on as his apprentice.

Sure, dog walking turns out to be harder than she expected, but she has Wes’s dog-walking code, the Rules of the Ruff, to guide her, and soon she’s wrangling her very own pack. But when a charismatic rival dog walker moves to town, she quickly snatches up most of Wes’s business—and Jessie decides she isn’t going to take this defeat with her tail between her legs.

 

Rules of the RuffRules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a fun book! Smart and funny in all the best ways – with a character who doesn’t always do the right thing, but is so easy to root for you can’t help but going along for the ride (or, in this case, the walk). Rules of the Ruff is a realistic look at how sometimes good intentions can lead you astray and how even the worst people may be better than you think.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A pitch-perfect age-appropriate sort-of romance. Kinda.
  • A easy-to-relate to main character who is far from perfect.
  • Dogs! Lots of dogs!

For teachers

  • Some subtle lessons on growing up taught through dog-walking rules.
  • Complicated family and friend relationships that will prove to be good conversation starters.
  • Good descriptions of what’s required to be a responsible pet owner from the eyes of a kid.

RULES OF THE RUFF  is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

You can learn more about Heidi’s other middle grade books by checking out an interview I did with her and her writing partner here.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Middle Grade Book Love: The Frame-Up

One very cool thing about having writer friends is that you get to read their new books before they are released into the world – which is how I got a sneak peek at Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s latest middle grade mystery, THE FRAME-UP.

I was lucky enough to befriend Wendy last year, as we navigated the debut author world together. I interviewed her then about her novel, IT’S A MYSTERY PIG-FACE, and got to interview her again last month over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog about her latest novel, THE FRAME-UP, a book that quickly became one of my favorite middle grade reads.

Middle Grade Book Love | The Frame-Up | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comWhen Sargent Singer discovers that the paintings in his father’s gallery are alive, he is pulled into a captivating world behind the frame that he never knew existed.

Filled with shady characters, devious plots, and a grand art heist, this inventive mystery-adventure celebrates art and artists and is perfect for fans of Night at the Museum and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer.

There’s one important rule at the Beaverbrook Gallery—don’t let anyone know the paintings are alive. Mona Dunn, forever frozen at thirteen when her portrait was painted by William Orpen, has just broken that rule. Luckily twelve-year-old Sargent Singer, an aspiring artist himself, is more interested in learning about the vast and intriguing world behind the frame than he is in sharing her secret.

And when Mona and Sargent suspect shady dealings are happening behind the scenes at the gallery, they set out to find the culprit. They must find a way to save the gallery—and each other—before they are lost forever.  

With an imaginative setting, lots of intrigue, and a thoroughly engaging cast of characters, The Frame-Up will captivate readers of Jacqueline West’s The Books of Elsewhere.

 

The Frame-UpThe Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite reads this year. Wendy McLeod MacKnight blends humor, mystery, heart, and art in this fun and intriguing middle grade novel. Great characters abound – both inside and outside of the paintings. And MacKnight keeps the mystery tight and the plot moving while mixing in just the right amount of relationship/family problems. Clever. Innovative. Great writing. And a fun read. This one is timeless.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • Humor. It’s funny! Smart characters and great, imaginative situations.
  • Pictures that come to life – and have a life.
  • A great mystery.

For teachers

  • Art. Lots of it. Real life masterpieces, art theory, and art history come to life in this book.
  • A fun boy/girl friendship.
  • A good depiction of the difficulties of staying with your non-custodial parent.

THE FRAME-UP is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Middle Grade Book Love: The Last Great Adventure of the PB and J Society

I’m celebrating my birthday week by highlighting a great friend and a great book! (Bonus, this friend also shares a birthday month with me. Yay fellow Aries!) I read THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB AND J SOCIETY shortly after meeting Janet, and I knew immediately we were destined to by friends. She’s smart, funny, and thoughtful in all the best ways – and so is her book!

Middle Grade Book Love | the-last-great-adventure-of-the-pb-and-j-society | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comWhen her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, young Annie Jenkins is full of ideas to save the home: selling her appendix on eBay, winning the lottery, facing down the bankers . . . anything to keep Jason from moving. But Jason’s out-of-work dad blows up at the smallest things, and he’s not very happy with Annie’s interventions, which always seem to get them into more trouble. But when Annie tracks a lost treasure to Jason’s backyard, she’s sure the booty will be enough to save Jason’s family. Pirate treasure in the Midwest seems far-fetched, even to Annie, but it could be the answer to all their problems. Now all she has to do is convince Jason. As the two hunt for answers and the pressure gets to Jason and his family, Annie discovers that the best-laid plans aren’t always enough and there are worse things than moving away.

For readers

  • Humor. It’s funny with lots of laugh out loud moments.
  • A great friendship.
  • A main character who makes mistakes you can relate to.

For teachers

  • A smart, funny, and realistic handling of tough topics.
  • A fierce boy/girl friendship.
  • A detailed Discussion Guide.

THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB AND J SOCIETY is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Middle Grade Book Love: Midnight Without a Moon

I’ve been wanting to read Linda  Williams Jackson’s historical middle grade novel, MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON since I first heard about it early in 2017. I had the good fortune of interviewing Linda for my Author Spotlight series in January of that year, and the story has stuck with me ever since.

Which may be why I saved it for so long. (Yep, I was the kid who could make a candy bar last for days if I needed to). I had a feeling it would be rich in character and history as well as beautifully written, and I wanted to be able to dive right into it and read without interruption. I was not disappointed.

Book Love | Midnight Without a Moon | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comIt’s Mississippi in the summer of 1955, and Rose Lee Carter can’t wait to move north. For now, she’s living with her sharecropper grandparents on a white man’s cotton plantation. Then, one town over, an African American boy, Emmett Till, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. When Till’s murderers are unjustly acquitted, Rose realizes that the South needs a change and that she should be part of the movement. Linda Jackson’s moving debut seamlessly blends a fictional portrait of an African American family and factual events from a famous trial that provoked change in race relations in the United States.

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON is a compelling story – told with honesty and grace. Every school should have this book on their shelves.

Midnight Without a Moon (Rose Lee Carter #1)Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful and powerful. A tough, lovely, and real story about a young girl growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950’s and struggling to sort out her place in her family and in the world at large. This is a beautiful book – filled with complex characters, sharp storytelling, and rich history. A must read for kids and adults.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A brave story well told.
  • A compelling and relate-able heroine.
  • A complicated family structure lots of kids will relate to.

For teachers

  • An accessible and compelling story about Civil Rights in America.
  • A great book to pair with To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Some beautiful examples of literary devices such as metaphor, simile, and alliteration.
  • A great Discussion Guide.

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON and the next book in the series, A SKY FULL OF STARS, are both available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

2017 Debut Book Love – The Thing with Feathers

Fellow Class of 2k17 member McCall Hoyle’s debut novel, THE THING WITH FEATHERS, released earlier this month. This is YA at its best – and teachers and librarians are going to want more than one copy of this book on their shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | The Thing with Feathers | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comEmilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

THE THINGS WITH FEATHERS is a touching story and a compelling read. Teens will love it – but so will adults.

The Thing with FeathersThe Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful book – full of hope. McCall Hoyle’s YA debut captures the fears and excitement of edging past what’s comfortable and safe – and learning to trust the people around you. The writing is lovely and the characters are perfectly drawn – likeable but flawed, and at all times, believable.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A relate-able hero.
  • A sweet romance.
  • A school environment/community that teens will recognize.

For teachers

  • Emily Dickinson!
  • Beautiful and heartfelt writing.
  • A close look at facing fears and finding your way to acceptance.

THE THING WITH FEATHERS is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

patriciabaileyauthor.com

TrishSignatureblue

Save