THE YEAR OF THE BOOK, by Andrea Cheng.
I'm picking a few Sunshine Young Reader Books and giving them a whirl. When I visit schools in Florida, I often ask the kids what they're reading. And if it's 3-5th grades and the students are getting ready for Battle of the Books, the answers are frequently "Battle" books. AKA Sunshine Readers.
THE YEAR OF THE BOOK is a perfect little middle-grade read.
What I like about it:
1. The way it looks and feels when you pick it up!
>Just enough illustrations scattered throughout, including a bookshelf at the chapter headings.
2. The main character. Not too good, not too bad, Anna is just right.
3. The quiet story. Yes, quiet is not for everybody. But I've heard from enough readers to know they like these complicated friendships, the school scenes, the family story.
4. The title. Titles are important. This one fits the book.
5. The books Anna reads. I love it when an author sneaks kids' books into the story. In one illustration, Anna is reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. In a bathtub. Every detail, including the cover art from my favorite, well-loved hardcover edition of The Mixed-Up Files is perfect.