Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / December


It’s time again for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished nine middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I got an arrow!!)

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.


  1. Because this is a #MGCarousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during this month.

Here are my results…

Books on the Cover

Words on Fire // by Jennifer A. Nielsen

words-on-fireMG, Historical (2019)

When her parents are taken by the Cossacks, Audra is thrust into their life of book smuggling. She learns that people like her parents risk their lives in order to keep the Lithuanian culture alive, even in the face of Russian occupation.

I liked Audra’s spunk. And I really liked Lukas and his determination. They played nicely off each other! I should have expected some of the twists Nielsen often brings to her stories, but I really didn’t see them until they were about to be revealed.

I did find the story a bit slow in spots, otherwise, I would have given it a higher rating. [3.5 stars]

Natural Disasters

The Pompeii Disaster // by Dan Gutman

pompeii-disasterMG, Contemporary/Time Travel (2018)

Note: This book is technically the third book in a series. The Flashback Four are a group of kids that time travel to various important events in history to… get this… take a photograph of said event. This book’s focus: Pompeii. And as you can probably guess, things won’t go smoothly with a volcano about to erupt.

The kids have to take a picture of the historical event, but that’s about it. But, I’ve included it in my list because it is kind of neat to think of having a photograph of Mount Vesuvius about to bury the city of Pompeii in ash. Wow, just wow! [3 stars]

Pick Your Prompt / A Book About Grief

The Elephant // by Peter Carnavas

elephantLower MG, Contemporary (2017)

This is a sweet book about a girl who just wants her dad to fix her bike. But that is even a little too simplistic. Really, what she wants is her dad to be a dad. The elephant, of course, is a metaphor. Something that continually follows around after her dad. It’s invisible and only Olive can see it.

Ultimately, this book is a story about grief and how we deal with grief. It’s an interesting choice to show the grief felt by the father and others in the story. Told in short, easy-to-read chapters. The illustrations add a nice touch. This book is definitely intended for younger readers. Although, I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. [4 stars]

‘Guide’ in the Title

Wildlife Watcher Guide // by Michael Leach and Meriel Lland

wildlife-watcher-guideMG, Non-Fiction (2016)

This was a nice little how-to guide for beginner photographers. It focuses on how to get the shots of wildlife.

I especially enjoyed the little interviews with the authors (photographers themselves) sprinkled throughout the book. Many of the photos are stunning, although I doubt any child will be able to travel to get such shots. But it is inspiring. They also do give tips on how to take photos in your own backyard.   [3 stars]

Three Words in the Title

A Little Princess // by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

a-little-princessMG, Classic (1890)

A re-read for me. The riches to rags back to riches story always holds some magic in it. In many ways, Sara Crewe is a more modern (in you can call 1890 modern) version of Cinderella. She has the kindness and sweetness and optimism of Cinderella. And Miss Minchin plays a wonderful evil stepmother-type character.

While I still like The Secret Garden better, this book comes in a close second. (And to tell the truth, I do think I’d prefer Sara as a friend a little more than Mary Lennox. At least, the Mary at the beginning of the story!) [4.5 stars]

Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

  • Book About Siblings // Planet Earth is Blue // by Nicole Panteleakos
  • Purple Cover // Counting on Grace // by Elizabeth Wintrop
  • Author’s Name is Chris // Elijah of Buxton // by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Piano on the Cover // Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart // by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Final Thoughts…

December Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For January’s challenge, go to

Note: I’m also posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

2 thoughts on “Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / December

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