Review / We Own the Sky

20230210ma_0205Book: We Own the Sky (2022)
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Genre: MG, Historical [1924]
Publisher: Scholastic

Opening lines from the book …
Aside from the priest and the gravediggers, me and my sister, Jo, are the only ones to witness our dear mother, Eva Morin Michaud, being lowered into her grave. Papa having perished in a mill accident some years previously, the hard, hard loss of our mama makes us orphans.


1) I liked the brother and sister combo (Davy and Jo) as they navigate their new life as orphans. Fortunately, a distant cousin comes into the story to whisk them away to join her flying circus.

2) The flying circus is SUCH an interesting setting. Davy gets to sell popcorn and even gets his own stint as the popular Donkey Boy, much to the audience’s delight. As for Jo, she dreams of walking the wings in the airshow. I loved the cook, Mrs. M and Ruthie and the Captain and all of them.

3) The danger of the flying tricks will make you wonder when an accident is going to take place in the book. Well, hold on to your seats. There are some near misses and … well, no spoilers!

4) The flying isn’t the only danger featured in the book. Even though this story takes place in Maine, there is the danger of the Ku Klux Klan. Who would have known?! Apparently, this is a historical fact and, while they didn’t have so many Black people to target, they instead targeted the French/Italians Catholics among others. (This book has a good historical note at the end.)

5) I really like the book cover! At first glance, all you’ll definitely notice is the plane and the boy running at sunset. (And yeah, you’ll notice the wingwalker!) And then, in the lower left corner … you’ll see them. The KKK. But you might not notice until later.


This was an exciting book. I particularly like reading historical fiction, and this was something that I hadn’t previously known much about. Especially the stuff about the KKK in Maine! Highly recommend this book.



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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

Review / Feathered

20221026ma_1878Book: Feathered (2016)
Author: Deborah Kerbel
Genre: MG, Historical (1980s)
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Opening lines from the book …
I’m not crazy. I swear I’m not. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I knew I had it in me to fly. I can’t explain it any better than to say it’s a feeling so powerful you shut your mouth and don’t argue with it.


1) I was intrigued by the opening lines. I thought it might be a book with magical realism, but the whole feather thing turns out to be more metaphorical. At this point in my reading, I prefer that. (Not that I don’t like magical realism. I think I’m oversaturated in that genre.)

2) I really like Finch. I really felt for her and her brother, especially with how their mother is dealing with the death of their dad. She basically is ignoring them. I was definitely rooting for this family!
3) The brother (Harrison) has a friend adds a lot of tension and drama. He’s the yuckiest, meanest bully you just love to hate. That part was really well done. And I like the uncertainty of not knowing if we should like or trust Finch’s brother. 
4) There’s a new family that moves in next door. Finch tries to become friends with Pinky, only to find that her dad won’t let Pinky play with Finch. This will lead to some dramatic moments in the story!
5) This book takes place in the 80s. I loved the connection it had to Terry Fox who, like Finch’s dad, dies of cancer.


I enjoyed this book. It’s short but packs a lot into the pages with a lot of memorable characters.



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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

Newbery Verdict: Dragonwings

20220819ma_1638Book: Dragonwings (1975)
Author: Laurence Yep
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: MG, Historical [1900s]
Newbery Honor Book (1976)

Opening Lines of the Book…

Ever since I can remember, I had wanted to know about the Land of the Golden Mountain, but my mother had never wanted to talk about it. All I knew was that a few months before I was born, my father had left our home in the Middle Kingdom, or China, as the white demons call it, and traveled over the sea to work in the demon land.


Dragonwings is the story of a young Chinese boy who comes over to live with his father, leaving his mother in China (which is how it worked at the turn of the 20th century). I did find the beginning part a little slow, especially as Moon Shadow navigates through the laundry with all his “uncles.” However, the pace picked up once he and his father moved to work for Miss Whitlaw. I think this is partly because of Miss Whitlaw’s niece, Robin (who happens to be the same age as Moon Shadow). I loved their interactions, as Miss Whitlaw and Robin share what it’s like to be American, AND Moon Shadow shares his own Chinese culture to them!

Also, very interesting, is the part where Moon Shadow’s dad writes to the Wright Brothers about building his own flying machine. And Orville Wright writes back! Everything comes to a dramatic head with the 1906 earthquake that hits San Francisco.


While it took a little time to get into the story, I really did enjoy this book! I loved the history. And it’s great to see a book from the perspective of a Chinese immigrant written in 1975!


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up. (Note: This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Award!)

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

Photo Challenge #14 / Clouds

IMG_8621“Clouds from Above” / Theme: Clouds

A little about this photo…

My favourite seat on an airplane is the window seat. That’s because I like to see the world below. And I always get a kick out of seeing clouds below. I thought these were interesting-looking clouds. It’s almost like they are a soft blanket of cotton.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek