Monday, September 12, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Junonia

Junonia, written by Kevin Henkes, is my 'ode to longing for summer.' It takes readers to Florida's beaches for seashell searching and ocean observing. Published in 2011, this novel demonstrates Mr. Henkes' love of the ocean (and all it can teach us) as he guides soon-turning-ten-year-old Alice on a journey for a rarest of rare shells - the Junonia. As Alice searches, she grows in understanding of things that can't stay the same and how to embrace those things, even if she doesn't want to.

The premise: Every year Alice and her parents spend one month of Wisconsin's cold winter along the coast of Florida, and this year Alice hopes for great things. Turning ten and searching harder than ever for that elusive Junonia will make it so. What Alice finds, however, is that the great things she hoped for result in adapting to difference and accepting change. And she's none too happy.

What keeps readers reading: Hoping and hoping Alice finds a Junonia. When Alice's beloved 'Aunt' Kate shows up this year with boyfriend Ted and his young daughter Mallory - and Mr. and Mrs. Wishmeier's grandkids do not come - and neither does Helen Blair - everything Alice dreamed for this Florida vacation fizzles. And to make matters worse, Mr. Barden says something Alice cannot forget and Alice herself says all the wrong things. Junonia shows readers that change comes, no matter what. Kevin Henkes brings us into a beautiful setting, where problems arise and things change, but perhaps the Junonia Alice seeks looks different than she thinks. And perhaps it's the same for us.

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Happy middle grade reading!  


  1. Sounds like an interesting story. And reading about Florida in the winter sounds nice. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I've been eyeing this one on our new-release shelf for a while now. I do love Kevin Henkes. Definitely have to add this to the TBR list. Thanks, Barbara! Sounds wonderful.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful story! Great review, Barbara--you've convinced me that I need a copy! :-)

  4. This has been on my to read list for a while now, need to get it read! Thanks for sharing...

  5. What a wonderful story! I love the cover and the premise behind it is just divine!

    I've just gotten done checking out the place and I'm loving the picture of the beach area. It's just gorgeous!!! I can't wait to return again!

  6. I love the format of your reviews, as well as the content. And, thanks so much for commenting on my guest post, Reading as a Writer. It's always great to get your input.

  7. Like Megan above, I love the format and contest of your reviews, Barbara. It's always great visiting your blog!

  8. Thank you, everyone. Hope you all read it soon! It's what I call a quiet, gentle read. A favorite style of mine.

    Jen, thank you! So glad you visited.

    Megan and Michael, I appreciate your encouragement.

  9. Thanks for highlighting this book! I'll have to look for it.


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