Monday, May 28, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: War & Watermelon

Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served in the military. And while I thought of taking a blogging break today, my kids and I just finished War & Watermelon by Rich Wallace, which digs into the issues of war, serving one's country, family, and honor--all the things Memorial Day memorializes, so it's a perfect fit for today. 

The premise: It's August 1969. Woodstock, hippies, Vietnam, and war protests rule the day. But what if you're twelve and just about to enter seventh grade like Brody Winslow? His days are ruled by sun, swimming, girls, the Mets, and football practice. But his brother is about to turn eighteen and become eligible for the draft. And that weighs on Brody's entire family.

What keeps readers reading: The blend of the super serious with the humorous. I bring this up about certain books--this special blend of seriousness and funny stuff--because it's the real life way of things. Authors that can meld the two, and do it well like Rich Wallace has in War & Watermelon, provide a unique picture into reading and what it has to do with living.

What I loved: Brody's character. He's funny, warm, loves his family, is trying to figure out growing up, and he does it all with honesty and humor.

War & Watermelon is one one those books that teeters on the edge of upper middle grade and could very well be classified as YA, so it has some swearing, boys noticing things about girls (and vice versa), frank questions, confrontations with parents, and general rule-breaking. This was a tumultuous time, 1969, so these issues are completely fitting for the story and allow for terrific discussion.

For more middle grade recommendations, visit my Middle Grade Monday tab
Happy middle grade reading and take time to remember on this Memorial Day. 

18 comments:

  1. Great choice for Memorial Day Barbara. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. looks like a terrific read! i've been looking for more upper middle grade recommendations, and this one is perfect :O)

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  3. That sounds like a really good book. My daughter is in the middle grade level right now, and she's a voracious reader. I really enjoyed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. That's such a rough time for kids and humour is a great way to get through it.

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  4. I hadn't heard of this one. Sounds really great. I agree with you about blending humor with the serious. It is our best coping mechanism for those life experiences that are tough to deal with.

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  5. This one is new to me. Thanks for the recommendation! :o)

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  6. Nice choice for today. I haven't heard of it, but I can totally understand why you liked it! :)

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  7. I hadn't heard of this before, Barbara, but will definitely be checking it out soon. I teach in an area where there are lots of military families, so I know kids will connect with this one. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  8. Good one for Memorial day! I love when an author gets just the right balance between humor and seriousness.

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  9. This book sounds like my 12 year old, with all the swearing (which he has toned way down on), rule breaking, etc. ;)

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  10. Hi Barbara, forst time visitor and great to meet you! Thanks for the review. My kids love stuff like this. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks!

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  11. This is certainly one to check out. Something to remember about the time period, however, is all the differing views on the Vietnam War. So many perspectives.

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  12. This book looks so great!
    Can I just say, I daydream about writing an MG book that might someday be on your MMGMs. Sigh.

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  13. And what a fantastic cover. I am going to read this one because I'm looking for good fiction on the Vietnam war at the moment. Thanks for the recommend!

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  14. That sounds like a really good book. I'll put it on the list.

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  15. I would read this book just because of the cover. So cool! Great review, Barbara. I enjoyed reading it.

    Oh, and I tagged you on my blog with 11 Questions. You're it! :)
    http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2012/05/11-questions.html

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  16. This sounds like a great book! My husband is always looking for MG historicals, so thank you!

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  17. Hmmmn, I don't think I've ever read anything set during the 60's, it's such an intriguing era. Loved your description. Best of both worlds: humor and serious stuff.

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  18. great choice, thanks for sharing! you know me, I'm all about the upper middle grade reads. happy summer!

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