Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sticks and Stones by Sarah Mlynowki, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins -- ESSENTIAL

Mlynowski, Sarah and Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins Sticks & Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2). Scholastic Press, 2016. $14.99. Content: PG.

Nory, Bax, and their friends from the Upside-Down Magic class are back in a second adventure. This time a group of students with "normal" magic is trying to see the Upside-Down Magic program disbanded. After all, the UDM students have "wonky" magic and are different and scary; therefore they don't belong at a school with "normal" kids, right?

Can the Upside-Down Magic kids save their program when so many prejudiced students -- and even teachers and administrators --  are turning against them?

Like the first book in the series, this one skillfully addresses weighty topics such prejudice, tolerance, hypocrisy, differing ability/talent levels, friendship, and self-worth -- all in an entertaining, suspenseful, non-preachy way. It also includes several laugh-out-loud lines. (We now quote the "tiny toothbrush" one in our household on a regular basis.) There's plenty of nuance throughout, all working together to build on the theme of acceptance of others and of oneself. A must-have series for a middle-grade library.

EL, MS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by Sydney G., Teacher/Librarian

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