Are you looking for new Middle Grade books to add to your shelf? Hollywood News Source has you covered!
As part of our celebration of Filipino American History Month, we’ll be recommending four of our favorite MG books. This list is very scarce, it features two Filipino authors, Erin Entrada Kelly and Candy Gourlay. Even though there is a lack of quantity, I can assure you these stories will make up for it.
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
Tall Story is a consuming and delightful read.
It follows half-siblings Andi and Bernando. One who grew up in the Philippines and the other one who was born and bred in the UK. They are estranged from each other. There’s the clashing of different upbringing.
Gourlay weaves magical folklore into the contemporary setting which I find extremely amusing because I know most Filipinos still follow the traditional ways. There is indisputable intersection between the vibrant Filipino culture and their strong belief in folklore and history. They are very protective of this. They’re good as the gospel of the Gods.
Tall Story is a poignant and heartwarming story about reclaiming your identity, and reconnecting with your family. The author also balances the firm culture narrative, the magical voice of the narrator, and the science that goes along with it. This is what makes this a brilliant story. Everything is effortlessly woven together.
Shine by Candy Gourlay
Shine is Gourlay’s second novel, I have yet to read it, but it has been nominated for several awards and has won Crystal Kite Prize for Europe 2014.
You can read the synopsis below:
This is not a ghost story even though there are plenty of ghosts in it.And it’s not a horror story though some people might be horrified. It’s not a monster story either, even though there is a monster in it and that monster happens to be me.
Forced to hide herself away from the superstitious island community of Mirasol, thirteen-year-old Rosa seeks solace online. There she meets Ansel95, and as the friendship moves from virtual to real, Rosa discovers that she’s not the only one with something to hide..
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Blackbird Fly follows the story of Apple, an aspiring musician who is getting bullied at school because she’s Filipino. She’s getting viciously taunted as a “dog eater” and other racial slurs.
This book is difficult to read because it challenges the readers as a person. It deals with hard hitting topics such as alienation, racism, bullying, and cultural identity.
It’s a necessary read, especially to kids who feels like they have to dispense their heritage just to fit it.
Blackbird Fly is an uplifting story about a girl who’s trying to find her voice. It is laced with a heartrending ensemble of family and friends. I can’t recommend it enough.
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Land of Forgotten Girls is Kelly’s sophomore book and it didn’t disappoint. It’s an empowering tale about sisterhood.
After the death of Soledad and Dominga’s mom and their dad’s disappearance, it becomes Sol’s job to look after her younger sister Dominga. She becomes her fairy godmother, she’d feed her with unearthly stories that makes her feel secure.
The narration of the story would occasionally go back and forth in the Philippines to tell a flashback scene. In addition, Kelly effortlessly intertwines the Filipino culture in the plot. Our rich tradition, tales. I could not help but to chuckle as I read some very familiar words.
The Land of Forgotten Girls is a book threaded with magical realism. It’s filled with so much hope, it should be a required reading material for all ages. This book teaches us that family is everything, that children have plenty of tales to unravel.
You can read our full review of The Land of Forgotten Girls here. Kelly has another MG book coming out next year titled Hello, Universe, you can add it on your shelf here.