Book Review: Soupy Leaves Home




 Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci


A perfectly executed graphic historical fiction. This text seamlessly weaves color, layout and text to tell the story of Pearl/Soupy as she hits the rails and meets her hobo mentor Ramshackle. As she runs from her troubles she learns the ways of the hobo community and finds her place in the world.
The hobo signs sprinkled throughout the book are guaranteed to make readers attentive and curious. The story itself is a bit of history that often goes unnoticed. Grades 6-8 should find great appeal.

Click here for a book trailer created by the author.

Source:  paperback from the public library

Audience:  grade 6 and up




Yard War by Taylor Kitchings


I enjoyed this book so much that I was telling people about it even before I finished it. I think one of the strengths of the book is that it really seems to get the adolescent narrator’s voice. I think it will be very popular because it combines two things a lot of kids are interested in: sports and the Civil Rights Movement. My only complaint is that I thought the football play descriptions were a little bit much. Of course, that’s what a lot of readers will like best!

Here is a quote that I really liked: “It clanked and rolled, thunder boomed, and the rain came in buckets, like a bat in the street was the signal it had been waiting for.”


Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Ages 10 and up

A Night Divided by Jennifer Neilson



If there is such a genre as young adult – historical – thriller, this book is it.  I liked the East German perspective,  one I haven’t seen often.  I also really like the quotes that start each chapter.  It might feel a little young due to the main character’s age, but the political concepts are suited to more sophisticated readers.


Scholastic has produced a book trailer, I hope it helps lead kids to this excellent book.


Source:  Public Library

Audience: Middle school

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Excellent historical context and some nice creepy Gothic elements were strengths for this book. I’ve read other books about the Spanish Influenza outbreak and this one does a fine job detailing the hysteria and tragedy of the time.  The plot was a bit too slow, and I found some characters to be lacking in detail. Despite these concerns, I think this is a writer I will seek out in the future.

Source:  Public Library