Middle-Grade Monday | #CYBILS2023 Book Reviews 11.20.2023

Consider yourself warned: we are going back to ancient times with this week’s featured books. Well, at least to life in the world before the Internet. Mexikid is a graphic novel memoir that is a nostalgic road trip through the 1970s. Simon Sort of Says is set in a time where the internet exists, but Simon and his family move to a place where the internet is banned. 

Poignant. Funny. Perfect for middle-grade readers. You’ll find those words in the reviews for both books.

Book covers link to Goodreads so you can put these on your TBR if interested.


Amy @ Goodreads – This one was so good! This book has an amazing ability to balance humor and wit with the seriousness of processing trauma and PTSD. There are crazed squirrels, a peacock that is willing to mate with anything, and Simon’s family lives in a funeral home since his mom is a mortician. Simon makes new friends, helps train a service dog (Hercules), and plots to prank (nicely??) the scientists in town. There are gross facts, silly situations, and really serious discussions about what it means to survive. This was impeccably done!

Susan, Bloggin’ Bout Books @ Goodread – I adored Simon Sort of Says! Even though it’s about trauma in the aftermath of a school shooting, the story is—for the most part—zany and hilarious. I read several passages out loud to my husband and we BOTH laughed out loud. Obviously, the book’s not all lighthearted, but Bow manages to balance the serious with the funny in a way that is perfect for a middle-grade audience. The novel’s overall tone is upbeat and optimistic, promising that things really can be okay even in the wake of terrible events and experiences.


Maureen @ Stories That Stay With Us – here’s a lot to like about Mexikid. The illustrations: energetic and boldly coloured, largely in comic-style but also in realistic, swirling watercolours. The characters: engaging, relatable and so well-developed that even though there are so many of them, you don’t ever feel lost or confused. As a kid, I used to watch a tv show called The Waltons and it made me wish I came from a big, rambunctious, bickering, jostling family. Mexikid made me feel the same way, all over again. A lively and engrossing read that will appeal to middle graders, in particular boys obsessed with superheroes, imaginary or real.

Vulpixbookpix @ Bookish Things – Pedro Martín has written a hilarious graphic novel memoir that is great for young and old audiences. This was a hilarious memoir with lots of notes on Mexican culture to help introduce people who don’t know anything about the history. Pedro’s family reminds me of my own and, I’m sure, that feeling will be the same for anybody who grew up in a large family. There’s lots of funny moments, while also containing some poignant ones as the life of Pedro’s Abuelito is unfolded before him.