May B. by Caroline Starr Rose – 2016 Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee [Book Review]

May B. is the first middle grade novel in verse that I have read in a long time, the last one being Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. When I was looking at the Caudill Nominees for 2016 and read the description for this one I could not wait to get my hands on it. I am a huge fan of The Little House on the Prairie books and was excited to read another children’s book in that setting. May B. did not disappoint.

May B. is about a young girl that is sent by her parents to go live with another family and help the new wife around the house. Her father ensures her that it will be easy and he will be back for her before Christmas, unfortunately everything does not go as planned.

While this is a middle grade novel, it does deal with some adult themes, but in a way that many students would be able to understand. It shows what life was like living on the prairie in the 1800’s, including not just the labor that one does, but what it is like for someone that grew up in the city to be thrust into that world. Many adult novels today deal with being lost or abandoned, which this middle grade novel deals with beautifully. It shows the hardships May dealt with, but did not go overboard in a way to frighten readers.

I also enjoyed the message it gives the reader that you are strong, you are brave, you are smart. Everyone is different and just because you might not be exactly like someone else in one way, it does not mean that there is anything wrong with you.

The verse flowed wonderfully and I found myself quickly turning the pages to find out what happens to May. She is one tough girl and I don’t think even as an adult I could have handled the situation she found herself in as gracefully and bravely as she does.

I highly recommend this novel to not only middle grade students, but any reader. It is a true story of courage and self-worth. I am looking forward to reading Caroline Starr Rose’s next book.

This will also be a guest post at Rachel’s blog, Lit Laugh Learn! Check her out, she’s pretty awesome!


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