Posted in Book Reviews, Middle Grade

Middle Grade Book Review: Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

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I often hear parents comment on the sudden change in their children’s – especially their sons’  – reading habits when they transition into middle school. Suddenly boys don’t want to sit still and even if they did, there aren’t as many books that appeal to boys in that age range. While I won’t unpick the reasons why we see some of these changes in this post, I will highlight a great author for middle grade boys: K. A. Holt.

Holt writes wonderfully accessible and delightfully irreverent books for middle grade readers (both girls and boys), and I’ve just finished Rhyme Schemer, a perfect summer read for your 5th/6th/7th grade kiddo. It’s a novel in verse (but don’t let that fool you – it’s for everyone, not just poetry fans!) about a troubled 7th grader who rips pages out of library books and creates found poems that he publishes anonymously in the halls of his middle school. He also journals about his life, writing poems about everything from his principal’s tie and his teacher’s appearance to his brother’s band and a life-altering tornado.

Holt cleverly shows us how Kevin’s at times cruel behavior is rooted in his own struggle to fit in and feel valued at home and at school. The language is funny, the social dynamics are awkward, and the story is subtle and moving with a perfect (but not sugar-sweet) ending. This novel is a great fit for readers who may struggle to stay engaged in longer texts or eager readers looking for a change in style.

If your child enjoys this book, you might want to try House Arrest (also by K. A. Holt), Love That Dog and Heartbeat by Sharon Creech, or Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.



Texan, teacher, writer, reader: that’s me in a nutshell. Originally from Texas, I now live in London with my husband (he’s a Brit) and our two boys. I spend my time devouring books (especially young adult/middle grade fiction), baking cookies and generally going in ten directions at once. More than a decade ago, I moved to London for a teaching job, met my husband, stayed, and started a family. The last few years have been a whirlwind: in 2013, we moved to Austin, TX and I decided to stay at home with our son; in 2014, we bought and renovated a house in South Austin; in 2015, we welcomed our second son at a local birth center...and in 2016, we packed up and moved back to London! 2017 is set to see more changes as our eldest little starts school and I head back to the classroom. Read on for renovation info, book reviews, creative writing posts, and the general flotsam and jetsam of my life.

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