Nutmeg books are pretty important in every grade level of my job. They are books selected by a committee of librarians/teachers covering a range of genres and character issues. Currently, I introduce students to the Intermediate Nutmegs which are recommended for grades 4-6. There are also elementary, teen and high school categories. Each year students can read as many titles as possible from the ten selections and vote on their favorite.
I read six of the Intermediate titles over the summer: Fish in a Tree, Kinda Like Brothers, The Tapper Twins Go to War, Took, Ratscalibur and The War that Saved My Life. I won’t review these here because I’d like to only comment on titles I’ve read within the past month. I finished my seventh 2018 Nutmeg title just a week or so ago. A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner was a cute story of friendship, empathy and teamwork. Friends Red and Rip support each other through fifth grade amidst a new, “radical” teacher who also happens to be their basketball coach. Red’s character is autistic (never stated outright, but all signs point to it) and Rip has developed a strong connection to help Red through the tough changes he must face with their unorthodox teacher.
I liked this story, but think kids with no basketball knowledge will get a bit lost in that part of the plot. The friendship and classroom scenes will engage kids though. Especially their Gross Things project.
Spoiler: I definitely enjoyed the ending too, although it was predictable, it just made me happy and sometimes that is just what you need in a book. I created an Animoto Book Trailer to share with my students. I will share it here!