Ooh mealworms. I have way too much knowledge about these teeny little creatures, as we had several bearded dragons for a few years and they ate a whole truckload of mealworms on a daily basis. And I can say I've seen several of them eaten by friends. Don't ask.
Anywho...when I saw the title of Anna Kerz's middle grade novel, The Mealworm Diaries, I was instantly intrigued. A mealworm diary? What in the world could someone have to say about mealworms that could coincide with a kid's life? Well Kerz does a wonderful job of connecting a mealworm's simple life with a child's incredibly complicated one, and she does so in a manner that appears effortless and often sweet.
Jeremy and his mother have recently moved to a new town and he is having a lot of trouble adjusting to his new school and with making friends with the new kids he goes to school with. After being paired with a complete social outcast for a science project on mealworms, Jeremy knows he is absolutely doomed to be on the bottom of the social scale for the rest of his life. However, as the school year progresses, Jeremy is able to become compassionate towards Aaron, slowly understanding more about why he is the way he is and in the process, begins to heal from the death of his father and connect more with his mom, all while learning about the surprisingly complex life of a mealworm.
A short and sweet novel about friendship, love, loss, and insects, Kerz has integrated a whole bunch of themes into one marvelous one about discovery. The plot concept is one we've seen before, but with a twist (that would be the bugs folks). I think middle grade kids, especially boys, will appreciate and enjoy this one.
Recommended for library shelves and for reluctant readers.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
The Mealworm Diaries
Middle Grade Fiction
Orca Book Publishers