The Mealworm Diaries

  • Pages:160
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:science projects, trauma, guilt, PTSD, behavioral problems
  • Available:04/01/2009
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 9-12
  • Lexile:640L
  • ATOS:4.0
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Mealworms are small creatures that live in dark secret places. Jeremy is a bit like that when he leaves his home in rural Nova Scotia and moves to Toronto with his mother. Lots of things keep him from enjoying his new life, but the worst is his science partner, Aaron, who is more annoying than sand in a bathing suit. Jeremy is also burdened by the secret he carries about the motorcycle accident that injured him and killed his father. Although Jeremy is haunted by his past, he starts to feel at home in Toronto when he realizes he has some skills he can share with his classmates. And when his mealworm project yields some surprising results, Jeremy is finally able to talk about his part in the fatal accident.
"A finely crafted blend of humour, drama, and suspense. The measured and compelling revelation of Jeremy’s dark secret is well balanced by scenes from his science and gym classes as well as the development of his relationship with Milly. The plot has some nice, realistic surprises and a satisfying as well as uplifting conclusion. Highly Recommended."
– CM Magazine
"This moving first novel deftly weaves...serious issues into a realistic depiction of an ordinary boy moving forward despite his loss and doing the right thing by his troubled classmate."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Aaron's ADHD-type-behavioural problems are described with such accuracy that he jumps right off the page...There is real, raw talent here, evident in the character of Aaron, and in the depiction of classroom life."
– Quill & Quire
"Kerz effectively conveys the insular social dynamics of a grade-school classroom and presents winning portraits of Jeremy and his understanding family and teacher. Readers will enjoy this quiet story as they absorb its simple but timeless message about the importance of kindness."
– Booklist
"A wonderful, sensitive story...[the] characters extend understanding even to those who have not personally felt this hurt."
– The Bookworm
"I devoured this book, and enjoyed every second of it...[I] was impressed that (even though heavier topics were covered) it was such a light, easy and entertaining read."
– Once Upon a Bookshelf blog
"Kerz has produced a sympathetic character in Jeremy, troubled by his self-imposed guilt over the death of his father...The social implications of Jeremy's secrets are staged realistically; the interactions at home, in the classroom, and on the playground ring true."
– Resource Links
"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...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."
– A Patchwork of Books blog
"A heartwarming story of friendship and kindness...A worthy read for public and school libraries."
– Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"There's a lot of boy-appeal here…Themes of grief and loss, friendship, identity, and acceptance are all present and balanced against each other; no particular theme is superimposed too obviously over the others…A worthwhile book for kids who are grieving, moving, or even struggling to deal with an annoying classmate."
– NMRLS Youth Services Book Review
"The characters are multi-dimensional as they struggle not only to be cool, but nice. This is a satisfying read, and a good choice for younger students as they learn to get along with the other students in their class."
– Victoria Times-Colonist
"Sensitively written…Highly recommend[ed]."
– Canadian Children's Book News
Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards - Diamond Willow   | 2010  |  Short-listed
Resource Links, The Year's Best Books   | 2009  |  Commended
Ontario Library association (OLA) Best Bets   | 2009  |  Commended
Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award   | 2010  |  Short-listed
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens   | 2010  |  Commended
Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year   | 2010  |  Commended
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards   | 2010  |  Nominated
Rocky Mountain Book Award (RMBA)   | 2012  |  Short-listed
Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award   | 2010  |  Nominated