The Mealworm Diaries


Photo by Diana Maliszewski

Moving to a new school is always hard. You have to get used to everything: the teachers, the kids, the school itself. When you don't know your way around, you end up feeling dorky every time you get lost on the way to the library or the bathroom. That's what happens to Jeremy when he leaves his home in rural Nova Scotia and moves to Toronto.

To make things worse, Jeremy meets Aaron who has problems of his own. The kids call him 'Aaron Cantwait' because he talks out all the time and can't wait for his turn. Jeremy doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Why would he? But he gets stuck with Aaron for the class mealworm study and then realizes that Aaron wants to be his friend.

Becoming Aaron's friend would be a problem, but it wouldn't be as big a problem as the secret Jeremy is keeping. He knows something about his father's accident he's never told anyone, not even his mother; especially not his mother. But like all secrets, this one weighs on Jeremy's mind and haunts his dreams.

How does Jeremy deal with Aaron and put an end to his terrible dreams? Read the book and see.

 

  

Awards

2012 Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee

2010  Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year [starred]
2010  CCBC Best Books
2010  Hackmatack Children's Choice Award nominee
2010  Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award nominee
2010  Silver Birch Award nominee
2010  SYRCA Diamond Willow Award nominee
2009  OLA Best Bets
2009  Resource Links "The Year's Best"


Reviews

  CM Magazine - February 20, 2009

"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."

  Kirkus Reviews - March 15, 2009

"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."

  Quill & Quire - April 1, 2009

"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."

  Booklist - April 15, 2009

"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."

  The Bookworm - April 1, 2009

"A wonderful, sensitive story...[the] characters extend understanding even to those who have not personally felt this hurt."

  Once Upon a Bookshelf blog - April 22, 2009

"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."

  Resource Links - April 1, 2009

"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."

  A Patchwork of Books blog - June 15, 2009

"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."

  Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group - June 10, 2009

"A heartwarming story of friendship and kindness...A worthy read for public and school libraries."

  NMRLS Youth Services Book Review - December 1, 2009

"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."

  Victoria Times-Colonist - November 13, 2009

"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."

  Canadian Children's Book News - July 1, 2010

"Sensitively written...Highly recommend[ed]."