A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th-Grade Vampire is a foray into fantasy from veteran children's author Marissa Moss, of the Amelia's Notebook and Mira's Diary series. It's sure to delight big kids and tweens, especially reluctant readers, who revel in gross-outs. There's plenty of light gore, especially when it comes to food like raw liver sandwiches and blood pudding. The only real violence is bullying, including among other things name calling ("dweeb" and "loser"), tripping, and spitballs. Scariness is strictly in the fantasy realm, where it's mentioned that vampires sometimes drink the blood of animals and zombies eat brains. Younger kids could be scared by Edgar's assertion that all school photographers are vampires.
What's the story?
Edgar's a typical sixth grader who just wants to have friends and be a cool kid, which shouldn't be too hard for a vampire, right? But the vampire code strictly forbids revealing your true nature to humans. When Edgar slips up at school and a rumor spreads that he's a vampire, he suddenly rockets up the school social ladder. It's great to finally have Gertie the bully being nice to him, but his family's upset by the betrayal. Can Edgar squash the vampire rumor, keep his cool status, and keep Gertie at bay?
Is it any good?
Author Marissa Moss has really dialed in a formula for success here: "my family doesn't get me" plus "middle school is hard" plus vampires equals everything a reluctant reader could ask for. Edgar is very relatable as a regular sixth grader who wants to have friends, be one of the cool kids at school, and who just happens to be a vampire. Except for the very squeamish and the vampire-phobic, kids will revel in this gross and slightly gory introduction to vampire lore.
Kids looking for a lot of action and excitement, though, should look elsewhere. This story concentrates almost exclusively on Edgar's day-to-day trials, his emotional growth, and explanations of how things work in the vampire world. Edgar's narrative voice is believable and engaging. The illustrated-diary format is tried and true, with pen-and-ink illustrations (which kids will believe they could draw themselves) adding charm and realism.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why vampire books (and movies) are so popular. Why are we so fascinated by them?
Have you ever been bullied, or bullied someone like Gertie does? Do you think Edgar's solution to put a stop to Gertie is a good one? Would it work in real life?
How to the illustrations help tell the story?
- Author: Marissa Moss
- Illustrator: Marissa Moss
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Creston Books
- Publication date: May 13, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 136
- Available on: Hardback
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