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Sue B and the Ridders by Melissa Ruth Rotert

Along with a fun story involving magic, Sue B and the Ridders delivers an important message for middle grade readers. Author Rotert provides insight into the effects of bullying from the victim’s perspective, and explores the conventional ways of dealing with the problem. When these methods don’t work, Sue B resorts to an unorthodox approach, with the help of a school janitor.

Not only does Sue have to deal with her school bully, Barnaby, the adults in her life don’t understand the severity of the issue, offering little in the way of constructive solutions. Sue’s home life centers around her little sister, Jess, who gets all the attention from their parents while being an annoyance to her big sister. Only Mr. Ritter, a new janitor, takes an interest in helping Sue rid herself of her bully. For a while, everything is great in Sue’s world. But before long, Sue questions Mr. Ritter’s method of dealing with problems.

Told with a touch of humor and a voice that older children will relate to, the writing flows naturally and is an easy read, while at the same time extending the reader’s vocabulary with precocious Sue’s narrative. An enjoyable fantasy with teaching moments, Sue B and the Ridders is sure to appeal to middle grade readers.

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