I’ve been “book tasting” or sampling two dozen or so middle grade chapter books to find books for my 12-year-old son. I’m also reading for myself, trying to discover that possible Newbery gem in these piles.
From this list, I’m narrowing down my reading pile to:
- Lemons by Melissa Savage (getting buzz)
- A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold (for possible autism list I’m working on)
- Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis (I do like magical realism)
- Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland by Alexis E. Fajardo (my son likes graphic novels and I’m also going to add to my Medieval/Middle Ages book list; a period of history that is growing on me)
- Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch (I have a spy/superhero chapter book list that I can add this one to)
- A Dog Like Daisy by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (I might make a service dog book list)
How about you? What middle grade books are you loving right now?
p.s. I’m giving away 6 of these books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
p.p.s. Part 1 of this list here.
Summer Reading List for ages 8 and up & GIVEAWAY (part 2 of 2)
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager
I loved Hour of the Bees so I’m excited to read Lindsay Eager’s newest book that has a breezier feel than the slight melancholic heaviness of Hour of the Bees. 11-year-old Fidelia Quail becomes an orphan where her parents are killed in a submarine of her own invention and now it’s up to her to escape a pirate who has kidnapped her, and figure of the mystery of a treasure he’s desperate to find on the bottom of the ocean. This book feels a little like Half Magic meets The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Lemons by Melissa Savage
There seems to be a growing buzz for Lemons, Melissa Savage’s debut chapter book. It’s 53 chapters of about 6 pages each. I personally find short chapters appealing because the pacing tends to be fast and thus holds my son’s interest. Nearly 11 years old Lemonade Liberty (Lem for short) is moving to a tiny town to live with her grandfather after her mother dies. It’s here that she makes a new friend who is determined to capture Bigfoot on film. This book reminds me of The True Meaning of Smekday thus far. I’m excited to read further. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold, illustrated by Charles Santoso
This book would be perfect for kids who liked Pax by Sara Pennypacker but this book has an autistic character. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, brings a rescue baby skunk home and he bonds with it. Now, he has one month to prove to his mom that a skunk makes a great pet. This is a book to get inside the head of an autistic boy. [chapter grade, ages 6 and up]
A Dog Like Daisy by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
Daisy the rescue dog is trying to pass the service dog test in order to help her human, Colonel Victor, from his PTSD attacks. Told from the point of view of the dog, it’s a story of human and dog relationships and their ability to heal. This is a riveting dog story with a veteran’s twist. It looks great! [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis
For those who like magical realism, try this story about a girl with a beehive in her hair. Pair with Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager. The tone of this book is lighter than Hour of the Bees, and it draws the reader right in. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin L. Gray
The cover belies the plot which is a bit more serious of a 9-year-old girl who is coping with her mother’s depression brought about by her grandmother’s death. With the spunk of Ramona or Clementine, Vilonia could be a literary sibling. Set in the south, this is Raymie Nightingale meets Clementine. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Mary Andromeda and the Amazing Eye by J. G. Kemp
For kids who like a science twist in their middle grade fiction, try this adventure book that combines astronomy, mystery, and secret tunnels. I’d describe it as The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate meets The Boxcar Children. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch
We love spy-in-training books and I’m glad for a female protagonist! This one is set in the foothills of Mt. Ranier National Park and looks fast-paced and fun to read. My only issue is the very small font size of the text, especially for reluctant readers. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Tales from the Scaremaster: Werewolf Weekend & Swamp Scarefest by B. A. Frade & Stacia Deutsch
This series is Goosebumps meets Wayside School where the story from a book comes to life. My son isn’t much of a Goosebumps fan, but this [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler
Kids who like fantasy and magic will like this book. 12-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird. Nell must journey to get her mother back into the Wicked Places where Nightmares reside. Once there, she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare. I’d describe it as Harry Potter meets The B.F.G. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
StormWalker by Mike Revell
The premise of this book is a little creepy. Owen Smith’s dad is grieving since they lost his mom. He’s a writer, which helps him cope with this loss, so Owen encourages him to start another novel. Here’s the twist: when Owen’s dad is writing, Owen gets sucked into an alternate reality in which he’s living inside his father’s story, and it’s a dystopian one. Owen also has to cope with the gaps of time he’s lost when living in his father’s story. This has a science-fiction feel to it. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland by Alexis E. Fajardo
Beowulf might not be your child’s first choice, but it’s more enticing in graphic novel format. Readers who like mythology and adventure should give this series a try. It also introduces kids to the ancient geographic history of Europe and the Middle Ages. Try with kids who liked The Inquisitor’s Tale. [middle grade graphic novel, ages 9 and up]
Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
A sweeping family saga of Romeo and Juliet proportions set during the Mexican Revolution. [young adult, ages 12 and up]
Middle Grade Summer Reading Giveaway
I’m giving away 6 books to 6 winners. Please indicate your first, second, and third choice in the comments below and enter the Rafflecopter to win. Please note that I can only mail to U.S. addresses.
- Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
- Storm Walker by Mike Revell Advanced Release Copy
- The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler
- Werewolf Weekend by B. A. Frade & Stacia Deutsch
- Swamp Scarefest by B. A. Frade & Stacia Deutsch
- Mary Andromeda and the Amazing Eye by J. G. Kemp
To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.
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p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.