Best Middle Grade Books from Spring 2020

Best Middle Grade Books from 2020

I don’t know if I’m reading more books than usual because of trying to stay home and avoid COVID-19, or if I’ve just got better contacts and a better sense of the middle grade book world these days, or if I’ve just gotten incredible lucky, but it seems like there have been a LOT of really amazing books published this year.

This list will focus on middle grade books, which are aimed at kids 8 to 12. I’ll do a separate post featuring young adult books, because there have been some fabulous titles there, too.

If you’re looking for a book that will sweep you away, make you laugh out loud, or make you get lost in another world, these are the books for you. Discover a real animal you probably didn’t know existed in MUSIC FOR TIGERS. Learn about cricket farming. Dolphins. Complex and changing friendships. It’s all here. Just waiting for you to crack the cover.

Note: Many of the buy links listed below are affiliate links, which help support this blog if you use them to shop. They do not cost you anything to use.

Best Middle Grade Books of Spring 2020

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

Fionn and his friends face a growing army of Soulstalkers. Without his magic, Fionn and his friends must work together to summon an army of merrows before the island is overrun.

This is the second in one of my favorite series. (Read my review of book one.) If you liked A SNICKER OF MAGIC by Natalie Lloyd or THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage, or you are breathing and love a good story, please add this series to your reading list.


Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Paul Marconi and his best friends have been longing for a mystery to liven up their small town. Then hundreds of rubber duckies appear in their neighbor’s yard, and the friends finally have something to investigate.

A perfect summer story about friends, amateur sleuthing and a whole lot of rubber duckies.


My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Ben’s potato curse and a bouncing hot dog cause him to serve as the school mascot– a giant potato. Hilarity ensues as Ben struggles to keep his spud identity a secret from his friends and the prettiest girl in school.

Lots of fun antics and great character growth make this a perfect read for upper elementary students.


The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington

The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

A telepathic message from an elephant and a quest from a ghost send Lex on a hunt that might just solve the mystery of who her family is and why the tornado brought her to the zoo when she was a baby.

A really sweet story about found families. If you liked FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo, you’ll want to read this one.


Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

From Goodreads: “A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.”

Perfect for nature fans, or readers who enjoyed BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD or CHIRP.


The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

After Cassie’s mom is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Cassie decides they need to have one more adventure to help her mom remember what matters most.

Heartbreaking, moving, and hopeful. Perfect for fans of BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE or BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD.


Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

Ways to Make Sunshine
Renée Watson

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Between inventing new recipes, staging her own parade, and finding a talent for the school talent show, Ryan is a busy girl. She believes in making the best of any situation, even when life gets difficult.

A sweet story about family, friendship, facing fears, and learning to see beyond first impressions.


The Queen Bee and Me by Gillian McDunn

The Queen Bee and Me by Gillian McDunn

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

Meg doesn’t want to be in her best friend Beatrix’s shadow anymore, but stepping out on her own might cost the friendship. Especially when stepping out means joining a special science class with a quirky new girl Beatrix doesn’t like.

An insightful look at friendship and finding your voice. Perfect for fans of books by Kate Messner or THE LIST by Patricia Forde.


Fire in the Star by Kamilla Benko

Fire in the Star by Kamilla Benko

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

The breathtaking conclusion to the Unicorn Quest series packed with magic, secrets, and the power of sisterhood.

If you like books by Jessica Day George, you really need to check out The Unicorn Quest series.


Chirp by Kate Messner

Chirp by Kate Messner

Review | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Book Depository | Goodreads

Mia faces secrets she’d rather forget and the challenge of making new friends while solving the mystery of who is trying to sabotage her grandmother’s cricket farm.

Readers who are looking for a balance of light and heavy topics will enjoy CHIRP a lot, especially fans of BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD by Monika Schröder or FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo.

What books would you add to this list?

Have you read any middle grade books this year? What are some of the favorites from your late elementary-school/early middle school days that still stick with you today? Share the titles with me in the comments! I’d love to know if there are great titles I’ve missed.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

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