Middle Grade 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Middle Grade Holiday Gift Guide

Middle Grade 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but this year I wanted to post a giant list of recommended titles for the holiday season. Whether you’re looking for stories to fill the weeks at home between school days or filling your shopping bag with gifts for those you love, these titles are among my favorites and the ones I most highly recommend from books published this year. I’ve divided this holiday gift guide into sections so hopefully the list is less overwhelming. If I’ve posted a review of the book, you’ll see a link to next to the publication date.

Without further ado, here are the books I recommend for the 8-12 year old reader in your life this holiday season.

Note: This post contains affiliate links which do not cost anything for you to use, but which help support this blog.

Silly, Funny, and So Much Fun

These books all made me snort with laughter or grin until my face hurt. If your reader enjoys goofy heroes and ridiculous antics, these titles are totally worth exploring.

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

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

What You Need to Know: An unwilling team mascot, a possible potato curse, and a chance at the prettiest girl in school. Super fun.

Published March 4, 2020 | My review


Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

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

What You Need to Know: Three friends. Hundreds of rubber duckies. A town enthralled with its upcoming bratwurst competition. I laughed out loud!

Published April 14, 2020 | My review


Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini by Betsy Uhrig

Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini by Betsy Uhrig

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

What You Need to Know: A boy gets hired by his aunt to help her fix her children’s book about a grumpy frog and prize-winning zucchini. Sounds hilarious to me!

Published September 22, 2020


Unusual Adventures

Sometimes what makes a book so magical is that it takes us places we could never visit on our own. These books transport the reader to a setting or into circumstances far outside ordinary life to create a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

The Storm Keeper’s Island/The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

What You Need to Know: This is my FAVORITE middle grade series right now. I love the magic and the adventure and the power of family and friendships. If you haven’t read it, you need to start with book one, THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND, but both are excellent.

Storm Keeper’s Island Review | Lost Tide Warriors Review


Foreverland by Nicole C. Kear

Foreverland by Nicole Kear

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

What You Need to Know: A runaway decides to live in a theme park, which becomes an adventure with an unexpected friend.

Published April 21, 2020 | My Review


Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

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

What You Need to Know: Goodreads describes this one as “Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters.” Spooky and sweet. Also, I heard there’s a cat!

Published April 7, 2020


The Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn

The Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn

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

What You Need to Know: A sister looking for her lost brother. A magical circus where the cost of entry is a memory. For fans of CIRCUS MIRANDUS and THE NIGHT GARDENER.

Published September 1, 2020

The Fallen Hero by Katie Zhao

Dragon Warrior/Fallen Hero by Katie Zhao

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

What You Need to Know: A super fun series featuring Chinese mythology, adventure, and heroism.

Dragon Warrior Review | Fallen Hero Review


Clifton Chase on Castle Rock by Jaimie Engle

Clifton Chase on Castle Rock by Jaimie Engle

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

What you need to know: Clifton Chase Adventures #2. A new 11th century adventure. Magic arrows. A chance to warn a dear friend so he can avoid his death. More Clifton Chase?! Yes!

Published November 24, 2020


Memorable and Moving

It might be just me, but I’m a huge fan of stories with a powerful message about family and healing. These are some of the best, most moving stories I’ve read this year. I hope there’s a special reader in your life who will find these among their holiday gifts this year.

What Happens Next by Claire Swinarski

What Happens Next by Claire Swinarski

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

What You Need to Know: A solar eclipse, a search for a missing telescope, and a girl missing her older sister. Perfect for fans of THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

Published May 19, 2020 | My Review


The Dream Weavers by Reina Luz Alegre

The Dream Weavers by Reina Luz Alegre

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

What You Need to Know: An ownvoices story about a 12 year-old girl who connects with her Cuban heritage and about discovering where you belong for the first time.

Published June 23, 2020


Believe by Julie Mathison

Believe by Julie Mathison

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

What You Need to Know: An imaginative girl creates a plan to track down her missing mother.

Published August 4, 2020 | My Review


Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski

Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski

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

What You Need to Know: A hopeful (and at times heartbreaking) story of a young girl who decides to build a submarine and sail it across the Chesapeake Bay.

Published April 7, 2020 | My Review


Nevertell by Katharine Orton

Nevertell by Katharine Orton

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

What You Need to Know: The haunting, lovely story of a girl who escapes a Soviet prison camp in search of her grandmother with Russian fairy tales woven throughout.

Published April 14, 2020 | My Review

What’s On Your Middle Grade 2020 Holiday Reading List?

Do you purchase books for young readers as gifts over the holidays? Are any of these titles on your shopping list? What books would you put on your own holiday gift guide?

If you have questions about anything on the list, please feel free to ask me in the comments!

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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.

6 Responses to Middle Grade 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Fabulous collection! I wish I had so many options when I was in middle school.

  2. Great seeing your list. I’ve had my eye on My Life as a Potato. A few I’d add are The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer Nielsen, Front Desk and Three Keys by Kelly Yang, Cattywampus, and The Witches of Willow Cove.

    • Those all sound great!! I think I have The Three Keys and Cattywampus on my reading list, so I’ll have to move them up and get to them sooner. Thank you so much for your recs.

  3. Colleen says:

    I absolutely love that you did this!! Thank you.

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