Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, my spin on the topic is this: middle grade reads. As the parent of an enthusiastic middle grade reader, I’m always looking for books that will spark conversations, explore interesting ideas, or generate all those deep emotions as only a well-written book can. Here are the best of the middle grade books I’ve read in the last couple of years.
While I haven’t made it to posting this review yet, this is another must-read, in my humble blogger opinion. I completely identified with Anna’s struggle to connect with her friends and find peace in her identity.
Quirky characters were the big win for me in this novel. I mean, seriously?! A shape-shifting mouse? So cute. And the team of unlikely allies reminded me of the team of odd part-dragon characters helping Seraphina in Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.
This was another unexpected find. When the author, who’d been a missionary to this part of the world, approached me with Escape from Sudan, the subject of the story definitely interested me. Books like this one are great ways to start conversations about world events and to introduce those ideas in ways appropriate for middle readers.
This is another tale with a powerful punch. In the wake of the hostage crisis in Iran, an Iranian-American girl navigates a suddenly hostile California town. She’s smart, funny and immediately goes for the heartstrings. I want this book in classrooms everywhere.
Too often simple kindness gets overlooked in our fast-paced modern world. In this story, Benny wrestles with being kind to others in the midst of troubling family circumstances: his father suffered an accident and may never be the same. I loved Benny from page one.
As part of a school history project, Deja discovers the truth about what changed the New York skyline on September 11, 2001, and the connection it has to her family. While this one got a little preachy– a side effect of the classroom setting for many of the book’s scenes– I really appreciated the honest but not graphic look at another big moment in US history.
I’m cheating a bit, since my review for this book won’t be posted until the middle of July. But seriously. Another great, really relevant book. A young girl is forced to leave her island town with her family to live in a Japanese Internment camp. The details are all gentle– it’s very middle grade level stuff– but it absolutely captures the message about how traumatic and wrong that moment in American history was.
I love the blend of noir and humor in this wacky mystery. This was one series that had both my daughter and me watching for release dates and rushing to the bookstore to get the copy of the latest release.
I had the pleasure of meeting this author on vacation a few months before her book came out. My grandmother’s death was a hugely significant loss in my life, so when she described her novel about a boy and his family rediscovering one another after his grandfather’s death, I was instantly intrigued. I’m super excited that I got to read it!
What are your favorite middle grade books?
You’ve read my list. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Which books top your favorites for middle grade literature? (Thing ages 8-12.) Leave a comment with your answer!