I’m been reading so many great, new middle grade fiction books (chapter books for 9 – 12 year olds) - about one a day so I could share new titles with you. Here’s what I’m enjoying for Fall 2011.
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett (Great pick for a Newbery)
Tissue alert – this story made me weep. A lot. Racking sobs, I’m not kidding. It’s a breathtaking story; a fable about life set in Nazi Germany. We follow three Gypsy siblings who have witnessed the capture of their family and friends. While walking and searching for food, they find an abandoned zoo, with talking animals. That’s all I’ll reveal. You NEED to read this beautiful story. It will change your life.
**Teachers, read this book and use it in your classrooms — it’s rich in allegory, theme, metaphor, imagery . . . I’d consider it for middle and high school more than elementary school.
Vordak the Incomprehensible: Rule the School
by Vordak the Incomprehensible
I laughed out loud while reading this witty book and loved every page of Vordak’s diabolical plan to rule the school. My 5th grade neighbor agrees that it is “really good!” Even the dedication cracked me up — “As some of you may recall, I dedicated my first book to myself. It was brought to my attention that this was a sign of inflated self-importance and extreme egomania — which is why I am also dedicated this book to me.”
Evie is dealing with her parents divorce, not feeling so great about her dad’s new family-to-be and her mom’s first date. She cooks and starts every chapter with a quote from a famous chef and ends each chapter with a recipe. You’ll enjoy her journey of self-discovery.
The Six Crowns: Trundle’s Quest by Allan Jones
I love finding books like this in a series! This fantasy adventure joins Trundle, the hedgehog, who reluctantly joins Esmeralda to find the Six Crowns. A prophecy, pirates, and a quest – it’s a great early chapter book for fantasy fans!
The Absolute Value of Mike
by Kathryn Erskine (Newbery pick for me.)
If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It’s so powerful and stuck with me for weeks. (Kind of like Erskine’s other book, Mockingbird, another deeply moving book.) The title is the only math concept Mike understands — absolute value — a subject in which Mike’s dad wants Mike to excel. Only Mike hates math and when he gets sent to a small town for the summer with distant relatives, Mike learns is true value.
Secrets of the Crown (The Familiars Book #2) by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
I love this series – and was thrilled that the second book was just as entertaining as the first! So, the animal helpers of magicians, the familiars, must solve the mystery of why humans can no longer perform magic. The three familiars from the first book – Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert, journey across the land and discover secrets about themselves and are shocked to learn who is behind the betrayal of humans. Read how kids can create their own animal familiar.
The Dagger Quick by Brian Eames
Young boy, Kitto, must go with his pirate uncle when his dad is murdered. The story is suspenseful as Kitto tries to discover his family’s secret history and survive life among pirates. I loved the action!
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton
Remember Trafton’s guest post on Imagination Soup? I finally got to her book and couldn’t believe I waited so long! It’s an exciting plot about a ten-year old girl Persimmony Smudge, whose father has disappeared and the king and his men treat the island’s subjects with cruelty. Persimmony and her friends realize that the island is not really an island, but a sleeping giant who might soon awake.
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure by Various Authors
A thoroughly entertaining (and crazy) adventure written as a continuing story started by Jon Scieska – I will blog about this in more detail soon. Very fun!
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
Orphan William, servant at an English monastery, saves a Hobgoblin from a trap. While the Hob is recovering, Will learns of a long-kept secret — an archangel is buried nearby and someone very evil is trying to find it.
8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
I’m in awe of how Rhuday-Perkovich created such a moving story and lovable main character, Reggie McKnight, an unpopular yet thoughtful middle-school student. I love this book!
Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar
A moving story about two misfits, a boy and girl, who become friends when trying to discover the truth about the Visconti House.
The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
How come Jack isn’t like other boys? And his mom doesn’t remember who he is? What is the magic happening and how is Jack connected? An enthralling story with a very satisfying conclusion.
Heart of the Samurai by Margi Preus
I loved learning that this was based on a true story – a must read historical-fiction book. Really interesting and entertaining. It isn’t a 2011 book but I wanted to include it anyway.
Lisel and Po by Lauren Oliver
Don’t miss the forward, why Oliver wrote this book, it really made the book more impactful for me. I felt the sadness of death so deeply while reading, and the bittersweet beauty in finding closure.
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (I already blogged about this but it’s REALLY amazing! Newbery pick for sure, I hope.)
One of the best books I’ve ever read whose characters I felt deeply connected to. The main character, Doug, is struggling to read while living in poverty with an abusive dad and older brother. What saves him, is the connecting to a librarian who shows him Audobon’s bird paintings – and how to draw. It’s excellent!!!!
MORE LISTS . . .
The Book Smugglers Middle Grade Appreciation Week