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You see, I have must-match-book-to-kid issues. It’s my favorite thing!
So, if you’re out of book ideas for your elementary-aged children (in kidlit land we call them middle grade books) here are some of my favorites. Like yesterday’s post on early chapter books and easy readers, these books are all in a series.
*descriptions from the publishers
Fablehaven Complete Boxed Set by Brandon Mull
Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among the greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. But when the rules get broken, powerful forces are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and maybe even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most…
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
When Aldwyn, a young alley cat on the run, ducks into a mysterious pet shop, he doesn’t expect his life to change. But that’s exactly what happens when Jack, a young wizard, picks Aldwyn to be his magical familiar.
Finally off the tough streets, Aldwyn thinks he’s got it made. He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert—that he’s the telekinetic cat he claims to be. But when Jack and two other wizards in training are captured by a terrible evil, it will take all of Aldwyn’s street smarts, a few good friends, and a nose for adventure to save the day!
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Diana Sudyka
“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”
When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
Annie’s Adventures by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
A rather large problem has befallen the Huit girls. (Sisters, actually. Octuplets to be exact.) One particular New Year’s Eve, the girls wait for their mommy to bring them hot chocolate and their daddy to return with more wood for the fire. But they don’t. Mommy and Daddy, that is. They’re gone. Poof! Maybe dead—no one knows for sure.
Myth-O-Mania! by Kate McMullan
Mythology / Humor
Narrator, Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to shine some light on what really happened. Hilarious – one of our favorite series!
Elliot and the Goblin War by Jennifer Nielsen
Debut author Nielsen serves up goblins like they’ve never been seen (or smelled) before, in this tale that unfolds the mysteries of the Underworld.
Seekers by Erin Hunter
Three bears . . . one destiny. Three young bears from different species—black, polar, and grizzly—are separated from their families when they are just young cubs. They find themselves brought together on a perilous journey. Fate is about to change all these bears lives forever, setting their paws on a path toward a future they cannot yet imagine . . .
School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari
Madeleine, Theo, Lulu, and Garrison must face their phobias head-on as students of the exclusive and elusive school. There’s no homework or exams. But if they don’t conquer their fears, they’ll find out just how frightening failing can be.
Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood
Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Nathaniel Fludd: Beastologist by R. L. La Fevers
The year is 1928, the setting England, and Nate’s wayward parents have just been reported lost at sea. Nate is sent that very day to his Aunt Phil’s house in Batting-at-the-Flies, but not for long . . . The morning after he arrives at the renowned beastologist’s doorstep, she whisks him away to the Arabian desert to witness a phoenix lay an egg!
Faeries’ Promise by Kathleen Duey
Alida, a young faerie princess locked away in a castle belonging to Lord Dunraven, who has forbidden humans to see or speak to faeries. For 60 years, Alida has longed for her faerie family, so when a human boy named Gavin dares to ask for her help, Alida tells a lie to gain her release. Together they journey through the forest hoping to evade Lord Dunraven’s guards, but when capture becomes imminent, Gavin allows himself to be caught, leaving Alida to travel on alone.
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan
When a traveling minstrel foretells that he is to become a hero, Wiglaf sets out to fulfill his destiny: he signs up at the Dragon Slayers’ Academy. But how can he ever hope to be a dragon slayer when he can’t even stand the sight of blood?
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
Emmy was a good girl.At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days.
She really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all . . .
Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.
Secret Agent, Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
In this action-packed new series, nine-year old secret agent Jack Stalwart travels the globe in search of his missing older brother Max while solving international crimes for the Global Protection Force.
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald
Meet the Sisters Club: twelve-year-old Alex, aspiring actress and born drama queen; eight-year-old Joey, homework lover and pioneer wannabe; and smack in the middle, ten-year-old Stevie, the glue that holds them together — through dinner disasters, disputes over stolen lucky sweaters, and Alex’s going gaga over her leading man.
Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery – about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface.
Red Blazer Girls by Michael Beil
Are these sleuths in school uniforms modern-day equivalents of Nancy, Harriet, or Scooby? Not really, they’re just three nice girls who decide to help out a weird lady, and end up hiding under tables, tackling word puzzles and geometry equations, and searching rather moldy storage rooms for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (that’s from an old detective movie). Oh, and there’s A Boy, who complicates things. As boys often do.
Erec Rex by Kaza Kingsley
Life is not easy for twelve-year-old Erec Rex. His single mother can barely support her six adopted kids. And they’ve moved into an apartment so tiny that Erec sleeps with the washing machine. Worse, there is a strange force within Erec that is making him do odd things. His urge to obey these thoughts grows — until it becomes impossible to resist them.
Then one morning, Erec’s mother is missing. The force inside Erec commands him to find her, leading him on an adventure that will change him forever. When he arrives in Alypium, a hidden world where old knowledge of magic is kept, Erec learns that his mother and the entire kingdom are in peril. And he might be the only one who can save them.
Liberty Porter by Julia DeVillers
Liberty Porter is your average eight-year-old girl. Except for the fact that her dad is the newly-elected President of the United States. She just moved into her new house–the White House. And she’s about to start at her new school.
Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Realistic & Fantasy
Five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI–which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging–Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary. Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night. Is it real? Is he dreaming?
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
Realistic(ish) / Humor / Mystery
Mr. Cheeseman, his three relatively odor-free children, a psychic hairless dog, and a sock puppet named Steve are on the run. Why? Because Mr. Cheeseman invented a time machine, of course. Now they’re being chased by international super spies, top secret government agents, and a genius monkey. Dr. Cuthbert Soup, the head of the Center of Unsolicited Advice, narrates this wild adventure.
The Genius Files Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman
Realistic(ish) / Adventure
Coke and Pepsi McDonald didn’t want to jump off a cliff. They didn’t want to get hit by poisoned darts from blowguns either. And they certainly don’t want to get locked in their burning school, thrown into a pit at the top of a sand dune, or drowned in a vat of liquified SPAM. But what are you supposed to do when you’re being chased across the country by your insane health teacher and two guys in bowler hats who are trying to kill you? One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a snap for Coke and Pep to write their essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman
Aidan and Meg Falconer are their parents’ only hope. The Falconers are facing life in prison — unless Aidan and Meg can follow a trail of clues to prove their innocence. The problem? Right now they’re trapped in a juvenile detention center. Until they escape one night — and find themselves on the run, both from the authorities and from a sinister attacker t who has his own reason to stop them. The Falconers must use their wits to make it across the country … with plenty of tests along the way.
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Books in a Series