I know you’re always looking for new, engaging middle grade books for your kids ages 9 – 12.
I’ve been reading newly published middle grade chapter books and found some gems to recommend to you and your kids. See what you think!
Middle Grade Books
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas
I’m a big fan of Sandra Dallas’ adult historical fiction so I couldn’t wait to read this book for middle grade readers. It didn’t disappoint. The story follows Emmy and her parents from Illinois to Colorado by covered wagon. Dallas does a great job of character development, so we become just as concerned as Emmy when we see a fellow traveler being mistreated by her husband. We worry when Emmy finds a dog – and hope her father lets her keep it. I found this absolutely engaging and informative about the historical period, too.
Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery by Pseudonymous Bosch
writing, mystery, humor
How can I describe this Pseudonymous Bosch book? Funny. Mocking. Engaging. Educational. Sarcastic. This book is hilarious — and will give your kids a chance to solve a mystery, learn more about writing, and write a story. The footnotes might be my favorite tips. (“Confused about the difference between a foreword, a preface, and a prologue? If it’s any consolation, I am, too.“) Also, I love the Procrastination Pages throughout the book. (“Open refrigerator. Find nothing that you want to eat. Close refrigerator. Repeat. (Remember, we writers are working al the time, no matter what it may seem like we’re doing.)“)
But, I tell you, this book really teaches kids about writing with advice on characterization, genre, and so forth. (“I always name my chapters at the end; I used to name chapters before writing them, but you wouldn’t believe how many chapters I’ve called “Adventure Down at the Quarry” only to find that there is no quarry.”)
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Three kids, Ephraim Appledorre, Mallory Green, and Will Wylie, begin at odds but as they work together, will they discover the secret Water Castle? Does it contain the secret water for eternal youth? I loved this great adventure!
The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff by Jason Lethcoe
Mal-treated orphan Benjamin follows all the wishing rules and makes the perfect birthday wish — for more wishes. He doesn’t realize that by doing this he’s taking away other kids wishes and creating a powerful wish magic that can be stolen and used by the Curseworks Factory. He’s recruited by the Wishworks Factory to set things right. A delightful, imaginative story with the perfect ending.
The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1 by John Flanagan
I’m a new John Flanagan fan — this was such a well-written story of a young, father-less boy named Hal whose mom was an Araluen slave. To survive the town’s prejudice against him, he is helped by another outcast, his dead father’s former shipmate, a one-armed recovering drunk. When it’s time for his Brotherband training, he becomes the leader of a rag-tag group of boys. They’ll complete against better, stronger teams who don’t always play fair . The stakes are high and Hal must win even with his group of misfits.
The Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup
Princess Adela tags along with her gardener friend, Garth, to an invite-only garden party given by the infamous, reclusive Lady Hortensia. Princess Adela discovers that Lady Hortensia turns her guests into slaves or flowers. Adela will need help to escape and free the other imprisoned guests — help that comes from a talking crow. Imaginative fun!
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint and Charles Vess
fantasy, magical realism
Beautiful illustrations accompany this sweet, adventurous fantasy story of a girl, Lillian, who is saved from a deadly snake bite by the forest cats. To save her, the cats turn Lillian into a kitten. Lillian journeys through the forest to find someone who can help her turn back into a girl. When Mother Possum changes her back to a girl, Lillian returns home to find that her beloved aunt is dead of the snake bite instead of her. Once again Lillian returns to the forest to find a way to undo what Mother Possum did- she’d rather be a kitten than to see her aunt die. Brilliant character development and a very thought-provoking theme of our choices and the possibilities in life.
Under Shifting Glass by Nicki Singer
Jess’ twin brothers will be born soon but there’s a big problem — they are conjoined. Which means they might die. And Jess’ only hope is found in a small glass bottle that belonged to her aunt. She knows that the bottle’s magic can help her brothers even if no one else believes.
Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure
Based on a true story, this is a historical recounting of a wild boy the early 1800s found in France. I found the life fascinating as the author takes us on the journey of his life. He’s studied as a beast, less than person. In fact, scientists of the time believed he was not a human but something other. This book will make you think.
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Don’t miss these book lists:
- Books for kids who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Books for kids who like Junie B. Jones
- Best chapter books series that kids will love
- Books for kids who love Harry Potter
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Books for 9-year olds
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Books for 12-year olds