Amazing Middle Grade Books for Ages 8 – 12, Late Fall 2017

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Maybe publishers saved the best for last this year because holy smokes are there some amazing chapter books for late fall (2017)! You’re not going to know which one to read first. Seriously. So. Many. Good. Books.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 – 12, Late Fall 2017

Lush, full-color illustrations (over 150!) fill this dramatic science fiction adventure in one of the most uniquely imagined worlds. 13-year old Diego lives in New Chicago post-Time Collision. Now, in the present, the Steam Timers, the Mid Timers, the Elders, and other groups coexist peacefully after a terrible world war. But it’s a fragile peace. When Diego’s dad, the leading engineer for the territories, and his colleague are kidnapped by a splinter group, Diego and his friends set out on a rescue mission where they’re immediately captured by pirates. The action is non-stop, the plot is skillfully crafted, and the characters, both boys and girls, are interesting. Don’t miss this incredible, epic adventure!


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
The War I Finally Won
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Following the first book, The War That Saved My Life, this captivating story continues during the War. Ada and her brother live with their new guardian, Susan. After Susan’s home is bombed, they move to a small cottage that they share with Lady Thorton and a German Jewish girl named Ruth. It’s not an ideal situation. Partly because Lady Thorton doesn’t understand about how to help around the house and she’s prejudiced against Ruth. In a hard times, complicated people do the best they can. That’s what we see in this bittersweet moving story of loss and healing. (Be prepared for some tears and smiles with this one!)


Lucy joins coding club so she can make an app for her uncle to remember his medications. But the class is moving TOO slow. Then, a mysterious letter arrives on her locker with instructions in code:
if (you_want_to_learn_code) {
 do_everything_I_tell_you ();
The subsequent messages in code put her back in touch with old friends and help her build a new friendship. But who is sending her messages? Whoever it is, they’re teaching Lucy and her friends about input/output, conditionals, loops, and variables. To solve the mystery, the girls decide to write their own code . . . This series is off to a great start with an intriguing mystery, friendship dilemmas, and tangible coding knowledge. I’m impressed. ADDED TO: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids


I couldn’t love this magical story any more — it’s absolutely lovely. When trolls attack Elfhelm on Christmas Eve, they destroy Father Christmas’ sleigh, the toys, and the town which ruins Christmas. And it was only the second Christmas ever! Amelia, the girl whose hope made Christmas happen in the first place, spends Christmas locked in a workhouse, devastated when Father Christmas doesn’t come. The following year, Father Christmas tries again but the hope magic is so low his sleigh crashes him into the castle of Queen Victoria. She, Blitzen, Charles Dickens, and a brave elf newspaper reporter play important roles in helping Father Christmas rescue Amelia from the workhouse, reigniting her hope and saving Christmas.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
by Jason Reynolds
Patina’s anger sometimes gets the best of her but running helps. She’s mad about her dad dying, her mom’s legs being amputated, and her new school. When her track coach makes Patty work with her teammates in a relay, she’s forced to rely on them. And that changes things. A beautiful coming of age story that will pull at your emotions.
Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
by Katherine Applegate
From the writer of The One and Only Ivan, comes a warm-hearted story of kindness and connection to others. A wise old oak tree named Red narrates this beautiful story. He, after all these years, decides to intervene to help a lonely girl named Samar who is new to the neighborhood and whose family was the intended recipient of the word, “LEAVE” on Red’s trunk. Red’s called the Wishtree because every year, people write down their wishes and hang them on his branches. Now, before he is cut down (executed), he speaks to Samar to help her find a friend. This is one of those stories you want to reach out and hug. Added to: Best Read Alouds for 2nd Grade


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
The Adventurers Guild
by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Get ready for your new favorite fantasy adventure series. Zed and Brock don’t want to be chosen for the Adventurers Guild. Nobody does. Unlike the mages or merchants guild, the adventurers must leave the safety of their walled city to fight the monsters who live on the outside. Unfortunately, Zed and Brock are picked as Adventurers. And before they can finish training, Zed, Brock, and others are sent on a outside the city fact-finding mission that uncovers treachery, fiendish beasts, and Zed’s untapped magic. Imaginative world-building, intriguing plot twists, and complex characters kept me enthralled from page one!


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Tyrannosaurus Ralph
by Nate Evans and Vince Evans
After an accident squishes his body, a scientist implants Ralph’s brain into a T Rex — not just to save Ralph’s life but to save the Earth from destruction. Because Ralph, as a dinosaur, will be the Earth’s champion in the intergalactic fight arena. If Ralph loses, the Earth will be destroyed.  Guess what? Ralph is NOT up to the challenge. He’s scared, doesn’t know how to fight, and only has the scientist and his assistant, Lugnut, to back him up. Or does he? Action, humor, an excellent plot, and memorable characters make this a must-read graphic novel for anyone who loves adventure.


J’s a servant in cast-like society. But he wants to be free. He especially wants his friend’s little brother to be free of the deadly loom factory. Ji and his friends get a chance to go to the big city with their family’s important nobleman boy where the noble will compete in the Diadem Rite, a ritual that chooses the heir to the Summer Crown. It does not go according to plan. What happens will change everything, transforming Ji and his friends physically into something monstrous. Brilliant writing, magical creatures, good vs. evil, and incredible kids make this one of my new favorites.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Ruby Starr
by Deborah Lytton
When a new girl moves to school, Ruby’s worried. She’s right to be worried because the new girl changes everything. Now her Unicorn book club friends want to have a drama club with the new girl. How can Ruby show her friends that book club is more important? Kids will relate to Ruby’s friendship struggles and be inspired as Ruby tries to find a solution.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
The Explorer
by Katherine Rundell
Four kids crash land in the Amazon Rainforest. They’re lost, scared, and have no survival skills. Together, they must learn to survive and connect. And they do. When they follow a hidden map, they meet a crotchety old ex-explorer who lives in some ancient ruins. Despite his prickly exterior, he teaches them not just about jungle survival but valuing the jungle as it is without developers or explorers. This adventure transports the reader into the story that is filled with layers of depth. You won’t be able to put this one down!


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
12 Dares of Christa
by Marissa Burt
Christa is devastated when her parents announce their divorce. Now she’s on a European trip with her actress mother where she’ll be spending Christmas … without her dad! Christa feels so much anger at her mother, who she thinks is at fault for the divorce. But there’s many other feelings, too — awkwardness of a first crush, gradual openness to new friendships, and delight in the fun dares her travel agent father sends her on throughout the trip. It’s realistic, well-written, and heartfelt.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Cici’s Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training
by Joris Chamblain and Aurelie Neyret
Cici loves a good mystery. Because she’s always observing people, she’s good at finding mysteries, too. First she discovers an old man who visits the long abandoned zoo and paints murals of the animals that used to live there. Cici rallies her friends and family to help clean up the zoo, giving it new life. As she ends that mystery and looks for another, her friends get mad at her for her dogged focus on her own interests. She finds a second mystery but her friends don’t help. Cici needs to let people in and fix the relationship problems she’s created. Entertaining with an excellent story arc and valuable life lessons.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Mustaches for Maddie
by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
12-year old Maddie is obsessed with mustaches — they help her feel comfortable when rehearsing her Shakespeare lines and they make her friends laugh. Maddie wants the attention of the most popular girl, Cassie, until she slowly sees how Cassie’s cruelty makes other people feel and stops caring. Maddie expands her friend group to include boys and girls, inventing wildly imaginative games for them all to play. When Maddie is diagnosed with a brain tumor, her friends and friends of friends rally around her with mustaches, sending silly mustache wearing pictures. And even though Cassie is unkind, Maddie finds a way to reach out and show her kindness. Based on a true story, this story shows a remarkable young woman who faces the difficulties of growing up plus a big health issue with courage and determination.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom
by Gigi D.G.
My daughter loved this book. When the kingdoms of Dreamside need a hero, his parents send Cucumber, a not-adventurous or brave magician. Fortunately, his heroically inclined little sister, Almond, arrives just in the nick of time to save Cucumber the first of many dangers. Together, they set off to find the Dream Sword and stop the evil queen and her Nightmare Knight. Adapted from the Cucumber Quest webcomic.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
The Wizards of Once
by Cressida Cowell
Xar, a wizard boy with an impulsive, confident personality but no magic, determines to find magic, even if it’s from the non-existant but maybe existent evil witches. In the forest, he captures a girl named Wish, the daughter of the enemy Warrior queen. But that’s only the beginning of their adventures. . . Soon they will face down more than one witch, be imprisoned by the Warrior queen, and discover who the boy of destiny really is. Brilliant pen and ink sketches of the story add extra flavor to a flavorful 2017 story.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
My Brigadista Year
by Katherine Paterson
Lora is only 13-years-old but she’s excited to volunteer for Fidel Castro’s Brigadista volunteer army to teach reading to the campesinos who are illiterate. After leaving her family in Havana and training with other volunteers, she moves into a small two-room shack with a kind family of four. Once there, Lora works along side her host family and begins to teach them and other interested villagers.  The book isn’t at all political, it’s an interesting story of one girl’s excitement to help. This is a good book for a book club discussion because teaching reading is good, but controlling what people read, what about that? (The teachers used pro-Castro materials.)


Morrigan escapes her birthday’s death curse when she’s whisked away to another realm by a mysterious man named Jupiter North to compete in four trials to join the Wundrous Society. Morrigan is worried because she doesn’t have a magical “nack” like the hundreds of other kids. She befriends a mischievous boy named Hawthorne with the nack for flying dragons. In between the trials, they try to figure out if the illusive Mr. Jones is connected to the dangerous Wundersmith named Ezra Squall. I liked watching Morrigan’s growth in confidence and happiness throughout the story.


Amazing Chapter Books for Ages 8 - 12, Late Fall 2017
Joplin, Wishing
by Diane Stanley
I just had to include this in today’s roundup, even though it was published in the summer of 2017, because it’s such a terrific story! Joplin’s life is changed when she inherits a broken platter from her grandfather. Unexpectedly, the girl in the platter comes to life to fulfill Joplin’s wish for a friend. Now what? The girl, Sofie, explains that a Dutch alchemist made her centuries ago and she’s been trapped to grant wishes for eternity. To make matters worse, she spots the immortal alchemist watching Joplin’s house. He wants her back and will do anything to get her. We’ve been reading this at bedtime and my daughter usually asks to stay up late to read another chapter on her on. It’s that good.


newly published chapter books for ages 8 to 12 that are AWESOME!

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Read Aloud Book Lists for Elementary Grades

Find a good book to read aloud to your elementary readers whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, or librarian.

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