Ready for more good books for your 10 year olds? (In the U.S. this is fifth grade.) Go to the previous list of recommended books.
Good Books for 10 Year Olds Cont. . .
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley MAGICAL REALISM
You’ll fall in love with this magical story about a lonely boy whose beloved grandfather faces a life-ending illness. Micah’s grandfather and Micah hope the Lightbender in the Circus Mirandus who owes the grandfather a miracle, will be able to help. With a missive to the Lightbender, Micah soon discovers the magical circus his grandfather once loved so much. It’s an adventure filled with emotion.
The Tapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey HUMOR
What I love about this book, besides the structure which I’ll explain in a minute, is the true-to-life depiction of the twins. As the pair seeks revenge upon each other, they feel justified and sort of guilty at the same time. (Of course, this doesn’t stop either of them.) The interjecting texts between the parents, mostly unsure of how to handle different situations are perfect to balance our view of the kids’ lives. As I mentioned, the structure of this book is fun, making it a quick read. Told in interviews, text messages, photos, handwritten additions, and screen shots, it’s appealing to our kids who live with these styles of communications every day. Overall, I thought The Tapper Twins to be a humorous, enjoyable story.
The Secret Zoo series by Bryan Chick FANTASY
An action-packed adventure. Megan has mysteriously disappeared so her brother and friends (the “scouts”) investigate the zoo where she was last seen. The clues lead the friends to discover secret entrances to another zoo, with a whole amazing city of animals.
Bug Girl by Benjamin Harper and Sarah Hines Stephens FANTASY
H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) by Mark Walden ADVENTURE
Otto is a prime candidate to become a super villain says the school H.I.V.E. that kidnaps him, enrolling him unwillingly in their island school for villains. Otto and his classmates plan a daring break-out. Plus they need to stop the mutant flesh-eating plant that’s attacking everyone in the school. A great adventure series!
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes ADVENTURE
I enjoyed this action-packed adventure story. Addison and Molly’s archeologist aunt and uncle are kidnapped for their specialized knowledge about the Incas and their famed, hidden treasure. But the kidnappers have underestimated the persistence and brilliance of Addison and Molly who, with their friends, pursue the treasure and their aunt and uncle.
Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson FANTASY / ADVENTURE (series)
My daughter loved this series but I have to admit it had too many main characters for me so I didn’t enjoy it. However, if you like Disney and non-stop adventure, you’ll love these books. Our main characters, teenagers, protect the park against the Disney villains. At least they will try. Because catching the bad guys isn’t always easy.
The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee FANTASY
Baker’s Magic by Diane Mahler FANTASY
When an evil mage takes over the country, destroying trees and crops to grow his tulips. When Bree learns of this, she vows to help the trapped princess escape to find the council of magicians. This is a wonderful story with a lovely ending.
Mouseheart by Lisa Fielder FANTASY
Horizon by Scott Westerfeld ADVENTURE / SCI-FI (series)
First of seven books, we follow a plane crash over the Arctic Circle with only 8 kid survivors. The wrecked plane lands in a sinister jungle filled with attacking vines, shredder birds, and two moons in the sky. When the kids find an anti-gravity tool, they use it to help them fly so they can locate water and hunt for answers to where they are. They suspect someone engineered this dangerous world and more importantly, the kids need their help –Molly is getting sicker from the glowing green bird bite on her shoulder and they don’t want another death.* Action-packed with unique characters, you’ll be hooked on this sci-fi adventure series.
*The adults on the plane are presumed dead and one of the kids dies during the story.
Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern REALISTIC
At home, Benny’s struggling with his dad’s brain injury and still feeling partially responsible. At school, there’s a kindness contest and he hasn’t been recognized even once — even though he knows that he’s been really kind, kinder than his sort-of best friend. Fourth grade is bumpy for Benny yet we see his resiliency through it all, his love of his autistic brother, and how having a supportive family and teacher makes a difference.
The Seventh Most Important Thing: One Kid. One Crime. One Chance to Make Things Right. by Shelley Pearsall REALISTIC
Angry with grief, Arthur throws a brick at Junk Man’s head. The judge sentences Arthur to work for the Junk Man who asks Arthur to collect the items on the list of the Seven Most Important Things. Transformed by the experience, Arthur becomes an advocate for the Junk Man’s art. This is fictional but is inspired by the true story of American folk artist James Hampton whose work is in the Smithsonian. This story resonates emotionally and would make for a great bedtime or class read aloud.
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele HISTORICAL ADVENTURE
John and his sister are orphans who live with their mean, coffin-maker Great-Aunt Beauregard, who wants them to permanently sign on to the family coffin making business. Determined to have a different life, the siblings run away. Their adventures are wild (joining a circus) and heart-warming (living a kind-hearted baker). Throughout the story, John grows to realize that his fear of failure is holding him back from being a great inventor. This is a quirky, fun story with lovable characters. I especially loved the character of Boz, a wordsmith that will remind you of Captain Jack Sparrow for his elocutions ramblings.
Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich & Audrey Vernick REALISTIC
What is it like when your parents are divorced — and one finds a new partner? In this coming-of-age story written from two different points of view, Naomi’s mom is dating a man named Tom who has a daughter also named Naomi. Both girls’ parents push them to become friends. Of course, both girls feel resistant — especially when Naomi’s mom asks her to go by her first and middle name — Naomi Marie — to differentiate the two. It’s a tricky time in these kids’ lives, something the authors made relatable and enjoyable to read. The wisdom the parents give to their kids and their unwavering love of their children is inspiring. This is a story that rings true with a pitch perfect ending.
Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier as told to Michelle Cuevas REALISTIC
Jacque is devastated to discover that his happy life with his sister is not real, that he is actually imaginary! He’s her imaginary friend!! There’s so much about this book to love — like his imaginary friends anonymous meetings and his reassignment as a dog — but ultimately I love how he learned to appreciate the small moments in life and his journey of self-discovery. He learns that he is who he is, no matter what he looks like on the outside.
To Kick a Corpse by Tom Angleberger HUMOR (series)
Irreverent and wildly appealing humor!! Third in the series, these three friends are having trouble meeting to plot and plan since after their last (mis)adventure, Marilla’s parents said she couldn’t. But when Marilla hears about a slave master buried standing up to better control his slaves, she’s infuriated. She’s determined to right that wrong and kick him over! (other books in the series: Poop Fountain! and The Rat With the Human Face.)
Welcome to Wonderland Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein ADVENTURE / HUMOR (series)
P.T. (named after the other P.T.) tells the most creative stories — and it’s his creativity that hopefully will save his family’s motel from the bank. With only a month to raise $100,000, he and his new friend, the math whiz, Gloria Ortega, think they can do it with some unique promotions that include a talking frog and a pirate’s buried treasure. Unfortunately, they come up short only to discover that there might be REAL buried treasure somewhere at the motel.
The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery by Angie Frazier HISTORICAL FICTION / MYSTERY
My daughter says this is a GREAT mystery. Set in 1905 in New Brunswick, Suzanna works at her family’s inn. When a young guest disappears, Suzanna’s detective uncle arrives for the search. But, Zanna finds clues of her own that lead her to think there is more than one mystery going on.
Olivia Bitter, Spooked-Out Sitter (The Babysitter Chronicles) by Jessica Gunderson REALISTIC
Olivia misses her former best friend who is now obsessed with clothes and boys. She thinks that if she makes money and buys “cool” clothes, she’ll get her friend back. So, she accepts a babysitting job with a new family in her neighborhood who live in a creepy-looking house. As the story progresses, Olivia learns who she is and who she wants to be. Each chapter begins with “Sitter Smarts” that relate to a lesson learned in the chapter and will help readers in their own potential babysitting pursuits. For example, “Plan activities to keep the kids from getting bored” is one suggestion. This is a sweet chapter book that is part of a larger series.
The Kidnap Plot (The Extrordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie) by Dave Butler SCI-FI
This started slow for me but once I passed a few chapters, the pacing picked up and I was hooked. This is a world of both fantasy creatures (trolls and such) and science fiction steampunk (clockwork / steam Victorian London). Charlie, a very sheltered Indian boy, must venture out into the world when his father is kidnapped right before his eyes. As he searches for his father, Charlie meets an amazing variety of characters, and learns about the Iron Cog, The Anti-Human league, and the reason his father was taken.
Charmed I’m Sure by Sarah Darer Littman FAIRY TALE / REALISTIC
Rose Charming just wants a date to the middle school dance. So she asks her famous mother, Snow White, for help and gets a makeover and a snarky magic mirror who advises her poorly. Will Rose keep listening to the mirror and be a mean glamour girl with a date or will she decide to be her own person with thrift-store style, kindness, and no date? I liked the book’s message of kindness and individuality and the fairy tale characters living life in the real world (New York).
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan FANTASY
I LOVED this story – action, humor, fantasy, and intrigue!! Magnus is a smart and snarky kid who is thrust into a crazy situation — the Norse world of which he’s apart since (surprise!) his dad is Frey, a god that’s been off the radar for awhile. When Magnus dies right off in the story, he’s taken to Valhalla, one of the Norse Mythology afterlife locations but he won’t stay there long. He decides that despite the risks, he must find his dad’s missing sword somewhere in the Nine Worlds. UPDATE: I didn’t love the 2nd book. The writing was sluggish and the plot didn’t grab my attention.
The Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup FANTASY
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!
39 Clues by various authors MYSTERY
This series has about a billion books so if your kids like it, they’ll be reading and reading and reading. There are also series within series but you’ll figure it out as you go. To start off, two orphan siblings named Amy and Dan, are told in their grandma’s will that they belong to the very famous and powerful Cahill family which has several different branches. The other decedents and them have the choice to either get 1 million dollars or a clue. The kids race around the world trying to discover all the clues to reveal the family’s biggest secret of all — the source of their power.
Saige by Jessie Hass REALISTIC
Saige (besides being the American Girl Doll of 2013) lives in the balloon capitol of America – Albuquerque,New Mexico. She loves horses and art, and is fortunate to have a grandmother who is a professional artist and who owns her own horses, a special breed, Spanish Barbs. Saige faces challenges to overcome with not just friends and family but also with trying to convince her school to bring back art classes. A delightful, inspiring book!
Jack Templar Monster Hunter: The Templar Chronicles: Book One by Jeff Guns FANTASY
I liked this first book of the series — when he’s attacked by monsters, more than once, Jack learns he’s a Monster Hunter who is now fair game to be hunted. It’s not as scary as it sounds, but is more of an adventure with monsters which happens to include zombies. (First book is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.)
The Mage of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen FANTASY
Calen purposely apprentices himself to the worst, most evil mage in the world, Krelig. He’s done so in hopes to learn enough to defeat Krelig. Without this knowledge, Calen is sure that Krelig will destroy all other mages and take over the world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this magical story; Calen is a courageous hero to love! (The first book is Dragon of Trelian but I didn’t realize I was reading the 2nd book until after I finished.)
Tales from the Haunted Mansion Vol 1 The Fearsome Foursome as told by mansion librarian Amicus Ravenswood HORROR
“It began at a lunch table, where a good number of friendships are born.” I love this first line! And yes, it does begin in a cafeteria where four kids learn they all have something in common — horror stories. When their clubhouse is mysteriously destroyed, they receive invitations to visit a creepy Gothic mansion. There they meet a corpse-like “librarian” who says he wants to tell the kids stories about . . . themselves. Well-written with illustrations, scary story fans will enjoy this story of friendship and terror.
Hyperspace High Crash Landing by Zac Harrison FANTASY / ADVENTURE
Imagine going to school in space with classmates that are aliens. That’s John’s current situation – and it’s about to get more dangerous when a simple school trip turns dangerous. He won’t make it back alive if he and his friends don’t figure out something fast. I thought this was a great story!
Kate Walden Directs Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata REALISTIC
I love the main character’s flaws, quirks, and ingenuity. Kate makes movies. Her most recent movie is about zombie chickens. Chickens because her mom has made the family move to the country to raise organic chickens. Yuck. Kate’s best friend, Alyssa, stars in the zombie chicken movie. That is until Alyssa ditches Kate for the popular crowd. This book has a great story with real-life friendship lessons. Plus, who doesn’t love zombie chickens?
The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan REALISTIC
Short but filled with tenderness! When a grief-stricken dog rescues two lost children in a terrible snowstorm, he takes them to the cabin of his former friend, a poet named Sylvan who rescued him years before. Told from the dog’s perspective we watch them bond and wonder if maybe the kids have saved him as much as he saved them. (And the beautiful ending WILL make you cry!)
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1) by Megan Morrison FANTASY / FAIRY TALE
Rapunzel is happy living in her castle with everything she needs since Witch takes good care of her. But her life gets totally confusing and complicated when she follows Jack to the ground, meets fairies who hate Witch, and visits the Woodmother in order to save her own life. Could Witch be what they all say? Rapunzel is very confused.
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis REALISTIC
This beautiful story will grab your heart! Dess is a surviver who is reunited with her baby brother in his long term foster home which Dess helped him get after she called social services on her mother. The foster family loves on both kids but their biological daughter Hope struggles between jealousy and compassion for her new sibling. Just as Dess finally starts to trust her foster family, her mother wants her back. (Oh, and interestingly enough, the foster family is black and Dess is white.) There’s way more to the story of course but you should know that it’s a thought-provoking coming-of-age book about family and hard choices.
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann FANTASY
In this world of human and faery, mixed-race changelings, Peculiars, are outcasts. One such changling, Bartholomew and his sister, Hettie, are supposed to say hidden, away from danger. Yet, when Bartholomew is seen by the lady who kidnaps his neighbor, he’s thrust into a dangerous mystery that he must solve in order to save the other children before they are kidnapped, too.
The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan HISTORICAL FICTION
Neil’s Aunt Kate, based on a real historical figure, works as the first female detective for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. She has no interest in letting newly orphaned Neil stay with her so Neil determines to become invaluable to Kate. The history, as well as the intrigue of each new case, kept me highly entertained.
Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin REALISTIC FICTION
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll GRAPHIC NOVEL MYTHOLOGY
Courageous and adventurous Masha knows Baba Yaga from her grandmother’s stories. After her grandmother dies, and her father remarries, Masha decides to become Baba Yaga’s assistant. To pass Baba Yaga’s tests, Masha uses her wits and the stories from her grandmother. She thinks she will fail when she rescues three children from Baba Yaga’s cage but she passes. Excellent storytelling and illustrations kept me totally enthralled in this not-your-average-fairy tale story.
The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Ghost Ship by Vicki Lockwood MYSTERY
I couldn’t put this down! Lizzie Brown lives with a circus, she’s their psychic and she’s for real. When the circus travels to the seaside home of a Maharaja, Lizzie’s visions help her figure out who stole from him and if the Ghost Ship is real.
Vampirates by Justin Somper FANTASY
Their father sang Grace and Connor a sea shanty about vampirates but to find out that they were real? When shipwrecked, the siblings were each rescued — one by pirates and one by vampirates. Each becomes attached to their new ship and crew which will eventually pit the twins against each other in a bloody war of the high seas. I love how this book combines two kid favorites — pirates and vampires — and doesn’t make it too scary. It’s well-written, fast-paced, and highly entertaining.
Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones HISTORICAL / MYSTERY
This second book in the series makes me so eager to read the first book — it’s really a fascinating story with it’s absolutely excellent character development and an intriguing plot. Wild Boy is literally covered in fur — yes, literally. He now lives with the Gentlemen who rescued he and his best friend, Clarissa, from the circus and the crazed Londoners who believed him to be a dangerous murderer. The Queen of England ask Wild Boy to solve the mystery of a most frightening terror that scares people to death — again, seemingly literally. Is is a really a demon’s curse or something more human at work?
Jonny Jakes Investigates: The Hamburgers of Doom by Malcolm Judge
Johnny is the anonymous reporter for the tell-the-truth secret school newspaper, The Woodford Word. His latest investigation is the unusual principal, an alien who is somehow brainwashing the whole school and the parents and turning them into chubby zombies. (The title is a BIG hint.) He pairs up with a girl named Julie, his friend Norris, and an unusual drama teacher to find a way to stop the alien principal from fattening up the students for an alien feast. This sounds weird but it’s actually a great story of perseverance, friendship, and old-fashioned investigative journalism.
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson FANTASY
By the same author as 100 Cupboards, this is a creative, thrilling, action-packed time-traveling adventure. Our hero, Sam Miracle, is a foster kid with two bad arms, who sees things that no one else can — things in a parallel world. Of course, he’s got enemies who wish to stop him. In fact, those enemies have killed him many times in past versions of the world. But with the help of a wise Native American healer, a Native American priest, the two personality-filled snakes that have become his arms (!), and his friend, Glory, maybe, just maybe, Sam can live and save the world.
Johnny Hangtime by Dan Gutman ACTION
He’s a real stuntkid, the take-all-the-risks, get-no-credit kind and Johnny loves it. This is a high-octane adventure where Johnny will face the same stunt that killed his father. Will he do it or is it time to quit the business? And wait until you get to the plot twist . . . !
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup REALISTIC / HUMOR
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 Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West FANTASY (series)
My daughter introduced me to this awesome book series about a house that seems to be haunted; with paintings that lead to other worlds, and mysteriously cryptic, talking cats. Olive soon learns that the previous owners trapped many people in the paintings, including a boy Olive befriends who is now a 2D painting. The plot’s twistings kept me wondering what was happening, and I loved the main character’s gumption and her supportive side-kick cats.
Hera: The Goddess and her Glory by George O’Conner MYTH
Both my kids love O’Conner’s graphic novels and can’t wait for his next book, Hades. If you’re big Greek mythology fans, check out his other books, Athena and Zeus: King of the Gods.
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland series FANTASY
My daughter LOVES this series. I only liked it but I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of animal-only stories. So the gist is that a group of dragonets leave their protectors safety and are captured by a dragon faction. The dragonets might just be the long-awaited dragonets of the prophecy that will end the dragon wars for good. Or they might not. One thing’s for sure: when the dragonets are captured, things don’t look good.
Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall REALISTIC
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.
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans FANTASY
Horten’s magician great-uncle Tony, whom he just learns about, disappeared mysteriously years ago. Horten and one of the triplet neighbors must piece together the clues left behind before his uncle’s house is destroyed by the city. He’s facing a deadline and also another scheming magician who wants to find the hidden secrets in Tony’s lost workshop.
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes REALISTIC
Izzy’s life was a series of houses, sadness and secrets – why wouldn’t her mom tell her about her dad who died before she was born? Why did they always move? When Izzy’s mom unexpectedly sends Izzy to her Nana’s in New Mexico, whom she barely knows, Izzy lands in a new culture and discovers her past, present and future. Just as Izzy learns to make tortillas with practice and patience, she also learns the story of her dad, her mom, and ultimately her own story.The wisdom mixed with grief mixed with love creates a beautiful story — I cried and celebrated. And, cried some more. Cervantes’ writing is lyrical and sensual. See for yourself here and below.
Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye: A Novel by Tania Del Rio, illustrated by Will Staehle FANTASY MYSTERY (series)
The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis REALISTIC
I enjoyed this book so much! The writing flows, the plot is engaging, the characters are fascinating — especially Amelie — and learning about living with Cystic Fibrosis is quite eye-opening. Amelie loves to bake (could you guess from the title?) and she’s made it to the semi-finals of a teen baking contest in New York City. Unfortunately, her health deteriorates (which happens when you have CF) and her mom won’t let Amelie compete. You won’t just love this story but also want to try the various recipes throughout the book – I love when authors do that.
The Peddler’s Road: The Secrets of the Pied Piper by Matthew Cody FAIRY TALE / FANTASY
It all started in Hamlin, a little town in Germany, in 1284. Now, in the present day, the Pied Piper is looking for the last child to repay his dept. So he takes Max and her brother, Carter. They’re transported to an island filled with the original stolen children, and an island filled with massive, evil rats and other creatures. Will the Peddler help the kids find their way back home? Or will the Piper’s magic be too strong? This ended on a cliff-note which is always kind of irritating but was an interesting take on this Grimm fairy tale. I can’t wait to read the next chapter book in this series when it’s published.
Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Composting HISTORICAL FICTION
If your kids aren’t interested in Chinese history, they will be after reading this novel. Ming lives in rural communist China with his father, who finds artifacts for the museum. A discovered terra-cotta soldier who comes to life and befriends Ming. They must work together to protect the soldiers and Emperor Qin’s tomb. I like how the authors wove in historical photos and information. It sounds like a silly premise for a story but it worked — and was very good.
Legacy of the Claw (Animas #1) by C.R. Grey, illustrated by Jim Madsen FANTASY
I couldn’t put this middle-grade book down, it was fantastic! In this world, everyone except Bailey (a boy) has an Animas, an animal kinship. He’s hoping that attending Fairmount Academy, he’ll discover his Animas. But before he can, he tries to figure out a mysterious prophesy told to him by a crazy teacher, discovers there’s a plot to overthrow the government, and learns about a group of people who might be his ancestors thought to be long dead. I loved the story and plot twist!
Mouseheart by Lisa Fielder FANTASY
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper HISTORICAL FICTION
Stella watches her father when he registers to vote and then votes. She watches her neighbor’s house burn for voting. She watches her classmates learn even as she struggles with writing down her thoughts. Draper skillfully shares this historical time from Stella’s 11-year old’s perspective. It’s understandable and not too overwhelming – we learn about the KKK but aren’t exposed to the horror that could have been included.
The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst FANTASY
I enjoyed this new adventurous fantasy chapter book– couldn’t put it down, actually. The story is about a girl named Sophie whose parents use Dream Catchers to catch, refine, and sell dreams. (Which seems weird but just go with it.) When Sophie’s parents are kidnapped, it’s up to Sophie, her best friend (a sarcastic monster that she dreamed up the one time she dreamed), and a few new friends from school to figure out what is going on. It’s a lively adventure which shows Sophie coming into her own.
The Tiara on the Terrace (book 2 in the Young and Yang series) by Kristen Kitschier MYSTERY
Three friends, ammeter sleuths, are certain that the Winter Sun Festival President’s murder is no accident. They’ll go so far as auditioning for the Royal Court to infiltrate and investigate. It’s a fun mystery with lots of clues and red herrings!
The Cat Who Came In off the Roof by Annie M.G. Schmidt MAGICAL REALISM
What a charming story! Mr. Tibble meets the strange cat-like Miss Minou just in time. He’s about to be fired from his reporter job because he only writes about cats, not news. Miss Minou, who used to be a cat, uses her cat connections to help Mr. Tibble discover news to save his job. He, of course, doesn’t believe Miss Minou used to be a cat. Although it is strange that she wants to sleep in a box with newspaper and climbs trees in terror whenever dogs come around.
Una falls into the land of stories of heroes and villains but something is very wrong. No new stories are being written. So how did she get written in and who is she? We read this for bedtime and my kids and I looked forward to it every night. A great fairy tale adventure!
The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff by Jason Lethcoe FANTASY
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.
All the Answers by Kate Messner REALISTIC
Ana’s pencil can tell her answers — to things like tests, and if boys like her friend Sophie. She discovers that her grandfather, who is in a rest home, wants forgiveness from Ana’s mother; that Ana’s mother is mad about her grandfather’s gambling problem. Ana realizes that she doesn’t want to know all the answers, even if she is just trying to help. I love the story and the issues it brings up — this would be a great book club pick!
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly FANTASY
The Girl with the Glass Bird by Esme Kerr MYSTERY
A lonely orphan named Edie is forced to leave her only known relative, and live at a strict boarding school in order to surreptitiously protect Anastasia, the Russian prince’s daughter. While she’s at it, she’s also supposed to discover what is behind all of Anastasia’s problems. Edie thinks there’s something fishy going on; that someone is trying to make Anastasia believe she’s going crazy. But, it’s not so easy to tell — it could be that Anastasia is lying. Then she learns that the headmaster knew her mother and was her mother’s sworn enemy. This is an engrossing mystery tangled with compelling characters and emotional resonance.
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin FANTASY
A clever story about a magical Renaissance painter who created real worlds in his elaborately painted canvases. Years later, when her step-brother accidentally goes into a painting, Sunni and her classmate must follow to rescue him. Strangely, their art teacher’s brother follows, too and he doesn’t seem very nice. It’s a world is filled with pirates, labyrinths, monsters, and world within worlds but an exciting, adventurous story.
Story Thieves by James Riley FANTASY / SCI-FI
Imagine that you could enter a fictional world. What would you do? When Owen catches his classmate Bethany sneaking out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a chocolate face, he has the brilliant idea of going into his favorite book and saving the hero. Of course, he doesn’t tell Bethany, who will have to take him since she’s half-fictional on her dad’s side. And, of course, it will be a disaster. Follow Owen and Bethany as their adventure becomes dangerous and scary and is it fiction or real? Readers must suspend disbelief and go with it. You won’t be disappointed.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar SCI-FI
They’re not supposed to be in the woods, but to avoid Chad the bully Tamaya and Marshall go there anyway. Tamaya discovers the weird-looking “fuzzy mud” and throws it at the Chad’s face who followed them. When Chad goes missing, and Tamaya’s hand gets a bloody rash, it’s clear that the mud is not just mud. Fast-paced and adventurous, kids won’t be able to put this book down. I couldn’t.
P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man by Carolinen Lawrence HISTORICAL FICTION / MYSTERY
12-year old P.K., a private-eye, lives in the wild west and is a brilliant individual who is hired to solve the murder. P.K.’s characteristics will make adults think of Aspergers – brilliant, prefers to be alone, collects cigars. It’s an entertaining mystery with a fun historical bent.
Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop ADVENTURE
Davey gets swept out to sea. He finds an empty water container to help him stay afloat but he’s getting tired. And sharks are circling. Meanwhile, his family is frantically looking for him and don’t even realize he went to the secluded beach. Great action and suspense.
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald REALISTIC (series)
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.
Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle MAGICAL REALISM
Natasha’s magical ancestors started a town tradition that on the third night of the third month after your thirteenth birthday, you can make a wish at the willow tree. Natasha wants to believe — and she does, mostly — but ever since her mother disappeared, she’s lost some of that belief. Can her impossible wish come true? Natasha learns that maybe what she thinks she wants, she really doesn’t. This is a wonderful, magical coming-of-age story that I highly recommend.
Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey ADVENTURE
Who would think that the pirate ghosts in his bedroom would help the quiet, shy Lewis find adventure and bravery? Well, maybe you the reader would. Seven Dead Pirates is an excellent pirate adventure about growing up and about getting the rowdy ghost pirates to behave, sneak to their ship in a museum so they can fight another ghost pirate crew for it and steal it.
Seaborne: The Lost Prince by Matt Myklusch ADVENTURE
In this well-written, fantastic action and adventure novel, Dean Seaborne grows up on a pirate ship as their best spy and con-artist. But when he messes up the latest mission, he must pass himself off as the long-lost prince of the mysterious island of Zenhala. Once there, he must find and steal the treasure for the pirates. But strangely, Dean really might be the long-lost prince and he’s not sure he wants to rob the island anymore.
Artemis Fowl The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin FANTASY (series)
Also available as a full text novel, this series is about an anti-hero. Ok, a villain, evil genius kid named Artemis. He plots to steal the fairies gold which leads him to kidnap a fairy-cop and hold her for ransom. Very entertaining.
Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin REALISTIC
Ruby doesn’t want her new and only friend to learn that her mom is in jail. To make matters worse, Ruby thinks that her friend’s family is the reason her mom IS in jail. I found this to be a thoughtful coming-of-age story about a girl who feels like she has two lives — one on the inside and one on the outside — and how she integrates the two. Kids will be able to put themselves into Ruby’s shoes and experience what it would be like if . . .
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord REALISTIC
When Lily befriends Salma Santiago, a migrant worker’s daughter, Salma gives Lily a new perspective on life — to dream big, to see the possibilities in everything — even for Lily’s blind dog named Lucky. Salma also sees the possibility of winning the local Blueberry Queen pageant for a college scholarship. Lily worries that the community won’t accept someone who isn’t blond and white. This novel is a tender story about friendship and growing up.
Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin REALISTIC
Pansy needs redemption. Last year, when her best friend needed her, Pansy didn’t keep her word. Now that her best friend is in a wheelchair and her brain isn’t working, Pansy decides that she will make it up to her. She’ll be brave and do everything. She links her actions to Anna’s recovery, not realizing that Anna is permanently brain damaged. This is a deeply moving story of loss and acceptance.
The Girl in the Torch by Robert Sharenow HISTORICAL
I admit to not liking the cover and being reluctant to read this book because of that. (I know, shouldn’t judge and all that . . . ) Luckily, I did read it and it was a great book. The Girl in the Torch is a touching middle-grade historical fiction novel that follows an orphaned girls journey to America and struggles to stay. For awhile, she hides out in the Statue of Liberty, then the watchman finds her and lets her stay at his boarding house. This is very well-written and shows a glimpse into the history of immigrants. I didn’t want to put it down once!
Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas REALISTIC
Cordie’s the oldest of three daughters living with the hopes that their mother who left suddenly will return. Her sister believes their mom is a selkie who had to return to sea. After all, their mom looks like a selkie with her black hair and pale skin, and she owned a dark coat, and her favorite book is A Child’s Book of Selkies. To find out, the sisters take a boat to a secret island where they are helped by a mysterious seal. Is it their mother? Even more worrisome is that their boat leaks and the seal is injured.
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas HISTORICAL FICTION
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.
The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson REALISTIC
You may know Paterson as the author of Bridge to Terabithia. Like that novel, this new chapter book is a powerful heart-gripping story of loss, acceptance, and coming of age. Angel’s mother abandons Angel and her brother at their ancient great-grandmother’s and since Angel’s dad is in jail, there is no one else. Angel’s used to taking care of her brother but now she must take care of her grandma, too. What’s worse, when her mom takes the brother an not Angel, now her worry and loneliness feels unbearable. Making things more bearable is a mysterious neighbor who teaches Angel about constellations, sparking a passion for astronomy. He tells Angel that she is made up of the same stuff as stars — and encourages her to keep surviving. Beautiful!
Nowhere Girl by A.J. Maquette FOLKTALE / REALISTIC
Luchi grows up in a Thailand prison cell with her mother but when her mother dies, Luchi is left to fend for herself on the outside — with no idea of what her mother was hiding, or who she really was. Luchi sets off to find out who she is, and learns much about life in the process.
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford, illustrated by Kelly Murphy HISTORICAL FICTION MYSTERY
I LOVE this fantastically developed historical fiction story for several reasons – the girl-centric history is really interesting (and empowering), the characters are so well-developed you feel as if you know them, and the plot is a grand adventure! The author imagines a friendship between Ada Byron, genius daughter of Lord Byron and the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary Shelley, the world’s first science-fiction author who almost could have been friends in real life but for about a decade of years. Mary joins Ada to study with Ada’s tutor and the duo form a detective agency. In this first adventure, Mary and Ada learn about another historical figure who invented hypnotism and solve the case of a stolen heirloom.
Six: A Devastating Call. An Impossible Journey. And No Turning Back. by M.M. Vaughan SCI-FI
This is a fantastic, fast-paced adventure! I loved every second of this story and know your kids will as well. When Parker’s scientist father is kidnapped, he sends Parker an interrupted message with only a name. Parker, his friend Aaron, his friend’s butler, and his sister, Emma, race to save their father, only to discover that his father is on another planet and the technology to get him back is the invention his dad was working on.
Tangerine by Edward Bloor REALISTIC
Paul is a soccer player — at least he will be if he can go to a different school that doesn’t know about his IEP for vision. If he can avoid his dangerous brother, and play soccer on this team, maybe Tangerine County, Florida won’t be so bad after all. After some horrific things occur including a murder, Paul remembers how he lost his vision and makes a stand for what is right. EXCELLENT!!