10 New Middle Grade Books, April 2024

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Mystery, time travel, fantasy, adventure, realistic fiction, and historical fiction — there’s a book for every interest on this list! You’ll recognize some of the authors on this list, including Erin Entrada Kelly, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and Lois Lowry.

The Imagination Soup Book of the Month is The Night War. Please download the free book extension activities I wrote as a starting point to extend the book. The more we can talk about the Holocaust and anti-semitism with children, the better for our world.

new middle grade April 2024

New Middle Grade Books, April 2024

The Night War by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
When the French in Paris round up the Jews for Nazi prison camps, Miri and her neighbor’s baby escape with the help of a Catholic nun. To help them survive, Miri is renamed and sent to a Catholic school for safety and her “baby sister” is adopted by a Catholic family. At the school, Miri begins to help other Jews flee Nazi-controlled France and is helped by the complicated ghost of Catherine de Medici, who thinks Miri is her gardener. But when Miri finds out that her little sister is about to be baptized, she plans their escape for the next day. Miri is a heroic main character with an emotionally compelling story. This story’s significance can not be overstated as we need this important book now more than ever.

Tree. Table. Book. written by Lois Lowry
This is a gentle story that begins slowly, developing 11-year-old Sophie, an old soul with a big vocabulary, excellent problem solving skills, and an elderly neighbor best friend named Sophie Gershowitz. But this is really a story of grief as young Sophie resists accepting her friend’s decline into dementia. One of the tests Sophie gives Sophie Gershowitz to PROVE that her cognition is fine is to recall three random words. (Tree. Table. Book.) When Sophie G. can’t remember the words, young Sophie asks her to recall a story connected to the words, hoping the stories will help Sophie G. recall the words.That’s when Sophie G. shares three meaningful childhood stories that briefly reveal how she survived the Nazis; stories that no one else knows. As Sophie realizes their time together is fleeting, she moves toward acceptance.

Isabel in Bloom written by Mae Respicio
Written in lyrical verse, Isabel moves from the Philippines to join her mother with whom she hasn’t lived in 5 years. Now in a new country, new school, and speaking a new language, Isabel makes new friends in a culinary club. She also asks to start a gardening club so they can grow food for the culinary club. Just like the plants grow from seeds into something more, the metaphor reflects Isabel’s seedling relationship with her mother and her new home. A sweet story about friendship, family, and culture.

First State of Being written by Erin Entrada Kelly
It’s 1999 and Michael is an anxious and lonely kid in the projects who meets a strange boy named Ridge from the future. Ridge tells Michael and his babysitter, and that he accidentally used a time travel invention without permission. As they learn more about Ridge, they become very worried when Ridge gets a cold, a germ that doesn’t exist in his time period, and he gets sicker and sicker. How can they help Ridge get home and get help? It’s a unique coming of age story that zips along as you try to imagine yourself in Michael’s and Ridge’s situations.

Whatever After The Graphic Novel written by Sarah Mylnowski, art by Anu Chouuhan
This graphic novel adaptation captures the excitement and adventure of the narrative plot and gives readers a visual feast alongside the story. For those of you who don’t know the plot, a girl named Abby and her brother Jonah find a magic mirror in their basement that sucks them into Snow White’s story in the fairy tale world. And they STOP the witch from poisoning Snow. Which is so nice but actually messes up Snow’s story. How will they fix it? And how will they get home?

Asgardians Odin written by George O’Connor
George O’Connor’s Greek mythology graphic novels were beloved by my children and many children. Now, he’s moving on to Norse mythology with the origin story of the creation of the gods and the Nine Worlds. The first half of this book is a lot of telling, which isn’t as exciting as the dialogue-filled and action-packed second half. Nevertheless, you’ll learn a lot in this book, which I suspect will set you up for the next books in the series. Remember, that myths like these are filled with violence and could be disturbing to sensitive readers.

Mystery of Locked Rooms written by Lindsay Currie
Sarah’s dad is too sick to work and Sarah’s mom isn’t making their bills. To avoid losing her house and moving, Sarah and her two best friends decide to find the mysterious treasure in a local, abandoned funhouse. The three friends sneak into the funhouse where they face puzzles, illusions, cryptic clues, and secret tunnels. They’ll have to problem solve, overcome failure, stop bickering, and work together because no one knows where they are– and the only way to get out of the house is to solve all the puzzles! Kids who love to solve puzzles and mysteries will devour this novel!

Trouble at the Tangerine written by Gillian McDunn
Simon is sick of his influencer parents always moving to the next cool place. He wants The Tangerine to be a home where he can stay and make friends for once. But when the building has a jewelry theft, Simon needs to find the culprit to convince his parents it’s a safe place to live. He and a new friend investigate for her podcast. He grows connected to the people in the building and finally tells his parents how he feels. It’s an interesting mystery with lovable characters that middle grade readers will enjoy.

The Wildes: Vaquita by Roland Smith
Roland Smith’s writing always speeds along with interesting plots and characters plus plenty of action and this one is another stand-out book for readers who like action, nature, animals, and independent kids. In this second book of the incredible middle grade series, Ring and Asia are in the Sea of Cortez with their dad for a Vaquita Summit to discuss how to protect the critically endangered species. Not only do they spot two in the wild (very hard to do!) but they rescue an injured mother and calf from fishing nets. With poachers and smugglers and a dire rescue situation, this small fishing village isn’t as quiet or as safe as it first appeared. 

Legendarios: Wrath of the Rain God written by Karla Arenas Valenti, illustrated by Vanessa Morales
Although the publisher is suggesting this is a chapter book, the reading level feels more middle grade to me so I’d say it’s short middle grade. Twins Emma and Martin travel back to ancient Mexico during Aztec times where they meet an indigenous girl whose village is flooding due to torrential rain. To save the village, they must stop the angry rain god, Tlloc. But he won’t stop until the twins return his stolen lightning bolt.

April 2024 new middle grade books


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Graphic Novels for Kids

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