If you like adventure, don’t miss The Hacker’s Key and The Canyon’s Edge. If you love animals, you’ll want to read A Whale in the Wild and The Endangereds. If you like amazing, real-life books, you’ll want to read Tune It Out, Fighting Words, and The Brave.
New Chapter Books! (September 2020)
Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner
POVERTY / SPD / FOSTER CARE
I think you’ll love Lou’s story as much as me — it’s a beautiful character arc, the most authentic portrayal of SPD in middle-grade literature that I’ve read, and an un-put-downable, heartfelt story. 12-year-old Lou and her mom live in a truck. While her mom works as a waitress, Lou hangs out or sings for money, living her mom’s dream even though Lou dreads performing, it makes her extremely anxious. One evening, underage Lou drives in a snowstorm to pick up her mom from work and gets into an accident and Lou gets out in foster care with an aunt she’s never met. In her new home, Lou goes to a fancy private school where, after a fire drill meltdown, she’s assessed with Sensory Processing Disorder. She starts to get help with an occupational therapist and a sensory diet, understanding herself better, and learning to trust her kind aunt and uncle. Her situation is complicated and imperfect which feels completely authentic.
The Brave by James Bird
#OWNVOICES / OJIBWE INDIGENOUS CULTURE / NEURO DIFFERENCES / MAGICAL REALISM
Run out to get this absolutely jaw-dropping, stunningly beautiful book with a main character you’ll fall in love with (and whose character arc is HUGE.) It’s filled with metaphorical, meaningful, and symbolic writing and you will feel ALL the feelings. When Collin, a boy who counts every letter spoken to him and says the number out loud, gets kicked out of yet another school, his neglectful father sends Collin to live with his mom. Collin has never met his mother but he’s curious to meet her and live on the Ojibwe reservation. Living with her is a totally different experience than his previous home — because with his mother, he’s welcomed and not judged. He befriends the neighbor girl who teaches Collin how to be brave. Which he needs. And so does she because she’s going to be a butterfly soon… This book is one of the BEST middle-grade books, not just of 2020, but of all time.
Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry, illustrated by Lindsay Moore
ENVIRONMENT / OCEAN / ANIMALS / INFERENCE / PERSPECCTIVE
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake
Added to: Wholesome Middle Grade Books for Boys and Girls and Illustrated Chapter Books for Kids
The Campaign by Leila Sales, illustrated by Kim Balacuit
Maddie learns that the only person running for mayor wants to cut funding for school art programs. She convinces her babysitter to run for mayor, too — and rallies her classmates, most who aren’t even her friends, to support her babysitter so that the arts funding won’t get cut. Through her activism, she learns about the election process but also how to deal with jealousy and unexpected friends. A fantastic read!
Added to: Books about Elections and Voting