13 New Middle Grade Books to Read in Fall 2017
Wallace the Brave by Will Henry
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
If you like the humor in Calvin and Hobbes, you must read Wallace the Brave. It’s totally hilarious. You’ll laugh your say through stories of Wallace’s life on the school bus, on the playground, playing with friends, hanging with his fisherman dad, and more. I’m smiling just writing this as I think back on Wallace’s antics and adventures. Very entertaining!
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Like The Penderwicks, you’ll fall in love with this quirky, wonderful family. The Vanderbeekers’ landlord wants them out by the end of December but the Vanderbeeker kids are determined to change his mind, even though he hates noise, kids, and their family. But it’s almost Christmas and their efforts are only making things worse. What will they do? Charming and heart-warming.
All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
REALISTIC / COMING OF AGE / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Growing up, Imogene (aka. Impy) always loved her family’s part in the Renaissance Faire . . . that is, until middle school. Even though she gets her dream to work in the faire as a squire, she also just wants to be like the other girls at her school, too. Her journey is painful and honest as she figures out who she wants to be. It’s narrated as a hero’s journey which, with the faire background and middle school drama, feels perfect. Beyond being a terrific coming of age story, I’m sure this book will interest tween readers in Renaissance festivals themselves.
The Loser’s Club by Andrew Clements
Ever been called a bookworm or a loser? Well, Alec has been called both — because he IS an avid reader. In fact, he gets in trouble for reading during class. As far as the loser comment? Alec decides to claim that word. He makes an after school care club just for reading (not a book club because who wants to talk?), calling it the Loser’s Club. Surprisingly, the club attracts other kids (despite the name). As it does, Alec starts noticing life outside his stories — the cute girl, the needs of other kids, the feelings! “Reading a book used to be like finding a place where no one could bother him or talk to him or remind him about stuff he ought to be doing instead. And now? Books just made him think and think and think . . . about himself, about Nina, about everybody else — about the whole world.” (209) Book lovers, you’ll want to read this genuine story with all your favorite books, relatable characters, and the growing pains that happen when we look up from a book.
The List by Patricia Forde
Like any dystopian story, this one begins after the cataclysmic event. One man controls the society, including the 500 words approved in “The List” people can use. (Because words = dangerous thoughts.) Letta is the Wordsmith’s apprentice, the job that controls and manages all the words from now and before. When the Wordsmith disappears, Letta asks her dangerous outsider friend to help her find out what happened. She discovers a sinister plan meant to wipe out the community’s language all together. There aren’t too many dystopian middle grade books (lots in YA) but this one is worth reading.
Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch, illustrated by Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde
MYSTERY / SPY
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh