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Middle Grade Readers

This category contains 267 posts

GUTS by Raina Telgemeier

Guts is the new graphic novel by middle grade powerhouse Raina Telgemeier. It’s the autobiographical story of her struggle to identify and find ways to manage her severe anxiety issues. Telgemeier does a fabulous job relating symptoms that first appear as those similar to a known illness, like the flu. When, by way of elimination, … Continue reading

THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS by Onjali Q. Rauf

There are many things about The Boy at the Back of the Class that make it a great reading choice for the younger middle grades–more 3rd & 4th grade specifically. Alexa is 9 3/4 years old. A new student named Ahmet appears one day at the formerly empty desk at the back of the classroom. Alexa’s … Continue reading

ORBITING JUPITER by Gary D Schmidt

Orbiting Jupiter is a beautiful story, ultimately about compassion, kindness and empathy. The story is partially about fourteen-year-old Joseph Brook, and is told by twelve-year-old Jack. Jack’s perspective provides the second half of the story. Jack’s family lives on a farm in Maine. At the beginning of the book Joseph comes to live with Jack’s … Continue reading

A DROP OF HOPE by Keith Calabrese

A Drop of Hope is a sweet story about the small town of Cliffs Donnelly, Ohio (although someone has vandalized the sign leading into the town so that it reads: If Only, Ohio). Cliffs Donnelly, like so many other small towns in the U.S., is barely surviving; the factory that employs many of the inhabitants … Continue reading

FAME AND GLORY IN FREEDOM, GEORGIA by Barbara O’Connor

  Today I want to share a book that I read for the first time almost ten years ago and it immediately became a fixture on my “All-Time Favorites” list.  I found Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by accident at the library. I was looking for a book by another author whose last name … Continue reading

PLANET EARTH IS BLUE by Nicole Panteleakos

Planet Earth is Blue centers on Nova Vezina, an autistic, largely nonverbal 12-year-old who loves astronomy and is anxiously awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. She and her sister, Bridget, have been in foster care for several years. Nova’s story begins with the words: “Bridget was gone.” We realize, through flashback, that … Continue reading

PAY ATTENTION, CARTER JONES by Gary D. Schmidt

I was truly looking forward to reading Gary D Schmidt’s Pay Attention, Carter Jones and I did enjoy parts of it, but as a whole it was a disappointment for me. (Having loved The Wednesdays Wars and Okay For Now, maybe my expectations were too high?) Pay Attention, Carter Jones begins with a bang:  it’s Carter’s first day of … Continue reading

OTHER WORDS FOR HOME by Jasmine Warga

When we first meet 12-year-old Jude she is living in Syria with her parents and her older brother, Issa. Jude and her friend Fatima love to watch older American rom-com movies and act them out at home. Jude dreams of being a famous actress like Julia Roberts. As the unrest in Syria builds (mid-2010s), Issa … Continue reading

WILD BIRD by Wendelin Van Draanen

I picked up Wild Bird because it is written by one of my favorite authors for middle grade readers–Wendelin Van Draanen. The Wild Bird of the title is 14-year-old Wren Clemmens. When we initially meet Wren she is stoned and being woken by professional Youth Transporters. We follow this chaotic, emotional scene as Wren is … Continue reading

THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B HAWKINS by Gail Shepherd

This one was a 4/5 star read for me. Lyndie is eleven years old in 1985, the daughter of a former war protester/activist and a Vietnam veteran. She is fascinated by (and quite knowledgeable about) American history–particularly the Civil War. She, her mother and father have just moved into her grandparents’ home. Lyndie doesn’t exactly … Continue reading