School’s out and the library is open. Keep your summer filled with books, and check out some of these great Middle Grade Lit selections!
Age: 10 years and up
Fans of DiCamillo’s past books such as Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux will love her new book, Raymie Nightingale. Raymie enters the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition in hopes that her victory will bring her father, who left town with a dental hygienist, home. This plan introduces her to two other contestants, Louisiana and Beverly, who offer a new definition of young friendship. DiCamillo never underestimates her young reader, and continues to address difficult stories in heartfelt ways. Raymie Nightingale will keep you engaged and thinking until the very end.
Age: 10 years and up
When Friendship Followed Me Home features a young boy named Ben, who’s having a rough time. A former foster child, Ben struggles with bullying and feels he doesn’t fit in, no matter how hard he tries. This all changes when he meets Flip, an adorable dog, and Halley, the librarian’s daughter. A tale of love and loss, this book can be emotionally heavy. However, it’s a great choice for discussion among family, and will expand the horizons of any young reader. This book will truly resonate with anyone who has ever felt they don’t belong, and will prove that you can always find your own place in the world.
Age Range: 10-14 years
Pam Munoz Ryan, author of Esperanza Rising, takes readers on a magical journey in this Newbery Honor-winning book. Echo follows one object as it passes through many hands and places – a harmonica. This single instrument weaves three children’s stories together through Hitler-era Germany, the Great Depression, and Japanese internment camps. Although the thickness of the book may be intimidating, Echo proves to showcase the power of storytelling and will woo anyone who crosses its path. Echo is also found on the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet list! Click here for Bluebonnet activities and resources on Echo.
Age Range: 8-12 years
Nothing Up My Sleeve is filled with all the fun and friendship you could ask of a great summer read. Dominic, Loop, and Z start practicing magic tricks over their summer vacation in order to enter a big magic competition. However, Ariel, last year’s competition winner, is determined to thwart the boys’ attempts. Mischief and friendship move the plot forward, and will make you want to learn the magic tricks yourself.
Age Range: 10 years and up
House Arrest was featured at the 2015 Texas Book Festival. Written in verse, House Arrest has spellbound readers across the country. House Arrest tells the story of Timothy, a twelve-year-old boy who is put under house arrest for stealing medicine for his sick brother. Holt’s story is about fighting for your family, and will touch the hearts of people regardless of their age. Don’t let the verse scare you away; it will open the eyes of young readers everywhere about different styles of writing. House Arrest will stick with you long after you finish.
Age Range: 10-12 years
A follow-up to The Crossover, Alexander has done it again with Booked. Like House Arrest, Booked is written in verse, but in a way that is closer to rap. Booked features Nick, a twelve-year-old boy who loves soccer, but has a harder time in school when it comes to reading or handling bullies. With the help of the school librarian, Mr. Mac, Nick discovers a whole new world of books. Alexander writes in verse/rap to entice the reader, who may feel similar to Nick related to pleasure reading. Additionally, Kwame Alexander has been announced as an author for the upcoming 2016 festival. Booked will convince any reader to pick up a book that wasn’t assigned by a teacher in this fantastic read.
Age Range: 8-12 years
In another tale of a boy’s close relationship with his pet, Pax wows readers and animal lovers alike. Pax tells the story of a baby fox named Pax, who is saved by a boy named Peter, after his entire family is killed. After Peter’s father enlists in the war, Peter is forced to leave Pax behind. His love for Pax eventually takes him on a journey to find him, and the book alternates between the point of views of Peter and Pax. This book delves into the effects of war, while focusing on the benefits of a child and their pet. Make sure to give Pax a try, but have the Kleenex ready.