Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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message 1: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1492 comments Mod
I've done it again - forgotten to post the best book thread for the previous month. Let's make it for May as well as April.

I've been galloping through crime novels recently, some of which are suitable for MG. I wouldn't really call the Shadows from the Past series by Wendy Leighton-Porter crime, but they are historical time travel books where the kids usually have to solve a problem that may involve crime, or just disaster. I caught up with the series so far, read The Shadow of the Two Princes and the Shadow of the Tudor Rose. Both were excellent, and I'm pleased to see Wendy has won awards with them this year.

I also read a new book The Company of Eight which is a fantasy swashbuckling magical escape-your-destiny story!

I caught up with March's BOTM and I'm still hoping to read May's in May.


message 2: by Melody (new)

Melody Bremen (melodyjbremen) | 66 comments The best book I read in April was Wishtree. I figured it would be good because it's by Katherine Applegate, the author of The One and Only Ivan (which I loved), but I wasn't prepared for how good. The protagonist is a tree. A tree with personality. By the end of the book, you feel like you're friends with the tree. Highly recommended read.
In May I read Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye. (It seems I'm having good luck with books that start with W.) It's a fantasy and it was surprisingly good. And pretty funny, too.


message 3: by C.J. (last edited May 25, 2018 09:29AM) (new)

C.J. Milbrandt (cjmilbrandt) | 138 comments Mod
April and May have been packed with MG for me, in part because I'm doing a #BookADayMay challenge. Some of my favorite titles thus far...

Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks Rules by Cynthia Lord

Drizzle is a save-the-farm story set amidst magical rhubarb patches. Save Me a Seat involves culture shock and the danger of assumptions when Ravi, who was at the top of his class in India, is shamed and bullied at his new school in America. And Rules is about a girl whose younger brother is autistic, but also about finding understanding and acceptance from unexpected quarters.

...and I've been on a Lord Peter Wimsey kick, courtesy of a sale on Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries.


message 4: by Harley (last edited May 28, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

Harley Bennett | 100 comments The best book I read in April was Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowsky. However, Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn was a close second.


message 5: by Bonni (new)

Bonni Goldberg | 8 comments The best book I read was GeorgeGeorge. I'm fairly new to this group, so I expect there is already at least one thread discussing the book. I enjoyed it. I lean towards realistic and historical fiction and really good sci-fi. C.J. I'm going to check out Rules and Save Me a Seat-- they sound like they're right up my alley!


message 6: by Justine (last edited Jun 05, 2018 01:19AM) (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 320 comments Bonni, you might also like my April book [Book:All the things that could go wrong] by Stewart Foster. It's about a boy suffering from OCD and the school bully. The other two books I enjoyed the last couple of months took me to a time and place I knew little of. Beyond the Bright Sea centres around an abandoned child who arrived in the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts in a moses-like fashion. The Wheel on the School took me to a fishing village in Holland and introduced me to their tradition of putting a wagon wheel on their roof to encourage storks to nest there.


message 7: by Bonni (new)

Bonni Goldberg | 8 comments Justine wrote: "Bonni, you might also like my April book [Book:All the things that could go wrong] by Stewart Foster. It's about a boy suffering from OCD and the school bully. The other two books I enjoyed the las..."

Justine, thank you for the suggestions. I will get to reading!


message 8: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Milbrandt (cjmilbrandt) | 138 comments Mod
Bonni wrote: "The best book I read was George ... C.J. I'm going to check out Rules and Save Me a Seat-- they sound like they're right up my alley!"

And I am going to be hunting for George!

I'm so glad we can casually swap recommendations like this each month.


message 9: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Milbrandt (cjmilbrandt) | 138 comments Mod
Harley wrote: "The best book I read in April was Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowsky."

Oh, Juniper Berry is on my list of books to read for June. You have me even more excited to get to it!


message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
I haven't read tons of MG in the last few months, but much of what i read has been good.
In no particular order, I thought these were well worth reading, though all different.
Kit's Wilderness
The Night Diary
The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: And Other Stories
The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

And now I just got my hands on the 5th book in Jeanne Birdsall's Penderwicks series, so soon that will also be in my "best of" list. The Penderwicks at Last


message 11: by wanderer (new)

wanderer (vwanderer) | 50 comments Justine wrote: "Bonni, you might also like my April book [Book:All the things that could go wrong] by Stewart Foster. It's about a boy suffering from OCD and the school bully. The other two books I enjoyed the las..."


The Wheel on the School has been on my to-read list forever.

My best books for May... I went on a road trip with my mom and fifth-grade niece, and I chose two middle-grade audio books at random that turned out to be so good. My niece liked Liar and Spy best, but Mom and I preferred the bittersweet story of a Vietnamese immigrant.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead


message 12: by Georgie (new)

Georgie | 39 comments I just finished Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, and it's definitely the best book I read in May. It's set in a small New York town over the years 1968-1969. If you've read Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, the main character in OFN is Doug Swieteck, who had a small role in that book (Holling Hoodhood, our WW hero, has a cameo at the beginning of OFN).

Doug doesn't have it easy. His father has a quick temper and fast fists, his oldest brother Lucas is fighting in Vietnam, and his other brother, Christopher, looks to be following in his father's footsteps. When his family move to the town of Marysville for his father's new job, Doug hates the town at first, and is pretty sure the townspeople don't much like him either. But he forms an alliance with smart, funny Lil Spicer, and her father gives him a job as a delivery boy at his deli. Soon, Doug's meeting the townspeople and discovering, gradually, that maybe they're okay after all.
He finds particular solace in the friendship of librarian Mr Powell, and is fascinated by the library's copy of Audubon's 'Birds of America'.
But the town council have been taking plates from the book and selling them off. Doug ends up on a quest to get them back. Meanwhile, he must deal with family troubles (including the return of Lucas from Vietnam, seriously injured) school troubles (chief among these are a bullying coach and a petty principal) and what happens when petty crimes start occurring and the town blame his brother Christopher.

Schmidt has such a delightful and searingly honest of writing about and for kids. He never shies away from ugliness (one particular thing which Doug's father does to him had me boiling with rage and wanting tor reach through the book and rip his (the father's) head off) , but this is set off by the beauty Doug finds in Audubon's work and the smaller beauties he finds in every day life - there's a description of Doug and Lil drinking ice-cold Cokes which is just....incredible.
Best of all, though, Schmidt allows his characters to grow and find redemption, even the ones you hate at the beginning.
And he renders Doug's prickly, defensive, vulnerable voice just perfectly. Doug is frustrating as hell sometimes but you can't help but root for him and love him.
Schmidt also does a nice job of painting the historical background of the time -particularly the Vietnam War and the Space Race, in a way that I suspect might pique some middle-graders' interest without making the book boring to those who aren't into history.


message 13: by Harley (last edited May 28, 2018 08:20AM) (new)

Harley Bennett | 100 comments The best book I read in May was If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid. The Runaway by Kate O'Hearn was a close second.


message 14: by Bonni (new)

Bonni Goldberg | 8 comments Bonni wrote: "Justine wrote: "Bonni, you might also like my April book [Book:All the things that could go wrong] by Stewart Foster. It's about a boy suffering from OCD and the school bully. The other two books I..."

C.J. I read Rules and Save Me a Seat and enjoyed them very much. Thanks for the recommendations.
Justine, my library doesn't have All the things that could go wrong :(


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