Five Great Reads for Middle Grade Readers

These are the best of the middle-grade books I’ve read/reviewed in the past year or so.
I’ve added a note on some of the topics that are covered in the stories, because some may a bit difficult for a sensitive child to read due to the subject matter.

• Print Length: 338 pages
• Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385386079
• Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (September 9, 2014)
• Sold by: Random House LLC
• Language: English
• ASIN: B00J1IQV64
Find out more about this title/author here:
From the Book Jacket
“Home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein; her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But when Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, the family struggles with tragic changes.
Chirp gets comfort from watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the road. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.”
This is a beautifully moving story of a young girl growing up on Cape Cod in the 70s. Naomi “Chirp”, loves wandering among nature in the woods and marshes near her home, bird watching and daydreaming. Her biggest problems are avoiding the troublesome boys across the street and trying to get along with her older sister. Then disaster strikes when her mom becomes ill. Chirp’s world is upended as she and her sister try to keep their lives running smoothly, with her father gone most of the time, either working or with their mom at the hospital. This wonderful story is about the bonds we share with our loved ones, and what happens when those bonds are tested. The relationships between Chirp and Joey, and between Chirp and her sister, are very special. This story touches deeply and will not soon be forgotten

Due to subject matter, recommended for more mature readers. (topics include illness/death of loved one/family dynamics/depression/abuse/friendship)

• Print Length: 250 pages
• Publisher: ChiTeen (May 27, 2014)
• Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
• Language: English
For more info on this title and the authors:

Paul Tremblay at Website:
Facebook Twitter: @paulGtremblay GoodReads

Stephen Graham Jones at Website: Demon Theory (Official Website)
“This is the story of a girl who sees a boy float away one fine day. This is the story of the girl who reaches up for that boy with her hand and with her heart. This is the story of a girl who takes on the army to save a town, who goes toe-to-toe with a mad scientist, who has to fight a plague to save her family. This is the story of a girl who would give anything to get to babysit her baby brother one more time. If she could just find him.
It’s all up in the air for now, though, and falling fast. . . .
Fun, breathlessly exciting, and full of heart, Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly is an unforgettable ride.” – from the ChiTeen website.
This is a wonderful (light)sci-fi adventure story. Very likeable characters and edge-of-your-seat adventure. May be for more mature readers as there is some swearing and a kidnapping that takes place – it ends well, though. (Topics include family relationships/friendship/differences/kidnapping/sacrificing for others/love)


• Print Length: 210 pages
• Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375870644
• Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (August 26, 2014)
• Sold by: Random House LLC
• Language: English
“Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.” – from the publisher’s web-site.

This is a funny, touching story that both boys and girls will like. I love the characters and the awkward role reversal they find themselves in. There is plenty of adventure as well. I particularly like the fact that it encourages a young girl’s interest in science. (Topics include family dynamics/friendship/science/sacrificing for others).
• Paperback: 166 pages
• Publisher: Robertson Publishing (April 21, 2011)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1611700256
• ISBN-13: 978-1611700251
Find out more about this title/author on the website:
From the author’s wesite: “Thirteen-year-old Sidney Jacobsen thought that when she flew to a Pacific island to live with her family for a year, she would be spending her time solving one of the greatest mysteries of all time—who built the ancient, enormous stone city of Nan Madol. Giants? Godlike creatures from another planet? After a dangerous trek through the jungle with her brother and an island boy, an amazing find provides a clue.”
This is a gripping adventure story that will captivate readers. There is also some great historical and cultural detail. (Topics include: family/travel/light romance/cultural differences/history)

#5 .
• Paperback: 174 pages
• Publisher: Modern Digital Publishing (December 12, 2013)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0989668347
• ISBN-13: 978-0989668347
For more info on this title/author:

From the author’s website “ “Colin McCool and the Vampire Dwarf”: Book 1 in the Colin McCool Children’s Fantasy Book Series
Never, Ever Make Fun of a Vampire Dwarf…
Colin and Jesse discovered they’ve been under the spell of an evil vampire dwarf – and they’re not alone. Now, they’ve been recruited by a leprechaun who loves IKEA and a centuries-old wizard (who may or may not think he’s Gandalf) to break the evil vampire dwarf’s curse and save the town…”

This is a fast-paced, exciting story for middle-graders. A wonderful adventure story that includes little bits of Irish folklore, and many fascinating creatures. (Topics include: family/friendship/differences/folklore)

I hope if any of you know some middle grade readers, that you will recommend these wonderful books to them. Or, read them yourselves. I truly enjoyed each one of them and would definitely read more books by these authors.


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