Beyond that, you can expect to find book lists packed with diverse, engaging recommendations. Book lists also span across the same categories: picture books, chapter books, middle-grade, young adult, and adult. Because we care about all things bookish, we also feature regular interviews with authors whose books we have enjoyed.
E.L. Shen is the author of The Comeback, a vibrant middle-grade novel about a young ice skater with a lot of passion. I spoke to E.L. about her debut middle-grade book, ice-skating, writing an emotionally honest novel, and handling racism, microaggressions and macroaggressions on the page. I enjoyed this interview just as much as I did her book.
Rigel has 365 days to Alaska. After her parents split up, her mom moves Rigel and her two sisters from their Alaskan bush living to Connecticut where their grandmother lives. At first, Rigel hates it in the Connecticut suburbs, even though her sisters seem to be having a better time. They're excited about the comforts of running water, a television, and malls, among other things. But Rigel yearns for the quiet of bush life, wants to return to the simplicity of hunting animals for food, and being with her dad. So her father promises her that in a year, when he's earned a bit of money from working, Rigel can return to live with him in Alaska.
The best middle-grade books about families warm our hearts. But then again, isn't nearly every book a little bit about families? I thought so too, so for this list of middle-grade books about families, I chose books with family as one of the central themes. This means that whether the families in this story are small (parent and child) or large (parents and multiple children), a major plot point is how the family unit deals with a given challenge. You'll find happy families, worried families, dysfunctional families, and supportive families in various shapes and sizes.
Alone is Megan E. Freeman's debut survival middle-grade novel in verse. It follows 12-year-old Maddie who gets abandoned by some twist of fate when her entire town is mysteriously evacuated. Left alone with no human in sight, she bonds with a Rottweiler named George who is one of many abandoned pets. Soon after, they lose power and then water and Maddie has to fend for herself using a variety of ingenious means and the town resources at her disposal, including an empty library, grocery store, and neighbors' homes.
Larissa Fan's Ten Little Dumplings is based on a true account of the life of a family member. It follows a family with 10 sons in the village of Fengfu. In Taiwanese culture, male children are prized over females, and so as Fan writes, the family is viewed as special. They're "special because they had ten sons. To have one son was considered lucky. To have ten was great luck indeed." As we see the 10 boys grow through life, a beautiful surprise awaits readers in the middle of the story.
L.A. Estabrook is the author of the dystopian middle-grade novel, Esme Zur: And the I of Age (available on Kindle Unlimited). In this inspiring interview, we discuss the life events that moved L.A. to write this book, writing a book while dyslexic, and how she juggles marriage, parenting, and a challenging illness with writing.
I love that there have been more middle-grade books about body image and body positivity out in recent times. Body image issues are real, and often they start while we're young. In this list of middle-grade books about body image and body positivity, you'll find books aimed at tweens and younger teens. These stories feature young people dealing with body confidence due to bullying about their weight, skin color, skin conditions, medical conditions, height, and even one book where a character struggles with accepting her monolid. I've read several of these books and the rest come highly recommended for being strongly body positive and helping readers, young and old, find a measure of body acceptance.
Author Elise Bryant has one of the most captivating Instagram feeds, complete with pastel, desserts, and of course, books! I squealed when I saw the cover of her debut YA novel, Happily Ever Afters, and even though I don't read half as much YA as I used to, I knew I had to read this one. In this interview, I talk to Elise about the similarities between her and Tessa, her novel's heroine, family, friendships, writer's block, her next YA novel, and of course, sweets! Enjoy.