Some backlist middle-grade books don't get as much love as they deserve. Typically, once the pub day frenzy is past, these titles get forgotten, almost like their worth depends on their publication date! None of that around here. For my list, I’ll be focusing on books published at least one full year prior. Pstt, many backlist titles are often less expensive than new releases (which you should definitely still purchase if you can) and readily available at your libraries. Here are 15 older middle-grade titles I'm hoping to read soon.
Ah, summer. Now that we're wading into fall, I figured it's a good time to share these middle-grade books set in the summer. There's just a freedom about summer. Growing up in a tropical country meant it was warm all year round, but for us summer was about the time AWAY from school. It was in the late nights and sleep-ins and time with friends and nothing on the schedule. That's what these middle-grade books set in the summer encapsulate.
these books aren't just middle-grade books by Jewish authors, but middle-grade books by Jewish authors about Jewish kids. I've tried to stick to books in which the kids' Jewish identity is an integral part of the story. So, there's either a b'nai mitzvah, Hebrew school, Hanukkah, the Holocaust, or some other element of Jewish culture or religion in these stories.
Just for reference, in the States, third graders are generally about eight years old. If you're fortunate, you may already have a big reader on your hands who isn't afraid to shoot for younger middle-grade titles like some of those on this list. Typically, though most eight-year-olds prefer smaller chapter books, under 150 pages, with lots of pictures and larger fonts than the typical middle-grade book. Kids at this age also like series -- they want to remain in the same universe for as long as possible, so most of the books on this list are part of series. These chapter books for third graders are good for independent reading and also for readalouds! All except one are heavily illustrated, and I've tried to include picks for a variety of interests.
I know that many parents and teachers prefer books that model positive sibling relationships (less backbiting, more love) and I'm all for that as well. Most of the books on this list feature sweet sister relationships, while the rest feature difficult relationships that significantly improve by the end of the story. As life can be, a few of these stories are a bit sad and feature the death of a sister, or a sister with a serious illness. But many others are adventure-filled or feature families coping with financial insecurity, the end of a marriage, and other challenges. Overall, though, I've only chosen books with a focus on the relationship between two or more sisters. Twins, big sisters, little sisters, close in age, far apart -- it's a sister party!
Black middle-grade books are a rarity. Trust me, in sourcing the books for this book list, it was hard to find recommendations. Many recommendations were also historical fiction, which is good and well, but not always my jam. Sometimes Black people and Africans need books about mundane issues. So whether it's books about female friendships or even about food -- sign me up. In this list of Black middle-grade books, you'll find only books by Black authors featuring Black protagonists.
Although I have zero professional dance experience, I love middle-grade books about dance! Sadly, though, new middle-grade books about dance are far and few in between. However, in this list of best middle-grade books about dance, I hunted down a few other excellent recommendations. Not all the books here are about ballet -- some feature hip-hop, square dancing, and even one about a Mexican dance. The books all feature dancing as a central theme, and protagonists who either love dancing or at least come to appreciate it by the end.
I've been planning this list of best Latino middle-grade and chapter books for a while now. I enjoy Latin American culture and literature, especially where middle-grade is concerned. In this list, I've tried to include chapter books and middle-grade books by Latino authors. I've read several books on this list and many of these authors have other books which I may not have mentioned on this list, but hopefully you can follow the breadcrumbs.
Upper middle-grade books are middle-grade books for older tweens and younger teens, aged 11-13. Often, upper middle-grade books are those loved by adults who do not typically read middle-grade. They're also perfect for kids in their early teens who do not feel quite ready for the content in most young adult novels.
Books about sports were tricky at first for me. You see, I never enjoyed sports as a child. But the wonderful thing about books is that they open your eyes to a world you haven't necessarily been a part of. The picks I've read on this list of middle-grade books about sports were all massively entertaining for me, despite being heavy on the sport. I've also taken care to choose books centered around the specific sport and not just with side characters playing the sport.
I haven't read YA in agessss, but with so many exciting 2020 fall YA books on display, it was tough not to be tempted. I already bought one of the books on this list of 2020 fall YA books -- and have ARCs of two titles waiting! I'm not going to become a big YA reader again anytime soon, but I think it will be fun to dip into a bit of YA here and there throughout the rest of the year.
Middle-grade books about anxiety are becoming more and more important, thanks to the anxious times we're living in. More people (parents, teachers, and children) struggle with clinical anxiety. While many manage their symptoms with therapy and medication, it doesn't hurt to see their stories reflected in the books they read. In the past, I made a list of middle-grade books about mental illness which included some of the books on this list. For today's list though, I'm focusing on the best middle-grade books about anxiety disorders.
I'm pleased that this list has a range of characters of different races and social backgrounds. These stories also have a variety of themes besides music. You'll find among these middle-grade music books, stories about race, homelessness, immigration, sexual harassment, anxiety, neurodiversity, and much more.