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Focus on the New: Middle Grade Fiction, ages 8-12

Posted about 3 years ago by Lisa Crisman

Calling all readers ages 8-12…it’s National Reading Month! Listed below are new titles from 2020 and 2021. A wide range of genres include fantasy, friends, and family. Some are set in the past, some in the present with others moving into the future. Go online and place one on hold or call your local library and someone will place a hold for you. Just have your library card ready and keep reading!

  • Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker. (New York: Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins, 2020) Have you ever looked for a secret place of your own, where you can spend time and let your imagination wander? What would you do if someone came along and decided to completely change that private space and turn it into something different? Could you be a hero in your own neighborhood? It just takes one summer.
  • Becoming Muhammad Ali: a novel by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander. (New York: Little Brown & Co., Hachette, Houghton Mifflin, 2020) This exciting title combines two well known authors and one infamous boxer. Get to know the young man Cassius Clay, his family and friends in this fiction title, alternating between Patterson’s text and Alexander’s chapters in verse.
  • Lucy Lopez, Coding Star by Claudia Mills; pictures by Grace Zang. (New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2020) Just one title in a new series, After-School Superstars. Third grader Lucy Lopez joins the after-school coding camp to get more experience and share it with her sister. But what if her sister doesn’t want to code together?
  • The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman; illustrated by Tracy Nishimura Bishop. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020.) Kate’s life is completely dull until she receives a magical present from her Uncle Herbert. Silver Arrow is a steam train that takes Kate and her brother Tom on a mysterious adventure through forests and mountains, with talking animals and wonderful surprises along the way.
  • Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2020) Oral history as historical fiction brings to life the stories of Loretta and her family. Set between 1927 and 1968, this “monologue novel” gives voice to individuals during a powerful time of change. The Pinkneys have created a tale full of unique storytelling and beautiful images.
  • The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling. (New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2020) Hoping for a time to heal, Nora and her Dad take off on a climbing adventure in the desert. A terrible mishap has her fighting to survive. This novel written in verse will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm. (New York: Random House, 2021) Fans of Jennifer L. Holm will love this new novel, set in a future on Mars. Bell is a “regular” kid, with likes and dislikes and has never lived anywhere but Mars. When a virus outbreak threatens their colony he must work with others to find a solution.
  • Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson. (New York: Nancy Paulsen Books/Random House, 2020) Award winner Woodson shares a timely story in verse. ZJ’s dad has been a football star and his hero as long as he can remember. He grew up visiting the football fields and sharing the stories. Too many concussions cloud his dad’s memories and leave ZJ struggling with how to support his dad now.
  • The Sea in Winter by Christine Day. (New York: Heartdrum/Harper Collins, 2021) Maisie’s knee injury is keeping her from the ballet that she loves. Irritable and uncomfortable with her family, she’s not excited about a road trip to her mother’s native home. Will all these dark feelings pull her under, like the cold ocean she sees while traveling?
  • Root Magic by Eden Royce. (New York: Walden Pond Press/Harper Collins, 2021) A magical novel that combines the reality of integration in South Carolina in 1963 and the power of a family’s traditional healing rituals. Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are caught in the middle, and none too soon.

Lisa Crisman

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