Here it is, Saturday morning, and here are a few recommendations for books targeted at 5th through 8th graders:

Jess Keating has set her series, “Elements of Genius” within the Genius Academy, a school for masterminds. Her latest offering, Nikki Tesla and the FerretProof Death Ray (2019) finds the academy in an uproar. The death ray has been stolen. Enter Nikki and her genius crew, and they travel around the world, seeking to find the death ray and save the world from sure extinction. Very humorous.

Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange strikes a note of mystery as the reader meets Pet, and eleven year old girl, obsessed with the legend of The Daughters of the Stone. All the elements of a good, suspense read are there: an old lighthouse, a castle, and a humongous storm.

Finding the only kid around a roller-skating girl who wears a cape and is searching out a secret leaves Gideon reeling and repulsed after a move from the east coast to Nevada. In this novel by Shaunta Grimes, The Astonishing Maybe,our hearts are with Gideon as the two new “friends/enemies” search for Rona’s long-lost father and the truth.

Parents divorcing is a theme often dealt with in middle grades fiction today. Dear Sweet Pea, Julia Murphy’s novel does just this. Patricia, “Sweet Pea” deals with the tension at home at the same time as the tension between her and her ex-best friend, Kiera. How this is resolved is not necessarily “happily ever after” but realistic and satisfying at the same time.

All of these are good reads for tweens and teens looking for characters that share their concerns and who are dealing with the same day-to-day issues as themselves.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


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