Just like the Saturday mornings during the 50s and 60s when cartoons were the only thing on TV, this post is aimed at kids.
Here are a few more books I read aimed at 5th-8th graders during my 2019 stint as a Cybil’s first round reader:
Jada Sly Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston presents a ten year old frequently involved in adventure and hilarity. The author/illustrator is best known as the first African American cartoonist, but here she aims her talents directly at 10 year olds.
Laurel Snyder’s My Jasper June , recommended by the author of Wonder, deals with a homeless girl, Jasper, living in Atlanta, who makes a friend at school, an unusual event for her. The friend, Leah, and she construct a “hideaway” in an an abandoned house, something that begins as a lark, but puts them in real danger. A secondary plot of Leah’s guilt over her brother’s death and the result of it, which has Leah’s parents “just going through the motions” is abruptly interrupted by the scary conclusion, a nail biter, for sure.
In the What Happened series by Verity Weaver, a new offering, Math Test Mischief, looks into a serious accusation of a group of eighth graders, disguised as an April Fool’s prank. It is a true Who dun it, and I am sure the conclusion will surprise you as much as it did me.
Another series, Survivor Diaries, written by Terry Lynn Johnson, offers another great story, Dust Storm (which may be based on an online game), and teaches kids the mantra, “Stay calm. Stay Smart. Survive.” This particular series reminds me of an older-kid’s version of the Treehouse books.
And for older readers, Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles opens with the statement that Rachel and Micha, the protagonists were engaged at the age of six. They are boyfriend and girlfriend as well as best friends until Rachel begins to have feelings for another girl. This conflict in Rachel’s heart exacerbates the conflict at home for Rachel and her family when she loses her family home, a farm, and has to move to an apartment in the city.
I hope some of these will appeal to your middle grades readers, and that they will enjoy them as much as I did!