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7 Middle Grade Books to Check Out

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Winding Down and Gearing Up!

We have arrived at the other “New Year” for 2022…that time when summer is coming to a close, and kids and teens everywhere embark on their next journey; a new school year.

In many places, like Florida where I live, that transition isn’t signified by a change in temperature. No, here Mother Nature likes to keep her thermostat turned way up for several more months. School busses and school supplies in stores are the signals to us Floridians that summer is ending.

Reading some new books is a great way to either hang on tight to the end of a spectacular summer or get your thoughts focused on the upcoming school year. I have some awesome book suggestions for you for whichever of those things is most on your mind.

Wishing you Happy Reading!

If you’re hanging onto summer, check out these four great books:

Sophie Washington: Treasure Beach by Tonya Duncan Ellis
In the 13th book of the Sophie Washington series, a message in a bottle leads Sophie into tons of summertime fun and adventure. During a two week trip to Corpus Christi, Texas to stay with her grandmother, Sophie, her younger brother, Cole, and her best friend, Chloe, embark on a treasure hunt after a discovery made during a day at the beach. While searching for the seaside treasure, the kids get the chance to snorkel, visit a World War II warship, and encounter endangered sea turtles. In the end, the real summer treasures are honesty and true friendship.

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The Summer of Bad Ideas by Kiera Stewart
After her eccentric grandmother dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, Edith travels to Florida with her family to clean out her grandmother’s equally peculiar home. There Edith meets her cousin, the ultra cool Rae, for the first time. The two opposite girls come across a list written by their grandmother back when she was their age. The list is called “Good Ideas for Summertime,” but in Edith’s opinion, this list is filled with nothing but bad ideas. Still, the girls set out on a quest to complete the list, Edith hoping it will give her a chance at becoming someone more brave and bold like her cousin and her grandmother. Adventure and mischief abound as Edith tries to reinvent herself in just one summer!

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When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten
Named to Oprah Magazine's Best Caribbean Books for Your 2021 reading list, imagination and adventure run wild in the most talked about middle grade debut of the year!

A small village on a Jamaican island.
A girl who doesn't remember the previous summer.
A best friend who is no longer acting like one; a new girl who fills that hole in her heart.
A summer of finding fallen mangos, creating made up games and dancing in the rain.
Secrets she keeps from others...and herself.
The courage to face the truth even in the toughest of storms.

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Inspired by the author's childhood experiences, When Life Give You Mangos is a celebration of island life as well as a rich, lyrical mystery.
Read it...and don't spoil the unforgettable ending!

Zoey Lyndon's Misadventures at Camp by Micheal Anderson
Zoey and her bestie, Tommi, are hitting the trails! They’re attending Camp Whispering Pines, a five-night Engineering Camp Experience. Things are off to a great start, and Zoey’s enjoying her camp friends and newfound freedom. But things take an unexpected turn when Zoey and her friends stumble upon an interesting discovery—the camp’s legendary One-Eyed Nelson is in fact a real person! And to make matters worse, Zoey makes a decision that places her and a cabin mate in danger, putting them both at risk of being dismissed from camp.
Will Zoey and her friends uncover the truth about One-Eyed Nelson? What consequence will Zoey’s decision have?

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If you’re ready for your new school year, here are a few school stories for you:

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf
Three weeks after the beginning of the new school year, a chair that had started the year empty was now occupied. Its new inhabitant is a boy from Syria named Ahmet, and four best friends from the class are determined to become his friends even though he doesn’t speak English and seems very unhappy in his new school environment. The friends become even more determined to become Ahmet’s friend when they find out that he’s a refugee and what that means; he’s left his home country to escape a real war with real bombs, and that he’s separated from his family because of it. When his new friends find out there’s an upcoming deadline for him to be reunited with his family, they take matters into their own hands to try to help Ahmet.

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A book filled with friendship and kindness, as well as understanding of challenges some students face if they are in a new place, with a new language, and a life experiences very different from their new peers.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally is always in trouble at school, has no friends, and none of her teachers so far have figured her out. That’s partly because she’s moved around so much with a military father and partly because her antics in class lead her teachers to believe she’s a behavior problem, not a student who struggles with learning. But when Mr. Daniels becomes her teacher, things change. He doesn’t let Ally get away with her usual “tricks” and before long has her doing things she never thought were possible, like believing her she’s not dumb and that her brain just works differently. With each day she gains confidence and some new friends that help her see herself in a whole new light. A heartwarming and insightful book that brings understanding of how someone with a learning disability

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needs people in their corner to help them figure out that being different is isn’t all that defines them.

Ban this Book by Alan Gratz
A very timely novel about a fourth grade girl who fights back when her favorite book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is banned from her school library. Amy Anne is usually a quiet and shy girl, not outspoken at all. But when more and more of her favorite books are gone from the school’s library shelves, she decides to fight back by starting a secret library of her own in her hall locker. Her library, the BBLL (Banned Book Lending Library) consists only of books that have been taken away from Amy Anne and her peers. Soon, she finds herself in an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

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An inspiring novel about having the courage to speak up when you feel strongly that something is wrong just like Amy Anne, who had to find the courage to become the spokesperson for her friends and readers everywhere.

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