Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2020



It's that time again. Every year I share my favorite middle grade reads of the previous year. How better to share than with a giveaway!



That's right! One lucky winner will receive a copy of the six paperbacks in the image above, and a copy of my best-sellers. U.S. resident's only. ENTER


Check out the books:

Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children's Literature!


* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.


Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.


Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.


Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?


It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?



Kids who love video games will love this first installment of the new 5-book series about 12-year old Jesse Rigsby and the wild adventures he encounters inside different video games.


Age Level: 8-12 Grade Level: 3rd and up



Jesse Rigsby hates video games—and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked in the new game Full Blast with his friend Eric, Jesse starts to see the appeal of vaporizing man-size praying mantis while cruising around by jet pack. But pretty soon, a mysterious figure begins following Eric and Jesse, and they discover they can't leave the game. If they don't figure out what's going on fast, they'll be trapped for good!




From Robert Beatty, the author of the award-winning Serafina books, comes a thrilling new #1 New York Times bestselling series for adults and young readers (8+). Set in 1900 in the Great Smoky Mountains, it's the story of an orphaned girl--gentle of heart, but brimming with the ancient forest powers of her people--who must struggle to survive in a changing world. Filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains, Kirkus Reviews describes WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope."


Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.


To Willa, a young night-spirit, humans are the murderers of trees. She's been taught to despise them and steal from them. She's her clan's best thief, creeping into the log cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and taking what they won't miss. It's dangerous work, but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.


When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to survive. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her human enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it?


As forces of unfathomable destruction attack her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is--facing deadly force with warm compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.



"The right story at the right time. . . . It’s not just a narrative; it’s an experience. It’s the novel we’ve been waiting for." —The New York Times


A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity. Winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent and soon to be a major motion picture directed by Michael B. Jordan!


It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.


His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.


David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.



A lost dog, a hidden time tunnel and a secret lake. A page-turning time travel adventure for children aged 8-11. Now enjoyed by thousands of young readers!

When Stella and her younger brother, Tom, move to their new London home, they become mystified by the disappearances of Harry, their elderly neighbour’s small dog. Where does he go? And why does he keep reappearing wet-through?

Their quest to solve the riddle over the summer holidays leads to a boat buried under a grassy mound, and a tunnel that takes them to a secret lake.

Who is the boy rowing towards them who looks so terrified? And whose are those children’s voices carried on the wind from beyond the woods?

Stella and Tom soon discover that they have travelled back in time to their home and its gardens almost 100 years earlier. Here they make both friends and enemies, and uncover startling connections between the past and present.

A modern children's classic

The Secret Lake has been described by readers as a modern Tom's Midnight Garden and compared in atmosphere with The Secret Garden and the Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew mystery adventure stories. Its page-turning plot, with its many twists and turns, makes it a firm favourite with both boys and girls.

Karen Inglis describes it as, a time travel mystery adventure with modern twists - the kind of story that I loved to read as a child, but brought right up to date.



An entertaining story that celebrates friendship, diversity, environmental awareness, and anti-racism. This engaging, illustrated, middle grade chapter book is a great addition to classroom and homeschool libraries and should appeal to fans of Ramona Quimby, Jada Jones, Judy Moody, and Junie B. Jones.

There is no such thing as Big Foot! Or is there…

Sophie Washington and her classmates are on their way to Camp Glowing Spring for a class retreat. It’ll be two full days of swimming, eating s’mores around a campfire, tug-of-war, archery, and more! Sophie’s been looking forward to the trip all school year and can’t wait to spend extra time with her friends. It will also be great to get away from her bratty younger brother, Cole, and his constant stories about Big Foot. If Cole warns her about what to do if she sees the hairy ape man on the retreat one more time, she’ll put in ear plugs. Everybody knows Big Foot is a hoax!

Once the kids arrive at the retreat site things are as exciting as Sophie imagined. She has fun exploring nature with her besties, Chloe, Valentina, Toby, Nathan, and Mariama, and meeting new friends too. Then the kids see a giant footprint during a nature hike in the woods and the adventure really begins!


The giveaway has already begun. You have until February 20th to enter. The winner will be announced on February 27th. International residents, find the giveaway image on my Instagram to find out how you may be able to win books also. Good Luck everyone!


Blessings,

LB

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