Friday, October 27, 2017

Middle Grade Book Holiday Gift Guide: 2017 Edition

I did this last year. Not only did I enjoy it, but I heard from many that it was a resource they enjoyed and found valuable so I'm doing it again. If you are looking for a book to buy a kid in your life, here is one place where you can get some recommendations. This is clearly not an exhaustive list and I hope others will add their own ideas, either by making their own posts or mentioning books in the comments. These are all book I have read, and I can't read everything. There's not enough time.

NOTE: In publishing the term Middle Grade (MG) refers to books marketed toward the 9ish-12ish range. This is not a reading level recommendation. Some kids can read them much younger, others enjoy reading MG well into adulthood. They're just good books. (I will do the Young Adult books for the 13 and over crowd next week.)

These are mostly books published in the past three years or so, but I have added a "tried and true" option to every category. I've put the genre and year published after each.

Links are to my reviews.

For the Kid who Wants to Know More of the World and History



Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (historical, 2017)

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (contemporary, 2016)


The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats (historical, 2017)

The Gaither Sisters Trilogy (One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven, Gone Crazy in Alabama) (historical, 2011-2015)


Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper (historical, 2015)

Tried and True Rec:

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

For the Kid Who Loves Adventurous Non-Conforming Girls (Bonus Points for Dragon Inclusion)


Miss Ellicot's School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood (fantasy, 2017)

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (fantasy, 2017)


 The Wrong Side of Magic by Janette Rallison (fantasy, 2016)

A Pocket Full of Murder and A Little Taste of Poison by R.J. Anderson (fantasy, 2015-2016)


 The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (fantasy, 2016)

The Wells and Wong Mystery Series by Robin Stevens (historical mystery; 2015-2017) (This series is called "Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries" in the UK and I can not for the life of me figure out why the US publisher didn't embrace that. I mean. It's perfect.)


Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel, contemporary realistic, 2015)

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel, contemporary realistic, 2017)


A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge (fantasy, 2017 in the US-finally!)

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (historical, 2014)


Tried and True Rec: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (fantasy, 1990)

For Kids Who Like Fantastical Sibling Adventures

The Door Before (prequel to the 100 Cupboards Trilogy) by N.D. Wilson (fantasy, 2017)

Secrets of the Dragon Tomb and The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire (sci-fi, 2016 & 2017)


Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren (fantasy, 2017)

Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen (fantasy, 2016)

Tried and True Rec:


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (fantasy, 1950)

For Kids Who Enjoy Reading about Families and Friendships


The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan (contemporary realistic, 2016)

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan (contemporary realistic, 2017)


 Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (contemporary realistic, 2016)

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophies by Mary E. Lambert (contemporary realistic, 2016)


 Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Veronica (contemporary realistic; 2016)

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messier (magical realism; 2016)


Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung (sci-fi, 2016)

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (contemporary realistic, 2016)


 The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Track Series (Ghost and Patina) by Jason Reynolds (contemporary realistic, 2016 & 2017)

Tried and True Rec:

The Penderwick Series by Jeanne Birdsall (contemporary realistic; 2005-ongoing)

For Kids Who Enjoy Reading About Other Kids Being Smart and Getting Stuff Done


The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (alternate history fantasy, 2017)

The Firefly Code and The Daybreak Bond by Megan Frazer Blakemore (sci-fi, 2016 & 2017)


The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman (fantasy, 2016)

The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford (fantasy, 2017)


 Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino (fantasy, 2016)

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger (sci-fi, 2016)


 Insert Coin to Continue by John David Anderson (fantasy; 2016)

The Jinx Trilogy by Sage Blackwood (fantasy, 2013-2015)



The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (historical, 2015)

The Magic Thief Series by Sarah Prineas (fantasy, 2008-2014)

Tried and True Rec:


The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (mystery, 1978)

If you have your own recommendations for these categories (or a category you've made up), feel free to include it in a comment!



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