3 S.R. Johannes: Bookanistas - Middle Grade Marvels

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bookanistas - Middle Grade Marvels

We always seem to talk about the Young adult books coming out and forgetting Middle Grade.

Why is that?

I've seen and know of some great books targeting younger kids that have either just come out or are coming out:

McKenzie Blue - Friends Forever by Tina Wells (Harper Collins, Jun 2010)
This is a cute series with a spunky character that is told through diary entries, texts, instant messages and various lists.

Mackenzie, aka Zee, is the charismatic, fashionable, pop-culture savvy, down-to-earth star of this fresh new tween fiction series that chronicles the adventures of a diverse crew of friends who try to survive middle school at the prestigious Brookdale Academy in southern California. Fun and eco-conscious, Mackenzie Blue is an upbeat break from mean-girl culture.

School of Fear series by Gitty Daneshvari (Little Brown, Sept 2010)
The second in the series School of Dismissal just came out. I missed the first one. This is a cute series about kids who go to school to curb their fears.

For the first time--maybe ever--Madeleine, Theo, Lulu, and Garrison are not
looking forward to the start of summer, and three little words are to blame: School of Fear. In what they're sure will be the longest and most terrifying six weeks of their lives, the foursome must face their phobias head-on as students of the exclusive and elusive school. There's no homework or exams. But if they don't conquer their fears by the end of the summer, they'll find out just how frightening failing can be.

The Search for Wonderla by Tony DiTerlizzi (S&S, Sept 2010)
This is a modern day Alice and Wonderland. So magical and wonderful. The art throughout the book is amazing. I am really enjoying this one.

Eva Nine is being raised by Muthr, a pale blue robot who is loving and maternal (she speaks in the sweet, unflappable tones of a 1950s sit-com mom), in an underground home on the planet Orbona. When a marauder destroys her home, she leaves Sanctuary in a quest to find other humans like herself. Aboveground she finds a fantastic and frightening world populated by malevolent wandering trees, a giant beast who is pursuing her, nasty sand-snipers, and more. With the aid of Rovender, a lanky blue creature with backward-bending knees, and Otto, a giant water bear with whom she can communicate telepathically, Eva faces many dangers, including capture by a taxidermist who wants to skin her in order to create a living fossil for display. This first book in the series concludes with her arrival at her destination in the ancient city of ruins.

Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (Holiday House, Oct 2010)
You can't go wrong with Rick Riordan endorses it! Its Ratatouille meets Watership Downs.

Presumed dead by his enemies, Juniper is an elder in a community of rats who, since being forced from their catacomb homes, have started to build a new democratic world, Nightshade City, and are preparing to overthrow the oppressive ruling rodent regime, headed by dictator Killdeer.

Selling Hope by Kristin Tubb (Feiwel and Friends, Nov 2010)
This book is wonderful and that's all I can say. The voice is so real.

It’s May 1910, and Halley’s Comet is due to pass thru the Earth’s atmosphere. And thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father are due to pass through their hometown of Chicago with their ragtag vaudeville troupe. Hope wants out of vaudeville, and longs for a “normal” life—or as normal as life can be without her mother, who died five years before. Hope sees an opportunity: She invents “anti-comet” pills to sell to the working-class customers desperate for protection. Soon, she’s joined by a fellow troupe member, young Buster Keaton, and the two of them start to make good money. And just when Hope thinks she has all the answers, she has to decide: What is family? Where is home?

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce (Harper, Nov 2010)
This book is hilarious and silly. Kind of King Dork meets Whimpy Kid. And this is also the second in the series. The illustrations and doodles combined with the comic approach is so fun. The web site is so awesome and I heard it had millions of hits within the first year.

Nate is a sixth grader who has a problem with organization. Everything is going wrong, and he's piling up detention after detention. Finally, big Nate will surpass all others! But it wont be easy. He's stuck with Gina, his all time enemy, who just might ruin everything! Will Nate win or lose? Pass or fail? Or end up in detention . . . again?

The Jaguar Stones series - Book 2 by JP Voelkel (Egmont, Dec 2010)
Again another series I had not heard of until I got the ARC of book 2. But you still have time to catch up.

With the end of the Mayan calendar fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy and his new friend Lola, the modern Maya girl who saved his life in the perilous jungle, are racing against time to outwit the twelve Lords of Death. Following the trail of the conquistadors, their quest takes them back to the wild heart of Spain - a forgotten land steeped in legend, superstition and ever more bizarre tourist festivals. With a pack of hellhounds on their heels and the cape-twirling Count Antonio de Landa in hot pursuit, the teens must face madness and betrayal, bluff and double-bluff, to uncover the terrible secrets of the long-lost Yellow Jaguar. But no matter where they run, all roads lead to Xibalba. There, in the cold and watery Maya underworld, we finally discover why only Max Murphy can save the world from the villainous Lords of Death.

Fantasy Baseball by Alan Gratz (Dial, March 2011)
I have not yet read this book. I dont even know if ARCs are out yet. But I heard about it at a conference from the editor and it sounds fun.

A flying monkey in the outfield. A toad at short. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz on the mound. Alex Metcalf thinks he’s dreaming, but the Oz Cyclones exist here in Ever After, where storybook characters live on as long as kids in the real world believe in them.

But Alex isn't a storybook. To get home, he and the Cyclones will have to win the Ever After Baseball Tournament and earn wishes from the Wizard of Oz. Trouble is, the Big Bad Wolf wants a wish too. To win the tournament, Alex and the Cyclones will have to defeat the wolf, play the best baseball of their lives, and find the courage to believe in themselves. But what good is believing in yourself if the real world stops believing in you?
The Emily Strange Series - Dark Times by Rob Reger (Harper, Jan 2011)
This is also a great series - a couple books have already been released. I have loved Emily the Strange for a while, since before she was developed into novels. She is sarcastic and nerdy which you don't see much of in Middle grade. I believe this started out more as an artist's comic character and then once it got very popular on the Internet, Emily blossomed into books and other merchandise.

Meet Emily, the peculiar soul with long black hair, a wit of fire, and a posse of slightly sinister black cats. When Emily gets back to school, she goes way back, all the way to the 18th century.

Check out the other Bookanistas:

Elana Johnson Tells Us About TORMENT


Christine Fonseca Moons Over MATCHED

Shannon Messenger Fangirls THE FAMILIARS

Kirsten Hubbard Woos Us with WITHER

Myra McEntire Beholds the British Special Edition of the TWILIGHT SAGA


Carolina Valdez Miller Is Moved By MARBURY LENS

Megan Miranda Swoons Over STOLEN

What other Middle grade books have you heard of lately?


Kelly Polark said...

Thanks for highlighting Middle Grades! I've written down the titles to read. My current ms is a middle grade so I've been reading lots of them this year. Plus I have a sixth grader so love to see what books I can suggest to him!

Yat-Yee said...

I love MGs! Thanks for showcasing these titles. Will have to check them out. I am especially eyeing a couple for my 8-year old. The ones he's enjoyed recently include Sid Fleishman's McBroom tall tales and Bruce Colville's Magic Shop series. I enjoyed them too.

Melissa Gill said...

Good to see some great MG coming out. I can't wait to read them all.

Shannon Messenger said...

Yay for Middle Grade getting more attention!!!!!!!!!!!!! And these are some fabulous ones to highlight. Personally I can't wait to finally dive into The Lost Hero this weekend--I'm hearing really good things about it. ;)

Jared Larson said...

Go MG!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for spotlighting MG. That's what I'm writing now and it's good to see all these great books. I'll be adding some of them to my list to read.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Thank you for highlighting mid grade. It's so important!

Jemi Fraser said...

I teach MG kids - love these reviews! I'll have to add these to my list :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

I just finished Countdown by Deborah Wiles. Loved it. It's the first in a trilogy about the sixties.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I don't know about much MG, not recent ones anyway, and I've only heard of a couple of these, but it's so good to see good MG getting out there for the tweeners. Great reviews, Shelli!