Middle Grades

He’s Coming!

In the fundamentalist church where I grew up, we never did advent.  I never even understood what the word meant until well into my twenties, ...
Read More

Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica

Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica.  Penguin, 2009, 244 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: Mike Lupika's young hero ...
Read More

What’s on the Menu? Literary Cookbooks!

Food occupies our minds a lot this time of year—to gather around, to give away, to serve to strangers at the Salvation Army, to stuff ...
Read More

Thankful for Cheryl Harness

The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish, by Cheryl Harness.  National Geographic, 2006, 143 pages.  Age/interest level: 8 and up. Thanksgiving means a raid on the ...
Read More

Those Who Served–And Serve

Veterans’ Day is one of those holidays that sneak up on me.  I intend to write a note to a veteran, wear red, pray a ...
Read More

*The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins

*The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Brian Selznick.  Scholastic Press, 2001.  48 pps.  Recommended for ages 7-up. When I ...
Read More

The Story Behind the Confessions

Faithfulness Under Fire: The Story of Guido de Bres (2010) and The Quest for Comfort: The Story of the Heidelberg Catechism (2011), by William Boekestein.  ...
Read More

Martin Luther: Guest Review by Shanna Gonzalez

Today Janie and I have the opportunity to introduce you to two delightful resources: first, fellow Christian and kids' book blogger Shanna Gonzalez, whose own ...
Read More

Hall of Heroes

Reformation Heroes, by Diana Kleyn with Joel R. Beeke.  Reformation Heritage Books, 2009, 250 pages.  Age/interest level: 11-up. October 31, 2017 (only six years from ...
Read More

How to Be Good

Saint Training, by Elizabeth Fixmer.  Zondervan, 2010, 233 pages.  Age/interest level, 10-14. Mary Claire, sixth grader at St. Maria Goretti School in Wisconsin, has lofty ...
Read More

Columbus and the Founding of our Nation

COLUMBUS The first time I browsed through Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire's biography, Columbus, I purchased it for my kids on the spot based largely ...
Read More

Living With Autism

Nobody knows yet exactly what causes it, or why it occurs more in certain income levels, or even quite what defines it, but autism becomes ...
Read More

The Strange Condition Called Middle School

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger.  Abrams, 2010, 141 pages.  Age/interest level: 9-12. Sixth grade is the witching time for authors of ...
Read More

Brixton Brothers: Ace Detective

The Brixton Brothers, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex, published  by Simon & Schuster.  The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (2009), 179 ...
Read More

One More Movie Post: The Lightning Thief

In our continuing tradition of slopping over themes to the following week, I wanted to weigh in one more time on our book/movie emphasis.  Partly ...
Read More

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Close to Famous, by Joan Bauer. Viking, 2011, 250 pages.  Reading Level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: ages 11-13 Bottom Line: In this feel-good middle ...
Read More

On Eagle’s Wings

Book 2 of the epic adventures of the three children who are heirs to a kingdom, sought by the Fangs of Dang, and as normal ...
Read More

Shakespeare R Us

Dallas, 1970: Storm clouds gather over the Texas prairie, where the students of a small junior college are presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream in an ...
Read More
In Front of God and Everybody by K. D. McCrite

In Front of God and Everybody by K. D. McCrite

The Confessions of April Grace: In Front of God and Everybody, by K. D. McCrite. Thomas Nelson, 2011, 390 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages ...
Read More

Small Town Summers

The Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker. Candlewick, 2011, 224 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages  8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: The ...
Read More

One More For the Road

Around the World in 100 Days, by Gary Blackwood.  Dutton, 2010, 358 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: ...
Read More

The Living Past: An Interview With Cheryl Harness

We end our extended history week with what some consider to be the purest form of history: biography.  The old argument of whether great events, ...
Read More

‘Oh Say, I Can’t See’ Anyone Else But Me

Boy Humor, and How I Came to Terms With It One of my earliest realizations of the strange, otherness of boy humor is embodied in ...
Read More

Is Historical Fiction Dead?

Short answer: no, but it's showing signs of dementia. Historical fiction has one of the longest roots of any literary form. You might say that ...
Read More

Covenanters: Then and Now

Duncan's War, by Douglas Bond (Crown and Covenant #1).  P&R Publishing, 2002. 270 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-12 and up ...
Read More
The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

*The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

*The Charlatan's Boy, by Jonathan Rogers.  WaterBrook Press, 2010, 305 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up Bottom Line: ...
Read More
Hereville by Barry Deutsch

*Hereville by Barry Deutsch

*Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (graphic novel), by Barry Deutsch. Abrams (Amulet), 2010, 139 pp. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 8-10 ...
Read More
The Airborn trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

The Airborn trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel.  HarperCollins, 2004, 355 pp.  Skybreaker (2007); Starclimber (2009). Reading Level: Middle grade, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up One-line ...
Read More
The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield, illustrations by Keith Thompson.  Simon Pulse, 2009, 434 pages plus historical note. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages ...
Read More

Steampunk!

Example of Clanker technology from the 1914-ish world of "Leviathan." According to Wikipedia, the term was probably coined by science-fiction writer K. W. Jeter as ...
Read More
A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

A Dog's Way Home, by Bobbie Pyron.  HarperCollins, 2011.  321 pp.  Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: When Abby ...
Read More

Easter Gifts 101: Last Minute Warning!

Easter is almost here, and while you could just pick a board book up at Walmart while you're getting the Paas dye, you've still got ...
Read More
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas (#1 in the Books of Beginning series), by John Stephens. Knopf, 2011, 432 pages. Reading level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ...
Read More

Free Audio Book: Corrie Ten Boom’s ‘The Hiding Place’

Can't wait for my kids to read this in a few years.  If you don't have a copy already, here's a great way to enjoy ...
Read More

Stalking the Elusive Boy Reader

Supposedly, one of the most-asked questions in children's publishing divisions is, "Will boys read it?"  Will boys read anything?  Or only books that have "butt" ...
Read More
Peak by Roland Smith

Peak by Roland Smith

Peak by Roland Smith.  Harcourt: 2007, 246 pages.  Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up One-line summary: Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello's ...
Read More
Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong. HarperCollins, 2010. 210 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 12-14 Recommended for: Ages 15-18 Bottom line: The experience of ...
Read More
Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Shooting Kabul, by N. H. Senzai.  Simon & Shuster, 2011, 253 pages plus glossary and author note. Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ...
Read More

Contest Winners and More

$20 Bookshelf Challenge Winner Today is the big day for one Redeemed Reader: the announcement of our $20 Bookshelf Challenge winner.  Thank you to everyone ...
Read More
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Ring of Solomon, by Jonathan Stroud.  Hyperion/Disney, 2010, 398 pages.  Reading level: Middle grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 One-line Summary: The witty narrator ...
Read More
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief (Hyperion/Miramax,2005), The Sea of Monsters (2006), The Titan's Curse (2007), The Battle of the ...
Read More
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool. Delacorte, 2010, 342 pages plus historical notes. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: ...
Read More
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer Holm.  Random House, 2010, 177 pages plus historical notes.  Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom ...
Read More
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins, 2010, 215 pages. Reading level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: One Crazy Summer is ...
Read More

*The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins.  HMH, 2010. 301 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Middle-grade ...
Read More

*Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen. Random House (Wendy Lamb Books), 2007. 88 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (Ages 10-12) Bottom ...
Read More
The king of mulberry street cover image

The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli

In The King of Mulberry Street a 9-year-old Italian immigrant realizes the American dream in 1890s New York through a combination of luck, ingenuity, and ...
Read More
On the blue comet cover image

They Don’t Write ’em Like This Anymore

In tone, appearance, and character, On the Blue Comet is straight out of the 1950s. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells. Candlewick, 2010, 329 ...
Read More