Middle Grades

Itch: the Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter by Simon Mayo  

Solid science adds heft to Itch, a present-day sci-fi novel with elements of an international spy thriller. Itch: the Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter, ...
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*The Biggest Story Bible Storybook by Kevin DeYoung

The "Biggest Story" brand continues with a family-friendly Bible Storybook that provides food for thought even to grownups. *The Biggest Story Bible Storybook by Kevin ...
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Troublemaker by John Cho

Troublemaker honestly pictures generational, cultural, and racial conflict against the background of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Troublemaker by John Cho. Little, Brown, 2022, ...
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Dog Man Series by Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series, while reveling in underwear and potty humor, still manages to be loveable. And even funny. Dog Man: a Graphic Novel ...
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*A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser

A Duet for Home portrays the plight of the homeless as far from hopeless—or helpless. *A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser. Clarion Books, ...
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rabbit stories

The Velveteen Rabbit Turns 100: A Bunny Booklist

The Velveteen Rabbit turns 100 There was once a velveteen rabbit . . . Once upon a time, there were three little rabbits and their ...
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The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck by Matt Phelan

A swashbuckling rooster, a designing sheep and a clever duck change history in Matt Phelan’s latest flight of fancy. The Sheep, the Rooster, and the ...
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Not So Different by Shane Burcaw

In Not So Different, disability activist Shane Burcaw answers questions about life as a wheelchair-bound man with a lively intellect. Not So Different: What you ...
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*Out of My Mind and Out of My Heart by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind and its sequel, Out of My Heart, welcome readers into the rich inner life of Melody Brooks, a bright pre-teen with ...
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Blue by Nan Ekua Brew-Hammon

What’s special about the color blue? A lot! Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and Wide as the Sky Nana ...
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Pony by R. J. Palacio

Pony mixes elements of historical fiction and fantasy to create a memorable coming-of-age tale. Pony by R. J. Palacio. Knopf, 2021, 304 pages Reading Level: ...
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Northwind by Gary Paulsen

Northwind follows a boy into the northern wilderness to be reborn in the harsh cradle of nature. Northwind by Gary Paulsen. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2022, ...
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Across the Rainbow Bridge by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Across the Rainbow Bridge puts Norse mythology in its original context of tales told around peat fires on long winter nights. Across the Rainbow Bridge: ...
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Fun with Words and Stories: Otto: A Palindrama and The Ice Cream Machine

Otto tells an extended story with pictures and palindromes, while The Ice Cream Machine spins six stories off one title prompt. Otto: A Palendrama by ...
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Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

Prisoners of Geography helps kids understand how natural features shape history and economics. Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps by Tim ...
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Christian Easter Gifts for Kids and Teens

Do you give Easter gifts in your family? Most families I know give gifts—a lot of them—at Christmas, but give minimally (if at all) at ...
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The World of Tumbleweed Thompson books by Glenn McCarty

Humorous and winsome, tales from the World of Tumbleweed Thompson will engage young fans of Tom Sawyer and Homer Price. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages ...
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Unfolding Grace for Kids

Unfolding Grace for Kids leads middle-graders and younger through the Bible with selected readings and introductions. Unfolding Grace for Kids: A 40-Day Journey through the ...
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Printz Honor Books Roundup: Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Concrete Rose, Revolution in Our Time, Starfish

The Michael L. Printz Award is given by the American Library Association for “Excellence in literature written for young adults.” Last year’s winner was Everything ...
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Operation Do-Over by Gordon Korman

Operation Do-Over is an entertaining jaunt that asks the perennial question: What if you got a chance to correct a past mistake? Operation Do-Over by ...
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*Something Better Coming by Megan Saben

Something Better Coming builds anticipation for the Easter season as it builds faith in young hearts. Something Better Coming by Megan Saben, illustrated by Ryan ...
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*Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season

Easter Stories is a lovely—and literary—collection of short stories from authors both old and new. *Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season. Plough Publishing ...
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Picture Books about Transportation: From Here to There, Rescuing Titanic, and Hope at Sea

From Here to There: Inventions that Changed the Way the World Moves by Vivian Kirkfield, illustrated by Gilbert Ford. HM, 2021, 82 pages plus notes, ...
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Ambushed! by Gail Jarrow

Ambushed!, winner of this year's YALSA Award for nonfiction, is the absorbing, day-by-day account of of a presidential assassination and its aftermath. Ambushed! The Assassination ...
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The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

The Last Cuentista, winner of this year’s Newbery medal is thought-provoking but leaves other thoughts unexplored.   The Last Cuentista by  Donna Barba Higuera. Levine ...
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2022 Newbery Honor Book Roundup: Red White and Whole, A Snake Falls to Earth, Watercress, Too Bright to See

In our continuing coverage of ALA Youth Media Award winners, we're closing in on the big one: the Newbery! Red, White, and Whole by Rajanni ...
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2022 Schneider Family Middle-Grade Roundup: A Bird Will Soar, A Kind of Spark, Stuntboy in the Meantime

The Schneider Family Book Award is given by the American Library Association for outstanding books "that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. Last ...
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Murder on the Baltimore Express by Suzanne Jermain

Plotted like a step-by-step thriller, Murder on the Baltimore Express tells how Abraham Lincoln almost didn't become president. Murder on the Baltimore Express: The Plot ...
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2022 Sidney Taylor Award MG Roundup: How to Find What You’re Not Looking For, The Genius Under the Table, and Linked

The Sidney Taylor Award, named for the author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, is presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to "outstanding books ...
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Sibert (nonfiction) Roundup: The People’s Painter, The Great Stink, We Are Still Here, Summertime Sleepers

The Robert F. Sibert Award, announced by the American Library Association every January, names one to six outstanding nonfiction titles written for upper elementary and ...
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Picturing a Nation by Martin W. Sandler

Picturing a Nation collects some of the best Great Depression photographs by the Farm Security Agency. Picturing a Nation: The Great Depression’s Finest Photographers Introduce ...
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Sports Books for Kids That Pack a Punch

Are you watching the Superbowl this month? Do you cheer for other sports at home? What about baseball? soccer? basketball? track? Do your sports fans ...
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Final Season by Tim Green

Final Season is a touching look at the short- and long-term effects of football on family life, personal value, and physical health. Final Season by ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #5: Cuba in My Pocket

Cuba in My Pocket (see our review) appears on many Newbery favorites lists right alongside Fallout, the book Megan and Betsy mulled over yesterday. In ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #4: Fallout

Our annual Newbery Buzz Series is a series we run each January in which we discuss books with "Newbery Buzz." That is, books we've heard ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #3: Gone to the Woods

Today Betsy and Janie will take a closer look at Gone to the Woods, a memoir by prolific author Gary Paulsen. Paulsen has been a ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #2: The One Thing You’d Save

We've begun our annual Newbery Buzz Series: a series we run each January in which we discuss books with "Newbery Buzz." No one knows which ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #1: The Beatryce Prophecy

It's time for our annual Newbery Buzz Series: a series we run each January in which we discuss books with "Newbery Buzz." That is, books ...
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Clues to the Universe by Christina Lee

Two fatherless middle-graders find solace by joining together on a project and a quest. Clues to the Universe by Christina Lee. Quill Tree (HarperCollins), 2021, ...
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cover of the double dangerous book for boys

*The Double Dangerous Book for Boys

The Double Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn, Arthur, and Cameron Iggulden is a clean, engaging, fascinating, and robust book for boys, just like the ...
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Race to the Bottom of the Earth by Rebecca F. Barone

Race to the Bottom of the Earth details how four men, separated by 112 years, risk life and limb to become the first to conquer ...
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Newbery Roundup #1: DaVinci’s Cat, Playing the Cards You’re Dealt, Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School, and Black Boy Joy

It’s that time of year when librarians across the nation eagerly await the announcement of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, crossing fingers for ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart, 50th Anniversary edition

Honey for a Child's Heart is a beautiful guide full of book lists, a resource worth having in your home library. *Honey for a Child's ...
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Birdie’s Bargain by Katherine Paterson

Birdie makes a bargain with God in this middle grades book about a girl wrestling with faith, with God's love, and with relationships. Birdie's Bargain ...
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Bible Review: ESV Reformation Study Bible, Student Edition

ESV Reformation Study Bible, Student Edition. Ligonier, 2021, 2400 pages. Reading Level: Teens, 12 and up Recommended for: Ages 12 and up The ESV Reformation ...
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Treasury of Magical Tales from around the World by Donna Jo Napoli

Veteran children’s author Donna Jo Napoli retells fairy- and folk tales from every continent, reflecting both local culture and common humanity. Treasury of Magical Tales ...
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Flashlight Reads: Can’t-Put-‘Em-Down Books for All Ages

Flashlight Reads: Can't-Put-'Em-Down Books for the Kids (and Grown-ups) in Your Life Christmas break is one of those perfect, read-by-flashlight-under-the-covers breaks, isn't it? Days are ...
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Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier

An incoming freshman faces challenges of racism and stuttering in Mighty Inside. Mighty Inside by Sundee Frazier. Levine Querido (Scholastic), 2021, 230 pages Reading Level: ...
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*The Swallow’s Flight by Hilary McKay

The Swallow’s Flight gracefully unfolds the lives of two English girls and two German boys against the backdrop of World War II.   *The Swallow’s ...
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The Woman All Spies Fear by Amy Butler Greenfield

The little-known story of code breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman gets full and masterful treatment. The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and ...
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Fallout by Steve Sheinkin

Sheinkin brings the Cuban Missile Crisis to life in this nail-biting read for young teens. Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown by ...
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Top Secret by Crispin Boyer and Suzanne Zimbler

Learn what it takes to be a spy in this trivia-packed book from National Geographic Kids. Top Secret: Spies, Codes, Capers, Gadgets, and Classified Cases ...
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*Big Questions Series by Chris Morphew

The Big Questions Series raises—and answers—life's big questions on a level that middle schoolers will understand and appreciate: suffering, life after death, and more. *The ...
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The Barren Grounds and The Great Bear by David A. Robertson

Morgan and Eli find their way through an attic portal into a new land, Misewa, in this engaging series for middle grades. The Barren Grounds ...
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Andrew and the Firedrake by Douglas Wilson

In this allegory for middle grades, Andrew journeys on a quest that includes delights, temptations, and dragons. Andrew and the Firedrake by Douglas Wilson. Canon ...
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cover of Genius Under the Table

The Genius under the Table by Eugene Yelchin

Eugene Yelchin's memoir of his Soviet childhood is surreal, sad, and hilarious. The Genius under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene ...
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Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas

A 12-year-old refugee flees Cuba for a better life but can’t forget his home and people. Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas. Farrar Strauss ...
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Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling

Across the Desert is a harrowing survival tale of determination and hope, as one girl attempts a dangerous rescue. Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling. ...
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The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish by Karina Van Glaser

The lively Vanderbeeker kids deepen their family roots in the fifth volume of the popular series. The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish by Karina van Glaser. ...
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Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant

In Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, two youngsters undertake a dangerous journey to find relatives missing after World War I. Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha ...
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Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester

Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester introduces young readers to eight dragon stories along with THE dragon story. Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester. Canonball ...
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Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker

The two central characters of Pax, a “best of” book from 2016, work their way back to each other with a more positive resolution. Pax, ...
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Stowaway by John David Anderson

Stowaway offers nonstop action, interesting characters, and food for thought with classic science fiction tropes. Stowaway by John David Anderson. HarperCollins (Walden Pond), 2021, 368 ...
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The Adventure of Christmas by Ed Drew

The Adventure of Christmas offers short, 10-minute family devotions based on the biblical narrative of the first Christmas. The Adventure of Christmas: A Journey Through ...
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One Kid’s Trash by Jamie Sumner

In One Kid’s Trash, an unusual talent leads to sudden popularity and unfortunate consequences. One Kid’s Trash by Jamie Sumner. Atheneum, 2021, 225 pages Reading ...
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aru shah book cover

What about Aru Shah?

This is a question we often get at Redeemed Reader. In fact, there's a whole comment thread asking if we've reviewed it. Part of the ...
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The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

Two heavyweights of the children's book world collaborate on The Beatryce Prophecy, a quasi-medieval tale of treachery and hope. The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, ...
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What about the Tuttle Twins?

Are the much-hyped Tuttle Twins books (and curriculum) profitable for Christian families? An education in economic freedom They’re talked up by talk-show hosts and Facebook ...
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Church History from Kingstone

Three publications by Kingstone Media inform readers about Luther, Vladimir, and Martyrs of the 1st-3rd centuries. Luther by Dr. Rich Melheim, illustrated by various artists. ...
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The Legend of Hobart by Heather Mullaly

The Legend of Hobart pays affectionate tribute to fairy-tale tropes in a story about becoming a true hero. The Legend of Hobart by Heather Mullaly. ...
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Sparrow Rising by Jessica Khoury

Sparrow Rising, the first volume of a promising new fantasy series for middle-graders, depicts a race of winged humans. Sparrow Rising (Skyborn #1) by Jessica ...
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Erik Vs. Everything by Christina Uss

Erik, who fears Everything, learns to live up to his Viking heritage with the help of his Norse-struck family. Erik Vs. Everything by Christina Uss. ...
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The Thing I’m Most Afraid Of by Kristin Levine

An American girl learns to overcome her fears against the background of the Bosnian Civil War. The Thing I’m Most Afraid Of by Kristin Levine. ...
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Friends Forever by Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale wraps up her "Friends" trilogy with a heartfelt graphic memoir of eighth grade anxiety. Friends Forever by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. First ...
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Linked by Gordon Korman

The 7th-graders of a small western town discover that the Holocaust is "linked" to aspects of their own history. Linked by Gordon Korman. Scholastic, 2021, ...
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Smaug's Kind: A List of Dragon Books

Smaug’s Kind: A List of Dragon Books

In honor of Bilbo Baggins and his birthday this week (September 22), we have a book list celebrating his defeat of Smaug, the great dragon: ...
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*Little Pilgrim’s Progress

The greatest allegory of the Christian life, retold for younger children, is significantly improved with masterful illustrations. Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor, Illustrated by ...
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Amazing Rivers by Julie Agnone

This information-packed picture book introduces young middle-graders to the wide world of waterways. Amazing Rivers: 100+ Waterways that Will Boggle Your Mind by Julie Vosburgh ...
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The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman

The Gilded Girl, a magical take on A Little Princess, takes readers to an alternative turn-of-the-century New York City. The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman. ...
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Attack of the Killer Komodos by Summer Rachel Short

Action, adventure, and chimeras await Maggie and Nate in Yellowstone in the Attack of the Killer Komodos. Attack of the Killer Komodos (A Maggie and ...
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The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book by Kate Milford

15 storytellers each tell a mesmerizing tale for the Raconteur's Commonplace book, a book as clever as any Milford has written. The Raconteur's Commonplace Book ...
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Happy “We Love Memoirs” Day!

It’s for real—two memoir writers cooked it up on Facebook almost two decades ago and their page has over 5000 followers who throw an online ...
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Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout

Weird Kid blends humor with the "aliens among us" theme to make an entertaining read for middle graders, (especially boys). Weird Kid by Greg van ...
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Reading Afghanistan

For a country many of us can't even point to on a map, Afghanistan has held a consequential place in world history. This mountainous district ...
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Homer on the Case by Henry Cole

Homer, a literate homing pigeon, uses his unusual skills to solve a mystery, in this gentle story for young middle-graders. Homer on the Case by ...
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Crossing the Stream by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

Crossing the Stream takes us to Africa, where a young teen is facing spiritual and practical challenges. Crossing the Stream by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie. Norton, 2021, ...
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The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller

The Republic of Birds takes us to an alternate czarist Russia, where humans are at war with an avian nation. The Republic of Birds by ...
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*The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

A shy, timid girl learns that "the most perfect thing in the universe" is right under her nose. *The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe ...
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Boy from Buchenwald by Robbie Waisman

Robbie Waisman, the "Boy from Buchenwald," tells a gripping story of suffering and a hard-won peace after World War II. Boy from Buchenwald: The True ...
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Outdoor School: Hiking and Camping by David and Blevins

The Outdoor School series offers interactive guides to experiencing, understanding, and appreciating nature. Outdoor School: Hiking and Camping by Jannifer Pharr Davis and Haley Blevins, ...
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The Way of the Hive by Jay Hosler

The Way of the Hive follows the life of a honeybee in clever graphic-novel style. The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee’s Story by ...
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*The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde

The Ship of Stolen Words is light, enjoyable fantasy anchored by a worthy theme. *The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde. Abrams, 2021, 386 ...
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Wordsmith Curriculum Review: A Writing Curriculum by our own Janie Cheaney

NOTE: We're taking a week off our Summer Reading Challenge to think ahead about the coming school year. Welcome to Wordsmith Week! Leading off with ...
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Juneteenth Roundup

Juneteenth, our newest national holiday, commemorates the 19th of June, 1865, when slaves in Texas learned of their emancipation. These four books offer experiential perspectives ...
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Loot and Sting by Jude Watson

Loot and Sting are light-hearted "heist" novels for middle grades. Loot and Sting by Jude Watson. Scholastic, 2015 (Loot) and 2017 (Sting). 272 pages (both). ...
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City Spies Series by James Ponti

City Spies is a fun, middle grades mystery series featuring undercover teen spies from around the world, each with a special talent. City Spies Series ...
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Mad for Ads by Erica Fyvie

Mad for Ads opens the eyes of readers to the countless ways they are data-mined and targeted for advertising. Mad for Ads: How Advertising Gets ...
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Teaflet & Roog Make a Mess by Jeanne Birdsall

Tousle-haired siblings Teaflet & Roog narrowly avert a domestic disaster in this chapter book by Penderwicks author Jeanne Birdsall. Teaflet & Roog Make a Mess ...
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Atlantis: The Accidental Invasion by Gregory Mone

This series-opener promises a clash of civilizations between Earth’s terra firma and the “lost” continent of Atlantis. Atlantis #1: The Accidental Invasion by Gregory Mone. ...
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The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty

The familiar “child of destiny” trope receives a fresh, funny, and magical twist in The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst. The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by ...
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