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Find more Top 10 Contemporary Middle-Grade Novels
The Apple Tart of Hope. By Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. 2016. Holiday, $16.95 (9780823435616). Gr. 4–7.
This lyrical tale alternates points of view between Meg and Oscar, the former of whom
leaves for six months, during which the latter is bullied to the point of planning suicide. A startling story of self-discovery.
Applesauce Weather. By Helen Frost. Illus. by Amy June Bates. Aug. 2016. Candlewick, $14.99
(9780763675769). Gr. 3–5.
In this graceful novel in verse, two children await the annual visit of Uncle Arthur,
though they worry this time will be different—Aunt Lucy has passed away. It is
different, but in a special way. Fresh, sweet, and crisp.
As Brave As You. By Jason Reynolds. 2016. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $16.99 (9781481415903). Gr. 5–8.
Brooklynite Genie goes to meet his grandparents in backwoods Virginia, where he experiences
culture shock as well as eventual—though far from tidy—understanding. Reynolds movingly shows that, though love hides, it always abides.
Booked. By Kwame Alexander. 2016. HMH, $16.99 (9780544570986). Gr. 5–8.
Using the blend of poetry, humor and insight that made his Newbery-winning The Crossover (2014)
such a treat, Alexander introduces Nick, whose soccer stardom is suddenly sidelined. Enter former rapper turned librarian Mr. Mac. Yes, you read that right.
Dream On, Amber. By Emma Shevah. Illus. by Helen Crawford-White. 2015. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky,
$12.99 (9781492622505). Gr. 4–7.
Shevah’s charming debut involves half-Italian, half-Japanese Amber, whose backfiring “genius idea”
forces her to confront her fears. Crawford-White’s Wimpy Kid–style illustrations lighten this surprisingly resonant tween tale.
Garvey’s Choice. By Nikki Grimes. Oct. 2016. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $16.95 (9781629797403). Gr. 4–6.
Garvey will never be the athlete his father wanted. When Garvey joins the school chorus, however, it establishes a surprising connection between the two.
Grimes tells this moving story entirely with Japanese tanka poems.
The Land of Forgotten Girls.
By Erin Entrada Kelly. 2016. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780062238641). Gr. 4–7.
Filipino immigrants Soledad and her sister live in low-income squalor with a hateful stepmother. Soledad’s imagination, however, turns even their punishment closet into a magical castle. Hopeful, heartfelt, and
The Thing about Jellyfish. By Ali Benjamin. 2015. Little, Brown, $17 (9780316380867). Gr. 5–8.
Benjamin’s debut follows Suzy, whose fascination with jellyfish leads her to Australia to find answers about the death of a friend. A science-minded,
metaphor-rich tale heightened by a highly individual first-person narration.
Waylon! One Awesome Thing. By Sara Pennypacker. Illus. by Marla Frazee. 2016. Disney/Hyperion,
$15.99 (9781484701522). Gr. 2–4.
Waylon initially quails when Baxter—a kid rumored to have spent time in the slammer—returns to
school, but all is not what it seems. Waylon is one of the quirkiest middle-grade characters in some time.
You Can’t See the Elephants. By Susan Kreller. 2015. Putnam, $16.99 (9780399172090). Gr. 5–8.
Mascha notices strange bruises
on a couple of neighborhood kids. No one will do anything about it, driving
Mascha to take matters into her own hands. That her efforts are misguided only makes this tale all
the more powerful.
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