Five middle grade favorites

This didn’t make my list of Newbery contenders, but here are five middle grade novels I enjoyed this year:

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons

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Everyone loves a good scary story, and this one has plenty of creepy details, plus three interesting main characters who have to fight off the evil forces.  Prepare to never look at scarecrows the same way again.

 

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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I thought this might be a Newbery contender, but I haven’t seen it on anybody else’s list.  Although this seems like a “coming out” story (and it is…Ivy is attracted to a girl in her class), it’s also a story for everyone who has struggled to be themselves.

 

Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

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This World War II novel in verse will appeal to fans of I Survived as well as history buffs.  Based on a true story, with obvious attention to detail and research.

 

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

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Amal’s story is powerful, and a good one to share with American kids who may not be aware of the dangers she and other kids like her face in Pakistan.

 

The Nebula Secret (Explorer Academy) by Trudi Trueit

Published by National Geographic

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This series has gotten off to a promising start with this action-packed adventure that introduces some interesting characters, a mysterious murder to investigate, and an evil librarian.

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