Summer is in full swing, and we have a list of brand new middle-grade reads to get you through those lazy July afternoons.
Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray (Elements of Genius #1) (Hardcover) By Jess Keating, Lissy Marlin (Illustrator)
Ocean’s 11 meets Spy School in this hilarious illustrated middle-grade series featuring the world’s greatest minds.
“Let the official record show that, I, Nikki Tesla, did not intend to destroy the world.”
There are only so many times a kid can invent an instrument of global destruction without getting grounded. So when Nikki’s death ray accidentally blows up her bedroom (if you can call a pet ferret with an itchy trigger finger an accident), she’s sent to the only place that can handle her. Genius Academy is a school for history’s greatest brains. Leo da Vinci? Charlotte Darwin? Bert Einstein? All extraordinary. Yet even among her fellow prodigies, Nikki feels like an outsider thanks to a terrible secret she can’t let anyone discover. Ever.
But when her death ray is stolen, Nikki must stop worrying about fitting in and learn to play nice with her new classmates. Because it doesn’t take a genius to track a thief around the world, outwit the authorities, and keep a French fry-fanatic ferret happy. It takes all of them.
Wish on All the Stars (Hardcover) By Lisa Schroeder
The magical sequel to See You on a Starry Night makes more seaside wishes come true!
Juliet is now an official member of the Starry Beach Club, and loves working with her new friends, Emma and Carmen, to make people’s wishes come true. Living away from her dad is still hard, and she misses her best friend from her old town, but she has her friends and the bookmobile, and San Diego feels more like home than ever.
But then she learns that the bookmobile is going to have to shut down. The owner of the parking lot wants to start charging rent, and soon the bookmobile won’t be able to stay in business.
The Starry Beach Club comes up with different ways to save their favorite store, but none seem to work. But then Emma gets the idea to have a crafts fair…and she wants Juliet to sell her paintings! Juliet is nervous, and isn’t sure whether she’s ready to put herself on display. Meanwhile, Carmen is feeling anxious about the possibility of her mother being deported. Will Juliet be able to be brave for herself and for Carmen?
In this funny, action-packed middle grade novel from the author of the American Girl Luciana books, Alison gets invited to be on her dad’s reality show, Survivor Guy, and faces important realities about her family, self-reliance, and learning to work together with friends.
12-year-old Ali adores her reality-show celebrity father, Survivor Guy, and hopes to follow in his footsteps. But when he invites her on location, Ali is sure she won’t survive one episode . . . until she learns the truth: The show isn’t just her dad and a camera. It’s a huge crew and set, with stunt doubles! When a wildfire strikes and Ali and two other kids miss the last rescue helicopter, suddenly, the fight for survival is real. Will she find the self-confidence she needs so they can work together and get out of the wilderness alive?
STEM themes and plot strands about body image and divorce are subtly woven into this page-turning tale.
From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes another middle-grade short story collection–this one focused on exploring acts of bravery–featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including R. J. Palacio (Wonder), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Linda Sue Park (A Long Walk to Water), and many more.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes teach martial arts. Others talk to ghosts. A few are inventors or soccer players. They’re also sisters, neighbors, and friends. Because heroes come in many shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: they make the world a better place.
Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, this vibrant anthology features thirteen acclaimed authors whose powerful and diverse voices show how small acts of kindness can save the day. So pay attention, because a hero could be right beside you. Or maybe the hero is you.
AUTHORS INCLUDE: William Alexander, Joseph Bruchac, Lamar Giles, Mike Jung, Hena Khan, Juana Medina, Ellen Oh, R. J. Palacio, Linda Sue Park and Anna Dobbin, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ronald L. Smith, Rita Williams-Garcia, and short-story contest winner Suma Subramaniam.
In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman’s stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world.
Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracologist. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing.
Then he meets Faye—a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. Together, they find an abandoned house by the cemetery and a mysterious old woman who just might be a witch. The old woman asks them for their help. She asks them to believe. And they go on a journey that leads to friendship, to adventure, to healing—and to miracles.
The Miraculous is Jess Redman’s sparkling debut novel about facing grief, trusting the unknown, and finding brightness in the darkest moments.
Light and deep, smart and funny, crushing and hopeful all at the same time, My Fate According to the Butterfly will open your eyes to both the world’s potential for magic, and to its harsh realities.
* “Villanueva’s debut is a beautiful #ownvoices middle-grade novel. Tough topics — the brutal war on drugs in the Philippines, family reconciliation, and recovery — are addressed, but warmth and humor… bring lightness to Sab’s story. This immersive novel bursts with life.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.
If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.
So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.
Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!
I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark.
Makeda June Kirkland is eleven years old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena— the only other adopted black girl she knows— for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one real friend.
Through it all, Makeda can’t help but wonder: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?
Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.
In this lyrical coming-of-age story about family, sisterhood, music, race, and identity, Mariama J. Lockington draws on some of the emotional truths from her own experiences growing up with an adoptive white family. For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?
What’s on your reading list this month? Be sure to comment below to let us know.