Book Lists

New releases for June

It’s June and the summer book releases are underway! Below is a list of middle grade titles releasing this month.  Check back here every month to find out about the latest MG titles.

♦ AMELIA BEDELIA BAKES OFF (Greenwillow) – Herman Parish. Nephew of Peggy Parish, who wrote the original Amelia books, continues his aunt’s tradition.

♦ A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN (Random House) – Renee Watson.  Free verse picture book about Hurricane Katrina told from the point of view of four friends.

♦ AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS (HarperCollins) – Sarah Weeks. Author of the popular SO B. IT.

♦ CRISPIN, THE END OF TIME (Balzer and Bray) – Avi. Conclusion to Crispin’s adventure series.

♦ EMILY’s FORTUNE (Delacorte) – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Newbery-award winning author’s tall tale about an orphan named Emily.

♦ IMAGINALIS (Katherine Tegen) – J.M. Dematteis. Characters from a girl’s favorite book series come to life but threatened by an accompanying villain unless she can rescue them. Watch a video of Dematteis discussing his book.

♦ INVASION FROM PLANET DORK (MELVIN BEEDERMAN) (Holt) – Greg Trine. The last book from the humorous, superhero series.

♦ HONEY BEES: LETTERS FROM THE HIVE (Delacorte) – Stephen Buchmann. Beekeeper and assistant professor of entomology shares the fascinating history of bees and our relationship with them.

♦ LOVE AND POLLYWOGS FROM CAMP CALAMITY (Wendy Lamb) – Mary Hershey. Third book about fourth grader, Effie Mahoney adventures at camp.

♦ MACKENZIE BLUE – FRIENDS FOREVER? (HarperCollins) – Tina Wells. Part of a humorous series for girls.

♦ MAGIC BELOW STAIRS (Dial) – Caroline Stevermer. Young boy from orphanage becomes footboy to a wizard with a family curse.

♦ ONE SMART COOKIE: BITE-SIZE LESSONS FOR THE SCHOOL YEARS AND BEYOND (HarperCollins) – Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Rosenthal’s morsels of wisdom mixed with the delicious illustrations of mother-daughter duo Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer.

♦ ROCKY ROAD (Knopf) – Rose Kent. A girl’s eccentric mom opens a family ice cream shop after they move from Texas to a small town in New York. Watch the book trailer.

♦ RULES TO ROCK BY (Walker) – Josh Farrar. Indie-rock coming-of-age tale about 12-year-old bassist who yearns to form a rock band in her new town of Providence, RI.

♦ SAMIRAH’S RIDE : THE STORY OF AN ARABIAN FILLY (Feiwel & Friends) – Annie Wedekind. Eight year old Arabian mare and the girl who raised her run away to escape from the rumor of the impending sale of the family ranch.

♦ SIR CHARLIE: CHAPLIN, THE FUNNIEST MAN IN THE WORLD (Greenwillow) – Sid Fleischman. Entertaining, illustrated rags-to-riches story about the comedian, Charlie Chaplin, by the late Fleischman.

♦ STRAVAGANZA – CITY OF SHIPS (Bloomsbury) – Mary Hoffman. The latest installment in the Stravaganza series transports readers to a world where magic and piracy come to life in the Italian town of Classe.

♦ SUNSHINE PICKLELIME (Random House) – Pamela Ferguson. The up and down life of PJ Picklelime.

♦ THE ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURES OF INDIA MCALLISTER (Holt) – Charlotte Agell. Fourth-grader, India McAllister, adopted as a baby from China, searches for identity in a small Maine town.

♦ THE ELEPHANT’S TALE (Dial) – Lauren St. John. Conclusion to THE WHITE GIRAFFE series.

♦ THE GECKO AND STICKY (Knopf) – Wendelin Van Draanen.  The Gecko and Sticky in their fourth dangerous encounter with treasure hunter Damien Black.

♦ THE OTHER HALF OF MY HEART (Delacorte) – Sundee T. Frazier. From Coretta Scott King award recipient, biracial twins enter an African-American pageant.

♦ THE REINVENTION OF MOXY ROOSEVELT (Dial) – Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. Boarding school story starring an ordinary girl with an unordinary name who tries to reinvent herself.

♦ The SHADOWS (Dial) – Jacqueline West. Described as Roald Dahl meets Neil Gaiman. First in a series.  Watch the trailer.

♦ ZOMBIEKINS (Razorbill) – Kevin Bolger. Shy, bullied fourth-grader empowered by zombie teddy bear. Author of Sir Fartsalot.

Please note that this list has been created as a resource for those searching for new titles and doesn’t represent our endorsement of any one book.

Authors, do you have a middle-grade book coming out in the near future? Send us an email at with your name, title, and publisher, and we will include your title in our list of upcoming releases. All books must be published by a traditional publisher as listed in the latest Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market. Fiction and non-fiction welcome.

Please allow us a one-month lead time. We also ask that you do not send ARCS or books for reviews since we do not post reviews on our site. However we will gladly accept an ARC or book donated for one of our book giveaways.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Reader

It can be tricky to define a  middle-grade reader. There are a lot of variables but basically kids are on a similar developmental trek from child to adult. Understanding the typical path can help writers twist up a common theme or create an off-road adventure. Today’s post focuses on the middle of middle-grade, ten-year old readers. 

There is nothing average about middle-grade readers, but in spite of the huge changes in technology and culture over the past decades, ten-year olds are still tackling many of the same hurdles as writers who grew up in the 80s, the 70s or even back in 1930s when Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote Little House on the Prairie. A writer can tap into his or her inner ten-year old by remembering the changes and challenges of moving into double digits. 

The beauty of age ten is its spirit, energy and curiosity. Fourth graders are rapidly developing the ability to think abstractly, make inferences and to be active learners. That enthusiasm is what we are striving to tap into and share at The Mixed-up Files. Imagine the job description for an average ten-year old as written by another ten-year old.

We’re always looking for another kid to join our group. The only requirement is that you had the big birthday. Double digits.

The main thing we are working on is getting better at everything we’ve already learned like reading, riding bikes and cursive writing. That also means not acting like a baby having a temper tantrum over everything. That’s so second grade. A lot of us think it’s fun to try new things like sports, playing an instrument or joining a club.

It’s okay to dress like everyone else and have a favorite sports star or singer’s poster hanging all over your room. You should have your own opinion about some things and know why you think it. Be ready to argue about it.

Parents are all right but friends are awesome. It’s good to have a best friend but don’t think you’re going to have the same best friend everyday. Things happen. It’s okay to have a friend that’s a girl if you are a boy (and the other way around) but most of the time the girls are with girls and the boys are with boys. Get used to it.

If you know some gross jokes—especially about the toilet, you are hired. We love that. 

No cheaters. We don’t like it if things aren’t fair so don’t try it. We’ll notice.


Making the Connection

Here is a small sample of five of my favorite classic books for ten-year olds. I chose books from different decades representing over fifty years. These books demonstrate challenges and character traits that have lasted through time and changing culture. But each book also includes a twist that makes the common extraordinary.

Stuart Little by E.B. White (1945)

Stuart finds a unique place in his family and uses his small size and big personality to overcome obstacles in his path. Independence, acceptance and a sense of accomplishment are themes that a ten-year old can relate to.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl  (1964)

Charlie is a good boy facing choices of right or wrong. The “bad kids” suffer appropriate and funny consequences that appeal to a legalistic ten-year olds’ sense of justice.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (1972)

Many ten-year olds can relate to constantly dealing with an annoying little sibling and the need to act like the bigger brother or sister even when they don’t feel like it. Peter’s humorous voice brings the reader directly into the story making it easy to keep the pages turning.

Sideways Stories from Wayside Schools by Louis Sachar (1988)

Wacky humor and word play especially appeal to a ten-year old funny bone. And since school is such a huge chunk of life for this age group, this book remains a favorite.

Frindle by Andrew Clements (1996) 

Nick challenges the status quo as he tries out his own version of right and wrong, fair and unfair and drives his teacher a little bit crazy in the process. What ten year old can resist?

Wrapping It Up

My list is biased toward boy-friendly books since that’s my interest. Please take time to share your favorite book for ten-year olds whether it is an old favorite or new release. And to keep it even more interesting, include a thought about how the author tapped into the unique characteristics of a ten-year-old to create a compelling character or story. Check out the links below for more specifics about the developmental themes of this age group. And if you want to a chance to expand your own library of great middle-grade books, don’t forget to enter our book giveaway…first-giveaway/ 

To Learn More About Being Ten

Child Development: The Ten Year Old 

Child Development Guide: 9-10 years

Child Development: 10-12 years

Joanne Prushing Johnson writes boy-friendly chapter and middle-grade books with humor and heart. You can find her online at where she discusses writing in the midst of real life and other miscellaneous thoughts.  She’s always looking for good ideas for how to fit thirty hours of activity into a twenty-four hour day.