Leaves are changing. The temperature is dropping. Fall is definitely here, and just in time for a great month of new middle grade books.
Check out our list of October New Releases – including some that will arrive just in time for Halloween reading.
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen by Kashmira Sheth (Author) Jenn Kocsmiersky (Illustrator)
Halloween hijinks reign supreme in this fourth installment of Kashmira Sheth’s series starring Nina Soni, a charming, distractible Indian-American girl, and her family and friends.
Halloween brings out Nina Soni’s competitive spirit. Her friend Jay has a great costume planned, so–of course–Nina has to come up with an even better idea. A bunch of old boxes in the basement inspires her to create an impressively scary haunted house, for which she can charge admission. So what could possibly go wrong for the Halloween Queen?
In Nina Soni, #OwnVoices author Kashmira Sheth has created an endearing heroine and charming stories of family, friendship, and her efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and more. A fun read for STEAM enthusiasts!
Middle School Bites: Out for Blood by Steven Banks (Author) Mark Fearing (Illustrator)
Tom the Vam-Wolf-Zom is back–and so is the werewolf that bit him–in this monstrously funny series about a boy who’s dying to fit in.
Eleven-year-old Tom was bit by a vampire, a werewolf, and a zombie right before the first day of middle school. It was a weird and crazy day. And he didn’t even get excused from sixth grade!
Now he’s being hunted down by the werewolf that bit him. Should Tom join a wolf pack? On the one hand, he could give up school and homework forever. (He really doesn’t want to do his history report.) On the other hand, he’d miss his band, his friends, and Annie, his maybe-possibly-someday girlfriend. He might even miss his big sister, Emma.
Then the vampire that bit him returns with a warning: the werewolf is dangerous. Perhaps Tom should stick with sixth grade–even if it’s mostly talent show disappointments, detention, and chicken-turkey-salami-roast beef sandwiches.
Created by an Emmy-nominated writer for SpongeBob, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, and CatDog, this hilarious series is illustrated with clever, cartoon-style art on every spread. Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Last Kids on Earth.
Only If You Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom by Josh Allen (Author) Sarah J. Coleman (Illustrator)
Thirteen chilling short stories to keep you up at night–but only if you dare.
You never know what’s out to get you. Though you might think you’re safe from monsters and menaces, everyday objects can turn against you, too. A mysterious microwave. A threatening board game. A snowman that refuses to melt. Even your own heartbeat has its secrets. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. When you stop to listen, each beat sounds more menacing than the last.
Master storyteller Josh Allen brings thirteen nightmare scenarios to life in this page-turning collection that’s perfect for budding horror junkies. In his wondrous world, danger waits behind every doorway . . . even in the most ordinary places.
Eerie illustrations by award-winning artist Sarah Coleman accompany the stories, packaged in a stunning hardcover edition complete with glow-in-the-dark jacket. Readers will sleep with one eye open!
Salt Magic by Hope Larson (Author) Rebecca Mock (Illustrator)
When a jealous witch curses her family’s well, it’s up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever.
When Vonceil’s older brother, Elber, comes home to their family’s Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren’t what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn’t have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind.
Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town’s water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil’s old uncle Dell know about her?
To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself–the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she’ll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up.
Hope Larson is the author and illustrator of the Eisner Award nominated All Summer Long and the illustrator of the Eisner Award winning A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Salt Magic is an utterly unique graphic fairy tale complete with striking illustrations by Rebecca Mock.
Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson
SECRETS ARE ALWAYS A GAMBLE
Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which means he’s finally old enough to play in the spades tournament every Joplin Man before him seems to have won. So while Ant’s friends are stressing about fifth grade homework and girls, Ant only has one thing on his mind: how he’ll measure up to his father’s expectations at the card table.
Then Ant’s best friend gets grounded, and he’s forced to find another spades partner. And Shirley, the new girl in his class, isn’t exactly who he has in mind. She talks a whole lot of trash — way more than his old partner. Plus, he’s not sure that his father wants him playing with a girl. But she’s smart and tough and pretty, and knows every card trick in the book. So Ant decides to join forces with Shirley — and keep his plans a secret.
Only it turns out secrets are another Joplin Man tradition. And his father is hiding one so big it may tear their family apart…
Literary powerhouse and Coretta Scott King Honor- and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor-winning author of The Parker Inheritance Varian Johnson explores themes of toxic masculinity and family legacy in this heartfelt, hopeful story of one boy discovering what it really means to be a man.
Susie B. Won’t Back Down by Margaret Finnegan
Roll with It meets Absolutely Normal Chaos in this funny, big-hearted novel about a young girl’s campaign for student council president, told through letters to her hero Susan B. Anthony.
Susie B. has a lot to say. Like how it’s not fair that she has to be called Susie B. instead of plain Susie. Or about how polar bears are endangered. Or how the Usual Geniuses are always getting picked for cool stuff over the kids like her with butterflies in their brain. And it’s because Susie B. has a lot to say about these very important things that she’s running for student council president!
If she’s president, she can advocate for the underdogs just like her hero and fellow Susie B., Susan B. Anthony. (And, okay, maybe the chance to give big speeches to the whole school with a microphone is another perk.) But when the most usual of Usual Geniuses also enters the student council race, Susie realizes this may be a harder won fight than she thought. Even worse, Susie discovers that Susan B. Anthony wasn’t as great as history makes it seem, and she did some pretty terrible things to try to help her own cause. Soon, Susie has her own tough decisions to make. But one thing is for sure–no matter what, Susie B. won’t back down.
Sorry for Your Loss by Joanne Levy
Evie Walman is not obsessed with death. She does think about it a lot, though, but only because her family runs a Jewish funeral home. At twelve, Evie already knows she’s going to be a funeral director when she grows up. So what if the kids at school call her “corpse girl” and say she smells like death? They’re just mean and don’t get how important it is to have someone take care of things when your world is falling apart. Evie loves dusting caskets, polishing pews, and vacuuming the chapel–and on funeral days, she dresses up and hands out tissues and offers her condolences to mourners. She doesn’t normally help her parents with the grieving families directly, until one day when they ask her to help with Oren, a boy who was in a horrific car accident that killed both his parents. Oren refuses to speak and Evie, who is nursing her own private grief, is determined to find a way to help him deal with his loss.
The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu
From the acclaimed author of The Real Boy and The Lost Girl comes a wondrous and provocative fantasy about a kingdom beset by monsters, a mysterious school, and a girl caught in between them.
If no one notices Marya Lupu, is likely because of her brother, Luka. And that’s because of what everyone knows: that Luka is destined to become a sorcerer.
The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city of Illyria, but that doesn’t matter. Every young boy born in in the kingdom holds the potential for the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread.
For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrible mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupus receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy–a mysterious school for wayward young girls. Girls like Marya.
Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she’s never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country’s powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself–things that threaten the precarious balance upon which Illyria is built.
Yummy: A History of Desserts (a Graphic Novel) by Victoria Grace Elliott
Cake is delicious and comics are awesome: this exciting non-fiction graphic novel for kids combines both! Explore the history of desserts through a fun adventure with facts, legends, and recipes for readers to try at home.
Have you ever wondered who first thought to freeze cream? Or when people began making sweet pastry shells to encase fruity fillings? Food sprite Peri is excited to show you the delicious history of sweets while taking you around the world and back!
The team-up that made ice cream cones!
The mistake that made brownies!
Learn about and taste the true stories behind everyone’s favorite treats, paired with fun and easy recipes to try at home. After all, sweets–and their stories–are always better when they’re shared!
Bugs for Breakfast: How Eating Insects Could Help Save the Planet by Mary Boone
Most North Americans would rather squish a bug than eat it.
But mopane worms are a tasty snack in Zimbabwe, baby bees are eaten right out of the can in Japan, and grasshopper tacos are popular in Mexico. More than one-fourth of the world’s population eats insects–a practice called entomophagy. Bugs for Breakfast helps middle-grade readers understand the role insects fill in feeding people around the world.
Readers will be introduced to the insect specialties and traditions around the globe. They’ll discover how nutritious bugs can be and why dining on insects is more environmentally friendly than eating traditional protein sources. Kids will see how making small changes in their own diets could help ensure no one goes hungry. It even includes 13 insect recipes!
No doubt about it: teachers, librarians, and parents are hungry for books that entice young readers to be active participants in science.
Bugs for Breakfast may not completely remove the yuck-factor from the notion of eating bugs, but it will open young readers’ minds to what is happening in the world around them.
The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson
What does all the magic in the world matter if it can’t save the ones you love? For self-proclaimed bookstore lovers and fans of Pages & Co. comes an exploration of the way war can shape a family, in the tradition of Pax and Wolf Hollow.
It’s 1944 Sutton, NY, and Poppy’s family owns and runs, Rhyme and Reason, a magical bookshop that caters to people from all different places and time periods. Though her world is ravaged by World War II, customers hail from the past and the future, infusing the shop with a delightful mix of ideas and experiences.
Poppy dreams of someday becoming shopkeeper like her father, though her older brother, Al, is technically next in line for the job. She knows all of the rules handed down from one generation of Bookseller to the next, especially their most important one: shopkeepers must never use the magic for themselves.
But then Al’s best friend is killed in the war and her brother wants to use the magic of the shop to save him. With her father in the hospital suffering from a mysterious illness, the only one standing between Al and the bookstore is Poppy. Caught between her love for her brother and loyalty to her family, she knows her brother’s actions could have devastating consequences that reach far beyond the bookshop as an insidious, growing Darkness looms. This decision is bigger than Poppy ever dreamed, and the fate of the bookshops hangs in the balance.
Pighearted by Alex Perry
Charlotte’s Web meets My Sister’s Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.
Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.
J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he’s never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah’s family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.
At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there’s more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs–even if their lives depend on it.
There are lots of great titles to choose from this month. Any catch your eye? Please, let us know in the comments below, and happy reading!
The Egyptian Mirror, by Michael Bedard, is also excellent.
Lots of interesting sounding books!
Lots going on this month. Sorry for Your Loss sounds like a really interesting story. Thanks for the post.