Brein's Middle Grade Picks

I love to share these books every day and I hope you find some that engage you as well. I read with responsibility. I want to make sure you have the best choices when choosing books for your loved ones. These are books of impact and imagination that I think are for all ages to read and enjoy. Adults should read good middle grade fiction too (You will be surprised how much these stories can impact your outlook on yourself and your family). Enjoy! - Brein

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Sisters of the Neversea By Cynthia L. Smith Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062869975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Heartdrum - June 1st, 2021

An epic contemporary take in the world of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell by award-winning author Cynthia Leitch Smith.  This book was vital and special. The modern-day Roberts-Darling clan have a decidedly different perspective on Peter and Tink's shenanigans. You will be captivated by this new exploration of the peoples of Neverland through an indigenous and female centered lens. I loved it. - Brein


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Nowhere Boy By Katherine Marsh Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781250211453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Square Fish - August 25th, 2020

I loved this incredible story of friendship. Max is a 13 year old emigre living with his American family in Brussels where his father represents the United States. Lonely and having trouble at school, his life is upturned when he befriends a young Syrian refugee Ahmed and together work to change the paths of their lives. A story of everyday heroes and two remarkable young men. Excellent.


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Temple Alley Summer By Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa (Translator), Miho Satake (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa (Translator), Miho Satake (Illustrator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781632063038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Yonder - July 6th, 2021

Get this ghost story if you love classic anime and light hearted mysteries with eerie spectral encounters. Sachiko Kashiwaba, one of Japan's most revered authors, is available for the first time In English translation for kids. This was such a fun read and I can't suggest it highly enough. - Brein


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Abby, Tried and True By Donna Gephart Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534440890
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 9th, 2021

My friend Donna Gephart has crafted a beautiful story about a girl and her close knit family dealing with a scary situation when her older teen brother becomes sick with cancer. Wonderful young Abby is a self-described turtle making her way carefully through life and now she must transform herself to help her family survive tough times. Filled with love and family, this book is a great take for anyone dealing with illness in a family. - Brein


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Amber and Clay By Laura Amy Schlitz, Julia Iredale (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Laura Amy Schlitz, Julia Iredale (Illustrator)
$22.99
ISBN: 9781536201222
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Candlewick - March 9th, 2021

Rick Riordan lovers hear me now. This epic story of Ancient Greece with two inspirational young characters will have you on the edge of your seat. Narrated by a few Greek Gods,  illustrated by ancient Greek artifacts come to life, and populated by historic cameos this is a tale for the ages. - Brein


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Ham Helsing #1: Vampire Hunter By Rich Moyer Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780593308912
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - June 1st, 2021

You wil laugh out loud. You will maybe laugh yourself out of your seat. You will be entranced by the epic adventures of Ham the vampire-hunting pig, Ronin a kick butt Ninja pig, Lobos a boy at camp turned werewolf, two language loving rats, and a host of others as they battle a socially anxious vampire, a Spider Queen, and one diabolical upset chicken. Kids will love  this graphic novel. Adults will laugh too as it pays homage to the classic movie monsters. - Brein


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The Silver Arrow By Lev Grossman Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316539531
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

A wonderful family read aloud that feels instantly classic. Two siblings journey on a magic train gifted by their world-wandering Uncle and along the way rescue a menagerie of endangered animals. This was a really special story. - Brein


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The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel) By Trung Le Nguyen Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781984851598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Random House Graphic - October 13th, 2020

This Eisner award-winning graphic novel is so beautiful. A boy and his immigrant mother find their way through their unexpected lives using reinterpreted folk and fairy tales as guides and comforts. This is such a unique story with wonderful art for kids 10 and up. - Brein


King and the Dragonflies By Kacen Callender Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338129335
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Scholastic Press - February 4th, 2020

A 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book!

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

Winner of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry!

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.


Echo Mountain By Lauren Wolk Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525555568
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

★ “Historical fiction at its finest.” –The Horn Book

“T
here has never been a better time to read about healing, of both the body and the heart. –The New York Times Book Review

Echo Mountain is an acclaimed best book of 2020! 


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New Kid By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature! 


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Efrén Divided By Ernesto Cisneros Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062881687
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Quill Tree Books - March 31st, 2020

In his author debut, middle grade teacher Ernesto Cisneros has written a book for everyone that is rooted in the real life experiences of children today. When 12 year old Efrén comes home from school to discover that his mother has been abducted and deported in an ICE raid his life is turned upside down. Now forced to be the caregiver for his younger siblings while his Dad works multiple jobs to keep them afloat, Efren's childhood is effectively over. This book confronts the reader with the difficult and heartbreaking choices a family must make in a time of crisis. A terrific debut and one of the best books of the year. 


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Black Brother, Black Brother By Jewell Parker Rhodes Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316493802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 3rd, 2020

Jewell Parker Rhodes never disappoints and this is a great addition to her growing canon of illuminating books for middle graders. It struck close to home for me in exploring how the world sees you and you see yourself as a biracial/multiracial kid. The themes of self identity, colorism, and overt and passive racial aggressions are revelatory. Weaving these themes through a story centered on athletic competition and the rarely written about art of fencing makes this a winner for kids who enjoy sports. Very entertaining and I loved the main character.


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Rick By Alex Gino Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338048100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Scholastic Press - April 21st, 2020

A story that honors kids who discover they may not have romantic feelings about other kids like their friends do. It honors identity and self -discovery in an engaging and truthful story by the award-winning author of George. I loved it and highly suggest it as a middle grade read for everyone. - Brein


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The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story: A Graphic Novel By Jim Di Bartolo, Jim Di Bartolo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jim Di Bartolo, Jim Di Bartolo (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338134117
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Graphix - February 4th, 2020

You will learn so much about the late, great Bruce Lee in this epic graphic novel of his youth and his philosophies of non-violence in martial arts. This was very informative and engaging. - Brein


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Queen of the Sea By Dylan Meconis, Dylan Meconis (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Dylan Meconis, Dylan Meconis (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781536215175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Walker Books US - April 27th, 2020

Queen of the Sea stands out as one of the most accomplished, even beautiful, comics of the year.” —School Library Journal


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The Bridge Home By Padma Venkatraman Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781524738136
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - April 14th, 2020

"Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers."--Aisha Saeed, author of the New York Times Bestseller Amal Unbound


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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise By Dan Gemeinhart Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781250233615
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Square Fish - July 21st, 2020

"Sometimes a story comes along that just plain makes you want to hug the world. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is Dan Gemeinhart’s finest book yet — and that’s saying something. Your heart needs this joyful miracle of a book." — Katherine Applegate, acclaimed author of The One and Only Ivan and Wishtree


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The Line Tender By Kate Allen Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780735231610
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Puffin Books - April 21st, 2020

Funny, poignant, and deeply moving, The Line Tender is a story of nature's enduring mystery and a girl determined to find meaning and connection within it.


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The First Rule of Punk By Celia C. Pérez Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780425290422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Puffin Books - July 17th, 2018

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book

The First Rule of Punk
 is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching.
 


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The List of Things That Will Not Change By Rebecca Stead Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101938096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - April 7th, 2020

EIGHT STARRED REVIEWS! The reassuring book kids and families need right now.

"An absolute original . . . a story that kids will love." --R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder


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American as Paneer Pie By Supriya Kelkar Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534439382
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 9th, 2020

An Indian American girl navigates prejudice in her small town and learns the power of her own voice in this brilliant gem of a middle grade novel full of humor and heart, perfect for fans of Front Desk and Amina’s Voice.

As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bolly


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Scary Stories for Young Foxes By Christian McKay Heidicker, Junyi Wu (Illustrator) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250181428
Availability: Not in stock but may be ordered. Subject to Publisher Availability.
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - July 30th, 2019

A 2020 Newbery Honor Recipient!

Christian McKay Heidicker
, author of the Thieves of Weirdwood trilogy, draws inspiration from Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe for his debut middle-grade novel, a thrilling portrait of survival and an unforgettable tale of friendship.

"Clever and harrowing." —The Wall Street Journal


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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora By Pablo Cartaya Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781101997253
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Puffin Books - April 3rd, 2018

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL? 


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Song for a Whale By Lynne Kelly Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781524770266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Yearling - December 31st, 2019

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl's connection to a whale whose song can't be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.


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Wolf Hollow By Lauren Wolk Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781101994849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Puffin Books - April 3rd, 2018

Wolf Hollow tells the story of Annabelle and her Pennsylvania family living comfortably in a small town between the shadows of two world wars. Annabelle meets the new girl Betty Glengarry and the lives of the people of Wolf Hollow will be forever changed due to their actions. Annabelle must learn to make the right decisions in the face of unremorseful evil. An exciting piece of historical fiction. Ages 10 and up.


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Towers Falling By Jewell Parker Rhodes Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780316262217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 17th, 2018

Towers Falling tells the story of young deja whose family lives in a Brooklyn shelter. Starting a new school that looks across the river at the newly built Freedom Tower she befriends two other “outcasts”. Young Ben and his Mom are starting a new life in NYC away from his estranged dad in Arizona, and Sabeen has immigrated to America from Turkey for political reasons. Together they uncover the secrets that adults keep because they are too painful to remember. Ages 9 and up.


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As Brave As You By Jason Reynolds Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781481415910
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - May 9th, 2017

A terrific book about no family being perfect or trouble free. Organized list-making Genie and his cool cat older brother Ernie leave Brooklyn for the first time to spend a parent-less summer in rural Virginia with their estranged grandparents. A summer of wonder and discovery, of loss and painful memory, of laughter and adventure is brought beautifully to life in this great book. Ages 8 and up.


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Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Revue By Maris Wicks Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781596439290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: First Second - October 6th, 2015

This terrifically entertaining and informative book is a great new addition to the classic explorations of the human body for children. Told in graphic novel format with a theater theme, this book will be an essential addition to raising an informed and conscientious child. Ages 7 and up.