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August 29, 2014

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A Girl and Her Dog, Beyond ‘Peter Pan,’ and Other New Middle-Grade Reads | Fiction Grades 5-8

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There’s something here for middle-grade fans of all stripes this month. Those looking for adventure on the high seas will find it in Heidi Schulz’s Hook’s Revenge, while readers seeking a quieter tale will enjoy Ann M. Martin’s moving Rain Reign, a poignant story of an autistic girl who bonds with a lost dog.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Scary, Creepy, and Dangerous: Novels to Read in One Gulp │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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With a little danger, some suspense, and a dose of the supernatural, these middle grade titles selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will have kids reading long past their curfew.

Squirrel Tales, Sibling Woes, and Conflict in Darfur | Grades 5-8 Fiction

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Fiction for the middle-grade set includes both the light and lively, with Lynne Rae Perkins’s “true” tale of squirrels, and the stark and serious, with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Red Pencil.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Best of the Underrated Middle School Books

The Best of the Underrated Middle School Books

A list of recommended, but too little loved books “for the middle schoolers of the world,” by Betsy Bird.

It Merely Looks Like a Toaster: Fantasy Novels for Middle Schoolers │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

City of Death

Menacing appliances are just one part of the story in Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman’s adventure. Check out the next installments in Pete Hautman’s “Seven Wonders” and Catherine Fisher’s “Obsidian Mirror” series. Rebecca Hahn joins this elite group of fantasy authors with her debut novel for fans of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina.

Review: Dinosaurs, vol. 2

Review: Dinosaurs, vol. 2

True story: We were planning a trip the zoo and my three-year-old daughter and I were having a conversation about what animals we might see there. We mentioned sea lions, tigers, birds, and turtles. But then my daughter asked, “Will we see dinosaurs?” “No,” I answered,  “Dinosaurs aren’t found in zoos.  Maybe we can see [...]

Superheroes and Villians Star in New Middle Grade Fiction

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Five new middle grade books feature caped crusaders and their rivals.

The Latest from Sheila Turnage and Tim Federle │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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Middle grade titles by Sheila Turnage, Tim Federle, and newcomers Natalie Lloyd and Henry Clark combine humor and poignancy, creating the perfect recipe for great reads. Incorporate the following booktalks and tools when sharing these powerful books with kids.

The Beat Goes On: Brilliant Middle Grade Sequels │ JLG’s On the Radar

When Did You See Her

Junior Library Guild editors share fun sequels for independent readers. These follow-ups include new entries in favorite series by Lemony Snicket and Jack Gantos, and will have kids anxiously waiting for their next titles.

Review: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Review: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 2013. Library copy. NBA Shortlist. The Plot: Raccoons Bingo and J’miah are the two newest True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp, charged to watch over the swamp and in case of [...]

Ghosts and Other Things that Go Bump in the Night │ JLG’s On the Radar

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When kids have long outgrown the nightmare in their closet, they still clamor for a story that scares them into sleeping with the lights on. From zombies to murdering ghosts, the following new fiction titles, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will keep middle school readers looking over their shoulders.

Orphans Abound: Conquering Larger-than-Life Hurdles | JLG’s On the Radar

Real Boy

From Victorian England to modern day America, orphaned children often face struggles that kids with parents rarely confront. However, most middle-grade students will relate to the issues explored in these new fiction titles―from poverty to self-confidence―selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild. In fact, these works may give young readers hope about their own issues, while giving them stories that help them step back from their own realities.

Tough Choices for Tough Boys: New Titles Explore “Manhood” | JLG’s On the Radar

Piranhas

From paperboy routes to dealing with a dad fighting in Afghanistan, these new releases selected by Junior Library Guild editors feature boys who make difficult, life-altering decisions.

Pitch-Perfect Middle Grade Novels | JLG’s On the Radar

Zero Tolerance

From Rita Willams-Garcia’s P.S. Be Eleven to Cynthia Kadohata’s The Thing About Luck, these middle grade novels selected by Junior Library Guild editors showcase plucky protagonists who learn to forge their own paths despite the circumstances that come their way.

Masters of Middle School Drama and Trauma | SLJ Day of Dialog 2013

SLJ DOD 2013 Middle Grade Panel

From tragic turning points to budding first love, some of the most talented and up-and-coming authors for the middle grade audience shared their insights on the writing process, connection to their intended audience, and how humor plays a part in all of their works at SLJ’s annual Day of Dialog, held at Columbia University’s Faculty House on May 29.

JLG’s On the Radar: Fantasy for Middle School Readers

House of Secrets

In the last 12 years, the fantasy genre has dominated the middle grade market. Thanks to “Harry Potter”, children worry less about the number of pages, and authors have been happy to comply with longer imaginative offerings. These lengthy tomes are fast-paced reads, full of magical creatures, daring adventures, and loyal characters that fight for the good of all. In the following titles selected by JLG editors, themes of family and friendship are woven into sets of enchanted lands, and fans can escape to a place where their own problems seem far away.

Review: Doll Bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black. McElderry Books. 2013. Reviewed from ARC from publisher. The Plot: Zach, Poppy, and Alice  get together nearly everyday to play an elaborate game with dolls, action figures, and stories that grow and twist and turn, all related to the “Great Queen” doll that Poppy’s mother keeps locked in a cabinet. [...]

JLG’s On the Radar: Intermediate Fiction for Independent Readers

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Junior Library Guild editors offer a variety of stories for independent readers: a classic orphan story, a fantasy about nightmares, a Hollywood drama, a laugh-out-loud detective tale, and a mystery surrounding a missing camera. Also perfect for reading aloud, the following fiction titles will keep readers engaged with the characters, old and new.

JLG’s On the Radar: New Middle Grade Fiction Picks

The Water Castle

Junior Library Guild Editors select some of the best new fiction for middle grade students. From birthday wishes to Broadway show auditions, these picks have a little bit of everything for kids in Grades 5-8.

JLG’s On the Radar: Middle School Novels with Strong Male Characters

Freakling book cover

Though facts and figures often grab the interests of middle school boys, adventure, fantasy, and reality stories also weigh into their decision-making when it comes to choosing books. The following titles selected by Junior Library Guild editors will not only entertain middle grade readers, but help them see that they are not alone in trying to survive middle school.