May 2, 2016

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Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | May 2016


A selection of recently reviewed middle grade titles.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Book Review: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin

Publisher’s description Football hero. Ninja freestyler. It’s seventh grade. Anything is possible. All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are […]

Review: The Creeps: Night of the Frankfrogs

Chris Schweizer, known for his Crogan Adventures, has switched gears and started a middle grade horror series. The Creeps will appeal to kids looking for a mix of adventure and fright. But no worries, readers will still be able to sleep with the lights off. The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs By Chris Schweizer. Amulet […]

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: A Peter Nimble Adventure by Jonathan Auxier | SLJ Review

MG_Auxier_Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

Auxier, Jonathan. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: A Peter Nimble Adventure. 464p. ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781419717475. 

Gr 4-7 –In the grand tradition of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart and John Stephens’s The Emerald Atlas comes this companion novel to Auxier’s Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. Twelve-year-old Sophie Quire mends books in her father’s shop and worries about Pyre Day, when Inquisitor Prigg will burn all the storybooks and purge all the […]

I Am Pan by Mordicai Gerstein | SLJ Review


Gerstein, Mordicai. I Am Pan. 80p. Roaring Brook. Mar. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626720350. 

Gr 1-4–Pan is a loud, energetic, and mischievous little god. Born to Hermes, he is the apple of his parents’ eye, as well as a joy to all in Olympus…for a while. The other gods begin to tire of his wild antics and silly ways, so they suggest he head off to Arcadia, where there are pigs, goats, hills, streams, waterfalls, bees, […]

Two Voices, One Stirring Tale: Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee on “Maybe a Fox”

Maybe A Fox

Librarian Kathy Kirchoefer chats with authors Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee about their unusual collaboration on the middle grade novel Maybe a Fox.

The Door By the Staircase | 30-Second Booktalk


A super short booktalk of Katherine Marsh’s delightfully creepy middle grade fantasy, A Door By the Staircase.

Peter Brown’s “Wild” New Step into Middle Grade Fiction | Under the Covers

Peter Brown 10

Librarian Karen Yingling chats with Peter Brown about his very first middle grade novel, The Wild Robot.

Hitting Shelves Now: 40 New Middle Grade Titles Out in March


March comes in like a lion, offering a strong selection of brand new middle grade titles perfect for readers in grades four through six. Looking for slightly more sophisticated reads for middle schoolers in grades six to eight? Check out our list of new YA Middle School titles publishing in this month.

APPELT, Kathi & Alison McGhee. Maybe a Fox. 272p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442482425.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Sylvie, the older of the two Sherman sisters, is […]

Andre Norton Award Nominees for Outstanding Speculative Fiction Announced

000 Updraft

Nine YA and middle grade titles were nominated for the 2015 Andre Norton award for outstanding speculative fiction, including Francis Hardinge’sCuckoo Song and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap.

Feathers by Jorge Corona | SLJ Review

Feathers by Jorge Corona

Corona, Jorge. Feathers. illus. by Jorge Corona. 160p. Archaia. 2015. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781608867530.

Gr 4-6 –Poe is a feathered boy who has grown up in the shadows of the Maze, a crowded set of streets that border a great city. His guardian found him in the streets as an infant and seeks to shelter him from the stares and cruelty of others. Poe spends his days sneaking about the cityscape as he attempts to help […]

Magical Mysteries | SLJ Spotlight

The Deadly 7

Who’s the Roald Dahl of today? Well, filling those storied shoes is a tall order, but there are some excellent and emerging middle grade authors who are taking up the task.

Mermaids, Pirates, and Terrifying Tales | Middle Grade Series Update


A round up of some recent and forthcoming middle grade series and sequels.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

What Do Tweens Want?


Librarians create special spaces and services for preteens.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Seven Dead Pirates: A Ghost Story by Linda Bailey | SLJ Review


Bailey, Linda. Seven Dead Pirates: A Ghost Story. 304p. ebook available. Tundra. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781770498150.

Gr 4-7–There is little joy in lonely Lewis Dearborn’s young life. He’s the only child to older, overprotective parents, shy to the point of becoming selectively mute at school, and friendless. One bright spot is his relationship with his eccentric great-grandfather, who lives in Shornway, a run-down mansion by the sea. When his great-grandfather dies, Lewis and his parents move into the ramshackle […]

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau | SLJ Review


RESAU, Laura. The Lightning Queen. 336p. Scholastic. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545800846; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545800860.

Gr 3-6–If books were written in black and white, The Lightning Queen would be written in color. Esma, a young Romani girl, meets Teo, a young Mixteco living on the Hill of Dust in the mountains of Mexico, when her traveling caravan makes a stop in Teo’s small village. The Romani bring with them the magic of cinema films, and after the loss of […]

Review of the Day: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

The Nest By Kenneth Oppel Illustrated by Jon Klassen Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-4814-3232-0 On shelves October 6th Oh, how I love middle grade horror. It’s a very specific breed of book, you know. Most people on the street might think of the Goosebumps books or similar ilk when they […]

Review: Roller Girl

This summer I challenged myself to read as much as I could. I made sure to keep my house inundated with books, which between the loads of reserves I placed at the public library and the many books I still have from Book Expo America, is not a problem. I also wanted to do a […]

Tears will Be Shed: Heart-Wrenching Novels for Middle Grades │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Penderwicks in Spring

Keep a box of tissues nearby. The following novels selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild are sure to pull heartstrings.

Mariella Mystery, Zombie Hamsters, and Magic | Series Update


These series updates are sure to please fans: Mariella Mystery is on the case, Ehrich Weisz continues the search for his brother, and Havelock McCreely writes another “Zombie Hamster” installment.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.