April 24, 2014

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Superheroes and Villians Star in New Middle Grade Fiction


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

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

What we found in t

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

Zombie BAseball

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


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

Big Nate Flips out

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.

Pick of the Day: The Fire Chronicle: The Books of Beginning, Bk. 2 (Audiobook)

Audiobook cover of The Fire chronicle

The Fire Chronicle: The Books of Beginning, Book 2. By John Stephens. 10 CDs. 12:22 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-87982-0. $37.
Gr 4-7–In The Emerald Atlas (2011), the first book in John Stephens’s series, we met Kate, Michael, and Emma who were searching for their missing parents and got caught up in a magical adventure that nearly turned deadly, tested their family bonds, and gained them the first Book. In this second [...]

Pick of the Day: The Savage Fortress

lots of orange and yellow, girl and boy in foreground

CHADDA, Sarwat. The Savage Fortress. 292p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38516-9; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46996-8. LC 2011046291
Gr 8 Up–On vacation in India with his aunt, uncle, and younger sister, pudgy Ash Mistry can’t wait to get back home to his video games and London friends. But when his uncle is offered a million pounds to assist mysterious Lord Savage with translations from an archaeological find, Ash becomes embroiled in an overwhelming and deadly real-life battle. He realizes [...]

Pick of the Day: Jinx

letters in gold, figure to left beneath, lots of green

BLACKWOOD, Sage. Jinx. 360p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jan. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212990-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212992-5.
Gr 4-8–“In the Urwald you grow up fast or not at all,” readers learn in the opening of this rich and fecund fantasy. Jinx is that staple of children’s literature: the scorned, ill-used orphan who proves to be so much more gifted and important than he ever imagined possible. He occupies a world that is simultaneously original and familiar, influenced by centuries of folklore, but newly [...]

Pick of the Day: The Encyclopedia of Me

girl standing on books

RIVERS, Karen. The Encyclopedia of Me. 248p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31028-4; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46951-7. LC 2011046292.
Gr 5-8
–Diminutive, biracial, freckled Isadora “Tink” Aaron-Martin is grounded for most of the summer after an incident with her best friend. She decides to write an encyclopedia, and in spite of the artificiality of the alphabetical format, Rivers has created a warm, funny, fast-paced story about an endearing middle schooler who keeps her cool and sense of humor when events [...]

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Mysteries for Elementary Sleuths

Boys surfing on blue cover

Start with a missing object, ask a few questions, throw in some red herrings and what do you have? An unputdownable mystery! This fall’s releases offer openers and new entries in fun whodunit series, and standalones that will keep your patrons sleuthing for clues.