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.
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.
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. [...]
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.
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]