June 25, 2016

Subscribe to SLJ

New Kid Blues | SLJ Spotlight

MG-SP-Vickers-Like Magic

Moving to a new town or school is a common, and difficult, life experience for many kids. Several new titles feature characters who experience—and overcome—the new kid blues.

Princeless: Save Yourself! Deluxe Edition by Jeremy Whitley | SLJ Review


Whitley, Jeremy. Princeless: Save Yourself! Deluxe Edition. illus. by M. Goodwin. 168p. (Princeless: Bk. 1). Action Lab. Feb. 2016. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781632291202.

Gr 4-7 –Princess Adrienne is no hero’s fair maiden, and she is not afraid to say so! She’s the seventh daughter whom her father, the king, has stranded in a tower (his goal is to lure a prince worthy to rule the kingdom of Ashland). Prince after prince has tried to rescue Adrienne, […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | June 2016


Jason Reynolds makes his middle grade debut, Wendy Spinale takes on Peter Pan, and Henry Cole tells a “somewhat true” mouse tale.

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

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah | SLJ Review

MG-Shevah-Dara Palmer's Major Drama

Shevah, Emma. Dara Palmer’s Major Drama. illus. by Helen Crawford-White. 288p. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. Jul. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492631385. POP 

Gr 3-6 –British fifth grader Dara Palmer is a natural-born actress, destined for Hollywood stardom. At least, that’s what she and her best friend, Lacey, think, until neither of them lands the lead role in their school’s musical production of The Sound of Music. Dara, who is adopted from Cambodia, believes that she may have been passed […]

From Summer Camp to the Far Reaches of the Galaxy | Middle Grade Series Update


Librarian Chris Lassen rounds up the latest middle grade continuations, with titles perfect for fans looking to catch up on their favorite series over the long summer vacation.

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

Mellow Dramas | SLJ Spotlight


Middle Grade novels often have two extremes: ultra fantastical or the issue-driven realistic. However ,these titles are equally satisfying to read stories where the drama is simply of a more mellow nature, where the smaller trials and tribulations of growing up take center stage.

The Robber Hotzenplotz by Otfried Preusseler | SLJ Review

The Robber Hotzenplotz

Preussler, Otfried. The Robber Hotzenplotz. tr. from German by Anthea Bell. illus. by F.J. Tripp. 120p. New York Review. May 2016. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781590179611.

Gr 2-5 –When the infamous robber Hotzenplotz makes off with Grandmother’s coffee mill, clever Kasperl and his best friend Seppel must use all their cunning, along with a little help from the frog-fairy Amaryllis, to retrieve the mill and bring the rapscallion to justice. This new translation of this work, originally […]

The Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh Johnson | SLJ Review

The Secrets of Solace

Johnson, Jaleigh. The Secrets of Solace. 288p. (World of Solace: Bk. 2). ebook available. Delacorte. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385376488. 

Gr 4-8 –Archivist apprentice Lina lives in the future world of Solace, learning to analyze the curious treasures that fall from the sky in the scrap towns on the borders. Under the absentminded guidance of Councilwoman Zara, the lonely orphaned Lina has become isolated from her fellow apprentices, spending her time eavesdropping on secret conversations […]

A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty | SLJ Review

A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

Moriarty, Jaclyn. A Tangle of Gold. 480p. (The Colors of Madeleine: Bk. 3). ebook available. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545397407.
Gr 6-9–Moriarty ably wraps up the many plot threads woven through this concluding volume. Elliot and his father, reunited at the end of The Cracks in the Kingdom, are brought back to the magical kingdom of Cello, and it seems Madeleine’s involvement with the parallel world has come to an end. But worsening nosebleeds and […]

The Wolf’s Boy by Susan Williams Beckhorn | SLJ Review

The Wolf’s Boy by Susan Williams Beckhorn

Beckhorn, Susan Williams. The Wolf’s Boy. 240p. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484725535. 

Gr 4-7 –Kai was born with a club foot and should not have lived. His mother left him with the yellow wolf mother, who had two cubs of her own, believing this was certain death for her young baby. Instead, the wolf mother nurtured Kai, and one day his human mother returned to the den to reclaim the baby she left for […]

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.