Category Archives: middle grade books

Historical JFIC for Women's History Month

Hello, JFIC fans,

Reading is the perfect activity for these unprecedented times of social distancing. Many libraries and bookstores are closed, but you can still borrow or buy ebooks and audio ebooks or simply order books and audiobooks online (preferably from your favorite local bookstore).

On March of last year, I posted a list for Women’s History Month titled Herstorical JFIC. Here’s a list (alpha by title) of several books from that post that are probably available to borrow as ebooks and/or audio ebooks from your local library (they’re all available from mine: the Denver Public Library):

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Birchbark House (The) by Louise Erdrich

Breadwinner (The) by Deborah Ellis

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson

Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia (The) by Esther Hautzig

Esperanza Rising and Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (The) by Jacqueline Kelly

Full Cicada Moon by Larilyn Hinton

Green Glass Sea (The) by Ellen Klages

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

Lions of Little Rock (The) by Kristin Levine

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Night Diary (The) by Veera Hiranandaani

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

One Crazy Summer and sequels by Rita Williams-Garcia

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

War That Saved My Life (The) and sequel by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Witch of Blackbird Pond (The) by Elizabeth George Speare

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Stay home and read, everyone! ❤️

“For if I could please myself I would always live as I lived there. I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought to me about eleven, so much better. Tea should be taken in solitude.” ~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

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JFIC for Black History Month

Hello, jFIC fans,

It’s Black History Month, so let’s celebrate African American jFIC authors. Here’s a list of their awesome books :

The Crossover Series by Kwame Alexander

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles

So Done by Paula Chase

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

New Kid (graphic novel) by Jerry Craft (Recent winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature)

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

Blended by Sharon Draper

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

Bird by Angela Johnson

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee

The Season of Stix Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons

Ghost and sequels by Jason Reynolds (current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature)

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

One Crazy Summer Trilogy by Rita Williams-Garcia

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi


And also, because it’s Valentine’s Day, here’s a sweet love story: Dream Within a Dream by Patricia MacLachlan

Happy reading!

“I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark — it must be dark — and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come.” —Toni Morrison

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JFIC Favorites 2019

Hello, jFIC fans,

Here are my favorite jFIC books of 2019:

The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas (Fantasy/Folklore)

Eleven-year-old Buddy goes on a dangerous quest to rescue his dad from a magical crime Lord. His weapons are a knife and his father’s magical Parsnit cards, and his sidekick is a spider-folk girl named Tally. A fantastic setting, page-turning danger and adventure, quirky characters, a creative game of cards, great messages about family and identity, and a fascinating metanarrative all work together to make this novel an outstanding read.

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (Realistic Fiction)

This is the third book featuring characters from the world of Raymie Nightingale. I loved this tenderhearted, sensitive story about dealing with grief and hardship, and finding unlikely friends in the process. Lyrical, poignant, and simply wonderful.

A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff (Historical Fiction)

A lovely novel, written in verse, about the Irish Land War (1881). Well done, suspenseful, and poignant. Excellent characterization.

Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt (Realistic Fiction / Humor)

Carter Jones is dealing with his first year in middle school, his father’s absence, his brother’s death, his distraught mother, helping to take care of his three younger sisters, and a surprise English butler who wants him to behave like a “proper gentleman” and learn to drink tea and play cricket. Well-written and both funny and heart-wrenching.

The Runaways by Ulf Stark (Realistic Fiction)

A young boy helps his dying grandfather to run away from the hospital for a couple of days, giving him the chance to prepare for his final good-bye. Well-written with delightful characters. An inter-generational adventure full of humor and heart. 

Happy reading!

“What’s this?” I said.

“Tea with milk and sugar,” said the Butler.

“I don’t drink tea,” I said.

“All civilized people drink tea, young Master Jones.”

“Then I guess I’m not civilized.”

“A claim you share with Vikings, Huns, assorted barbarian hordes, and marauders of all stripes. I have taken the liberty of adding more sugar than one might normally expect.”

I sipped at it. I sipped again. It was pretty good.

“It stinks,” I said.

— from Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

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JFIC Adventures 2019

Hello, jFIC fans,

Looking for a holiday gift for the preteen in your life? Here are seven jFIC adventure novels published in 2019 that I particularly enjoyed:

The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas

A fantastical river setting, unforgettable characters, and a terrific storyline.

The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

A beautifully-written high-stakes Irish fantasy. Fascinating!

The Storm Keeper’s Island (The Storm Keeper's Island Series) by [Doyle, Catherine]

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horowitz

The daughter and heir of a Dark Lord saves the day. Witches, unicorns, quirky characters, and a positive message. Very entertaining!

Time Sight by Lynne Jonell

A suspenseful time-travel adventure in the Scottish highlands. A page-turner!

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

A fantastical quest in a wondrous island setting with endearing characters and a great message.

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell (British cover shown)

A group of talented children stand up to an evil conman. High stakes and a clever twist at the end.

The Good Thieves

Maximillian Fly by Angie Sage

A post-apocalyptic adventure where the main character is a human cockroach. Terrific!

Happy reading + happy holidays + happy new year!!!

“There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie”
–from “Sleigh Ride” by Billy Gilman

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Twelve Christmas Classics

Hello, jFIC fans,

Last year I posted a list of holiday books:

https://elsapla.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/holiday-books-2/

Here are 12 Christmas classics to add to the list:

Little Women by Louise May Alcott

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck (author) and Mark Buehner (illustrator)

A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories edited and assembled by Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Nueve Días para Navidad: Un Cuento de México by Marie Hall Ets (author, illustrator) and Aurora Labastida (author)

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story by N. Scott Momaday

The Taylor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (author) and Trina Schart Hyman (illustrator)

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski (author) and P.J. Lynch (illustrator)

Joyous reading and happy holidays!

“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”
― 
Dylan Thomas (from A Child’s Christmas in Wales)

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JFIC Family Stories

Hello, jFIC Fans,

Here’s a list of 25 diverse jFIC books about family stories. Some are happy and some are sad, some are contemporary and some are historical, most are realistic and a few are fantastical, and all are great reads. 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay and sequels by Julia Alvarez

My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Hold Fast by [Blue Balliett]

The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Lotterys Plus One and sequel by Emma Donoghue

The Birchbark House and sequels by Louise Erdrich

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and sequels by Karina Yan Glaser

A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Riley Giff

The Family Hitchcock by Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett

The Family Hitchcock by [Levin, Mark, Flackett, Jennifer]

Sarah, Plain, and Tall and sequels by Patricia MacLachlan

Saffy’s Angel and sequels by Hilary McKay

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Borrowers and sequels by Mary Norton

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Esperanza Rising and sequel by Pam Munoz Ryan

Shooting Kabul and sequels by N.H. Senzai

All-of-a-Kind Family and sequels by Sydney Taylor

Three Times Lucky and sequels by Sheila Turnage

One Crazy Summer and sequels by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Happy reading!

“Mercy on us, how they did talk! first one, then the other, then all burst out together–trying to tell the history of three years in half an hour. It was fortunate that tea was at hand, to produce a lull and provide refreshment–for they would have been hoarse and faint if they had gone on much longer.” – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

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JFIC and Love of Nature

Hello, jFIC fans,

From beloved classics like Heidi by Johanna Spyri to contemporary gems like The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, there are many jFIC books that inspire love and respect for nature. Here are a few: 

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

The Ancient One by T.A. Barron

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

The Wild Robot and sequel by Peter Brown

The Earth Is My Mother by  Bev Doolittle and Elise Maclay

The Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher

Julie of the Wolves and sequels by Jean Craighead George

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Hoot and others by Carl Hiaasen

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and sequel by Jacqueline Kelly

Wild Wings and others by Gill Lewis

Wild Wings by [Lewis, Gill]

Hatchet and sequels by Gary Paulsen

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Song of the Trees by Mildred Taylor

The Last Wild and sequels by Piers Torday

Happy reading!

“Where there’s tea there’s hope.” ~Arthur Wing Pinero


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