Category Archives: middle grade books

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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JFIC Books about School

Hello, jFIC fans,

August is National Back-to-School Month, and many schools have already begun or are about to begin the new school year, so here’s a broad list (alpha by title) of jFIC books (including some graphic novels) about school life, followed by a few personal favorites. 

Amelia’s Middle School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss

Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry

Anna Wang: The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

Back to School, Mallory! by Laurie Friedman

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Big Nate in a Class by Himself (Big Nate Series) by Lincoln Peirce

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf (NEW 2019)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries Series) by Rachel Renee Russell 

Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie McDoodle New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw

The Fantastic and Terrible Fame of Classroom 13 by Honest Lee and Mathew J. Gilbert

Fire Girl by Tony Abbott

The First Day of School Forever by R. L. Stein

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School by Kristin Mahoney (NEW 2019)

The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan

Frindle and other books about school by Andrew Clements

George by Alex Gino

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

The Homework Strike by Greg Pincus

How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park

Loser, Crash, and other books about school by Jerry Spinelli

Middle School Cool by Maiya Williams

Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm

Middle School Misadventures by Jason Platt

The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher by Sean Jensen

Middle School Series and other books about school by James Patterson and partner writers

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly Series by Rachel Renee Russell

My Homework Ate My Homework by Patrick Jennings

New Kid by Jerry Craft

One Tough Chick (from the Annabelle Unleashed Series) by Leslie Margolis

Posted by John David Anderson

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School Series by Charles Gilman

Reformed by Justin Weinberger

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Smile and Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Series by Tom Angleberger

The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (from the Timmy Failure Series) by Stephan Pastis

Too Cool for This School by Kristen Tracy

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

The Unteachables and other books about school by Gordon Korman

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

And three favorites:

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Eleven-year-old Langston moves with his father from Alabama to Chicago in 1946 after his mother dies. Langston has to deal with many new experiences: a whole new way of life in the city, a new school, bullying, and different kinds of discrimination. Fortunately he walks into a library and discovers the comforting words of poet Langston Hughes, his namesake. 

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by  Meg Medina

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Cuban American Merci Suárez lives with her mother, father, and older brother. Her grandfather, with whom she has a close relationship and who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, lives next door. Other relatives live nearby, and the whole extended family helps each other in different ways. Her father doesn’t earn much money, but Merci has earned a scholarship to a private school for rich kids, where she experiences multiple challenges. Merci has to learn to balance the school’s expectations and her family responsibilities. Family comes first, of course.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

It’s 1967, and seventh grader Holling Hoodhood is being forced to spend each Wednesday afternoon with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, whom he believes hates him. Holling slowly realizes that although Mrs. Baker is strict, she’s also caring and insightful. Through his teacher, his sister, friends, and the works of Shakespeare, Holling opens his eyes to the dangers in the world he’s living in: the Vietnam war and its tragic consequences and the problems of racism and discrimination. The Wednesday Wars is a humorous coming-of-age novel with a lot of heart.

Happy reading!

“Coffee, coffee! It’s our drink! If we don’t get it, we can’t think!” ~Unknown


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JFIC’s Resilient Children

Hello, jFIC fans,

Some of the most engaging jFIC books are about resilient children overcoming terrible circumstances. Here are a few well-known titles:

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

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Sweep: A Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

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The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

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The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Matilda by Roald Dahl

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

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The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert

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How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

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West of the Moon by Margi Preus

West of the Moon by [Preus, Margi]

Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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The Explorer by Katherine Rundell 

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Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle

Nightbooks by J. A. White


Happy reading!

Where there’s tea there’s hope.
-Arthur Wing Pinero


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Award-Winning JFIC Books

Hello, jFIC fans,

The 2019 Youth Media Awards have been announced (https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/2019-youth-media-award-winners/), and I’ve listed all the jFIC winners:

Newbery Medal (most outstanding contribution to children’s literature):

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Honors:

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award (African-American author of outstanding books for children):

Honors:

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon


Schneider Family Book Award (children’s books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience):

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Honor:

The Collectors by Jacqueline West


Mildred L. Batchelder Award (outstanding international translated books):

Honor:

Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure, written and illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann and translated from the German by David Henry Wilson


Pura Belpré Awards (books by Latinx writers and illustrators that best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):

Honor:

They Call Me Güero : a Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles


Stonewall Book Award (children’s books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience):

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Honor:

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake


Asian/Pacific American Award (books that promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage):

Front Desk written by Kelly Yang

Honor:

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

The Sydney Taylor Book Award (books that authentically portray the Jewish experience):

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier


American Indian Youth Literature Award (best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians)

This award is announced in even years. The next announcement will be in 2020. Meanwhile, I recommend you read Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac.

Also, let’s not forget the 2018 National Book Award Finalists:

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson / Eugene Yelchin


The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis


Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka




Congratulations to all the winners, and happy reading to us!

“Coffee is a hug in a mug.” –Anonymous

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