Tag Archives: reading lists

New School Year!

Hello, sweeteas,

It’s been a while since my last post (June!). I’ve been busy with summer activities and writing projects, but I’ve managed to steal a bit of time to read a few gems.

Here’s a list of great middle grade books I read this summer (followed by my ratings):

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi ****

(a futuristic fantasy adventure  – first book in a series)

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate *****

(a delightful  story of an artistic zoo gorilla and his friends)

My Name Is Mina (prequel to Skellig) by David Almond *****

(a lovely portrait of Mina, one of the characters in the novel Skellig)

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt *****

(a sweet and humorous story about appreciating and preserving nature)

Kneeknock Rise by Natalie Babbitt ****

(a beautifully written fable about the need to have beliefs)

100 Cupboards – Book 1 by N.D. Wilson *****

(a fantasy adventure about portals to other worlds – first book in a series)

The Stricktest School in the World by Howard Whitehouse ****

(a steampunk-like adventure about friendship and resourcefulness)

Doll Bones by Holly Black ****

(a murder mystery involving a creepy doll)

All the above books are great reads. My favorite from the list? My Name Is Mina (prequel to Skellig) by David Almond. The book is an intimate portrait of Mina, a creative and philosophical girl who loves to observe nature, reflect, and write.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?

Words should wander and meander. They should fly like owls and flicker like bats and slip like cats. They should murmur and scream and dance and sing.

Sometimes there should be no words at all.

Just silence.

Just clean white space.

Some pages will be like a sky with a single bird in it. Some will be like a sky with a swirling swarm of starlings in it. My sentences will be a clutch, a collection, a pattern, a swarm, a shoal, a mosaic. They will be a circus, a menagerie, a tree, a nest. Because my mind is not in order. My mind is not straight lines. My mind is a clutter and a mess. It is my mind, but it is also very like other minds. And like all minds, like every mind that there has ever been and every mind that there will be, it is a place of wonder.

I love it!

I also read a number of YA books which I will write about next month.

School has begun, and it’s time to set reading goals and create reading lists for the new school year.  The Horn Book has a list of recent publications recommended for each grade level:


Happy reading!

“When I grow up I will sit and drink tea in my tea-drinking tree.” –from art print by Joanna Bradshaw

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Filed under middle grade and YA books