The Children’s Book Review | June 10, 2015
When I read an amazing middle grade book, I remember what I felt like at that age: often awkward, hesitant, opinionated, unsure of myself, excited for what came next, and yet terrified of so many changes, all at once. I’d recommend these middle grade novels to kids who enjoy Sophie’s [the protagonist from Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer (Random House Children’s Books, 2015)] strong voice and humor and who might like a peek into someone else’s world.
Written by Varian Johnson
Jackson Greene is done with schemes and cons — right up until he realizes the biggest bully is buying the school election right out from under his former best friend. Now it’s up to him and his crack middle school team to make things fair again — without anyone finding out.
Ages 10-15 | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | 2015 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0545525534
Written by Victoria Jamieson
Astrid falls in love with roller derby. But will derby camp be any fun when her best friend goes to dance camp instead? This graphic novel is for anyone who’s growing apart from a friend, and finding out who they are on their own. Particularly recommended for girls who are more interested in having fun than hanging out with boys.
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Dial Books | 2015| ISBN-13: 978-0803740167
Written by Sharon Flake
When Octabia May comes to live in her aunt’s boarding house, she’s sure something strange is going on. Why does her upstairs neighbor only go out at night? Could he be a vampire? Soon, she’s up to her ears in this historical mystery, set in the 1950s. I’d say Octabia May is just as unforgettable as she is unstoppable.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | 2014| ISBN-13: 978-0545609609
Written by Robin Stevens
When Hazel Wong finds the body of her science teacher in the gym, she runs to fetch Daisy Wells; after all, isn’t this exactly what their detective club is for? But when the body disappears before they return, things get even more mysterious. Set in an English boarding school in the 1930s.
Ages 10 and up | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 2015| ISBN-13: 978-1481422123
Written by Natalie Lloyd
When Felicity Pickle comes to Midnight Gulch, she wonders if there might be a snicker of magic left in the place, and if maybe it might break the curse on her mother, letting her stay in one place at last. For anyone looking for home, a friend, and some magic left in the world. Best with ice cream nearby, even if you don’t have that magical Blackberry Sunrise.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | 2014| ISBN-13: 978-0-545-55270-7
About Kelly Jones
KELLY JONES’S first novel, UNUSUAL CHICKENS, has been named to the Winter/Spring 2015 New Voices List by the American Booksellers Association. For more information, visit her at www.curiosityjones.net or on Twitter at @curiosityjones.
Written by Kelly Jones
Publisher’s Synopsis: Fans of Polly Horvath or Roald Dahl will love this quirky story of a determined girl, and some extraordinary chickens.
Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse….
And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.
Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens is a quirky, clucky classic in the making.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | 2015| ISBN-13: 978-0385755528
Kelly Jones, author of Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, selected these five middle grade books. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with Middle Grade Books and Books for Kids Age 9-12.