The Children’s Book Review | December 1, 2016
5 New Middle Grade Books for Ages 8-14 (and Beyond)
From the middle grade books that release during December, we’ve picked 5 that we think are really great reads. Here’s what you’ll find: A tale of unexpected friendship, the closing story to an exciting series that puts a modern thrill into ancient mythology, an adventure story with a heroic female protagonist, a contemporary novel that will remind readers to be careful what they wish for, and a new installment to a futuristic adventure series . Which middle grade book will you share with your growing readers this month?
Written by James Patterson
Illustrated by Joe Sutphin
Publisher’s Synopsis: James Patterson’s newest illustrated middle grade story follows the illuminating journey of a very special mouse, and the unexpected friendships that he makes along the way.
What makes Isaiah so unique? First, his fur is as blue as the sky–which until recently was something he’d never seen, but had read all about. That’s right–Isaiah can read, and write. He can also talk to humans…if any of them are willing to listen! After a dramatic escape from a mysterious laboratory, Isaiah is separated from his “mischief” (which is the word for a mouse family), and has to use his special skills to survive in the dangerous outdoors, and hopefully find his missing family. But in a world of cruel cats, hungry owls, and terrified people, it’s hard for a young, lone mouse to make it alone. When he meets an equally unusual and lonely human girl named Hailey, the two soon learn that true friendship can transcend all barriers.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: jimmy patterson | December 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0316349567
Written by Kate O’Hearn
Publisher’s Synopsis: Emily and Pegasus face their greatest challenge yet when they venture back to Earth to save a friend in this sixth and final book of an exciting series that puts a modern thrill into ancient mythology.
After the events in Hawaii, Emily is contending with diminished powers, a new body, and the fact that she has to teach the Titan Lorin how to use her own powers. To make matters worse, Joel has been acting strangely towards her ever since she changed, and it’s all become too much.
However, Emily has one last promise to fulfill, one she made a long time ago: to save Agent B from the secret government agency called the CRU. But when Emily, Pegasus, Joel, and Paelen arrive in London, they discover that Agent B has been captured by the CRU and the only way to free him is for Emily and Lorin to surrender.
As Emily and her friends delve deeper into the CRU’s history, horrible discoveries are made. Not only about the victims the powerful agency has been trapping and abusing for centuries, but about the very origins of the secret agency itself.
Origins that lead directly back to…Emily.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Aladdin | December 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481447171
Written by Eva Howard
Publisher’s Synopsis: A girl on the run after being accused of killing Robin Hood learns what it really means to be a hero in this exciting adventure story.
“That’s the girl who killed Robin Hood!” Those words send Ellie Dray racing for the forest and the chance to clear her name.
Twelve-year-old novice nun Elinor Dray has always idolized Robin Hood. She and her friends try to be like him by sneaking out to hunt on the lands belonging to the village Baron, stealing from him to feed their poor neighbors. They call themselves the League of Archers.
While returning from a hunting trip late one night, Ellie meets a man in the forest—a hunter like herself. But suddenly the man is shot with a poisoned arrow. She manages to help him back to the abbey, but it’s too late and he dies. Only in his final moments, does Ellie realize that the hunter is Robin Hood, and that the abbess of the nunnery is Maid Marian.
With her secret revealed, the Baron immediately arrests Marian. But he needs a scapegoat for the murder of Robin Hood, and who better than a young novice nun? Ellie is proclaimed a hero—the person who killed the famous outlaw Robin Hood—but the villagers don’t agree. A mob forms, vowing to hunt Ellie down and exact their own vengeance.
Will Ellie and her League of Archers be able to find the real killer, free Maid Marian, and keep Robin Hood’s legacy alive?
Ages 9-13 | Publisher: Aladdin | December 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481460378
Written by Alyson Noël
Publisher’s Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël comes a fun, adventure-filled, contemporary novel that poses the question what would you do if your dream life became reality?
A dream is a wish your heart makes . . . when your life is in desperate need of a makeover. Nick Dashaway would know. Either he makes it big this year in seventh grade or he risks being a nobody forever.
Enter the Greentree Middle School Talent Show, hosted by teen sensation Josh Frost. The show might just be Nick’s ticket out of loserville. But popularity doesn’t come easy, and when Nick is forcibly ejected from the stage, he feels like he’s out of options. Desperate to avoid a permanent seat at the geek table and continued inattention from the love of his life, Nick chooses the only option he has left: he makes a wish.
Be careful what you wish for, the old saying goes—and Nick’s about to find out why.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | December 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553537963
Written by Monica Tesler
Publisher’s Synopsis: Jasper learns that secrets can strain even the strongest bonds as the Bounders adventure continues in The Tundra Trials.
After discovering that Earth Force is waging a covert alien war, Jasper and his friends return to space and continue their training. This time, Earth Force brings them to the remote planet of Gulaga, where the cadets compete in the Tundra Trials: a grueling pod race across the planet’s frigid landscape.
But when their pod leader asks Jasper and Mira to secretly test a dangerous new technology that will take their Bounder abilities to the next level, the kids begin to suspect that there are rifts within Earth Force. The worst part? Jasper must keep the truth from everyone—even his own pod mates.
When Earth Force prepares for an attack against the aliens, the kids are tasked with a treacherous mission. With their loyalties torn, will Jasper and his friends once again fulfill their duty and fight for their planet? And if they do, will the secret tech work as planned or lead their enemies to their doorstep?
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Aladdin | December 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481445962