The Children’s Book Review | February 27, 2018
8 New Middle Grade Books for Ages 8-12 (and Beyond)
We’ve picked 8 middle grade books that we think are some of the best new books for preteens and tweens that release during the month of February. Here’s what you can expect to find: A literary page-turner by acclaimed bestselling author Catherine Gilbert Murdock, an unforgettable novel about a fairy-in-training, a heavily illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s, a middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L’Engle, and a novel that will widen the hearts of all readers.
Which middle grade book will you share with your growing readers this month?
Written by Kim Tomsic
Publisher’s Synopsis: Megan Meyers has a foolproof plan to reinvent herself at her new school. Good-bye, dorky math nerd; hello, friend magnet! But her first day at Saguaro Prep starts off weird to the tenth power.
When she’s dared to “make something exciting happen,” Megan is thrown into the middle of an epic power struggle between the two seventh-grade Spirit Captains. So with nothing to lose, Megan wishes for “some magic” as her classroom’s cat clock chimes 11:11—and is granted an enchanted teen magazine promising miracle makeovers and sure-fire secrets for winning friends and crushes.
But magic can have dangerous side effects, and as her social life grows exponentially worse, Megan begins to wonder if wishing was ever a purrfect idea.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | February 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062654946
Written by Tyler Whitesides
Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Ace’s life is about to change in the most unexpected and magical ways—all because of a peanut butter jar.
When he opens it, he inadvertently releases a genie named Ridge. Now a Wishmaker, Ace is given a week to complete a seemingly impossible quest, and if he fails the world will end in the most tragic (but cuddly) way imaginable.
Luckily, Ridge can help by granting Ace an unlimited number of wishes…as long as Ace is willing to accept the consequences. The bigger the wish, the greater the consequence. So, if Ace wants to avoid having pogo sticks for legs or his clothes turn invisible, he’ll have to be careful what he wishes for and get a little creative.
Perfect for fans of Dan Gutman and Max Brallier, this new middle grade series by Tyler Whitesides (author of the Janitors series) is a wonderful mix of unpredictable magic, zany humor, and daring adventure. You’ll wish it never ends!
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | February 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062568311
Written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher’s Synopsis: A young outcast is swept up into a thrilling and perilous medieval treasure hunt in this literary page-turner by acclaimed bestselling author Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
This epic and engrossing quest story is for fans of Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale and Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and for readers of all ages. Features a map and black-and-white art by Ian Schoenherr throughout.
Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town—until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed and suspensful expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter.
Boy quickly realizes this journey is not an innocent one. They are stealing the relics and accumulating dangerous enemies in the process. But Boy is determined to see this pilgrimage through until the end—for what if St. Peter can make Boy’s hump go away? A surprising and unforgettable tale for readers of all ages.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062686206
Written by John David Anderson
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the author of beloved novels Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted comes a hilarious, heartfelt, and unforgettable novel about a fairy-in-training.
Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, there is someone out there who hears it.
In a magical land called the Haven lives a young fairy named Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets. Ophela is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select fairies whose job it is to venture out into the world and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day.
It’s the work of the Granters that generates the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do, and to keep the Haven hidden and safe. But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes gets granted.
Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going to get her very first wish-granting assignment.
And she’s about to discover that figuring out how to truly give someone what they want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Walden Pond Press | February 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0062643865
Written by Kamilla Benko
Publisher’s Synopsis: Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor… until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.
There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The beloved unicorns have gone, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes, it will take all of Claire’s courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns’ greatest secret.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681192451
Written by Candace Fleming
Illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Publisher’s Synopsis: For fans of Balto and other real-life dog stories, here’s a heavily illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s, dramatically told in both words and pictures by an acclaimed author and a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator.
When movie director Larry Trimble travels to Berlin searching for his next big star–a dog!–he finds Etzel, a fierce, highly trained three-year-old German shepherd police dog. Larry sees past the snarls and growls and brings Etzel back to Hollywood, where he is renamed Strongheart. Along with screenwriter Jane Murfin, Larry grooms his protégé to be a star of the silver screen–and he succeeds, starting with Strongheart’s first film, The Love Master, which is released in 1921. Strongheart is soon joined by a leading lady, a German shepherd named Lady Julie, and becomes a sensation.
Touching, charming, playful, and based on real events, this moving tale by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann tells all about “the wonder dog” who took America by storm.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1101934104
Written by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy
Publisher’s Synopsis: This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L’Engle ―written by her granddaughters.
This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles―a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing―and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon’s work, but also to anyone interested in writing.
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | February 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0374307646
Written by Shannon Hitchcock
Publisher’s Synopsis: Welcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself. Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | February 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1338181722
*Header image from the cover of One True Way, written by Shannon Hitchcock (Scholastic Press, 2018)
Which of these middle grade books will you be sharing with your tweens? For more of the best new middle grade books for kids ages 8 through 14, follow along with our articles tagged with New Books for Kids, Middle Grade Books, Books for Ages 4-8, Books for Ages 9-12, and Books Of 2018.