The Children’s Book Review | November 29, 2017
6 New Middle Grade Books for Ages 8-14 (and Beyond)
We’ve picked 6 middle grade books that we think are some of the best new books for preteens and tweens that release during the month of November. Here’s what you can expect to find: a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime, an important contribution to the current discussion of the role of women and minorities in society, the first memoir for young readers by sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and an all-new magical adventure.
Which middle grade book will you share with your growing readers this month?
Written by Matthew Swanson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Her name’s Moxie. Moxie McCoy.
Bold, opinionated, and haplessly self-confident, the world’s greatest fourth-grade detective faces her biggest challenge! When someone kidnaps beloved school mascot Eddie the Owl, Moxie is on the case―but she’s forced to fly solo now that her best friend (and crime-solving partner) has moved away.
Moxie must interview her classmates―both as potential new best friends and as possible suspects. She finds clues and points fingers but can’t save the owl on her own. Enter Moxie’s little brother, Milton. Quiet, cautious, and boring as a butter knife, he’s a good listener.
Can the Real McCoys form an unlikely alliance and solve the crime of the century?
Bursting with interactive illustrations on every page, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr’s The Real McCoys delivers clever storytelling, laugh-out-loud humor, and heartwarming insight. This is the first book in a series.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Imprint | November 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1250098528
Written by and Illustrated by Nathan Hale
Publisher’s Synopsis: Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target.
After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | November 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419725562
Written by Eric Bower
Publisher’s Synopsis: Waldo “W.B.” Baron is back with another amazing adventure in another incredible invention! Pirate treasure? A clandestine meeting? A terribly rude monkey with personal boundary and hygiene issues? Two of those things sound like a dream come true to W.B, whose clever inventor parents are hired―by the Vice President!―to go on a super secret and intensely important treasure hunt to repay a national debt. If only it weren’t for that lousy, rude monkey, it would be the beginning of a perfect adventure. But at least it isn’t squirrels…
The treasure hunt gives the Baron family the opportunity to use their exceptional steam-powered submarine, freshly biggened and ready for adventure! But things are seldom straightforward for the eccentric Baron family, and this treasure hunt is no exception. W.B.’s trademark bad luck has him suffering monstrous marine misfortune and marauding monkey misery.
Can the Baron family embark on their newest adventure without the eggy and depressing Aunt Dorcas? Will the Barons find the treasure they seek? Will they save the country from financial ruin? Where does the monkey fit in, anyway? Do we like asking questions? Not really, but inside you’ll meet someone who likes asking questions and then answering them (despite his claims to the contrary, he really does like it).
Oh, did we mention the pirate’s curse?
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing | November 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1944995256
Written by Susan Rubin
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the most famous pieces of civic architecture in the world. But most people are not as familiar with the reserved college student who entered and won the design competition to build it. This accessible biography tells the story of Maya Lin, from her struggle to stick with her vision of the memorial to the wide variety of works she has created since then. The carefully researched text, paired with ample photos, crosses multiple interests—American history, civic activism, art history, and cultural diversity—and offers a timely celebration of the memorial’s 35th anniversary as well as providing an important contribution to the current discussion of the role of women and minorities in society.
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | November 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452108377
Written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
Publisher’s Synopsis: The first memoir for young readers by sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
At one time, Lew Alcindor was just another kid from New York City with all the usual problems: He struggled with fitting in, with pleasing a strict father, and with overcoming shyness that made him feel socially awkward. But with a talent for basketball, and an unmatched team of supporters, Lew Alcindor was able to transform and to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
From a childhood made difficult by racism and prejudice to a record-smashing career on the basketball court as an adult, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s life was packed with “coaches” who taught him right from wrong and led him on the path to greatness. His parents, coaches Jack Donahue and John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, and many others played important roles in Abdul-Jabbar’s life and sparked him to become an activist for social change and advancement. The inspiration from those around him, and his drive to find his own path in life, are highlighted in this personal and awe-inspiriting journey.
Written especially for young readers, Becoming Kareem chronicles how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar become the icon and legend he is today, both on and off the court.
Ages 10-13 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | November 21, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0316555388
Written by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher’s Synopsis: Our story begins on a frosty night . . .
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way) and she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days scrubbing the skins and souls of the dead in preparation for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore not only her ever-increasing loneliness, but the way her overworked hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair.
But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appear, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.
Lush and enchanting, critically-acclaimed author Tahereh Mafi weaves together an all-new magical adventure in this dark, Persian fantasy, a companion to the New York Times bestselling Furthermore.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers | November 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1101994795
*Header image from Raid of No Return: A World War II Tale of the Doolittle Raid, written and illustrated by Nathan Hale (Harry N. Abrams, 2017)
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, and Books for Ages 9-12.