HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Best Selling Middle Grade Books | April 2014
The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

Best Selling Middle Grade Books | April 2014

The Children’s Book Review | April 3, 2014

It’s just so great when The Children’s Book Review’s best selling middle grade book turns out to be a great classic. Such is the case with this month’s title, The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy, by Padraic Colum—what a great introduction to the always intriguing Greek mythology. The hand selected titles from the nationwide best selling middle grade books, as listed by The New York Times, feature books by super-talents Kate DiCamillo, Katherine Applegate and R.J. Palacio. And, it’s safe to say that the movie junior novelizations for The LEGO movie and Disney’s Frozen are incredibly popular for obvious reasons—and they make a good choice for reluctant readers.

The Children’s Book Review’s Best Selling Middle Grade Book

The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of TroyThe Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

By Padraic Colum; Illustrated by Willy Pogany

”Published in 1918, Colum’s stirring telling of the Greek epics is still unequaled as an introduction to the classic myths for young readers.” —Publishers Weekly 

” (Audiobook narrator) Whitfield’s (-aka- Simon Vance) distinct narration gives a clear rendition of classic myths The Iliad and The Odyssey. The reading is intelligible to children yet preserves the heroic style of the sagas. It is a treat to hear Greek words pronounced with such ease.” —Lolly Gepson

PADRAIC COLUM (1881-1972) was an Irish poet, playwright, author, a major leader of the Irish Renaissance, and a friend to James Joyce and William Yeats. Well versed in the old Gaelic myths as well as those of other cultures, he wrote a number of books for children that retell these tales. His book The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived before Achilles was a Newbery Honor Book, and he was awarded the Regina Medal for his distinguished contribution to children’s literature.

Ages 12 and up | Publisher: Simon Pulse | Oct. 1, 1982 | ISBN-13: 978-0020425205

Nationwide Best Selling Middle Grade Books

Disney Frozen: Junior NovelFrozen Junior Novelization (Disney Frozen) 

By RH Disney

A #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents an epic tale of adventure and comedy with Frozen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a young dreamer, must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, and his reindeer on the grandest of journeys to find Anna’s sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. Frozen: The Junior Novelization retells the whole exciting story and features eight pages of full-color scenes from the movie!

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: RH/Disney | Oct. 1, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0736431187

Lego: The Lego Movie: Junior NovelLego: The Lego Movie: Junior Novel

By Kate Howard

The first ever LEGO(R) movie hits the big screen February 7, 2014! This animated, family-friendly movie has an all-star voice cast.

This exciting junior novel retelling includes 8 pages of color photos from the movie!

Emmet Brickowski is just your average, everyday LEGO® Minifigure. He’s a normal guy who likes to do normal stuff – watch TV, go to work, eat hot wings, and listen to everyone’s favorite song, “Everything is Awesome.”

But all that changes one fateful day when Emmet accidentally discovers the Piece of Resistance. It turns out Emmet’s not so average after all – there’s even a prophecy about him! Does this ordinary guy have what it takes to become an extraordinary hero and save the universe?

The LEGO® Movie is being produced and distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros and has an all-star cast including Chris Pratt (Emmet), Will Ferrell (Lord Business), Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop), Allison Brie (UniKitty), Nick Offerman (Metal Beard), Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius), and Will Arnett (Batman).

Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Scholastic | Dec. 30, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0545624640

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

By Kate DiCamillo

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo.

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Candlewick Press | Sept. 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0763660406

TheOneAndOnlyIvanThe One and Only Ivan 

By Katherine Applegate

Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.

Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by KirkusSchool Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author’s note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Jan. 7, 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-0061992254

Wonder

By R.J. Palacio

“Wonder” is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. The thing is, Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, “Wonder” follows Auggie’s journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, “Wonder” is a book you’ll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | Jan. 7, 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-0375869020

This information for the best selling books was gathered from the New York Times Best Sellers list, which reflects the sales of books from books sold nationwide, including independent and chain stores. It is correct at the time of publication and presented in random order. Visit www.nytimes.com for their most up-to-date and complete list.

We know you’ll enjoy the books in this list and we also encourage you to take your time perusing The Children’s Book Review for more Greek Mythology and Middle Grade books.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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