Best New Books for Tweens and Preteens | July 2017
The Children’s Book Review | July 21, 2017
8 New Middle Grade Books for Ages 7-14 (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 July. Here’s what you can expect to find: a delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series, a high-stakes adventure series perfect for fans of the I Survived series and Hatchet, a powerful story about unlikely friendship, the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling Serafina series, a riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, a story perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia, and a heartfelt debut about a spunky girl determined to save her family and find her way home.
Which middle grade book will you share with your growing readers this month?
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Publisher’s Synopsis: When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.
This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | July 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1484746387
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Publisher’s Synopsis: Mona the mouse has finally found a place to call home, the cozy Heartwood Hotel, where she works as a maid and sleeps snuggled up in a room with her best friend. Following the festive St. Slumber celebration, most of the guests have settled in to hibernate, and the staff is looking forward to a relaxing winter. But disruptions abound, from a difficult duchess to a mysterious midnight snacker. As the snow stacks higher, Mona will have to gather friends both old and new to keep the peace, finding help in some of the most unexpected places.
The second book in the enchanting Heartwood Hotel series, The Greatest Gift will warm your heart with its endearing characters and exquisite illustrations.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | July 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1484746394
Written by Terry Lynn Johnson
Publisher’s Synopsis: A high-stakes adventure series perfect for fans of the I Survived series and Hatchet.
Eleven-year-old Travis and his family are on a whale watch off the coast of Washington when disaster strikes. The boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the ice-cold chaotic waves. Separated from their families and struggling to stay afloat, Travis and twelve-year-old Marina must use all of their grit and knowledge to survive.
With seventeen years of hands-on experience and training in remote areas, survival expert Terry Lynn Johnson (Ice Dogs; Sled Dog School) creates on-the-edge-of-your-seat storytelling featuring the real skills that kids need to survive a disaster. This book includes Coast Guard-approved cold-water survival tips; you may have a better chance of surviving a real-life cold-water disaster after reading this book.
Stay calm. Stay smart. Survive.
Ages 7-10 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544970106
Written by A.F. Harold
Illustrated by Levi Pinfold
Publisher’s Synopsis: Frank thought her summer couldn’t get any worse–until big, weird, smelly Nick Underbridge rescues her from a bully, and she winds up at his house.
Frank quickly realizes there’s more to Nick than meets the eye. When she’s at his house, she hears the strangest, most beautiful music, music which leads her to a mysterious, hidden door. Beyond the door are amazing creatures that she never even dreamed could be real. For the first time in forever, Frank feels happy . . . and she and Nick start to become friends.
But Nick’s incredible secrets are also accompanied by great danger. Frank must figure out how to help her new friend, the same way that he has helped her.
Paired with gorgeous black-and-white illustrations from Levi Pinfold, acclaimed author A. F. Harrold weaves a powerful story about unlikely friendship, strange magic, and keeping the shadows at bay.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | July 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1681194011
Written by Robert Beatty
Publisher’s Synopsis: The storms are coming… Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.
A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it’s too late.
With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.
In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | July 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1484775042
Written by Ellen Oh
Publisher’s Synopsis: We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother. A riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, this tale will have you guessing at every turn!
Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | July 25, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0062430083
Written by Karen English
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s 1965, Los Angeles. All twelve-year-old Sophie wants to do is write her book, star in the community play, and hang out with her friend Jennifer. But she’s the new black kid in a nearly all-white neighborhood; her beloved sister, Lily, is going away to college soon; and her parents’ marriage is rocky. There’s also her family’s new, disapproving housekeeper to deal with. When riots erupt in nearby Watts and a friend is unfairly arrested, Sophie learns that life—and her own place in it—is even more complicated than she’d once thought.
Leavened with gentle humor, this story is perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Clarion Books | July 11, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544839571
Written by Corabel Shofner
Publisher’s Synopsis: A heartfelt debut about a spunky girl determined to save her family and find her way home.
Twelve-year-old Ruby Clyde Henderson’s life changes the day her mother’s boyfriend holds up a convenience store, and her mother is wrongly jailed for assisting with the crime. Ruby and her pet pig, Bunny, find their way to her estranged Aunt Eleanor’s home. Aunt Eleanor is an ornery nun who lives in the midst of a peach orchard on Paradise Ranch. With a little patience, she and Ruby begin to get along, but Eleanor has secrets of her own―secrets that might mean more hard times for Ruby.
It’s not going to be easy for Ruby Clyde and Eleanor to heal old wounds, face the past, and learn to trust each other. But with enough little pieces of love, they might be able to bring their family together again, and learn that paradise isn’t a place―it’s the feeling of being home. Corabel Shofner’s ALMOST PARADISE is a funny and heartfelt story of determination, belonging, and the joys of loving one another.
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | July 25, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0374303785
*Header image form the cover of The Song From Somewhere Else, written by A.F. Harold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Bloomsbury USA 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.