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27 of the Best Kids Chapter Books and Middle Grade Books of 2019, So Far

The Children’s Book Review | April 4, 2019

27 of the Best Kids Books From 2019

Wow! Just wow! So many amazing new novels have been released in 2019, so far. The books featured here are our favorite new books from January through March. Putting together a list like this is a ton of work … especially since we want everyone to be able to find at least one book on the list that resonates with them. You’ll find themes of humor, heroes, heartbreak, mystery, diversity, fantasy, friendship, family, loss, loneliness, love, and some great non-fiction. We can’t wait to hear which of these become your new favorite books!

Ruby in the SkyRuby in the Sky

Written by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes does not want her new classmates to ask about her father. She does not want them to know her mother has been arrested. And she definitely does not want to make any friends. Ruby just wants to stay as silent and invisible as a new moon in the frozen sky. She and her mother won’t be staying long in Vermont anyway, and then things can go back to the way they were before everything went wrong.

But keeping to herself isn’t easy when Ahmad Saleem, a Syrian refugee, decides he’s her new best friend. Or when she meets “the Bird Lady,” a recluse named Abigail who lives in a ramshackle shed near Ruby’s house. Before long Ahmad and Abigail have become Ruby’s friends―and she realizes there is more to their stories than everyone knows.

As ugly rumors begin to swirl around the people Ruby loves, she must make a choice: break her silence, or risk losing everything that’s come to mean so much to her. Ruby in the Sky is a story of the walls we hide behind, and the magic that can happen when we’re brave enough to break free.

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Ages 8-11 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0374309053

Tito the BonecrusherTito the Bonecrusher

Written by Melissa Thomson

Publisher’s Synopsis: In Melissa Thomson’s first standalone middle-grade novel, the beloved author of the Keena Ford chapter book series delivers a funny yet moving story about fathers, sons, and criminal justice.

Oliver “Spaghetti-O” Jones’s dad is about to be jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, and Oliver believes the only way to save him is with the help of his favorite lucha-libre wrestler turned action star, Tito the Bonecrusher. Together with his best friend, Brianna (a.k.a. “Brain”), and their new ally Paul “Popcorn” Robards, Oliver devises a madcap plan to spring his dad from a Florida correctional facility.

Heartwarming and hilarious, this book looks at what it takes to be a hero . . . and what happens when you realize that saving the day might not always be possible.

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Ages 8-11 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0374303532

Spy RunnerSpy Runner

Written by Eugene Yelchin

Publisher’s Synopsis: In Spy Runner, a noir mystery middle grade novel from Newbery Honor author Eugene Yelchin, a boy stumbles upon a secret that jeopardizes American national security.

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Ages 8-11 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | February 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1250120816

Ryan Pitts: Afghanistan: A Firefight in the Mountains of Wanat

Written by Michael P. Spradlin

Publisher’s Synopsis: Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts enlisted in the Army when he was seventeen, and was just twenty-two years old when he fought at the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan, where his heroic actions earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. On July 13, 2008, Staff Sergeant Pitts was trapped and badly wounded at an elevated outpost, but helped turn back a brutal attack by 200 insurgents and save many of his company in one of the bloodiest battles of the war with Afghanistan.

The Medal of Honor series profiles recipients of the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration, awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary acts of valor.

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Ages 8-11 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1250157119

New Kid by Jerry CraftNew Kid

Written and Illustrated by Jerry Craft

Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062691200

Right as Rain by Lindsey StoddardRight as Rain

Written by Lindsey Stoddard

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the critically acclaimed author of Just Like Jackie comes a strikingly tender novel about one family’s heartbreak and the compassion that carries them through, perfect for fans of Sara Pennypacker, Lisa Graff, and Ann M. Martin.

It’s been almost a year since Rain’s brother Guthrie died, and her parents still don’t know it was all Rain’s fault. In fact, no one does—Rain buried her secret deep, no matter how heavy it weighs on her heart.

So when her mom suggests moving the family from Vermont to New York City, Rain agrees. But life in the big city is different. She’s never seen so many people in one place—or felt more like an outsider.

With her parents fighting more than ever and the anniversary of Guthrie’s death approaching, Rain is determined to keep her big secret close to her heart. But even she knows that when you bury things deep, they grow up twice as tall.

Readers will fall in love with the pluck and warmth of Stoddard’s latest heroine and the strength that even a small heart can lend.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | February 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062652942

A Good Kind of TroubleA Good Kind of Trouble

Written by Lisa Moore Ramée

Publisher’s Synopsis: From debut author Lisa Moore Ramée comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what’s right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and the novels of Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | March 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062836687

Sweeping Up the HeartSweeping Up the Heart

Written by Kevin Henkes

Publisher’s Synopsis: From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times–bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever.

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and stubborn English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure.

Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Using crisp, lyrical, literary writing and moments of humor and truth, award-winning author Kevin Henkes deftly captures how it feels to be almost thirteen.

With themes of family, death, grief, creativity, and loyalty, Sweeping Up the Heart is for readers of Kate DiCamillo, Rebecca Stead, Lauren Wolk, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and Pam Muñoz Ryan.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | March 19, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062852540

EventownEventown

Written by Corey Ann Haydu

Publisher’s Synopsis: The world tilted for Elodee this year, and now it’s impossible for her to be the same as she was before. Not when her feelings have such a strong grip on her heart. Not when she and her twin sister, Naomi, seem to be drifting apart. So when Elodee’s mom gets a new job in Eventown, moving seems like it might just fix everything.

Indeed, life in Eventown is comforting and exciting all at once. Their kitchen comes with a box of recipes for Elodee to try. Everyone takes the scenic way to school or work—past rows of rosebushes and unexpected waterfalls. On blueberry-picking field trips, every berry is perfectly ripe.

Sure, there are a few odd rules, and the houses all look exactly alike, but it’s easy enough to explain—until Elodee realizes that there are only three ice cream flavors in Eventown. Ever. And they play only one song in music class.

Everything may be “even” in Eventown, but is there a price to pay for perfection—and pretending?

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | February 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062689801

The Lost GirlThe Lost Girl

Written by Anne Ursu

Publisher’s Synopsis: Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award nominee The Real Boy, returns with a story of the power of fantasy, the limits of love, and the struggles inherent in growing up.

When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark.

Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.

When fifth grade arrives, however, it’s decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.

Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace.

As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Walden Pond Press | February 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062275097

How High the MoonHow High the Moon

Written by Karyn Parsons

Publisher’s Synopsis: To Kill a Mockingbird meets One Crazy Summer in this powerful, bittersweet debut about one girl’s journey to reconnect with her mother and learn the truth about her father in the tumultuous times of the Jim Crow South.

In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944, 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone, and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston.

So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history.

And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls.

Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0316484008

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St JamesThe Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

Written by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James navigates heart surgery, reconnecting with her lost mother, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl in this stunning, heartfelt novel–perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Erin Entrada Kelly.

When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a “New Life Plan”: 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time.
Her “New Life Plan” seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. With the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.
This sweet, tender novel dares readers to find the might in their own hearts.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0316515535

Song for a WhaleSong for a Whale

Written by Lynne Kelly

Publisher’s Synopsis: In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1524770235

Focused by Alyson GerberFocused

Written by Alyson Gerber

Publisher’s Synopsis: Clea can’t control her thoughts. She knows she has to do her homework . . . but she gets distracted. She knows she can’t just say whatever thought comes into her head . . . but sometimes she can’t help herself. She know she needs to focus . . . but how can she do that when the people around her are always chewing gum loudly or making other annoying noises?

It’s starting to be a problem–not just in school, but when Clea’s playing chess or just hanging out with her best friend. Other kids are starting to notice. When Clea fails one too many tests, her parents take her to be tested, and she finds out that she has ADHD, which means her attention is all over the place instead of where it needs to be.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | March 26, 2019 |ISBN-13: 978-1338185973

Over the Moon by Natalie LloydOver the Moon

Written by Natalie Lloyd

Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Mallie knows better than to dream. In Coal Top, you live the story you’re given: boys toil in the mines and girls work as servants. Mallie can’t bear the idea of that kind of life, but her family is counting on her wages to survive.

It wasn’t always this way. Before the Dust came, the people of Coal Top could weave starlight into cloth. They’d wear these dreaming clothes to sleep and wake up with the courage to seek adventure . . . or the peace to heal a broken heart. But now nothing can penetrate Coal Top’s blanket of sorrow.

So when Mallie is chosen for a dangerous competition in which daring (and ideally, orphaned) children train flying horses, she jumps at the chance. Maybe she’ll change her story. Maybe she’ll even find the magic she needs to dream again.

But the situation proves even more dangerous when Mallie uncovers a sinister mystery at the heart of Coal Top’s struggles — a mystery some powerful people will do anything to protect.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1338118490

Max and the MidknightsMax and the Midknights

Written and Illustrated by Lincoln Peirce

Publisher’s Synopsis: Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!

Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1101931080

The Moon WithinThe Moon Within

Written by Aida Salazar

Publisher’s Synopsis: Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.

But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?

A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | February 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1338283372

Rocket to the Moon Big Ideas That Changed the WorldRocket to the Moon! Big Ideas That Changed the World

Written by Don Brown

Publisher’s Synopsis: On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when the Apollo 11 landed on the moon. But it wasn’t just one man who got us to the moon. Rocket to the Moon! explores the people and technology that made the moon landing possible. Instead of examining one person’s life, it focuses on the moon landing itself, showing the events leading up to it and how it changed the world. The book takes readers through the history of rocket building: from ancient Chinese rockets, to “bombs bursting in air” during the War of 1812, to Russia’s Sputnik program, to the moon landing. Beautifully illustrated and well-researched, this book is the perfect resource for curious readers and tomorrow’s scientists. It includes a timeline of space travel, a bibliography, and an index.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1419734045

Goodbye Mr SpaldingGoodbye, Mr. Spalding

Written by Jennifer Robin Barr

Publiser’s Synopsis: Set in Philadelphia during the Great Depression, this middle-grade historical novel tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his best friend as they attempt to stop a wall from being built at Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics, that would block the view of the baseball field from their rooftops.

In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola live across the street from Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Their families and others on the street make extra money by selling tickets to bleachers on their flat rooftops, which have a perfect view of the field. However, falling ticket sales at the park prompt the manager and park owner to decide to build a wall that will block the view. Jimmy and Lola come up with a variety of ways to prevent the wall from being built, knowing that not only will they miss the view, but their families will be impacted from the loss of income. As Jimmy becomes more and more desperate to save their view, his dubious plans create a rift between him and Lola, and he must work to repair their friendship.

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Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Calkins Creek | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1684371785

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseThe Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Written by Dan Gemeinhart

Publisher’s Synopsis: Five years.

That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.

Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys…

Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”

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Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1250196705

Tree of DreamsTree of Dreams

Written by Laura Resau

Publisher’s Synopsis: Prepare for a journey into a world filled with what so many crave — the sweet savoring of a chocolate drop. A drop that can melt even the most troubled realities. But in this nuanced, heartrending story, before good can emerge, there is destruction, the bombarding of a people, their culture, heritage, sacred beliefs, and the very soul that drives their traditions.

This urgent, beautiful novel takes readers into the ugly realities that surround the destruction of the Amazon rain forest and its people. Acclaimed author Laura Resau shows us that love is more powerful than hatred, and that by working together, hope can be magically restored, root and branch.

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Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0545800884

Genesis Begins AgainGenesis Begins Again

Written by Alicia D. Williams

Publisher’s Synopsis: This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.

What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.

But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

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Ages 9-13 | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1481465809

This Promise of Change One Girls Story in the Fight for School EqualityThis Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality

Written by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

Publisher’s Synopsis: In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. Jo Ann–clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students—found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen? This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.

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Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1681198521

Running with WolvesRunning with Wolves

Written by Jim Dutcher and Jamie Dutcher

Publisher’s Synopsis: Discover the wonder of wolves from Emmy-award winning filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher as they tell their story of the six years they watched, learned about, and lived with the Sawtooth wolf pack.

Adventure, friendship, and family come together in this riveting memoir as two award-winning filmmakers take you through the experience of the years they spent living in the wild with a real-life wolf pack. Jim and Jamie set out to show the world that instead of fearsome beasts, wolves are social, complex, and incredible creatures that deserve our protection. Deep in the mountain wilderness of Idaho, they set up Wolf Camp, where they spent years capturing the emotional, exciting, and sometimes heartbreaking story of their pack.

Meet Kamots, the fearless leader. Learn from wise Matsi. Explore the forest with shy Lakota. And watch as adorable pups grow from silly siblings to a devoted pack. See how these brave wolves overcome all odds, battling mountain lions and frigid temperatures. Most of all, discover the surprising kindness, compassion, and devotion that Jim and Jamie discovered by living with wolves.

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Ages 10-13 | Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1426333583

Standing Up Against HateStanding Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII

Written by Mary Cronk Farrell

Publisher’s Synopsis: Standing Up Against Hate tells the stories of the African American women who enlisted in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in World War II. They quickly discovered that they faced as many obstacles in the armed forces as they did in everyday life. However, they refused to back down. They interrupted careers and left family, friends, and loved ones to venture into unknown and sometimes dangerous territory. They survived racial prejudice and discrimination with dignity, succeeded in jobs women had never worked before, and made crucial contributions to the military war effort. The book centers around Charity Adams, who commanded the only black WAAC battalion sent overseas and became the highest ranking African American woman in the military by the end of the war. Along with Adams’s story are those of other black women who played a crucial role in integrating the armed forces. Their tales are both inspiring and heart-wrenching. The book includes a timeline, bibliography, and index.

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Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1419731600

The True History of Lyndie B HawkinsThe True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins

Written by Gail Shepherd

Publisher’s Synopsis: A one-of-a-kind voice lights up this witty, heartwarming debut set in 1985 Tennessee about the power of homespun wisdom (even when it’s wrong), the clash between appearances and secrets, and the barriers to getting help even when it’s needed most.

Lyndie B. Hawkins loves history, research, and getting to the truth no matter what. But when it comes to her family, her knowledge is full of holes. Like, what happened to her father in the Vietnam War? Where does he disappear to for days? And why exactly did they have to move in with her grandparents?

Determined to mold recalcitrant Lyndie into a nice Southern girl even if it kills her, her fusspot grandmother starts with lesson number one: Family=Loyalty=keeping quiet about family secrets. Especially when it comes to Lyndie’s daddy.

Then DB, a boy from the local juvenile detention center comes to stay with Lyndie’s best friend, Dawn. He’s as friendly and open as a puppy. There to shape up his act, he has an optimism that’s infectious. But it puts Lyndie in direct opposition to her grandmother who’d rather keep up appearances than get her son the help he needs.

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Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0525428459

The Bridge HomeThe Bridge Home

Written by Padma Venkatraman

Publisher’s Synopsis: Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman’s stirring middle-grade debut.

Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

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Ages 10+ | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1524738112

The Best Kids Chapter Books and Novels of 2019: 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 .

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.

Comments
  • While I haven’t read the majority of these books yet, I have read The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and I was blown away. If even a few of these books are of the quality of this one book, it is going to be difficult for the award committees for this age-group to make choices. The voice of Coyote is absolutely amazing and the adults while mostly silent share insights that are dead on and add the perfect touch at just the right moment. As a retired elementary librarian, knowing the quality of children’s and YA literature, I rarely read “adult” books and am always thrilled when I find a book this perfect. I told a librarian friend that Coyote Sunrise is actually Ruby Lavender, if Ruby had lived with her dad. Love Ruby Lavender is my favorite and now she has a cousin!!

    November 29, 2019

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