Matthew Muddles Through (Matthew in the Middle #1) by Glenda Mathes. CreateSpace, 2014, 220 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: The everyday adventures of a small-town preacher’s kid acquire eternal significance in this low-key series for middle graders. Matthew Vos belongs to a shrinking culture: the church-going, catechism-learning, […]
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve. Random House, 2014. 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 8-10 Bottom Line: A rollicking chapter book adventure with missing parents, mysterious islands, and one determined boy. When Oliver’s parents disappear while exploring a mysterious island, 10-year-old Oliver Crisp doesn’t panic. He is made of sterner […]
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015. 198 pages including appendices Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The story of how a handful of schoolboys sparked the Danish Resistance makes thrilling reading for middle-graders interested in WWII history. […]
SIX by M. M. Vaughan. Simon & Shuster (Margaret K. Elderberry Books), 2015. 361 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-14 Bottom Line: SIX, a science-fiction novel for middle-graders, offers likeable characters and the intriguing possibility of teleportation. Parker Banks has had a lot of adjusting to do over the last […]
Fort by Cynthia DeFelice. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2015. 200 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 10-12 (especially boys and reluctant readers) Bottom Line: Sweet-but-rough justice is served up in this boys-only summer tale that pits three losers against two bullies. Wyatt Jones, age 11, is enjoying the last of his summer […]
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. Greenwillow Books, 2015. 368 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 15 and up Bottom Line: A darker steam-punk fantasy, Illusionarium will be enjoyed by teenage boys and girls who enjoy alternative reality. Arthurias, 1863, is an outpost colony in the North Sea populated by miners and those who love a […]
Making the Team by Stephanie Perry Moore and Derrick Moore. Alec London Series. Lift Every Voice Books (a Moody Imprint), 2011. 160 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Recommended For: Ages 8-10, especially boys Bottom Line: Alec London learns to trust God in the midst of parent issues, friend issues, and sibling issues in this realistic […]
The Goods, vol. 1 by McSweeney’s. Big Picture Press, 2013. 96 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Recommended For: Ages 8 and up Bottom Line: A quirky compilation of McSweeney’s magazine inserts featuring clever, witty takes on such classic kids’ magazine fare as mazes, spot the difference, secret words, jokes, and similar elements. What happens […]
*Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol. Puffin Books, reprints 2007-present. 96 pages each. Reading Level: Chapter books, Ages 4-8, Middle grades, Ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 (especially boys), Ages 8-10 (especially boys) Bottom line: A modest, well-read boy detective solves crimes great and small in these classic mysteries. Robberies, forgery, swindling, blackmail, bullying, and […]
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader edition) by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Dial, 2015. 292 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-up, especially boys Bottom Line: William Kamkwamba’s own story of his efforts to bring reliable electrical power to his impoverished African village makes fascinating reading, especially for […]
The Founding Fathers! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America, by Jonah Winter, Illustration by Barry Blitt. Atheneum, 2015. 40 pages Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 7-12 Bottom Line: The Founding Fathers! profiles fourteen men who featured prominently in our country’s birth, using a generally fair but perhaps too […]
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