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The Queen’s Shadow by Cybele Young

The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See by Cybele Young. Kids Can Press, 2015. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 The queen is throwing a party with all of her favorite animal friends when the lights go out and her shadow goes missing! Who has stolen the queen’s shadow? An investigation […]

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*Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Aladdin, 2006 (reprint; originally published 1935). 288 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Recommended for: ages 8-12, especially girls Bottom Line: Caddie Woodlawn, one of America’s favorite pioneer girls, turns 80 this year; her adventurous story of growing up on the frontier continues to delight young readers. Based on […]

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Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick. Simon & Shuster, 2014. 354 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: ages 10-12 and up Bottom Line: Absolutely Truly begins a fun and wholesome mystery series for middle graders set in Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire. If you live in Austin, Texas, where the sun is hot […]

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All the Answers by Kate Messner

All the Answers by Kate Messner. Bloomsbury, 2015. 256 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: ages 10-12, especially girls Bottom Line: In this middle-grades novel, Ava finds a magic pencil that writes answers out to her questions; the question is, is that really a good discovery? In her haste one morning, Ava grabs […]

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*Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

*Tuck Everlasting (40th Anniversary Edition) by Natalie Babbitt, forward by Gregory Maguire. Square Fish, 2015. 192 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt’s masterpiece first published 40 years ago, is as timeless as its title characters. Time is holding still in the town of Treegap: the first week of […]

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The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. Random House, 2014. 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) Bottom Line: A quirky, fun, “science-y” middle grades read about the meaning and importance of life; the stars of the show are 11-year-old Ellie and her grandfather who just happens to be […]

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Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt, 2014. 234 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) and up Bottom Line: Arcady’s Goal exposes the fear and bleakness of Stalinist Russia through the eyes of a 10-year-old soccer prodigy. Arcady is routinely called a “criminal” by his keepers though he has […]

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Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Revolution by Deborah Wiles (#2 in The Sixties Trilogy). Scholastic, 2014. 485 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 4 (12-15) and up Bottom Line: Revolution uses media clips and an engaging story to introduce middle grade readers to the tumultuous sixties, focusing on the struggle for civil rights. This is the second […]

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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Feiwel & Friends, 2014. 223 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, age 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) and up Bottom Line: Rain Reign gives middle-grade readers a window into the mind and experience of an autistic girl as she suffers the trauma of losing her dog. Rose (Rows) Howard […]

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The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane Evans. Little, Brown, 2014. 319 pages, including notes and glossary. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) and up Bottom Line: Though it deals with the tragic recent history of Darfur, Sudan, The Red Pencil makes an alien culture and distant […]

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*Hosanna, Loud Hosannas by Barbara and David Leeman

*Hosanna, Loud Hosannas: Essential Hymns Every Child Should Sing compiled and written by Barbara and David Leeman, 2014. 300 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Maturity Level: All Part hymnal, part textbook, and part devotional, Hosanna, Loud Hosannas is a beautiful, excellent resource for Christians of all ages although it is designed for children in first […]

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