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 […]
George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Paul Galdone (cover image by Tomie DePaola). Putnam & Grosset, 1969. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 4-10 George Washington Allen’s curiosity leads to research when he ponders what his namesake ate for breakfast. Before the days of Google, research was conducted […]
The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Pope. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001. 272 pages Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: In this classic YA novel originally published in 1958, four ghosts from Revolutionary War days teach a lonely young woman about romance. Peggy Grahame, latest in an unbroken […]
*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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp. Tor, 2014. 295 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: The Accidental Highwayman plunges the reader into 18th-century Britain on a wild, fun ride through its magical subtext. Here’s the subtitle: Being the Tale of KIT BRISTOL, His Horse MIDNIGHT, […]
The Young Carthaginian by G.A. Henty. Audiobook read by Jim Weiss. Greathall Productions, 2004. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8 and up Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up You would think that G.A. Henty, the prolific Victorian writer of vivid historical fiction, was an eyewitness to Hannibal’s campaign to conquer Rome by taking his army […]
The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. Square Fish, 2000 (reprint; original pub. date 1998). 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades (ages 10-12) Maturity Level: 3, 4 (ages 10-12, 12-14) Fifteen-year-old Simon Green has just finished third grade for the fourth time, and his beloved teacher Miss Rogers has convinced him he needs to “spread […]
My Friend the Enemy by J. B. Cheaney. Yearling, 2007 (reprint edition). 272 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades (8-10, 10-12) Maturity Level: 3, 4 (ages 8-12) If another nation bombs the U.S. on your birthday and catapults your nation into war, abruptly changing your community, you’d be mad, too. When this happens to 12-year-old Hazel Anderson, […]
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2011 (reissue of 1989 copy). 156 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) Number the Stars is one of those books that carries many awards and accolades: Newbery Award (1990), National Jewish Book Award (1990), Rebecca Caudill Award (1992), and others. It has […]
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- R.J. Anderson: Laura: Though not explicitly a YA publisher, Encla...
- Betsy: Thanks for the feedback. I love that C. S. Lewis b...
- Betsy: Great suggestion, Melinda! I haven't used that pa...
- Cheryl: Betsy, this piece reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote...
- Christina: Well said!...