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Spring 2020 Middle Grade Book Recommendations

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

This story layers themes of Korean culture, family, and fantasy and highlights the importance of family history and our connections to our loved ones who are no longer with us. I related to Lily’s connection to her family through the stories and recipes passed down to her. This will be an interesting read for fans of folktales, myths, or Korean culture and will be helpful to anyone going through a big change or processing grief. —CELESTE

 

 

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When You Trap a Tiger Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524715700
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 28th, 2020

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar

Reading this new Wayside School book is like stepping back into the classroom after a very long summer break: the awkward familiarity of a welcoming embrace. Full of recognizable faces and adventures, these stories will appeal to a wide variety of readers (who can’t relate to a lost umbrella or collecting toenails as homework?). It’s incredibly fun to read out loud as well, and I hope we don’t have to wait another 25 years for the next one!

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Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom Cover Image
By Louis Sachar, Tim Heitz (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062965387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - March 3rd, 2020

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

Yumi yearns (and fears) to be heard for who she is by her parents. She wants to be a standup comedian while her parents want her to pursue academic excellence. After an incidence of mistaken identity, Yumi is secretly following her dream, but it can come crashing down at any moment. I wanted nothing more than for Yumi to find her voice, and her worries became my own. Fans of The First Rule of Punk will love this book!

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Stand Up, Yumi Chung! Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780525554974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kokila - March 17th, 2020

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

What an intriguing book! Deaf and hearing readers alike will love meeting Mary, a 12-year-old deaf girl who lives on Martha’s Vineyard in 1805. The author, herself a deaf librarian, takes us back in history and opens our eyes to the world of the hearing impaired. I’m impressed with the author’s ability to weave themes of cultural pride, intolerance, racism into the story. A great read for the history buff with a growing, compassionate heart.

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Show Me a Sign Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338255812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - March 3rd, 2020

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Nizhoni Begay can see monsters no one else can see. So when her father’s kidnapped by his new monster boss, it’s up to her—with the help of her brother Mac and best friend Davery—to travel to the land of the Dinétah to save him. This story’s filled with action, humor, and adventure, with a focus on family and respecting the environment. Fans of Percy Jackson are sure to enjoy this newest addition to Rick Riordan Presents based in Navajo belief.

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Race to the Sun Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781368024662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - January 14th, 2020

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park deftly evokes a historical setting familiar to many of us, while imbuing it with sorely needed—and historically accurate—diverse and representative perspective, giving us a new hero to follow over the prairie. A book perfect for any kid (or adult) who hungers for tangible historical fiction, celebrates friendship triumphing over adversity, and yearns for heroes who don’t shy away from confronting challenges both practical and cultural to survive and thrive.

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Prairie Lotus Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781328781505
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - March 3rd, 2020

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek

Mathlete, amateur astronomer, and… drag queen? Martin McLean is a quiet kid dealing with middle school by making the least amount of noise possible; that is, until his Tío Billy introduces him to the world of drag, and he finds a new way to express himself. Lose yourself in this tender story about self-discovery and the power of community. 

 

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Martin McLean, Middle School Queen Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781454935704
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sterling Children's Books - January 7th, 2020

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead really knows young people and what they think about. Bea, age ten, has lots of things on her mind like her parents’ divorce, bothersome eczema, difficult classmates, the desire for a sister, and her father’s upcoming marriage to a wonderful man named Jesse. Fortunately, Miriam, her therapist, can help. Any young reader will identify with Bea, who learns that “….life is a trip. A very long one. And what matters most is the people you travel with.”

 

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The List of Things That Will Not Change Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101938096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - April 7th, 2020

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

I loved watching Zoe’s transformation from someone who knows little about social justice to a person determined to help right a egregious wrong. I also appreciated how friendship was examined in this book: when Zoe catches her friend not standing up for her, she expects him not only to apologize but also to change his behavior—good modeling for all, especially girls. A great choice for fans of A Good Kind of Trouble and Lalani of the Distant Sea.

 

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062875853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 14th, 2020

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

After unnecessary escalation by school administration, Donte, who is Black, finds himself in the back of a cop car and suspended from school. His white-passing brother, Trey, doesn’t understand why people treat Donte differently, but both find ways forward from an unlikely place. Complex and raw, this book challenged me in the best way and showed me a new perspective on racial injustice. Perfect for kids not quite ready for The Hate U Give.

 

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Black Brother, Black Brother Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316493802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 3rd, 2020

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