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Bookshop's Favorite Middle Grade Books

Dive into Bookshop Santa Cruz's collection of Middle Grade books. Not quite young readers, but not ready for YA just yet, these books are perfect for your kids. They tackle themes and issues that are relevant to today's youth. With relatable characters and gripping storylines, our favorite books are perfect for middle grade readers.

Oliver’s Great Big Universe by Jorge Cham

Astrophysics can be a very challenging topic for young children to grasp, but it becomes much easier to understand when it is told in a relatable and hilarious way. Stylistically, this book is a blend of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Science Comics series. Hand this to a kid, knowing that they just might be determined to become a physicist for at least a month after reading it. 

—Isaac

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Oliver's Great Big Universe: A Novel By Jorge Cham Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781419764080
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amulet Books - September 26th, 2023

The Plot to Kill a Queen by Deborah Hopkinson

After sneaking out to see a play, Emilia overhears two men plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth. Sir Francis Walsingham—Emilia’s guardian and Queen Elizabeth’s famous spymaster— asks her to do the impossible and infiltrate Mary, Queen of Scots’, household in hopes of uncovering the truth. With plenty of nods to theater, as well as Emilia’s pluck and courage (not to mention her adorable dog!), this story is sure to charm fans of The Book of Boy and other historical fiction. 

—Ivy

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The Plot to Kill a Queen By Deborah Hopkinson Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338660586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - October 17th, 2023

The Dreamatics by Michelle Cuevas

Open the curtain into the enchanting world of The Dreamatics, a captivating tale that transports readers to the magical Lunarian Grand Theater. Told with whimsy and emotion, this novel weaves dreams into reality in a way that’s both exhilarating and heartwarming. Michelle Cuevas crafts a world where dreams take the spotlight and emotions dance, creating an unforgettable experience that lingers long after the final page.

—Jenny

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The Dreamatics By Michelle Cuevas Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593532225
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rocky Pond Books - September 12th, 2023

Dogtown by Katherine Applegate & Gennifer Choldenko

Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan) and Gennifer Choldenko (the Al Capone at Alcatraz series) have teamed up in this quirky illustrated series about life in and out of a dog shelter—not just any shelter, but the futuristic Dogtown for real and robot dogs. With hopes of reuniting with their families, two dogs, along with a very helpful mouse, escape through the front doors into the wintery world. Short chapters and Wallace West’s expressive drawings make this an addictive read for recent chapter book graduates.

—Michelle

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Dogtown (A Dogtown Book #1) By Katherine Applegate, Gennifer Choldenko, Wallace West (Illustrator) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250811608
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 19th, 2023

The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall by Ali Standish

In this reimagining, a young Arthur Conan Doyle is summoned to a mysterious boarding school dedicated to extraordinary children. All is not well, though; the school is repeatedly being vandalized. When the existence of a dangerous secret society is revealed, Arthur and his friends are pushed toward their limits in more ways than one. This book will delight you and keep you turning the pages, with the promise of more adventures to come! 

—S.M.C.

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The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall Book 1 By Ali Standish Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780063275577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - September 12th, 2023

The Shape of Time by Ryan Calejo

As a hurricane moves closer to Miami, all Antares wants to do is bury his head in a book. However, three strange substitute teachers add a “wrinkle” into his plan, kickstarting a hilarious adventure filled with secret societies, mysterious artifacts, and a healthy dose of time travel. This series opener is part A Wrinkle in Time, part The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and all fun.

—Ivy

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The Shape of Time (Rymworld Arcana, Book 1) By Ryan Calejo Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781419759888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amulet Books - September 12th, 2023

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Since the creation of enslavement, people in shackles have resisted their bonds. We’re taught the North was the way to freedom, but it was not, by any means, the only way. Homer and his sister Ada ran away from their plantation into an inhospitable swamp and found the unthinkable, a thriving community of free Black folk. This Newbery winning book is so, so vitally important. Complex and timely, I read it all in one sitting. 

— Ivy

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Freewater (Newbery & Coretta Scott King Award Winner) By Amina Luqman-Dawson Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780316056670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Jimmy Patterson - August 15th, 2023

Deephaven by Ethan M. Aldri

Incredibly spooky and spellbinding, this novel follows Guinevere “Nev” Tallow, a nonbinary new student at the prestigious Deephaven Academy, as they desperately search for a fresh start but instead get swept up in a supernatural mystery at the school. Aldridge’s writing and illustrations give the book a timeless gothic feel that will instantly draw readers in. Anyone who loves exploring old buildings and solving supernatural mysteries will be intrigued!—Alana

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Deephaven (Deephaven Mystery #1) By Ethan M. Aldridge Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063283169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quill Tree Books - September 5th, 2023

The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead & Wendy Mass

This middle-grade gem full of friendship, mystery and ghostly librarians is sure to be another classic. The tale—told from multiple viewpoints—revolves around a small free library, watched over by a savvy orange cat named Mortimer. Readers will delight in trying to predict just what happened to the original town library, while also discovering how the smallest characters can make the largest contributions to the story. The Lost Library is a treasure trove for bibliophiles of all ages.—Jenny

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The Lost Library By Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250838810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - August 29th, 2023

Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith

In the medieval royal capital of Helston, the rules of the realm dictate that girls study magic and boys train to be knights. Callie, however, isn’t a boy or a girl; they just want to be a knight. Bolstered by the support of their new friends, Callie takes on rigid gender norms and fights for change, showing that family are the ones who love you unconditionally. Sir Callie’s adventures continue with book 2, which comes out this November!—Sofia

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Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston By Esme Symes-Smith Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780593485804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - August 8th, 2023

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