Tag Archives: Fiction

30 Modern, Middle Grade Classics

26 May

modern classics (2).png

Summer is right around the corner and I don’t know if you hear this at your library, but we often have parents come in asking for classics to give to their children to read over summer break. This request usually makes me cringe on the inside, while I try to find something that will make the parent happy and that the child will enjoy. I’ve also seen/heard a lot about the lack of diversity in children’s classic literature, or when the diversity is present, it is portrayed in an inaccurate and antiquated way. So I curated a list of middle grade titles that I think would be great to highlight as modern-day classics – books with more diversity, great storylines and characters you won’t soon forget. I tried to keep the list filled with fairly recent books (think the past 5 years) and I know I’ve missed a BUNCH of titles that you would most likely add, so please do – in the comment section below.  Enjoy!

  1. Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  2. The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
  3. The Wednesday Wars  by Gary D. Schmidt
  4. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  5. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  6. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
  7. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  8. Inside Out & Back Again by Thannha Lai
  9. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
  10. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  11. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
  12. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  13. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  14. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
  15. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
  16. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  17. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
  18. As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
  19. The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
  20. Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
  21. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
  22. I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín
  23. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  24. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  25. The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli
  26. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  27. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
  28. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  29. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  30. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

2016 CYBILS Awards

15 Feb

The awards have been announced! The CYBILS (Children’s and Young Adult Blogger’s Literary Awards) are announced on February 14th of each year. The award began in 2009 to “recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal.” The categories include:

  • Audiobooks
  • Book Apps (Currently Inactive)
  • Early Chapter Books
  • Easy Readers
  • Fiction Picture Books & Board Books
  • Graphic Novels
    • Elementary/Middle-Grade
    • Young Adult
  • Middle-Grade Fiction
  • Nonfiction
    • Juvenile/Elementary
    • Middle-Grade/Young Adult
  • Poetry
  • Speculative Fiction
    • Elementary/Middle-Grade
    • Young Adult
  • Young Adult Fiction

And now, for the winners of the 2016 CYBILS, congratulations!

2016 CYBILS.pngAudiobooks – The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz
Read by Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Adam Gidwitz, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, and Arthur Morey.
Listening Library

Board Books – Cityblock (Alphablock)
by Christopher Franceschelli, illustrated by Peskimo
Harry N Abrams

Early Chapter Books – Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig (Book One)
by Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy
Candlewick Press

Easy Reader – Snail and Worm: Three Stories About Two Friends
by Tina Kugler
HMH Books for Young Readers

Elementary Non-Fiction – Giant Squid
by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Roaring Brook Press

Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels – Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Book 2) (Lowriders in Space)
by Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third
Chronicle Books

Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction – Shadow Magic
by Joshua Khan

Fiction Picture Books – A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Juvenile Non-Fiction – Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White
by Melissa Sweet

Middle Grade Fiction – Ghost (Track)
by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Middle Grade Non-Fiction – Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story
by Caren Stelson
Carolrhoda Books

Poetry The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
Wendy Lamb Books

Young  Adult Fiction – Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

Young Adult Graphic Novels – March: Book Three
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Top Shelf Productions

Young Adult Non-Fiction – Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland

Young Adult Speculative Fiction – Illuminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Won an ALA Youth Media Award That I Haven’t Read Yet

24 Jan


  1. March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (Coretta Scott King Author Book Winner, Printz Award Winner, Sibert Award Winner, YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Winner)
  2. Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan by Ashley Bryan  (Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book)
  3. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Winner, Caldecott Medal Winner)
  4. Sachiko:  A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Sibert Informational Book Honor Award)
  5. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Morris Award Winner)
  6. Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper and Raul Gonzalez III (Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner)
  7. Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved and Charlotte Pardi (Batchelder Award Winner)
  8. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (Stonewall Book Award for Young Adults Winner)
  9. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (Odyssey Award Winner)
  10. Freedom In Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie (Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created byThe Broke and the Bookish

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/19/16

19 Dec

I spent another great week reading!  This is becoming a trend (again) and I love it!  I’m still working my way through The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, but I also read Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina, Ghost by Jason Reynolds, Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon and Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet. It was a really great weekend of reading!

I’ve got a lot of reading planned for this holiday week, we’ll see how much reading I actually get to:

  • When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
  • Gertie’s Leap of Greatness by Kate Beasley
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • The Reader by Traci Chee
  • Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner
  • The Bookshop On the Corner by Jenny Colgan


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/31/16

31 Oct

I got a lot of reading down  over the past 24 hours (not so much throughout the week)… I finally finished Start With Why – not a book that was easy for me to get through, it seemed a little all over the place and wasn’t as well organized as I would have liked.  But, I’m done!  I also read the heart-wrenching book,  Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur about the effects of war, especially on children and how quickly it forces them to grow up.  It is a middle grade book and one that I think would spark a lot of discussion among kids; I’d be curious to hear what they have to say.  I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday and as I said last week, I was really happy with the way the series closed and I haven’t read anything else J.K. Rowling has published over the past few years.  I was hesitant to read the script being that it’s a different format than the series and in all reality written by other writers, but my curiosity was piqued so I gave it a shot. And I should have just left well enough alone.  It was sadly not the world of Harry Potter that I lived in for so many years growing up and unfortunately the script gave me nothing else I really needed in my Harry Potter world.  My real question is now, did the actual theatrical show do anything for the series as a whole?  I’m not sure that I see anyone else but the movie franchise actors as these characters anymore.  Again, my curiosity is piqued.

My reading over the course of the next week is as follows: Jubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff, because Patricia Reilly Giff, need I say more.  And I’m going to attempt Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress and Lead By Example by Steve McClatchy (hopefully this doesn’t take as long as Start With Why. I’ve got a busy work week, so we’ll see how much reading I can get done!

imwayrJoin Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

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