Middle Grade Adventure Recs from Megan!

Hello readers!

As school is letting out–er…hanging up?–we know that keeping kids distracted from the insanity of the world is going to get hard. While there will be more opportunities for bike rides and running around the backyard, sometimes you just need to curl up with a good book. And we’ve got some recommendations for the best middle grade books that will keep your kiddos engaged and excited while stuck at home!


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Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Roanhorse crafts a stunning, epic tale of adventure and family that brings the history and stories of the Navajo people to a contemporary setting, with characters who feel real, a warm wit that had me laughing out loud, and a beautiful message about learning who you are–so long as you’re brave enough to be that person.

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Spark of the Resistance by Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland’s ability to capture the wonder that Star Wars holds for kids and put it down on paper is amazing. Spark is the perfect bridge for middle graders getting hyped for Rise of Skywalker–written at their level, just for them, with the same cool space battles and new, fuzzy critters that populate the movies. This book will leave kids with a better understanding of where the Resistance is going post-The Last Jedi, and why that end–though dark–will turn out all right in the last movie. We’re turning toward the light, and this spark is going to ignite a lot of little hearts with pure joy.

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The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

Erin Bowman has perfectly captured both the magic and loneliness of being a kid. A creepy house, a daring rescue, a magic portal, a secret garden–this book has everything that the best books of my childhood had. The characters are vibrant and real, and their problems take more than magic to solve–though the magic definitely helps!

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Pages & Co: The Bookwanderers by Anna James

The Bookwanderers is absolutely charming, full of good British humor and a truly moving main character who searches for her mother while discovering her own bit of magic. For everyone who ever wanted to go into their favorite book and have tea with their favorite character, this book is a warm hug of an adventure. I’m a sucker for a good book-themed book, and the author’s love of bookselling and libraries, pages and ink, characters and plot really shines through.

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A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

This book satisfied my (perhaps very specific) itch for a Steve Irwin-but-magical-creatures story. Each part of Rowan’s adventure introduces a new creature, from jackalopes (attack bunnies!) to pegasi, from giant spiders to gryphons, and her quick thinking and bravery in facing each of them teaches both Rowan and readers about these wondrous beasts. This book is very much an awesome adventure of growing up and facing fears, but it’s also a walk in the woods to take a look at what magic can be found.

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Sisterland by Salla Simukka, translated by Owen F. Witesman

This book is gorgeous, lush and dreamy, with the atmosphere of fairy tales we all know and love. It’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, but for this generation. It’s a beautiful exploration of friendship and the way children forget, of bravery and the beauty of remembering.

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Once and Future Geek by Mari Mancusi

This book hit all the funny, ingenious, geeky, mythological high points that my heart loves, and it was impossible not to find joy in this book. Kids who love the irreverent blend of myth, magic, and modernity that Rick Riordan’s books embody will absolutely love this one. It’s perfect for anyone who loves Arthurian anything, has ever played a video game, can’t get enough of time travel, and wishes Merlin were their best friend, regardless of age.

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Estranged by Ethan M. Aldridge

Estranged is an absolutely gorgeous story about family–about losing family and adopting a new one, creating it from nothing and everything. It’s about growing up different and growing up at all. It’s about love, about losing it and shaping it from nothing and finding it in unexpected places. It’s about knowing when to ask for help and when to offer it. It’s also about a dragon.

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The Inventors at No. 8 by A. M. Morgan

If you love globe-trotting adventures, swashbuckling treasure-hunts, and hilariously bad luck, you will love this book. There’s a flying machine, pirates, a legendary treasure, ghost stories, an orangutan, Venice, precocious twelve-year-olds, chases, dramatic escapes, robotic fish, and just enough magic to make things…well, incredible. It’s a beautiful story about friendship and adventure and the magic of stepping outside your front door. Which is very important for kids.

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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

SWEET PEACHES, I LOVE THIS BOOK. Witty and full of heart, Tristan is the hero we need and deserve: he’s as strong as his last name claims he is, but has moments of real weakness. This book digs into deep, important topics with gentle care and humor, but it doesn’t shy away from the seriousness or gravity of it either. There is an exploration of grief and guilt, but it’s handled beautifully, with Tristan’s wit and his tears. Stories are the backbone of this book, stories that bring people together, that save, that make strong. Stories are power. And it pours out of this story in spades.

–Megan

You can purchase any or all of these fantastic middle grade adventures online by clicking on their titles above!

Happy reading!

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