Middle Grade

All you Knead is Love

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ISBN: 9780374314231
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - March 30th, 2021

Filipina-Spanish-American Alba goes to live with her grandmother in Barcelona, where she finds her people -- Abuela Lola, baker Toni, and Toni's son Joaquim -- and her place, a bakery that feels like home. Learning to bake helps Alba deal with her family's problems back in New York, but when Toni goes out of business, it's up to Alba to create a new space for everyone.


Red White and Whole

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ISBN: 9780063047426
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Published: Quill Tree Books - February 2nd, 2021

This long awaited novel in verse illustrating the struggles of balancing two cultural identities felt like I was looking into a mirror in which I could see myself, my mother, my grandmother, my aunts, and every Indian woman in my life who had to assimilate into American culture. It is beautifully written and is semi-autobiographical. If you like Rajani's work, check out her other middle grade novels and picture books. She is incredible!


The Blackbird Girls

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ISBN: 9781984837370
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Published: Puffin Books - January 19th, 2021

I often find it hard to sink into a historical fiction MG title, but this one absolutely sucked me in. The Chernobyl disaster isn't something widely addressed in kids' lit, and this title handles it so well. The interwoven political and social dynamics are heartbreaking, but the friendship the two main characters develop despite everything is so lovely. (This is also now a Sydney Taylor Book Award Silver Medalist)


Amari and the Night Brothers

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ISBN: 9780062975164
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Published: Balzer + Bray - January 19th, 2021

Such an inventive spin on the magical school narrative. The fantastical world building is superb, yet is not used as an escape from real-world problems. Amari is an awesome hero with a heart of gold and a will of iron. I truly cannot wait for the next book in the series. There's so much potential!


Katie the Catsitter

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By Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781984895639
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 5th, 2021

This book has all the bitter sweet friendship changes of Roller Girl plus the thrilling exploits, morally ambiguous antiheroes of a Catwoman comic. And so many cats!! Each one with their own special skills, and each one out to make trouble. It's delightful.


Julieta and the Diamond Enigma

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ISBN: 9781643790466
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Published: Tu Books - June 30th, 2020

A missing diamond! Mystery across two continents (and several languages)! A tour around all of the neatest attractions of Paris, with plenty of shenanigans and sleuthing along the way. This story has tons of fun, plenty of fascinating tidbits, and my new favorite girl detective. Julieta immediately feels like a classic children's lit star!


Skunk and Badger

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By Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781643750057
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Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 15th, 2020

This charmingly quirky novel begs to be read aloud. Featuring illustrations by Jon Klassen, it's the perfect book for curling up around (with a bowl of popcorn, and maybe a chicken to cuddle). Like Frog & Toad or Wallace & Gromit, Skunk & Badger are certain to be beloved.


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

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By Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250010193
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Published: Square Fish - May 8th, 2012

I don't ordinarily enjoy YA nor middle grade books, but I LOVED this tumble into the psyche of a precocious 12 year old who dreams of escaping her boring life in Kansas. September forges her own path and makes her own decisions, all the while shaping her own future. For children who like dark adventures, Gaiman, and Dahl. For teens who like to be swept up in a journey alongside a fierce and perserverant heroine. For adults who like YA Fantasy and del Toro’s films, and for those who don't. 



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