I really enjoy reading middle grade books and I am so excited to share my latest “middle grade reads” that I loved with you. Each one is a gem that I feel adults can enjoy just as much as children and each one is so different. I hope one or more sparks your interests and pleases either you or a book nerd you know. 🙂
“Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate- I have a special place in my heart for trees and tree stories. As a child I could often be found up in my favorite cherry tree and I feel quite certain that trees really are wise beyond our knowledge and have strong spirits of their own. This bias might be why I was so incredibly excited to read this book and why I had such high expectations. To my delight it met every single one and proved to be a heartwarming and insightful “quick read”. I’m excited to read it aloud to my children when they are older as I feel it would make a fabulous read aloud.
Short Synopsis: This story is told from the perspective of a grand-old oak tree that has become a beloved part of a community in New York. Every year in may the residents write down wishes and tie them to the “wishtree” in hopes that they will be fulfilled. What they don’t know is that the tree is a very good observer, can talk (though by rule trees aren’t supposed to talk to humans), and has a wish of it’s own. (To help a lonely little girl make a friend.) This is the story of how the tree risks everything to help make a wish come true and brings a community together in the process.
“Orphan Island” by Laurel Snyder- This book is a beautiful celebration of childhood and is written for everyone who didn’t want to “grow up” when their time came. In a way, it’s a modern “peter pan” story. I adore how well written it is and I enjoyed every minute of my time spent reading the story. My only disappointment was all the questions that it left unanswered. When it was over I felt like I had picked up a book and read an excerpt out of the middle without reading the beginning or ending. That being said, I did love it and hope greatly for a sequel that can give some more resolution and background knowledge.
Short Synopsis: Every year a new orphan shows up on a secret island inhabited only by other orphans and every year that new orphan is replaces the eldest orphan who heads off in their stead. The island is a wonderful place that is perfect for childhood and keeps the children safe. However, one little girl does not want to leave when her time has come and the whole fabric of the island is tested and chaos starts to reign. Will she fight to stay on the island and the home she loves or brave the new and venture into the unknown.
“Snow & Rose” by Emily Winfield Martin- Confession: I bought this book because I love Emily’s paintings and knew that it was illustrated. I lover her work so much that I knew the book would be worth it for her illustrations alone, but when I read the story I was majorly impressed (though not to surprised) that Emily possesses incredible story telling skills. I literally couldn’t put this book down and loved it’s classic and cozy feel. Next time I read it (because there will be a next time) I wish it could be in an old rocking chair with a patchwork quilt on my lap next to a roaring wood fire. Because that would be perfection for this book!
Short Synopsis: This is a retelling of the classic fairytale “Snow and Rose”. I cannot say how close to the original it is or isn’t because I haven’t read the original. In this one Snow and Rose are two sisters who are on a quest to find their father who disappeared in the woods. Along the way they make incredible new discoveries, fascinating new friends, and prove that kindness is just as important as courage.
“The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner and Anne Yvonne Gilbert- Another confession: I had never read any of the Boxcar Children books before now! I’ve been meaning to for quite some time because they are considered such classics, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. When they came out with this new, illustrated edition I knew it was the perfect opportunity. I enjoyed reading this quaint and sweet story so much and the illustrations were a gorgeous enhancement to the experience. I loved all of them from the full page illustrations to the floral borders around the pages. It’s definitely one I will be sharing with my kids.
Short Synopsis: The boxcar children are recently orphaned and should be off to live with their uncle. However, fearing him to be a cold and stern older gentleman they run away to make their own life. On their way they find an old abandoned boxcar from a train and turn it into their home. They are completely content until they learn that maybe things with their grandpa aren’t quite what they seemed and maybe life and a little luck and circumstance brings them together.
“Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere” by Elise Gravel- I really enjoy Elise’s sense of humor so I was really excited to read this one. It has a similar format and feel to it as the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series and is definitely a quick read. I found myself smiling pretty much the whole time I read it and must say that I enjoyed the quirky humor. I definitely think it will be a big hit with tweens!
Short Synopsis: Olga is a budding animal scientest, in fact she likes animals more than people. However, one day her animal knowledge is put to the test when she discovers a new species. Its smelly and quirky and downright hilarious. She gives him a new name and starts her journey to classify him and learn as much as she can.
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