Aria Jones & The Guardians Wedja
Written by Melayna Evans
Age Level: 9 – 12
Grade Level: 4 – 7
If you read the first Jagger Jones book like I did, you couldn’t wait to get your hands on this one. It didn’t disappoint! Little sister Aria gets to be the main character. It starts with a field trip to an Egyptian museum where a pair of statues pass her some bracelets. They’re really tickets to the past. Aria hurries home to pack her bag, grab Jagger, and answer a call for help. Tatia is Pharaoh now, after the death of her father, mother, and step-brother, and she’s dying too. The Gods have stopped talking to the royal family, but they sent Aria and Jagger to help Tatia. Can the siblings figure out how to save them in time? You’ll have to read to find out, but be prepared – you won’t want to put this book down.
PS – Book 3 is in the works, and I can’t wait to read it!
I Survived: The American Revolution, 1776
Written by Lauren Tarshis
Age Level: 8 – 11
Grade Level: 2 – 5
If you want to read history from a kid’s point of view, this is another great title from the I Survived series. It takes place in the run-up to the Battle of Brooklyn during the American Revolution. The date of that battle – August 27 of 1776.
Young Nathaniel Fox runs away from home, hoping to escape his mean old uncle. Instead he lands in New York Harbor days before the big battle. Follow Nathaniel and discover what life was like for tweens in 1776, whether they were soldiers or civilians.
Don’t forget the back matter! You’ll find some interesting tidbits, like how rich the colonies were, the importance of our French allies, and the author’s opinion of George Washington. The most shocking one – how many American soldiers died on prison ships by the end of winter 1777. Would you believe it’s more than the number who died during the entire war?
PS – if you’d like to read what I learned for my middle grade novel, click on this link:
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Written by J.K. Rowling & Newt Scamander
Illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill
Age Level: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 – 6
I didn’t think I’d like this book, but I’m glad I picked it up . . . it was great! J.K. took some of the creatures we’ve loved from her Harry Potter books, and she wrote about them in a nonfiction style you’d see in an encyclopedia. J.K. includes where the creature lives, what it eats, and any unusual traits it might have. There’s even a rating system to tell you how dangerous it is. What an incredible imagination she has to create a book like this!
The Peddler of Wisdom
Written by Laura Matthias Bendoly
Age Level: 14 – 18
Grade Level: Middle School/High School
If you love historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, you’ll love this story. Irene is the village healer of Les Echelles in Provence, and she’s already failed to save the village from the black plague. Now she faces an evil invader whose magician/ alchemist lays claim to her heart. The plot twists and turns with historical detail. The bonus, meeting 17th century figures like Nostradamus along the way. Read through the back matter to find out how Laura conjured writing magic.
Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party
Written by Saadia Faroqi
Illustrated by Ani Bushry
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Have you ever been jealous of that girl in your class, the one who has everything? She even has the best birthday parties ever! Marya is, and her family refuses to give one a try. They believe in family parties. So what’s a girl to do? Marya comes up with Operation Help the Khans. Its goal – to convince her family she deserves an incredible henna party. Will it work? You’ll have to read and find out.
Knights vs. Dinosaurs
Written & Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
When I saw this book in my local library, I had to pick it up, and I wasn’t disappointed! Imagine going back in time to meet four of King Arthur’s knights. I don’t remember these names, do you? Sir Bors, Sir Hector, Sir Erec, Squire Mel, and the black knight. The action begins when Sir Erec brags about beating 40 dragons. Merlin decides Erec needs a little more fun, with a few dinosaurs. That’s when the real sport begins!
PS – This book was so good it became a series, book 1 out of 3.
It’s a Rhap, Cat
Written by Lee Y. Miao
What would you do if you discovered your identical twin in a Renaissance painting by Raphael? No one knows who the lady in the portrait is, but everyone’s staring . . . at you and your painted twin.
Follow Cat in this tween adventure. Can she find the right partner for the Renaissance History and Art Project (RHAP)? She has a crush on Trey, the best artist, but so does the class diva. Both girls want to win RHAP, for the glory, and for a seat in honors history. Who will Trey pick? But don’t forget the other twist in the plot – the lady in the painting! Can Cat find a connection?
You’ll have to read for yourself, but be prepared for a roller coaster of an adventure. The best part – this author really understands middle schoolers, their locker kingdom, and their relationships, with each other and with parents too. It’s true . . . there’s nothing like a good roller coaster!
Royal Princess Academy: Dragon Dreams
Written by Laura Joy Rennert
Illustrated by Melanie Florian
Age Level: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
This is one of the first books I read back when I started keeping a reading journal, around 2012. I loved it back then, and now I’m disappointed to discover, for whatever reason, that it’s not part of a series. Emma is a princess who absolutely does not fit the traditional princess mold. She tries, but somehow she always manages to do the wrong thing. Her big dream – to earn her own dragon. Can she do it? I hope so – a princess should always have a happy ending!
The Secret Explorers and The Lost Whales
Written by S J King
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 2 – 4
This is a SENSATIONAL book. Imagine a secret group of kids who get to help the planet. An ordinary door flashes a signal, then whisks you off to a super-secret meeting. Two kids will be selected for the mission. Could it be you? You’ll have to wait to see if you’re selected . . . and to find out your mission.
In the Lost Whales, a marine biology and space expert are called forward, Connor and Roshnie. They hop into the beat-up go cart. It’s the best transformer ever. This time it changes into an underwater vehicle that can help the kids find those lost whales. Seem impossible? Try diving into this action-filled adventure!
PS – if you like this one, there are 14 more adventures left in this series.
Stink: Hamlet and Cheese
Written by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
I loved Stink, and so will kids, especially boys. Stink is all-boy, and that’s the hook – a boy taking on Shakespeare camp. Acting, using weird words in sentences? YUCK! But . . . if you told Stink that there are silly curses, sword-fighting, making faces, and acting out, I bet he’d go! The only downside – Riley Rottenburger. She is not boy friendly, but, boys could overlook her . . . because farting is!