Category Archives: Middle Grades

Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Tony Abbott

In Mississippi River Blues, Frankie and Devin find themselves in yet another book, this time The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They read their way through it, participating in all of Tom’s adventures and learn enough to ace their tests back in Mr. Wexler’s English class. The Cracked Classics books are super fun and excite kids to read the “real” version. I very highly recommend this book and the whole series (no need to read them in order) to people of all ages. They make excellent family read alouds.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 57
Pages Read in 2019: 15,262
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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: I Like the Series

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

The Woodlawn family live in pioneer times Wisconsin. Caddie has been allowed to run wild with her brothers leading to lots of adventures. It’s a cute story and easy for younger kids to read. I recommend it people of all ages. It makes a great family read aloud.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 54
Pages Read in 2019: 14,452
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula by Tony Abbott

When two slacker kids get stuck in Dracula, they discover that the chubby book is actually pretty exciting. Trapped in Transylvania is a fun, and often funny, book that hits the highlights of Dracula and just might get your kid interested in reading the real thing (my ten-year-old said we should definitely read Dracula now). I highly recommend it to people of all ages. It makes a great family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 53
Pages Read in 2019: 14,177
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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera

Based loosely on the HG Wells book, Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds follows a boy, his friends, his father, and an alien and they try to save the world after alien invade earth. It’s pretty cute. It has a nice moral (don’t be embarrassed by your circumstances or what’s happened to you). It’s an excellent book to give to a middle grade age reader to read on their own. It also makes a good family read-aloud.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 43
Pages Read in 2019: 11,215
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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Science Fiction

Soft Rain by Cornelia Cornelissen

Soft Rain is the story of the Trail of Tears told from the point of view of a young Cherokee girl. It is, as would be expected, very sad, though there are several hopeful points. It’s aimed at middle grade kids so it is simple and reads fast. I highly recommend it to kids who are learning about the Trail of Tears.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 42
Pages Read in 2019: 10,918
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon

Tengo is black, Frikkie is white. They are childhood friends in apartheid South Africa. As Tengo grows, he wants to get an education and be something other than a low-paid farmhand. Frikkie just wants to run the farm and is taught by his family to be racist while thinking he is not racist because he does things like giving cast-offs to the blacks (this rang very true to me as I have met white South Africans today with that exact attitude). Time passes and protests and things begin to happen in the years before the end of apartheid. The book, ultimately, is about friendship even when you don’t understand each other and about anger that leads to change. I recommend it to middle school age kids learning about apartheid.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 41
Pages Read in 2019: 10,803
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee follows the stories of three children. Josef is a Jewish boy on the St. Louis in 1939 hoping to be admitted to Cuba, Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994 attempting to escape to Miami in a little homemade boat, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy trying to go from Aleppo to Germany in 2015. The stories are told one chapter at a time changing the story with each chapter change. I found this to be very jarring at first and was not a fan of that set-up at all. I eventually got used to it. Ultimately the stories intertwine even though they happen such a distance apart in time and location. The main characters are fictional, but they are based on composites of actual refugees and what they experienced actually happened to people. In the author’s note, those things are detailed, including which characters were real people and which specific people some of the fictional characters were based on. I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers and up wondering what it is like to be a refugee.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 40
Pages Read in 2019: 10,589
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz