Happy Thursday lovelies! I can’t believe we are already in March! This year is flying by already.
I wanted to share with ya’ll something that I think will be a lot of fun. Middle Grade March is exactly like it sounds. A month to read middle grade books. Middle grade is defined as any book that is generally written for and about children aged between 8-12 years old.
While middle grade is written for children of that age group, to me it is just like YA, you’re never too old to enjoy them!
To participate in #middlegrademarch is quite simple. All you have to do is read at least one middle grade book. However, there is also a challenge that is hosted by Katie @Life Between Words, Krista @BooksAndJams, and Amanda @The Curly Reader over on Booktube! I have linked all three of their announcement videos, and you can also find book recommendations for each prompt on their pages as well!
So for their challenge they have 5 prompts for the month, as well as a monthly book pick! Down below I will post each of the prompts and what I plan to read this month for each one!
Middle Grade March 2021 Group Read
Title: The Brave by James Bird
Genre: Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Contemporary
Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother.
Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.
When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.
Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.
Prompt 1: A book with a silhouette on the cover
Title: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Fantasy, Mystery
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”
And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.
Prompt 2: A book with a strong family (or found family)
Title: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Prompt 3: A book featuring a journey or adventure
Title: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, crisscrossing the nation. It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished – the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box – she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.
Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys….
Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after”.
Prompt 4: A fairytale retelling (or book with a fairytale vibe)
Title: Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Retellings
A New York Times bestselling author-illustrator brings readers into the woods to meet two young sisters and a strange bit of magic in this reimagining of the classic but little-known fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red.”
Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do….
Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.
Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.
But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.
This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.
Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves.
Prompt 5: A book published in the decade you were born (80s)
Title: Locked in Time by Lois Duncan
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Horror, Thriller
Nore Roberts didn’t ask for a new life, but now that her mom is gone and her dad is newly married, she has to settle in at Shadow Grove, the old Civil War mansion her stepfamily calls home. When she meets her stepmother, Lisette, Nore is shocked by her youth and beauty that gives her chills- and a hint of something sinister. There’s hope of becoming friends with her stepbrother and sister, until Nore realizes they’re hiding something. When she begins to feel like the target of a deadly plan, Nore starts digging into her stepfamily’s past. The skeletons in their closet are more real than she ever imagined. Can Nore expose her stepmother’s dark secret before an old and evil magic swallows her up?
Bonus: Not a prompt, just another middle grade I plan to read in March
Title: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal
Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?
Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.
Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.
With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Do you like to read middle grade books? Do you have any good recommendations? If you are participating in Middle Grade March, leave your TBR down in the comments. Let’s have a little chat down below!
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