Middle Grade New Releases, Week of June 5, 2018

Happy release week to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.

Breakout by Kate Messner
(June 5th 2018 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Review and Photo by Susan @redcanoereaderIMG_5527

It’s just two weeks until summer vacation and Nora and Lizzie can’t wait. That means just two weeks of homework and morning announcements until they can celebrate the last day of school with the annual field day. It also means the new girl to Wolf Creek Middle School, Elidee, only has to endure two weeks in this awful place, which is nothing like her old school in New York City. In between today, June 7th and the last day, June 21st, though, they all have a big assignment to complete. They must create and submit at least five pieces of writing to the Wolf Creek community time capsule such as poems, letters, notes to yourself, etc. However, on June 8th, life in Wolf Creek abruptly changes. Two convicts, who are prisoners at the local high security prison, escape and the girls’ lives are forever changed.

Breakout is a series of letters, poems and text messages written by the girls describing their experiences, their families and their interactions with one another. These pieces of writing convey the girls’ anger and fear, as well as the fear in the community that seems to bring out the worst in everyone they know. They tell a poignant story about family love and loyalty, about racial discrimination and about the inequities of the judicial and prison systems.

This is a special book that deserves to be widely read and shared. It provides a great discussion starter about so many questions and would be a perfect book for small groups. It’s a story that pulled me in and I found myself having a difficult time letting it go. It’s definitely ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Junior Ninja Champion: The Competition Begins by Catherine Hapka
(June 5th 2018 ~ HMH Books for Young Readers)

img_6008-1Photo and Review by Danica @littleatticlibrary

Junior Ninja Champion The Competition Begins by Catherine Hapka was a fun, quick read about a group of kids who tryout for a kids’ version of the show National Ninja Champion. It was told from the point of view of five different characters, which did get a bit confusing at times to me. I feel the characters could have been better developed, if it didn’t jump around between points of view so often. Overall for me it was a 3/5 stars. It was a cute story about friendship, teamwork and determination. It would be great for any kids who are a fan of the show American Ninja Warrior! This book will be released June 5th, and be looking for the sequel coming in January 2019!

The Frame-up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight
(June 5th 2018 ~ Greenwillow Books)img_6014

Photo and Review by Kristyn G. @novelmombooks

The Frame-Up is the unexpected story of Sargent and his friend, Mona. When Sargent goes to live with his art-director father for the summer, he’s shocked to discover that the paintings in his father’s museum move – and talk! He quickly becomes friends with Mona Dunn, the subject of an early 20th century portrait. Eventually, Mona and her painted friends find themselves in trouble, and Sargent is determined to find a way to help. The story focuses on friendship, parent-child relationships, and new environments. It’s got a little suspense thrown in, as well. Good read!

Daring Dreamers Club: Milla Takes Charge by Erin Soderberg
(Random House Disney ~ June 5, 2018)

Photo and Review by Kate O. @littleloudlibrary


What a sweet story, and a wonderful start to a brand-new series. While the girls in this book are in 5th grade, I think the Daring Dreamer series will resonate perfectly with students in grades 2 – 5. It is written in a very accessible way and features a (subtle) connection to Disney princesses that even readers not old enough to read this on their own would greatly enjoy in a read aloud. I absolutely adored the strong females throughout the book and the racial, cultural, and family diversity filling the story. In addition, this is one of the VERY few middle grade stories I have read with a main character who has severe food allergies, so this is a definite win in that department!
I have already added this to my summer order list for my elementary school library and can’t wait to hand it to students next fall!

George Washington (Time Heroes of History #2): Life Stories of Extraordinary Americans by The Editors of Time
(June 5th 2018 ~ by TIME)

Alexander Hamilton (Time Heroes of History #2): Life Stories of Extraordinary Americans by The Editors of Time
(June 5th 2018 ~ by TIME)

img_6009Review and Photo by Bindu @bindu4077

With all the Hamiltonmania that is going on these days, it felt only natural I was drawn to a chance to review these books about the lives of these truly fascinating men who changed the course of history and help found the United States of America. Both books were very captivating, combining historical depth with an engaging narrative and are bound to captivate any reader. Although it is aimed for middle schoolers, I found it very informative and even learned a few things I didn’t know. With Alexander Hamilton, you get a picture of a truly gifted and smart man who was deeply flawed and his own worst enemy. With George Washington, you get a picture of a man who embodies what “service to your country” truly means. A reluctant leader, he answered the call to duty and the nation will be forever grateful. Both men, in facing great odds, never gave up and strove to be the best, even if at times, they didn’t make the wisest choices. I can’t recommend these books enough. I will definitely be buying these books for my children. This would be a great read for anyone wanting to learn about our founding fathers.

Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno
(June 5th 2018 ~ Knopf Books for Young Readers)img_6010

Photo and Review by Lauren @thesmilelines

Just Under the Clouds by @melissasarno touched my heart. I really fell in love with these sisters and their relationship. Cora and Adare have a special relationship. They must face serious events at such a young age ~being homeless, choices that change our future, special needs, difficulty in school, sibling responsibilities, financial struggles, the hardships of being a mother, friendships, losing a parent. ✨I love that it took place in the Brooklyn area and I could even picture that Brooklyn Blackout cupcake that I love!
✨It is wonderful to see how the characters look out for each other and have love to get them through anything. This would be a wonderful addition to a middle grade library.
I have a few quotes written down from this book that will stay with me. I believe that I read this book at just the right time. I didn’t want it to end. ✨Congrats on your debut novel @melissasarno!

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
img_6011(June 5th 2018 ~ FSG/Margaret Ferguson Books)

Good Reads Summary: Introverted Bicycle has lived most of her life at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, D.C. When her guardian, Sister Wanda, announces that Bicycle is going to attend a camp where she will learn to make friends, Bicycle says no way and sets off on her bike for San Francisco to meet her idol, a famous cyclist, certain he will be her first true friend. Who knew that a ghost would haunt her handlebars and that she would have to contend with bike-hating dogs, a bike-loving horse, bike-crushing pigs, and a mysterious lady dressed in black. Over the uphills and downhills of her journey, Bicycle discovers that friends are not such a bad thing to have after all, and that a dozen cookies really can solve most problems.

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

Sleep, Meryl, Sleep by Silke Stein
(June 5th 2018 ~ Caper Books)39726253

Good Reads Summary: Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse.

Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove. Before long, she finds herself haunted by a scary stranger.

Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns ― and if poor Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most in her life.

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

Annie B., Made for TV by Amy Dixon
(June 5th 2018 ~ Running Press Kids)img_6012-1

Good Reads Summary: Eleven-year-old Annie Brown is used to being on the losing end of comparisons to her almost-always best friend Savannah. Savannah is MVP of the track team, has straight As, and, predictably, wins the most coveted school spirit award on the last day of 5th grade. Fortunately, Annie does have one very specialized skill.
Inspired by As Seen on TV commercials, Annie likes to invent products and write clever sales pitches to go along with them. So when an opportunity arises to audition for a local web show called The Cat’s Meow, Annie knows her future is set. She’s going to wow those producers with her fabulous writing and made-for-TV announcer voice.
Of course, things don’t happen quite according to plan, and soon Annie is worried about losing both the opportunity she’s been training for her whole life, and her best friend.

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

Fadeaway by Maura Ellen Stokes
(June 5th 2018 ~ Yellow Jacket) 

img_6036Goodreads Summary: When Sam’s best friend Reagan dies after her heart suddenly gives out, Sam must learn to deal with her grief and ultimately discover who she is without her best friend by her side.

Fourteen-year-old Sam thinks she has all summer to hang out with her best friend, Reagan. But then her life changes forever. Sam’s world, once filled with school, basketball, and Reagan, has now abruptly changed and she must learn to navigate high school on and off the court without her best friend.

But when Reagan suddenly “reappears,” Sam clings to her friend’s presence, even as it hurts rather than helps her grief. Can Sam learn to accept herself without her other half? This authentic, powerful story of friendship, grief, and discovering yourself is a can’t-miss debut novel from Maura Ellen Stokes.

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

Women Athletes Who Rule by The Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids
img_6013-2(June 5th 2018 ~ Sports Illustrated)

Photo and Review by Kate O. @littleloudlibrary

Teachers, librarians and parents ~ you’ll want to go ahead and pre-order this one NOW for grades 2 and up. It’s as fab as every other SI KIDS title and much-needed. That is all.





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One thought on “Middle Grade New Releases, Week of June 5, 2018

Add yours

  1. I want to read that Alexander Hamilton book. I volunteer in my son’s school library and the kids were requesting books on Hamilton when they had to do a biography report. We had one very old (not very engaging) book so I added books on Hamilton to our running wish list.

    Liked by 1 person

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