Middle Grade New Releases, September 3, 2019

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY 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.

img_8543LET’S HAVE A SLEEPOVER – by Norm Feuti
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc.)

Photo and Review by ~ originally on Instagram @3queensread

Let’s Have A Sleepover is the second book in the Hello, Hedgehog! early readers series. My girls and I loved this book. Harry is headed to his first sleepover. He packs his bag but wonders if he will get made fun of if he takes his lovey. Then Harry is hit with another problem when he gets to his friend’s home and learns the will be sleeping outside in a tent. ⛺️Will Harry go through with his first sleepover or will he go back home?
My girls loved the fact that this book is set up in a graphic novel format. The pictures are amazingly vibrant to keep readers entertained. The repetitive wording is great for early readers who are branching out into chapter books. This is the perfect book for readers starting to read on their own. The story is easy to follow and contains a ton of sight words. I liked the last page where you are shown how to sketch Harry and the short questions about the story. While this book is geared toward early readers, my 9 year old also enjoyed it.

(September 1st 2019 ~ Jolly Fish Press)

Photo and Review by Jo-Ann ~ originally on Instagram @mrsjwalshreads

Shawn and Kat are excited to meet Bouncer, their friend Mitchell’s puppy. Bouncer is a very energetic dog who loves spending time in the park. When Shawn and Kat decide to start a doggie daycare business, Bouncer becomes their first customer. They have their work cut out for them, as he has been getting into some trouble, chewing things and even stealing dinner! Hopefully they will be able to care for Bouncer so that he won’t be their last customer for their doggie daycare! They soon discover that giving Bouncer a job and keeping him active will make a big difference in his behavior.

This was a cute early chapter book. I think children in kindergarten through grade 2 will enjoy it. In addition, to it being a cute story, children will learn a little bit about the Korean culture, particularly about kimchi. The pictures are adorable and really add to the story. Even though this is an early chapter book, some young readers will need assistance with some of the vocabulary (i.e. words like kimchi, hovered, and Halmoni).

img_8612THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE – by Sarah R. Baughman
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Little, Brown Books For Young Readers )

Photo and Review by Alicia ~ originally on Instagram @engagingelementary

12 year old Addie loves science and her teacher wants her to apply for a Young Scientist position for the summer. If she is accepted, she will spend all summer on Maple Lake helping scientists collect and analyze data. This sounds like a dream come true for Addie, but she hasn’t been to Maple Lake since her twin brother, Amos, drowned there a few months ago. She is ready to go back, but how will she be able to convince her parents to let her return?

Then Addie finds a journal her brother was keeping that contains clues and evidence of a mysterious creature living in Maple Lake. Addie didn’t believe Amos when he told her about his theory of the creature’s existence shortly before he died. His clues hardly seemed scientific or factual to Addie, but now she is determined to prove him right. …

This is an amazing debut novel that beautifully weaves together both science and magic with a focus on the scientific method and environmentalism. Addie is a well-developed character that struggles with grief and learning who she is without her twin brother. This book is ideal for grades 4-6.


I AM A SUPER GIRL! –  by Kelly Greenawalt
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc.)


Photo and Review by ~ originally on Instagram @3queensread

The first book in Princess Truly’s Acorn series begins with Princess Truly introducing herself. She then goes to a party her friend, Lizzie, is throwing for her kitty. At the party tons of mishaps start to happen. Princess Truly realizes she can’t solve these problems on her own, so she asks Lizzie for help. Can Princess Truly convince Lizzie we all have super powers inside of us and can fix everything that goes wrong?

First, I have to say we are huge fans of Princess Truly at this house. If you haven’t read the picture books, I highly suggest you go check them out. This book stayed true to the fashion of the picture books, but are perfect for early readers. The rhyming text and colorful pictures will help little ones stay entertained from beginning to end. I’ve already preordered a copy for our home library. Princess Truly: I Am a Super Girl! will be released on September 3, 2019.


DRAGON’S FAT CAT – by Dav Pilkey
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc)img_8542

Photo and Review by ~ originally on Instagram @3queensread

My girls are huge fans of Pilkey’s Dogman and Captain Underpants series so they were all over this book. Dav did not disappoint with the second book in his Acorn series about Dragon. In Dragon’s Fat Cat, Dragon finds a cat outside his house and decides to take it in. The problem is he knows nothing about caring for a cat.

Dragon’s Fat Cat is perfect for young readers. The illustrations are colorful. The book is only 64 pages and broken down into 5 chapters. There is also a tutorial in the back of the book where kids can learn to draw Dragon and his fat cat. The “Your Story” section on the last page is ideal for making sure readers are comprehending what they are reading. Dav Pilkey never steers readers wrong.

(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc.)

Photo and Review by Emily ~ originally on @redpoppyreads

We are big fans of The Binder of Doom after reading the first book a few months ago, so we were so excited to get the chance to read the second book! “The Binder of Doom #2: Boa Constructor” by author/illustrator @troycummings, is just as fun as the first book! Alexander, Nikki and Rip have another monster to defeat. This time the monster is stealing machine parts all over town. The kids think they have the mystery solved, but it turns out they have the wrong person pegged as the monster. Can the friends figure out who the real monster is and stop it before it destroys the city? Full of laughs, mystery and some engineering! Both my daughters give it five stars! Look for this book when it releases on September 3, 2019. For ages 6-8.

THE MAGIC MIRROR – by Anna Staniszewski
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc.)img_8540

Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @kateteaching7and8

The Magic Mirror (Once Upon a Fairy Tale #1) will hit shelves on September 3, 2019. Pre-order your copy today!

After reading an urgent letter from Aspen, the ice princess, Kara and Zed set off an adventure to help fix Aspen’s broken mirror. Without the mirror, Aspen is unable to call on the clouds and bring winter back to the kingdom. Kara, Zed, and his crow, Rooster, must work together to figure out what happened to the mirror and how to fix it.
This book is the first in a series and is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches. The book has an engaging story and fairly short chapters making it the perfect bedtime read or a great book to start encouraging individual reading and/or reading the book aloud together. The characters are cute and unique. I like the focus on friendship and sisterhood. It contains important lessons about forgiving others and sharing, but presents them in an approachable and fun way. I liked the elements of mystery and that you got to follow Kara and Zed while they collected the clues and solved the mystery. The teacher in me also loves that it ends with some comprehension and critical thinking questions for the reader to answer/discuss as well as a fun drawing activity. The book also includes fun and beautiful illustrations by Macky Pamintuan that are sure to draw in and spark the imaginations of younger readers.

img_8546CHILD OF THE DREAM – by Sharon Robinson
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)

Photo and Review by Genevieve ~ originally on Instagram @get.lit_erature

How do I even begin to praise this book? It’s not just a book – Sharon Robinson pulls you into her world and shares her 13-year-old-self’s dreams of fitting into her skin and her place in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. But Sharon Robinson doesn’t just tell her story with facts and dates. She shows the reader her insecurities as a teen, and her grit and determination to find her place in a turbulent world. She also gives the reader an inside look at the bond between herself and Jackie Robinson: baseball player, activist, and loving father. I especially appreciated that her story centered on the year she turned 13, one of the most important years in the Civil Rights Movement, and just as important a year for Sharon herself. I love that this story wasn’t just another story about a famous baseball player (although Jackie Robinson as baseball player is important!), but that it explored the relationship between Sharon and her father, who supported and encouraged her to fight for what she believed in and how to figure out where she fit in.

In 1963, Sharon Robinson turns 13, and her whole world feels different. She doesn’t feel like she fits in at school, and she doesn’t really know who she is anymore. Her father, Jackie Robinson, has retired from baseball and is a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Her family is navigating things that all families must deal with. And the Civil Rights Movement is being met with opposition, hatred, and violence. All of this spurs Sharon to ask questions about the movement, get involved, and figure out where she belongs. A beautiful story and so well-written I had to keep reminding myself it was real. What kept pulling me back to reality were the parallels to our world today – the continued police brutality towards African Americans, bombings of black churches, and people marching and fighting for equal rights. Definitely recommend purchasing this book for your classroom library or household when it releases on September 3!

 THE JUMBIE GOD’S REVENGE – by Tracey Baptiste
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Algonquin Young Readers)

Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @kateteaching7and8

Just when life seems to be returning to normal for Corrine, an out-of-season hurricane sweeps across the island. Corrine knows it’s more than a typical storm and at first she blames Mama D’Leau. After confronting Mama D’Leau and seeing the fear in her eyes, Corrine begins to realize that something bigger may be to blame. When a second storm hits, her fears are confirmed. Corrine will have to find all her inner strength and rely on those who in the past she has worked against in order to defend her island and save it from the angry god Huracan.
I really enjoy the Jumbies series as it exposes readers to folklore and mythology not traditionally represented in books. Corrine is a strong and determined protagonist and she learns some important lessons about her actions and their consequences in this book. Additionally, I really loved the message about not fearing those that are different from you which was woven throughout the book as the jumbies, who are traditionally viewed as bad/evil, helped and supported the people on the island (even when they were being called out and attacked for just being what they are). Baptiste is great at writing engaging and captivating narratives full of action that keep you turning the page to see what happens next. One of my favorite things about this third book in the series is that it united characters and conflicts from the previous two books. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to add it to my classroom library.

img_8548SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS – by Renee Watson
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Photo and Review by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @melissa_joynson

Renee Watson delivers yet another amazing work with Some Places More Than Others, a story about a young girl who is discovering who she is. I have adored everything Watson has written, so I was thrilled to see she was writing a book for middle grades, and it definitely did not disappoint, with a vivid setting and well-developed characters.

For her birthday, Amara begs her parents to allow her to go to New York to visit her family. While initially reluctant, they relent, and Amara goes to Harlem to learn about her family and history. She gets so much more than she imagined though. Not only does she learn about her family and her dad’s childhood, but she learns about her own life with new understanding.

This is a story about family, growth, history, love, and so much more. Set to be out September 3, this is an absolute must-read. Librarians, do yourself a favor and pre-order this for your students now.

(September 3rd 2019 ~ Random House Books for Young Readers)

Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

I loved Miscalculations of Lightning Girl so SO much so I knew I would read anything @stacymcanulty wrote. This one isn’t quite as good (4⭐️), but it’s still wonderful. Elle, Mack and Londyn are quirky, lovable and fully human just like Lucy, Windy and Levi. The way Elle and Londyn especially almost wish an asteroid would end the world as they know it, is in turns heartbreaking and illuminating. The frenzy Elle creates with her dire prediction about the world ending is both funny and a bit terrifying. It certainly kept me turning the pages late into the night! Oh, and I LOVE the cover — the way the asteroid creates a question mark is brilliant. .
I have one gripe, which is that I think there was a bit of a missed opportunity in this book — one of the Nature Club members is concerned about climate change. I wanted to see the club take the energy and excitement about preparing for the end of the world and turn it into preparing for and helping raise the alarm about climate change.
Description: Eleanor Dross hates middle school, but also hates prepping for end times with her survivalist grandfather. When she finds out about a large asteroid that’s predicted to hit earth, all that changes. Soon she and her best friend Mack are in charge of a Nature Club that’s really a TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) club, helping their fellow classmates prepare for end times. Elle doesn’t want the world to end, but it sure would help prevent Mack from going off to a new school for the blind. Londyn doesn’t want the world to end, but maybe it would help her parents get back together. What if the world does end…but what if it doesn’t?

GIRL UNDER A RED MOON – by Da Chen43319570
(September 3rd 2019 ~ Scholastic Nonfiction)

New York Times bestselling author Da Chen weaves a deeply moving account of his resolute older sister and their childhood growing up together during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
In a small village called Yellow Stone, in southeastern China, Sisi is a model sister, daughter, and student. She brews tea for her grandfather in the morning, leads recitations at school as class monitor, and helps care for her youngest brother, Da.

But when students are selected during a school ceremony to join the prestigious Red Guard, Sisi is passed over. Worse, she is shamed for her family’s past — they are former landowners who have no place in the new Communist order. Her only escape is to find work at another school, bringing Da along with her. But the siblings find new threats in Bridge Town, too, and Sisi will face choices between family and nation, between safety and justice. With the tide of the Cultural Revolution rising, Sisi must decide if she will swim against the current, or get swept up in the wave.

Bestselling author Da Chen paints a vivid portrait of his older sister and a land thrust into turmoil during the tumultuous Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

Watch for a review soon!

img_8614WILDFIRE – by Rodman Philbrick
(September 3rd 2019 ~ The Blue Sky Press

Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

Our 9/3, this is a MUST-BUY for elementary and middle school collections. It’s a fabulous readalike to the I Survived series and will be a good book to highlight signs of #climatechange. The action starts with the first line: “we wake with the smell of smoke” and doesn’t let up until the end. I read it in one quick sitting and I bet most students will, too.
Sam is at summer camp in Maine, while his mom is in rehab for an opioid addiction. His father died in Afghanistan driving a truck. When a wildfire breaks out, Sam runs away and soon finds himself lost in the vast Maine woods. Adventure and calamity ensue and soon Sam is joined by Delphy, a resourceful, strong older girl. Can they survive the wildfire?
An afterword by the author discusses the devastating effects of wildfires and the increasing incidence of “more fires, longer fires and bigger fires.” The editor’s note that precedes the novel was written at the height of the #campfireparadise in CA in 2018 and makes clear the connection between these deadly fires and our changing climate. (Did you know that in 2017 over 71,000 fires burned ten million acres in America?)

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