2018 Staff Picks: Books for Middle Grade Readers

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Our favorite books for 4th-6th graders.

  • The Last

    2018 by Applegate, Katherine

    A great quest story for fans of animals and adventure. Byx is a doglike mythical creature at risk of extinction. Her journey is not just physical, it is also an emotional trek within the heart and features a very unique and layered cast of characters.

    Recommended by Mandy O'Brien

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  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

    2018 by Connor, Leslie

    12-year-old Mason, a kind and honest boy with learning challenges, narrates this poignant story about loss, grief, bullying, and the power of friendship. You will remember Mason and his courageous heart long after you finish this important and compelling book.

    Recommended by Laura Partington

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  • The Night Diary

    2018 by Hiranandani, Veera

    Nisha is half-Muslim, half-Hindu, so when India is partitioned into two separate countries, she and her family have to embark on a dangerous and difficult journey. Recommended by Shelley Sutherland

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  • Mascot

    2018 by John, Antony

    Noah, whose father died in the car accident that left him in a wheelchair, has to learn how to move forward with his life.

    Recommended by Karen Trier

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  • Ice Wolves

    2018 by Kaufman, Amie

    If you love Harry Potter like I do, you will love this book! Some 12-year-olds are just 12-year-olds, but others transform into ice wolves or scorch dragons on their 12th birthday. The wolves and dragons are sworn enemies, so when Anders finds out he can transform into a wolf, it's a disaster when his twin Rayna transforms into a dragon. Anders goes to train at the Ulfar Academy for wolves, but the whole time he's planning his escape to find the dragon lair and rescue his sister. Recommended by Shelley Sutherland

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  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

    2018 by McAnulty, Stacy

    After being homeschooled for a number of years after being struck by lightning gave her genius math skills, Lucy has to attend middle school (instead of college) and navigate her way through the experience.

    Recommended by Meleesa Sullivan

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  • Breakout

    2018 by Messner, Kate

    Nora collects documents (for a time capsule project) that describe the events of one summer when two inmates broke out of the local jail and how the events affected the community.

    Recommended by Meleesa Sullivan

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  • How to Be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

    2018 by Montgomery, Sy

    Beautiful book about the science writer's encounters with various animals throughout her life, how animals are like us, how they can teach us to be human.

    Recommended by Gudrun Premeir

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  • Sunny

    2018 by Reynolds, Jason

    This is my favorite book in the Track series. Sunny doesn't want to run anymore, but he doesn't want to leave his good buddies on the Defenders team. What's a guy to do? Recommended by Shelley Sutherland

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  • Amal Unbound

    2018 by Saeed, Aisha

    The setting and characters are so vivid and engaging that I was completely transported into Amal’s world. This story offers a powerful example of how education and hope are powerful tools in the fight against injustice.

    Recommended by Laura Antinossi

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  • The Adventures of A Girl Called Bicycle

    2018 by Uss, Christina

    Quirky, funny story about an introverted girl aptly named Bicycle who sets off on a cross-country quest to find a friend. I love the clever writing and the bizarre and loveable cast of characters.

    Recommended by Caitlin Savage

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  • Harbor Me

    2018 by Woodson, Jacqueline

    Six extraordinary 6th-graders tell their stories and bond with each other in an experimental classroom. Takes on so many issues but makes them all personal, and as always, is a story you can't put down. Recommended by Shelley Sutherland

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  • Front Desk

    2018 by Yang, Kelly

    Based on the author's real life, 10-year-old Mia helps her parents run their motel and, at the same time, helps them and other immigrants overcome fears, challenges, and hard times.

    Recommended by Karen Trier

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