MY BEST BOOKS 2019: A FEW FOR THE 'MIDDLE-GRADE' READERS



Welcome back! Today, I am showing off my best books for what is called "Middle-Grade" readers; age range roughly 8 to 12. (Very roughly) Strong stories and the magical ability to transport the reader to another place; another time come to the fore here with some truly incredible reads. Let's hop right in...

THE GIRL WHO SPEAKS BEAR
author: Sophie Anderson
illustrator: Katherin Honesta
Usborne Books (9781474940672)
Yanka was found just outside a bear cave as a baby. Mamochka took her home and raised her as her own. As she grew (and became the biggest and strongest in the village), it is clear that she has unusual capabilities. But a freak accident changes things in a most strange way. Called into the forest by the birds and creatures of the forest, Yanka embarks on a quest to discover her beginnings...and her true self. Filled with tales and lyrical writing, this is a simply wondrous book. With nods to old Russian folktales of bears, princesses and the Baba Yaga, it is utterly captivating! This nuanced, creative story is everything you could want in a book. Compassionate, exciting, enchanting; filled with hope, love and belonging. And completely, compellingly enchanting.


THE LITTLE GREY GIRL 
(WILD MAGIC TRILOGY)
author: Celine Kiernan 
Walker Books (9781406373929)
As Mup and her family prepare to make the castle their new home, there is a dread that fills the rooms and corridors. In fact, it fills the whole land. With her mother installed as the new (albeit reluctant) Queen, an eerie snow falls covering everything in a heavy frozen blanket.  And the Little Grey Girl, a dark, ash-coloured ghost, is determined that the pain and anguish of all the lost will not be forgotten.
The second installment of the Wild Magic trilogy grabbed me from the very first line and wrapped me in a tightly woven, beautiful tale that was moving beyond words.It continues the story of family, friendship and real compassion and understanding. It creates a world the reader believes in; a world so easy to step into. Full to the brim with drama, danger, truth, friendship; it is so very magical. I can't wait for the third book, but will be heart-broken to see Mups' story come to a close.


POG
author: Pádraig Kenny
Chicken House (9781911490395)
After their mother has died, David and Penny move to her childhood home with their father. But this house is a strange one; filled with magical creatures. Like Pog. Pog is small and furry; one of the First Folk living hidden, protecting this world from another frightening place. As David and Penny explore, they discover monsters that are slipping through the cracks and a sinister creature that makes promises it can't keep.
A magical journey through grief and recovery, Pog reads like a fairytale with all of the elements that bring life and truth to one. Carefully constructed, it gives the reader a picture of a world within and beside our own; just as tangible, just as real.While it is a story about loss, it is also a tale of rising, not sinking. It is filled with hope and wonder. It shows us a world of natural cycles, rhythms; of ebb and flow. Painterly language displays clearly both the external and internal worlds in which the story is told. Gentle, imaginative, captivating and simply wonderful.


THE GHOULS OF HOWLFAIR
author: Nick Tomlinson
Walker Books (9781406386684)
Molly Thompson, young local historian and private investigator is in trouble...again. Confined to her home at The Excelsior Guesthouse, with Gabriel the Excelsior Cat keeping watch. But strange, eerie events are unfolding in Howlfair. The upcoming local election seems to have stirred an unusual amount of unrest; friends and neighbours are falling foul of something or someone unknown. Molly must find the truth about the Ghouls of Howlfair, even though it may well cost her more than she can imagine. Could the strange legends of the Ghouls of Howlfair be true?
The Ghouls of Howlfair invites the readers' curiosity, imagination and encourages a bit of belief in what seems impossible. Packed with thrills and a whacking dollop of humour, it is an intriguing, heartwarming story of friendship, community, family and ghouls. Totally captivating and uniquely imaginative.




BEVERLY RIGHT HERE
author: Kate DiCamillo
Walker Books (9781406390704)
A new Kate DiCamillo book is always something very special.In this one, we return to the world we first viewed in Raymie Nightingale and hear Beverly Tapinskis' story. This tough, bold brass girl has gone through much, but the loss of her beloved dog is just too much for her and she takes to the road to build a new life for herself at the age of 14. Beverly soon sees that she's just a kid in the world and has much to learn about how things are in the world. She learns that she can't hide her all-to-tender heart away forever, no matter how much she wants to. It really is important to have people on your side. Clear, eloquent and utterly beautiful, Beverly, Right Here will break your heart and give you hope. Simply wonderful.




THE BOY WHO FLEW
author: Fleur Hitchcock
Nosy Crow Books (9781788004381)
Athan Wilde spends his days with Dr Chen, assisting him with engineering designs for a miraculous machine that will take him soaring into the sky...and possibly winning him a small fortune. His nights are spent running across the rooftops of Bath, wreaking havoc with his friend Tod. But when Mr Chen is brutally murdered and the contents of his home are auctioned off, Athan realises that someone is desperate to get their hands on Mr Chens' flying machine. With those he loves now in grave danger, Athan must now chose between flight and family before it's too late.
This historical fiction/murder mystery is absolutely sublime! With beautifully described characters, a pace that won't let up, a sense of danger and trepidation that is only broken by perfectly timed moments of humour; I can give this story nothing but praise. Breath-taking, theatrical, heartfelt and really thrilling!


That's my favourites part-two. Next up: Best Books for Teen/YA readers. Stayed tuned!

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