Nov 15, 2016

Middle Grade On the Nightstand

by Anne-Marie Strohman

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a stack of books on your nightstand. Mine range from middle grade (A Monster Calls) to craft books (The Plot Whisperer) to literary fiction (To the Bright Edge of the World), with the occasional non-fiction thrown in (Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen). And that doesn’t count the stacks of books on the floor. Yet I’m always looking for new book recommendations. I asked MG Lunch Break members what middle grade books they’ve got on their nightstands.. Here’s what they said

I just read Home of the Brave by Kathryn Applegate. Beautiful story with such compassionate characterization in verse. Moving. I also just finished book 3 in the Raven Boys 4 book series. It’s not MG, but I’m enjoying the relationships, and especially Blue’s family. Such unique characters. –Suzanne

I’m also reading Home of the Brave. I love the lyrical language and the way that it contrasts two very different cultures. I’m also diving into Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson, and Ghosts, a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. –Kristi

I’m rereading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I love that it’s a closed-room style mystery with puzzles and multiple main characters. And I read it so long ago that I can’t remember what happens! –Jill

I’m reading “Masterminds and Wingmen” by Rosalind Wiseman. It’s mostly to understand my own kids, but I’m finding it an amazing resource for character development and understanding motivation. There’s a companion book for girls called “Queen Bees and Wannabees.” –Jen

I just finished Flora and Ulysses [ed: see our review here]. I loved the portrayal of unique and well-defined characters that drove the plot relentlessly through the book. The two Mr. Klauses, landlord and crazed cat, were both minor roles, but still so smart and funny. –Rachel

I’m also reading a squirrel book: Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins, recommended by my younger son who read it as part of Bookshop Santa Cruz’s summer reading contest. It’s a fast-paced adventure story that’s both funny and touching. I like the way the author shows the squirrel perspective on human inventions like chainsaws and peanut butter. –Beth

I just finished Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, the second in The Seeds of America trilogy. I love her beautiful sentences and the first person POV. I can’t wait to get my hands on Ashes, the third in the trilogy just out. On the lighter side, I just read Lunch Breaker Jill Diamond’s Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery. It’s full of fabulous strong characters, excellent word play, and sleuthing fun. –Anne-Marie


  1. Jen says:

    There are some great reads here – both new books and classics! Looking forward to adding even more books to my nightstand.

  2. Becky Levine says:

    I absolutely loved Ms. Bixby’s Last Day.

  3. […] Pea and the Mural Mystery came out in October, and it found its way onto two of our reading lists (here and here). Jill is a regular Lunch Breaker, and she’s just as delightful as her book. Read on for […]


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