Anyone who has ever tried to find just the right book for their middle grade students knows that they can be some very tricky customers. From Australian imaginary friends, to highly competitive Scrabble playing friends, we have sifted through some excellent offerings and are pleased to present the best of 2018 for middle grade readers.
When six students are chosen to participate in a weekly talk with no adults allowed, they discover that when they’re together, it’s safe to share the hopes and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world.
4. Inkling by Kenneth Oppel ; illustrations by Sydney Smith
When an inkblot, who can write, listen, learn, and draw, jumps out of Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook, Ethan believes he may be the answer to their problems and names him Inkling.
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.
Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen, and soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, talking birds (very annoying), and cute princes–and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.
An oversized youth with challenging learning disabilities is wrongly suspected of having a hand in his best friend’s death, a situation that compels him to create an underground haven for himself and a bullied new friend.