I didn’t get a chance to read a Middle Grade book this past week, but I can share which three books my 10-year-old son packed in his overstuffed rolling duffel for sleep away camp this week. I assure you he’ll read at least one of them (I’d say all three, but sometimes socializing is a bigger pull than reading). Here they are, ranked in order of his excitement:
1. “ParaNorman” by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
This is an original illustrated MG book made in conjunction with the filmmakers behind the upcoming LAIKA production “ParaNorman.” The book expands on the film’s story about a boy who can talk to ghosts in a sleepy New England town. It’s written for grade three and up, so I know my kid will breeze through it. He’s a big fan of the film “Coraline,” so the illustrations particularly appealed to him.
In a quaint New England town with a history of witches and pilgrims, misunderstood eleven-year-old Norman Babcock can see and talk to ghosts. No one believes him, of course-everyone just thinks he’s weird (including his parents). But when a folktale of a witch who cursed her accusers turns out to be true, it’s up to Norman to save the town from pilgrim zombies! He’ll also have to take on a very angry witch, an annoying sidekick, his boy-crazy teenage sister, and dozens of moronic grown-ups who get in his way. This young ghoul whisperer finds his paranormal talents pushed to their otherworldly limits in this hilarious and spooky adventure!
Featuring gorgeous black-and-white interior illustrations and a story beyond what you’ll see in the film, this novel is sure to delight!
2. “The Infinity Ring” by James Dashner
Dashner’s newest series kicks off with “A Mutiny in Time,” one of Scholastic’s hottest titles at BEA last month. There was a huge crowd to grab an ARC, so by the time I got to the table, they were all gone. Thank God a lovely PR rep took pity on me and went into the secret drawers to give me a copy. My son is excited to delve into the time-travel story, even though he has yet to read “The Maze Runner” books.
Scholastic’s next multi-platform mega-event begins here!
History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!
When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel — a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring — they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.
Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak’s missing parents while they’re at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!
I wasn’t familiar with Mull’s books, but a lovely editor I met at BEA was going on about how his books were all the rage at her son’s elementary school in Utah. She and I bumped into each other the morning he was holding a book signing, so I tagged along and ended up with the two books in the “Candy Shop” series. My son took one look at it said, “Candy AND War, I’m in!”
What if there were a place where you could get magical candy? Moon rocks that made you feel weightless. Jawbreakers that made you unbreakable. Or candy that gave animals temporary human intelligence and communication skills. (Imagine what your pet would say!) Four young friends, Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, are befriended by Belinda White, the owner of a new candy shop on Main Street. However, the gray-haired, grandmotherly Mrs. White is not an ordinary candy maker. Her confections have magical side effects. Purposefully, she invites the kids on a special mission to retrieve a hidden talisman under Mt. Diablo Elementary School. However, Mrs. White is not the only magician in town in search of the ancient artifact rumored to be a fountain of youth. She is aware that Mr. Stott, the not-so-ordinary ice cream truck driver, has a few tricks of his own.
What middle grade books are you or your kids reading this summer?