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Wendy’s Book Shopping List Part One: My Middle Grade Picks


Year end is the perfect time of year to reflect on books that have touched us the most.

But given so many of you celebrate holidays that require gift-giving, I thought it might be helpful to suggest some books that would be welcome additions to any bookshelf, beginning this week with middle grade novels, which are so dear to my own heart.

You won’t find my book on this list, even though you can pre-order it (and you really should, she plugged shamelessly!), because I only want to share books you can buy straight away. I’m also NOT including some books that I talked about last holiday season that I read in advance of their release, but I highly recommend you go back and visit last year’s list HERE, because I still love all of those books!

My top Middle Grade Picks for 2016, by theme and in no particular order:


Is it Adventure You Seek?

Really, I could almost hear the theme of Raiders of the Lost Arc when I read these! They are thrilling and funny and exactly the kind of books ten-year-old me would have gobbled up!






howard-wallace the-nestboundersmomotaro

a-most-magical-girlmonstervilledragons-tomb artifacts haunted-house-project maypop mice-of-the-round-table midnight-war motley poppy the-cartographers-daughter the-rat-prince the-thiefs-apprentice treasure-at-lure-lake voyage-to-the-magical-north


These books, told from a child’s perspective, caught my attention and my heart this year. These books combined electrifying storytelling with “YOU ARE THERE” historical facts and were amazing in every way.

paper-wishesthe-war-that-saved-my-life The last cherry blossom












We learn so much about how to be friends (or not) in middle grade. These books help.


BFF The Friendship Agreement Fenway and Hattie Cover - Lo Res swing-sideways


Last boy at St. Edithslike-magic






These books explored heavy issues and did so amazingly!



counting thyme Raymie Nightingale


hours of the bees charlie price gertielast fifth grade root-beer-candy-and-other-miraclesGeorge wondersticks and stones Bookedthe-lost-celtdistance-to-home

These are just some of the books I read and loved this year! Would love to hear your favourites!

5 thoughts on “Wendy’s Book Shopping List Part One: My Middle Grade Picks”


Happy Thanksgiving Wendy!
I am only familiar with some of these books, so I will have to go check out your recommendations. I gave my older son a book to take with him to London ( he is studying abroad for a semester) and I thought it was apropos in light of our pre- election disquiet. In light of our post election madness, I am glad that he texted to say that he found the book absolutely hilarious. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a middle school book, but it is marketed that way- ” The Mouse that Roared” by Leonard Wibberly. Are you familiar with the book?

Wendy McLeod MacKnight

I love that book Pat!!! Glad he liked it! Am going to send along YA recommendations next week!

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Author of Children's Literature