Middle Grade

Ahimsa, by Supriya Kelkar

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Gripping historical fiction about a Brahmin girl whose mother joins the fight for India’s independence.

When Anjali and her best friend, Irfaan, get caught painting a Q (for Quit India) on the British colonial headquarters in their town, Anjali’s mother loses her job as the secretary of the British commander. Anjali’s life is upended as her parents join Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom from British rule, working for the release of political prisoners and organizing against colonial economic exploitation by boycotting British goods and refusing to provide labor or raw materials. As the British stoke divisons in her community, Anjali finds herself struggling to keep a good relationship between her Hindu family and Irfaan’s Muslim family, as well as with her own beliefs about the Dalits, a caste of Hindus who are either pitied or despised by the other castes. Based on the life of the author’s great -grandmother, this fast-paced novel offers historical insights into the lives of Indians who joined Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to help free India from colonial rule, religious division, and social prejudice, as well as a thoughtful exploration of relative privilege and the importance of listening to the people you think need your help. Great for fans of Chains and The War That Saved My Life. Published 2017.  –E.S.

Ten Rules for Living with my Sister by Ann M. Martin

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ten rules for living with my sister_web.jpgPearl’s older sister Lexie is in eighth grade and has a boyfriend. Pearl’s only boyfriend is the family’s crabby cat, Bitey. Lexie is popular. Pearl is not, mostly because of the embarrassing Three Bad Things that happened in school and which no one has forgotten. Everything Pearl does seems to drive Lexie crazy. On top of that, their grandfather is moving into their family’s apartment and taking over Pearl’s room. How will these sisters share without driving one another crazy?

Pearl is good at making lists of rules, but sometimes, life doesn’t play by the rules!

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli

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the dancing pancake_web.jpgThe grand opening of the Dancing Pancake isn’t the only new thing in Bindi’s life: new friends, a new apartment, maybe even a cute new crush? But there are other changes, like her dad’s move to a new city, that have left Bindi confused and wondering: What will happen to my family? Will this new life ever feel normal? Among the unlikely bunch of regulars who form a makeshift community at the diner, Bindi will try to figure out how to be a new version of herself, one pancake and one silly elephant joke (her uncle’s specialty) at a time.

Quinny and Hopper by Adriana Brad Schanen

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quinny and hopper_web.jpgTwo polar-opposite eight-year-olds who become summer best friends find their friendship threatened by the uncertainties of a new school year.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee

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bobby vs girls_web.jpgBobby Ellis-Chan has a really big secret: His best friend is a girl. Holly Harper has always liked to do all the same fun things he does-like roll down Skeleton Hill in a tire or hide frogs in her bushy hair-and she gave him his beloved goldfish, Rover, who can do amazing tricks.

But now that they’re in fourth grade, things are changing. Holly made friends with a nasty Jillian Zarr and her wolf pack of other girls, and she’s wearing new clothes, straightening her hair, and laughing at Bobby-even telling some of his secrets. He has to get revenge, doesn’t he? Then when Ms. Carlson announces an election for fourth-grade school representative, all the boys support Bobby, but all the girls line up behind Holly.

It’s Bobby vs. Holly, boys vs. girls, in the biggest battle ever to rock Rancho Rosetta!

No Talking by Andrew Clements

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no talking_web.jpgThe noisy fifth-grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a “no talking” contest.

The Terrible Two by Jeff Mack and Adam Barnett

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the terrible two_web.jpgMiles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.