Some great chapter books for independent readers!
Because we just couldn’t choose one without the others! This new series for middle grade readers follows a passionate group of kids from wildly different backgrounds as the come together to compete on an elite track team. Each story is fast paced and heartfelt, highlighting diversity in relationships and showing that there is no “right way” for a family - or a team - to look.
The small town of St. Polonius seems like a sleepy out of the way place where not much happens… but one winter, when all the adults in the town mysteriously fall fast asleep, the kids are left in charge. According to an old town law, each kid should take over their parent’s responsibility - to plow the roads, feed everyone, make new laws, but to also solve the mystery. This is a fantastic and whimsical adventure, what child hasn’t imagined what would happen if they were in charge!
Amina has an incredible ear and talent for music. But she has never been one for the spotlight, However, when her great uncle visits from Pakistan, she is encouraged to participate in a contest at her local Mosque in a reading of the Koran. Amina is already anxious, but when friction forms with her best friend Soojin, and when her great uncle tells her father that music should not be encouraged as a part of their faith, Amina is unsure of what to do. This is a beautiful story of an American teen and how she finds her voice and place within a rich and vibrant cultural community.
The war I finally won is the sequel to 2016 Newbery honor The war that saved my life. In the first book, we meet Ada, a neglected young girl with a club foot that has kept her isolated. When war breaks out, Ada manages to escape with the evacuation of the city’s children to households in the county. Susan, their host parent rescues them, and in turn they rescue Susan. In the second installment, Ada’s foot is finally repaired, but things are anything but normal as the war rages on, and a young Jewish girl from Germany comes to stay with them. This pair of historical novels are masterfully done and Ada is an incredibly complex and strong character.
It has been five years since Livy and her family have visited her grandmother in Australia, and Livy can’t help but feel like there is something really, really important she has forgotten about her grandmother’s house… like the small green creature in a chicken suit that she finds in her closet? But Bob definitely remembers Livy, and the promise she made to him, but maybe there is something else he has forgotten? This is such a sweet, silly book. With just a touch of mystery, your young reader won’t be able to put it down.
When her family is wiped out by a pack of humans, Byx fears that she may be an Endling or the last known individual in a species. Once she is gone, her species the dog-like Dairnes will be no more. However Dairnes have a unique and valuable ability, they can detect when someone else is telling the truth. Will this gift help her or put her in greater danger? She decides that she must try to find if there are any other Dairnes still left alive. Along the way she will meet up with many characters from the various species in this mythical world. Can she trust them all? This fantastic adventure will appeal to all fantasy and animal lovers. It is especially great for fans of Erin Hunter’s Warriors Series.
It’s 1863 and the Civil War is raging in the south. In New York, Magdalys and her friends from the Colored Orphans Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out. Only barely managing to escape the evil magistrate Richard Riker, Magdalys finds herself in the independent community of free Blacks on Dactyl Hill, but several of the other orphans are captured… oh, and did we mention everyone is riding around on giant dinosaurs or soaring on pterodactyls and Magdalys seems to have a special connection to communicate with them? Taking his action from several historical events, Daniel Jose Older has added an awesome fantasy twist with this new series and we can’t wait for volume two!
Read this one!... but maybe not in the dark. Ollie is struggling, something has happened, but she doesn’t want to talk about it and she doesn’t want to be around people. When one day, through some strange circumstances, she happens upon a book with a chilling story about a smiling man. Ollie takes it for just that, a story, until on her school field trip to Smoke Hollow farm strange things start to happen. Like when the bus breaks down and the smiling driver gives a sinister warning - they’ll come at dusk, best keep to small spaces. Ollie has to learn to trust and also let go if she is going to get through this adventure. This book is just the right amount of scary. Providing breaks in suspense with humor and moments of friendship. It will keep you on your toes, but hopefully not up all night.
Twelve year old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer as he is playing in the park with a toy gun, but Jerome doesn’t disappear. He remains in his neighborhood and witnesses how his death affects his family and friends. Only one living person can still see him, Sarah, the daughter of the police officer who killed him. He is also not alone as there are many other “Ghost Boys” who like Jerome remain in the world. Ghost Boys are African American boys who in the past were killed in unjust and devastating ways including Emmett Till. With the help of Emmett, Jerome must grapple with why the Ghost Boys are left to roam the earth and how Jerome might be able to help his family and community heal. This fast paced read is a powerful and important book that can help young people explore racial injustice in today’s world.
Jilly is so excited to meet her new baby sister Emma, but when it is discovered that Emma has been born deaf, things become complicated. Emma makes an awkward attempt to reach out in an online forum to a boy she knows - Derek, who is a Deaf, Black ASL user. Her method and timing ends up annoying and offending Derek. As Jilly’s family tries to figure out the paths forward for baby Emma, Jilly learns about how much she doesn’t know. Jilly continues to make mistakes with her assumptions, but with the help of family, new friends, and a desire to do the right thing, discovers how she can make amends. With empathetic mastery, award-winning author of George, Alex Gino interweaves issues of race, ableism and privilege in a realistic and readable story. In the end, you will fall for Jilly as she stumbles along and wish for a friend like Derek to help you when you need a reality check.