Middle Grade Book Recommendations

Whether you're looking for a family read-aloud, a parent-child book club choice, or the next great series to keep your elementary age reader turning the pages, Queen Anne Book Company has you covered with chapter book recommendations. Usually for 8-12 year olds.

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The Unadoptables Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593116937
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - July 21st, 2020

I was completely swept up in this tale of determined misfits! There is a haunting, atmospheric quality with eerie charm and sweet connection. I loved the Amsterdam setting, the quirky characters, and the suspense of wondering whether this found-family will be able to make it on their own. Some elements reminded me of Emily Winfield Martin, some of Lemony Snicket, maybe even a little Guillermo del Toro and Wes Anderson, but it's refreshingly unique, just like the characters. --Tegan


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Into the Tall, Tall Grass Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534449671
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - April 7th, 2020

This is a rare coming-of-age, magical realism, coming-out, scientific quest, sister-struggle, animal-loving, letting-go, best-friend tension-filled, epic family drama that is perfect for tweens. It hits all the right notes in a story that is hard to put down and even harder to forget. Open yourself up to its magic. --Tegan


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Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780525552864
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Dial Books - July 14th, 2020

This fun graphic novel has a little "Harriet the Spy" feeling and is perfect for the summer! Jamila is a little sister who loves basketball, but she's new to the neighborhood and her parents are pretty protective. She meets Shirley at a yard sale-- definitely a quirky kid! Their moms decide to give them some limited freedom together since they're both 10-- and moms want each to have a friend. They start off kind of using each other: Jamila just wants to play basketball while Shirley wants to be able to consult with her investigation clients. But when a boy comes to Shirley because he and his sister not only lost his pet gecko (which had been in his stolen backpack) and got kicked out of the community pool, curiosity and teamwork really kick in. 
The investigation winds up bringing together some misunderstood and lonely kids in lovely ways. 
Reading this is like running through a sprinkler and getting a popsicle-- invigorating and comforting summertime encapsulated. 

--Tegan


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Stand Up, Yumi Chung! Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780525554974
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Kokila - March 17th, 2020

This is a book that is uplifting, funny, charming, hopeful, and HELPFUL to tweens! The main character, Yumi, wants to do stand-up comedy. Her parents want her to go to SSAT tutoring to get into a private school and earn a scholarship. But when a bizarre opportunity that just requires some identity theft and a little dishonesty opens up, Yumi gets to follow her dream and attend comedy camp. Her new friends there are delightful, and I cheered to realize that Yumi had been feeling so isolated and stressed, but actually finds herself a group of wonderful people who care and like her for exactly who she is-- except they think she's a Japanese-American student named Kay, not a Korean-American student named Yumi. Will Yumi be able to come clean? Will she be able to help save her parents' restaurant? Will she be able to maintain her friendships and comedy that mean so much to her? She has a lot of people who want what they think is best for her, but will she be able to reconcile their advice and find a path that works for them all? This is SO GOOD: laugh-out-loud funny, so much to think about, and realistic suspense because you care so much for Yumi and her family.   --Tegan


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City Spies Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534414914
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Aladdin - March 10th, 2020

Fast-paced fun! It's as if "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." had a group of brilliant orphans from around the world, all under the guidance of a benevolent British gent (codename: Mother). Capers galore, international intrigue, friendship, jealousy, climate change, science competitions-- what more could you want? With character profiles (complete with illustrations) at the end, it's a great cinematic, action-packed read. I can't wait for the next adventure! --Tegan


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Rating Your Bunkmates and Other Camp Crimes Cover Image
By Jennifer Orr, Alexandra Bye (Cover Design by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781684460779
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Capstone Editions - February 1st, 2020

Tween drama, perfectly done! Sleep-away camp is a potential social minefield, and the main character, a socially-awkward science fan, does her best... A loveable, flawed protagonist plus a cabin full of three-dimensional potential friends/ enemies makes for a perfect summer read. --Tegan


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My Life as a Potato Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780593118665
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - March 24th, 2020

Ben and his family moved to Idaho from California partway through his 7th grade school year. When a hot dog bouncing incident in the lunchroom benches Wyatt, the kid who serves as Steve the Spud, the school mascot, Ben is sentenced to the new few basketball games as the school's mascot. 

This book does a fantastic job conveying just how extreme things can feel in middle school (so HUMILIATING to be dressed as a potato, so AMAZING to be asked to a dance by a cheerleader, so CONFUSING that you might not really enjoy talking with that cheerleader...), and how important friendship, kindness, and responsibility are at any age. I found this wonderfully refreshing, enjoyable, and funny.  --Tegan


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Shuri: A Black Panther Novel (Marvel) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338585476
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - May 5th, 2020

This was everything I'd hoped for in a novel starring the Black Panther's brilliant little sister! She's a reluctant princess. She's a creative inventor. She's a methodical yet innovative scientist. She's a future leader of Wakanda. She's kind of a crummy friend for a while (because what tween isn't sometimes) and she's a rebellious daughter. She's a determined, powerful, amazing character, and I loved every page! Action, emotion, world travel, and investigative science, all in one quick read. --Tegan


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Other Words for Home Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062747808
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 28th, 2019

"In this relatable story, 12-year-old Jude learns how to reconcile her feelings of simultaneous happiness and sadness as a result of moving from her home town in Syria to her new home in the Cincinnati. It is a story of kindness, prejudice, and the triumph of believing in yourself. Lovely and inspiring."

--- Kimberly


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The Line Tender Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735231603
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - April 16th, 2019

"During the summer in her coastal New England hometown, 13-year-old Lucy Everheart discovers how to survive profound change through the love of her neighbors and friends, her clever wit, and a new passion for exploring the biology of great white sharks (Up close and in person!). Rich, tender, and fascinating this my new favorite book."

--- Kimberly


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The Harlem Charade Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780545783880
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 24th, 2018

Why did her classmate tape a transit pass to a jar of pickles in Jin's granparents' bodega? Why are there paintings buried in a community garden in Harlem? A group of kids band together to solve these mysteries and save their neighborhood from a gimmicky theme park. 

--Kim


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New Kid Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

This is entertaining and enlightening all at once-- a great parent/ kid read and discuss book, but also just a great read. Jordan is a fantastic character-- the new kid at a fancy school. You'll want him as your friend.

I feel like this is one of the best books I've read lately for any age, grown-ups or kids, for dealing with race, class, privilege, and ambition. Don't miss it!

--Tegan


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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781101997253
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Puffin Books - April 3rd, 2018

Funny and full of the community that small businesses and big families bring. It's a fun read with heart and humor. You'll want to keep reading to find out what happens with the family restaurant, to Arturo's crush, and to the evil developer who threatens all the good things. Zesty, funny, and uplifting, despite the title!

--Tegan


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Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer Cover Image
By Kelly Jones, Katie Kath (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780385755559
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Yearling - March 8th, 2016

Told in letters that are sometimes silly, sometimes a little sad, always sassy and SO Sophie, this is a perfect chapter book! When Sophie moves to a farm, she learns about chickens-- and learns to watch for magic! I loved Sophie, her incredible chickens, and her way of seeing the world. 

--Tegan


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The Fourteenth Goldfish Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780375871146
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Yearling - April 5th, 2016

Ellie's grandfather may have figured out the key to eternal youth... but how will Ellie cope with a cranky grandpa trapped in a middle-schooler's body-- AND going to middle school with her? HILARIOUS and thought-provoking. I also loved how much real science is in it.

--Tegan