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1. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

2. Percy Jackson Complete Box Set

All five books in the blockbuster Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, in paperback, have been collected in a boxed set fit for demigods. Now with glorious new cover art and packaged with a special poster, this value-priced set includes the best-selling The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. Whether it is for readers who are experiencing Percy’s thrilling adventures with Greek gods and monsters for the first time, or for fans who want to devour the saga again, this gift will be prized by young and old.

3. Cattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo

Fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Witch Boy will love this funny, folksy, fresh debut from Ash Van Otterloo that proves sometimes it takes two witches to make the strongest magic happen.

4. Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents author Tehlor Kay Mejia and her thrilling fantasy adventure based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona (the Crying Woman).

Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.

Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . .

Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.

5. Smoke and Mirrors by K.D. Halbrook

Smoke has come to the Cirque Magnifique. And Sasha Brown is sure it is her fault.

Sasha has always loved the Cirque, a place filled with sequined costumes, dazzling spotlights, and magnificent tents. But when she starts fifth grade with the Islanders—the ordinary folk from the other side of the Island—for the first time, she starts to question her home and her Cirque family. Is the magic real? Are the stories even true? Faced with the Island kids’ bullying and scorn, Sasha isn’t so sure she wants to be a Cirque kid anymore, and the swirling, blue-gray Smoke appears.

One night in the big tent, Sasha’s dad performs, twisting his body through the air as the lights dance. Sasha is supposed to be helping, but instead she sits beneath the bleachers, seething. She wishes for the Smoke to come and make it all disappear: the Cirque, her family, the Island with its mean Island kids. And the Smoke does come. As Sasha watches her dad, he flips and raises his arms out for the bar that is supposed to meet him, his bright grin confident and sure. But there is only air…and Smoke.

Both of Sasha’s parents disappear that night, and it’s all Sasha’s fault. What can she do but try and find them—even if her journey takes her to the end of the world?

6. Tristan Strong Destroys the World (Book 2) by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, is suffering from PTSD. But there’s no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge.clip_image002

Tristan must return to Alke–and reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby–in order to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation. Anansi, now a “web developer” in Tristan’s phone, is close at hand to offer advice, and several new folk heroes will aid Tristan in his quest, but he will only succeed if he can figure out a way to sew broken souls back together.

Get the first of the Tristan Strong series HERE.

7. Make Trouble Young Readers Edition: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards

To make change, you have to make trouble.

Cecile Richards has been fighting for what she believes in ever since she was taken to the principal’s office in seventh grade for wearing an armband in protest of the Vietnam War. She had an extraordinary childhood in ultra-conservative Texas, where her father, a civil rights attorney, and her mother, an avid activist and the first female governor of Texas, taught their kids to be troublemakers.

From the time Richards was a girl, she had a front row seat to observe the rise of women in American politics. And by sharing her story with young readers, she shines a light on the people and lessons that have gotten her though good times and bad, and encourages her audience to take risks, make mistakes, and make trouble along the way.

clip_image0048. The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

Return to the unforgettable world of the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling novel The One and Only Ivan (soon to be a major motion picture!) in this incredible sequel, starring Ivan’s friend Bob!

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

9. Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis

Lumberjanes is one of those punk rock, love-everything-about-it stories that appeals to fans of basically all excellent things. It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls and features five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls wailing on monsters and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake. And with the talent of acclaimed cartoonist Noelle Stevenson, talented newcomer Grace Ellis writing, and Brooke Allen on art, this is going to be a spectacular series that you won’t want to miss. Collects Lumberjanes #1-#4.

10. Sisters Grimm: the Fairytale Detective by Michael Buckley

clip_image006Orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their newly discovered grandmother, Relda Grimm, in the strange town of Ferryport Landing. The girls soon learn a family secret: that they are descendants of the famous Brothers Grimm, whose book of fairy tales is actually a history book. When a terrorizing giant goes on a rampage through the town, it’s up to the Sisters Grimm to stop him and to solve the mystery of who set the giant loose in the first place. Was it Mayor Charming, formerly Prince Charming, who desperately wants his kingdom back? The Three Not-So-Little Pigs, the shifty town cops? Or one of the many other fairy-tale characters who seem to have it out for the Grimms?

11. Quintessence by Jess Redman

Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she’s told her parents that they have. Every day she feels less and less like herself. But one day she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star—a star that looks like a child—fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to long for home, and decides she’ll return that star home to the sky. With the help of unlikely new friends, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self. Quintessence is a stunning story from Jess Redman about friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.

12. When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future…but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

clip_image008Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

13. Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #1) by Raina Telgemeier; based on the novel by Ann M. Martin

Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day. Baby-sitting isn’t always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!

14. Serafina and the Seven Stars by Robert Beatty

Serafina and Braeden make an epic return in the hotly anticipated fourth installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series. Serafina, the Guardian of Biltmore Estate, has won battle after battle against the dark forces encroaching on her home. Now, tranquility has returned to Biltmore. Serafina doesn’t trust it. She patrols the grounds night and day, hardly sleeping, uncertain of her place after her best friend Braeden Vanderbilt’s departure for boarding school in New York.

When Mr. Vanderbilt, the kind master of Biltmore, asks Serafina to move upstairs into one of the house’s grandest rooms, she’s sure it’s to keep an eye on the guests who have arrived for the estate’s annual hunt.

But as Serafina investigates, she becomes more and more unsettled by what Biltmore has become—a place haunted by nameless terrors where no dark corridor is safe. Even worse, she begins to doubt her own senses. Is Braeden really hundreds of miles away, or did he return to Biltmore for one strange night before vanishing? Is the bond between them truly broken or is it stronger than ever?

Then Serafina witnesses a crime that turns her world upside down. How can all that once seemed good and worthy of protection now be evil? And how can she guard those around her when she can’t even be sure of the truth of her own heart?

Get the first three in a box set HERE.

15. Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of the Girls Who Code series and The Crossover.

16. Spindlefish and Stars by Christiane M. Andrews

Clothilde has lived her whole life in the shadows with her (sometimes) thieving and (always) ailing father. But when he fails to meet her one morning, sending her instead a mysterious ticket of half-paffage, Clo finds herself journeying across the sea to reunite with him. The ticket, however, leaves her on a sunless island inhabited only by creaking fishermen, a rumpled old woman, a piggish cat, and a moon-cheeked boy named Cary.

Clo is quickly locked away and made to spend her days in unnerving chores with the island’s extraordinary fish, while the old woman sits nearby weaving an endless gray tapestry. Frustrated and aching with the loss of her father, Clo must unravel the mysteries of the island and all that’s hidden in the vast tapestry’s threads — secrets both exquisite and terrible. And she must decide how much of herself to give up in order to save those she thought she’d lost forever.

Inspired by Greek mythology, this spellbinding fantasy invites readers to seek connections, to forge their own paths, and to explore the power of storytelling in our interwoven histories.

17. Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls By Francesca Cavallo And Elena Favilli

The New York Times bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the lives of extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world.

This must-have volume brings readers on an empowering journey, introducing them to the real-life adventures of trailblazing women from Elizabeth I to Malala Yousafzai. The unique narrative style of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls transforms each biography into a fairytale, filling readers with wonder and a burning curiosity to know more about each hero. Each woman’s story is also accompanied by a full-page, full-color portrait that captures her rebel spirit.

This hardcover edition, with an extra-smooth matte scuff-free lamination, 100lbs paper, a satin ribbon bookmark, and extraordinary print quality, is the perfect gift for any young reader, and begs to be read again and again.

18. Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Pax—a poignant and timeless tale of love and loyalty between a boy and his fox set during wartime—is the highly anticipated new middle grade novel from bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker.

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued the fox as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return Pax to the wild.
At his grandfather’s house three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.
Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own…

HOLIDAY 2020 GIFT GUIDE: MIDDLE GRADE
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