Drumroll………my top ten middle grade books of 2016!!!!!!! Probably my favorite blog post of the year! I started thinking about this list a couple of weeks ago, jotting down my favorites without looking back at my Goodreads list. What books stood out in my mind months after finishing them? What books did I find myself recommending to others, or wanting to reread? I read so many wonderful books in 2016, it was hard to keep my list to only ten books. Here is my list, in no particular order (and yes, I cheated a bit and include a 2017 book as number eleven!) Some of these books were included in my Friday Book Sharing – I have included the links if you want to read my original reviews! Cheers!
I love all of Kate DiCamillo’s books, so it is no surprise to find Raymie Nightingale on my list of favorites. What a beautiful book! The characters are interesting, complex, and full of surprises. Ramyie and her friends will charm you, and as usual with Kate DiCamillo’s books, you will find such depth in this book that it warrants rereading and discussing with your best friend!
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager is just magical. This story will enchant middle grade readers as well as older readers – and I have found myself recommending this book to high schoolers and adults. Eager’s novel will have you thinking about the power of storytelling and the power of believing in a bit of magic, right in the middle of the ordinary.
Lauren Wolk’s masterful book Wolf Hollow is a book that I will reread, again, and again, and again. The writing is beautiful and haunting. The story has a richness and depth to it that will leave you in awe. A classic. Read this book!
This one was on my TBR list for a couple of months, but it was a tweet that suddenly inspired me to move The Poet’s Dog to the top of my stack! So very glad I did. This is a poetic and philosophical story that will astound with words of wisdom from the poet’s dog and the two children he cares for during a snowstorm. A beautiful treasure from the wonderful Patricia MacLachlan. Definitely a book to reread with a cup of tea on a cold winter day.
Just lovely. I was fortunate to read an ARC of Unbound and I wrote about it on my blog, eagerly anticipating its publication. My copy arrived and I immediately handed it to my daughters to read. They both loved it! A moving, important story. Grace is a character that you will remember.
An beautiful story set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, a book that encompasses hope and optimism in the midst of challenges. In Paper Wishes, Manami, at age 10, must move with her family to an internment camp and leave her beloved dog behind. Her story will move readers. When my oldest daughter finished reading this book, she insisted that I send a tweet to Lois Sepahban, who graciously answered her tweet! My own ten-year-old daughter declared this to be “one of the best books I’ve ever read!”
The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner is an interesting book to describe – a story that deals with drug addition, ice fishing, Irish dancing, and a magical fish. Read this book. It is a story that will stay with you long after finishing the last page. It is difficult to read at times, as this is an honest portrayal of the difficulties of drug addiction for families, both parents and siblings. It is a book that will help raise awareness and start important conversations for families. Beautifully written, this is another amazing book by Kate Messner.
I finished reading Finding Perfect just in time to include it on my 2016 list! (Really, I finished it on New Year’s Eve!). An amazing book by Elly Swartz. Molly is a young girl who has a lot going on in her life, and as Molly life becomes more complicated and stressful, her obsessions with counting, washing hands, and organizing become more and more out of control. Molly knows she needs to tell someone, that she needs help, but telling someone is difficult. Molly touched my heart in so many ways – she is a brave girl who inspires those around her, and those who read her story! I know I’ll be recommending this book to many young readers in the future.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a book that surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect – a book about a robot? On a island? But the book was calling me, over and over again, I kept seeing mentions on Goodreads and Twitter, and it was hard not to read a review – I knew I had to read it first before I read any reviews! This is a book that will surprise and get you thinking about nature and how we interact – all in one amazing middle grade novel! Peter Brown is amazing.
PAX. So much anticipation with this book! The cover is amazingly beautiful and honestly, this is a book that will STAY WITH YOU. A boy and his fox. It is both a simple and a complex story. The bond between friends and the difficulties of war. You will be mesmerized.
Here we are, book number eleven. Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. I feel like I’m cheating a bit here, because this book hasn’t been published yet. I was fortunate to read an ARC of Lucky Broken Girl and I wrote about it a few weeks ago in a Friday Book Sharing post. I just had to include it! Pre-order your copy now for 2017! And happy reading!