Book review publication Booklist recently announced its 50 Best Middle-Grade Novels of the 21st Century, a collection of superb reads that accurately reflect the lives of 3rd- to 8th-grade readers. The list, compiled by experts at the American Library Association, includes four Scholastic titles, plus an honorable mention for the modern classic Harry Potter series. According to Booklist, the reads selected for the list showcase a “fuzzy blend of literary quality and kid appeal.” Check out the winning Scholastic books below!
The Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey
It's a dog! Or is it a man? Actually, it's both — he's Dog Man, and he's the titular hero who takes on wrongdoers and keeps crime at bay throughout this best-selling series. Middle-grade readers love the zany drawings, the laugh-out-loud humor, and the undeniable fun of each book in the comic book-styled reads.
Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Thirteen-year-old Steven isn't focused on much except for playing the drums and crushing on Renee, a girl in school. But when his 5-year-old brother Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven has to find strength in the face of his brother's illness. An insightful work that shifts between humor and tear-wringing moments, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is a heartwarming, realistic view into a young teen's life in the midst of personal tragedy.
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
School bully Keith Sinclair announces he's running for Student Council president, and he's pretty much guaranteed an unfair victory thanks to his connections to the principal. Reformed schemer Jackson Greene decides something must be done, so he assembles a ragtag team to take down Keith and ensure the election is won fair and square. Middle grade readers will love the page-turning plot and the diverse cast of characters who band together in the most unusual of circumstances.
Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1: The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta
Kiranmala is an average sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey with parents who seem to try to embarrass her. They insist she's an Indian princess, which she finds laughable — until the morning of her 12th birthday. A rakkhosh, an Indian demon, abducts her parents, and the sixth grader is thrown into action in an alternate dimension where she discovers the truth behind her parents' many tales. Your middle-grade reader will be captivated by the rich imagery, the rapid fire action, and Kiranmala's journey of self-discovery and growth.
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