Choosing the next book to read can be tough when there are so many options. Where to begin? That’s why Deep Blue Readers is sharing five ways to jump start your Summer Reading adventures through Middle Grades lit before kids meet at Valley Bookseller for Reader Choice Sunday, July 26.
Finished Reader Choice and interested in reading ahead for August and September? The Deep Blue Readers Summer 2015 flyer has everything you need to know (also in black & white for easy printing to post on your fridge or cork board).
#1: Visit with Good Friends…
Look back at the Deep Blue Readers Dive Log to get re-acquainted with authors we’ve read in the past. See a favorite? Why not find another book from the same author or read a companion book in a series?
- Track down earlier titles by Anne Ursu, whether Breadcrumbs or the mythology-based Cronus Chronicles
- Carl Hiaasen, author of Hoot, also penned Chomp, Flush, and Scat; The Boundless‘s Kenneth Oppel won several awards for Airborn; and many of The Westing Game author Ellen Raskin’s other MGlit books, like Figgs & Phantoms, are newly reissued in paperback
- Madeleine L’Engle, author of the Time Quintet, is known for two other series: Meet the Austins, which starts with the book of the same name, and the Polly O’Keefe series, starting with The Arm of the Starfish. That name — O’Keefe — should look familiar to anyone who’s read A Wrinkle in Time…
- Read The Apprentices, follow-up to Maile Meloy’s The Apothecary, before the final book arrives this November
- Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Countdown by Deborah Wiles, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle, and The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood each offer sequels that connect you with familiar characters tackling new adventures
Enjoy the excitement of meeting fresh faces? Get to know your Youth Services Librarian (YSL) at Stillwater Public Library. No question, your helpful YSL will have endless recommendations about what’s waiting for you in the Middle Grades stacks or on eBook, especially if you share a bit about other books you’ve enjoyed. Exploring other locations in the Washington County Library network can make for a fun Summer afternoon — remember to pick up a Book-A-Wocky program guide!
And it should be obvious that Kathy or one of the other Valley Bookseller staff can steer you toward the latest and greatest Middle Grades arrivals, like Circus Mirandus by Cathy Beasley, which received a lot of buzz at the recent ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.
Deep Blue Readers spent a lot of time with realistic and historical fiction the first half of 2015, so you may find yourself hungry for a good fantasy. We’re still anticipating Kelly Barnhill’s newest on the way, but you can dive into Iron Hearted Violet as you wait.
Even now, eight years after J.K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, people (adults mostly) are still wondering what to read after Harry Potter?
We wonder what they’ve been doing all this time! Haven’t they heard about Septimus Heap by Angie Flyte, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, The Thickety by J.A. White, or A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz? Even Lemony Snicket is asking All the Wrong Questions, though his Series of Unfortunate Events are as good as ever! And you can’t go wrong with grand master of fantasy, Sir Terry Pratchett, whose final publication adds another to the Tiffany Aching books set in the Disc World.
Summer also can be a great time to be scared — if that’s your idea of a good time! This Darker Side of Middle Grade Novels list from the Barnes & Noble kids blog has your name on it.
#4: Get a Little Graphic (Novel)
Back in 2012, librarian Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai wondered if it was possible — even desirable — for a graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal. This already was several years after Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret shook up the book world by winning the Caldecott Medal over more traditional picture books. Was it a novel? Was it a graphic novel? Or was it a picture book?
This year, there were two Newbery Honor Books, four Printz Honors, and six Caldecott Honor books in addition to the medalists. In each category, a graphic novel took an honor. One book took two. – Jackie Reeve at GeekMom, 2/4/15
Librarians and educators now say that reading is reading — what matters is that you do it! So pick up this year’s Newbery Honor book, El Deafo by CeCe Bell, a fun and inspirational semi-autobiographical tale about a hearing impaired… rabbit!
Try the two-volume graphic novel adaptation of past DBR selection, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, or Brian Selznick’s latest, The Marvels. Even Homer (via author, illustrator Gareth Hinds) and Congressman John Lewis have turned to graphic novels to tell important stories!
One of the wonderful parts of reading Middle Grades lit is falling down the many rabbit holes you can explore. Alice didn’t stop at visiting Wonderland just once!
Don’t be in a hurry to move on — stay around a while, challenge yourself with the rich world of MGlit authors and stories.
- Try novels written in verse, like Kwame Alexander’s Crossover, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg, The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle, Caminar by Skila Brown, or Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
- Reach into the wealth of ideas waiting for you at ALSC‘s list of Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1922 – Present
- Investigate titles from The Boston Globe Horn Book Awards or Children’s Book Council’s Children’s Choice Book Awards — ALA’s Newbery is not the only award recognizing contributions to children’s literature!
- Add your name to the list of kids who’ve accepted Mr. Schu’s Newbery Medal Challenge
- Pirates, monsters, or detectives? Pick up classics like Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, or The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — the more complex language and fantastic plots will present a new kind of challenge
- Surround yourself with nonsense! Join the ongoing celebration marking 150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and read Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
“The role of children’s literature is to teach us how to live, not just how to read.” – Pam Allyn