Middle Grade Fiction

The Deep-Sea Duke by Lauren James

When Hugo and Ada travel to their friend Dorian’s planet for the holidays, android Hugo is anxious about being accepted by Dorian’s powerful family. But when they arrive on Hydrox, there are more pressing things to worry about, as the planet has been overrun by refugee butterflies. Displaced from their home by climate change, the butterflies have been offered sanctuary by Dorian’s parents, but they’re quickly running out of space. Meanwhile, beneath the seas, a strange creature is wreaking all kinds of havoc …
Can Hugo, Dorian and Ada step in before the crisis gets out of control?

The sequel to The Starlight Watchmaker is particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 12+. 

Categories: Science Fiction, Dyslexia-friendly, Romance, Scavenger hunt

Published by Barrington Stoke (out now)

Interview with Lauren

Beauty and the Bin by Joanne O’Connell

Parents are humiliating – especially when they’re eco-warriors.

Laurie loves her family and she wants to join them in making the world a better place. But right now, she doesn’t want to fish food out of bins, she wants to wear a pair of ordinary tights and have the money to order a hot chocolate at the café after school.

When a competition comes to Silverdale High looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Laurie finds herself unexpectedly in the spotlight. The homemade beauty remedies and potions that she has been posting online are stealing the show, and the most popular girl in the school wants to team up for the win. It seems like Laurie can achieve normality – and even popularity – at last. But will her eco-warrior family accept that she no longer wants to be part of their close-knit gang, and can she find success and glory without losing sight of her true self?

Joanne O’Connell’s Beauty and the Bin is a fresh and funny debut about friends, family, school and being a young eco-warrior.

Categories: Middle Grade, Beauty, Activism

Published by Macmillan (out now)

Read Joanne’s essay

Front Country by Sara St. Antoine

My Side of the Mountain meets Greta Thunberg in this heartfelt, exciting novel about one girl’s growing awareness of herself, the world, and the relationship between the two. 
The world is not okay. Now what?

Ginny Shepard is glad to be in Montana for a month of backcountry camping before she starts high school. The world is on fire. That’s the awful truth. And Ginny would much rather be hiking in the mountains than doing the summer college prep classes her parents think will help her future. Because, the future? Who even knows what that is anymore.

But once Ginny gets to camp, things get complicated fast. She meets her tripmates: five challenging, rebellious, tech-addicted boys. And she finds out TrackFinders is designed for kids who need extra “support.” Instead of feeling free as a bird, Ginny feels trapped . . . and betrayed.
As her friendships with her fellow campers deepen on the trail, though, Ginny starts to see new sides of them—and of herself. Maybe out here in the backcountry she’ll actually find what she needs to face the front country again.
Set in Montana’s sweeping alpine wilderness, this epic adventure captures the tremendous heartbreak of realizing the world isn’t okay at all and shows how that knowledge, and what we choose to do with it, shapes us into who we are.

Categories: Middle Grade, coming of age

Published by Chronicle Books (out now)

The First Rule of Climate Club by Carrie Firestone

An eighth grader starts a podcast on climate activism and rallies her friends to create lasting change in their local community and beyond. When Mary Kate Murphy joins a special science pilot program focused on climate change, the class opens her eyes to lots of things she never noticed before about her small suburban town:

Kids waste tons of food at school without a second thought. Parents leave their cars running in the pick-up lane all the time. People buy lots of clothes they don’t really need. Some of her friends who live in the city and are bused to her school don’t always feel included. And the mayor isn’t willing to listen to new ideas for fixing it all. Mary Kate and her friends have big plans to bring lasting change to their community and beyond. And now is the time for the young people to lead and the leaders to follow–or get out of the way.

Categories: Middle Grade, realistic fiction, activism, school

Published by Little, Brown and Penguin Random House (out now)

Dust and Rain: Chipo and Chibwe save the Green Valley by Ruth Hartley

Two children make a perilous journey through the heart of modern and magical Africa to save their parents’ farm in the Green Valley from drought and climate change.

Kambili and the drought arrive in a whirlwind of dust into the lives of CHIPO, an eleven-year-old girl with a special gift, and her brother, CHIBWE. Without rain, the family can’t grow food. so the children run away to find Makemba, the Wise Woman in the Evergreen Forest who can teach them how to keep their valley green. They are kidnapped by criminals but escape and have extraordinary adventures as they journey to find Makemba and then take her magical river water to save the Valley and end the drought.

Categories: Middle Grade, Africa, Fantasy, mythical creatures

Published by Gadsden Publishers, Lusaka Zambia (out now)

The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

A set of magical triplets, two warring dynasties, and a broken crown waiting for its rightful owner…

Deep within an enchanted forest lies a castle where a set of triplets and their sorceress mother have lived for years — safe from the decades-long war for the Raven Throne that rages in the kingdom beyond. Cordelia, one of the triplets, has the power to become any animal with just a thought, and she yearns to discover more about the world outside her castle.

But one day, the world comes to her, when the eldest of the triplets becomes the newest heir to the throne. Knowing that being named heir means certain death, Cordelia’s mother hid the truth about which child is the eldest when she hid them in the forest. When her family is captured, it’s up to Cordelia to use her powers to keep her siblings hidden and discover the truth about the Raven Heir — before it’s too late.

A thrilling new fantasy full of magic, adventure, and the power of family. 

Categories: Middle Grade, High Fantasy

Published by Bloomsbury (out now)

Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice by Lauren St. John

The Wolfe Pet Sitting Agency returns to unravel another mystery–and this time, it’s a slippery slope for our heroes and their newfound husky-dog sidekicks! Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice is the third book in the middle-grade series about animals and friendship from award-winning author Lauren St. John.

Best friends Kat Wolfe and her American sidekick Harper Lamb can’t wait to travel from England to join their parents on a winter vacation in a mountain cabin in the Catskill Mountains. But a series of misadventures leave them alone in the wilderness with eight huskies.

When Kat discovers that an argument she witnessed in New York City holds the key to a major crime, she’s certain that it won’t be long until the killers come looking for her. With a snow storm moving in and no way out, detectives Wolfe & Lamb will need the help of some exotic animals if they’re to survive. 

Categories: Middle Grade

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books (out now)

Read an interview with Lauren

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tọlá Okogwu

Black Panther meets Percy Jackson in this action-packed and empowering middle-grade series about a British-Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers. Onyeka has a lot of hair – the kind that makes strangers stop in the street. She’s always felt uncomfortable with her flamboyant curls, until she makes an important discovery: she can control her hair with her mind! Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari – children with special powers – are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the Academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies . . .

Categories: Middle Grade, Adventure, Speculative Science-Fantasy

Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s (June 2022)

Kidnap At Mystery Island by Carol Garden

A gripping futuristic, kidnap adventure story set in a time after the great global Environment Revolution of 2072, readers enter a high-tech world of eco criminals, artificial islands, global warming, rising seas and patrolling coastal rangers.

Like other kids of his generation, Dom has a special talent, chosen by his parents at conception. He is a human chameleon – he can blend into any surroundings and become almost invisible. Unfortunately his Anti-Ec dad, Dezi Krate, a mining billionaire set on ignoring the new planet-saving laws, kidnaps the young niece of some coastal rangers, Zoe (special talent mind-reading). Together with her sisters, who also have remarkable talents, can Zoe and Dom and other key players in this dangerous, futuristic world outwit the ruthless Dezi?

Categories: Middle Grade, Adventure, thriller

Published by Scholastic (out now)

Breaker by Annemarie Allan

Tom and Beth are not happy when they move to North Berwick and find themselves facing a rainy, windswept beach, a house that’s falling to pieces and a school full of strangers. When they meet Professor Macblain, with his weird and wonderful inventions, little do they know that he has a secret: not only is he a thief, but he has stolen the one thing that can save the Firth of Forth from environmental catastrophe. A madcap adventure unfolds in this funny and fast-paced tale of disasters waiting to happen.

Categories: Middle Grade, Adventure

Published by Pokey Hat (out now)

How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg by Emma Shevah

High-spirited Ivy believes she can talk to animals, while Nathaniel, a boarding schoolboy, is obsessed with animal facts. They come together unexpectedly on a cold English beach with the arrival of a rare and wondrous sea creature: a giant leatherback turtle who lays her eggs in front of the world’s media. Soon they’re on a mission to make a difference to the world – even if that’s one animal at a time.

Categories: Middle Grade, Modern families, Diversity

Published by Chicken House (out now)

Read an interview with Emma

Melt by Ele Fountain

United by greed and self-interest. But not their own. A boy lives in a remote, snow-bound village with his elderly grandmother. Their traditional way of life is threatened by the changing snow and ice: it melts faster every year. When the sea-ice collapses while he is out hunting, he only just escapes with his life and is left stranded in the Arctic tundra. Meanwhile a girl is trying to adapt to another new school. Her father promises his new job at an oil company will mean they never have to move again, but not long after, his behaviour becomes odd and secretive. When their fates take a drastic turn the girl’s world collides with the boy’s and they find themselves together in a desperate search for survival, and for the truth.

Categories: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Adventure

Published by Pushkin Press (out now)

Read an interview with Ele

Hope Jones Saves the World by Josh Lacey and Beatriz Castro (Illustrator)

My name is Hope Jones. I am ten years old. I am going to save the world.

Hope Jones’ New Year’s resolution is to give up plastic, and she’s inspiring others to do the same with her website hopejonessavestheworld.com. When she realises her local supermarket seems to stock more unnecessary plastic than food, she makes it her mission to do something about it. She may be just one ten-year-old with a homemade banner, but with enough determination, maybe Hope Jones really can save the world. 

Categories: Middle Grade, Activism, pollution

Published by Anderson Press (out now)

Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis

Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home: the wildness, the freedom, the peace. But since his father died, everything has changed, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge. Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up there in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep. Joe can’t do what’s right for everyone. But can he find the strength to fight for what he really believes in? Expert storyteller Gill Lewis presents a beautiful tale of loss, expectation, and change – with an important and thought-provoking environmental message. 

Categories: Middle Grade, Activism, Animals

Published by Oxford University Press (out now)

Legend Keepers: The Chosen One by Bruce Smith

On a cliff at the roof of the world, a mysterious raven named Roark rescues an orphaned mountain goat from death’s doorstep. She finds that she can communicate not only with the raven, but with other animals she meets while searching for her mom. Her search soon becomes a journey—her very destiny—to save her mom’s band of goats from a great peril foretold in an ancient legend.

This story of hope, perseverance, and finding one’s purpose—with a subtext of climate change’s effects on the alpine environment—will leave a lasting impression on every reader.

“Now listen carefully to me,” Roark said. “Long ago a great peril descended on our home. It brought hardship to the land, for goats and ravens and other living things. That’s when the Legend of Shining Mountain was born.”

Categories: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Animals

Published by Hidden Shelf Publishing House (out now)

A Cloud Called Bhura: Climate Champions to the Rescue by Bijal Vachharajani

A story about four friends, a city in need of help, a bunch of clueless groan-ups and a very angry, very brown and very dangerous cloud.

Amni wakes up one morning to find the sky taken over by a huge brown cloud. Where did this cloud appear from suddenly? Even as she and her friends Mithil, Tammy and Andrew start finding out more, their city of Mumbai starts reeling from the changes the cloud brings to the weather. Bhura Cloudus, as the media calls it, contains noxious gases, causes scalding rain to fall, makes birds flee the city, and suffocates every living thing.

What will Mota Bhai, the powerful politician, do now? Can Vidisha and Bidisha, the scientist twins, find a solution? And what about superstar Pavan Kumar and the amazing cloud-sucking machine? Can Bhura ever be driven away, or is it already too late?

Thought-provoking, funny and inspiring, A Cloud Called Bhura is about the changing global climate and the havoc it can cause, as well as the forces of friendship, trust and community that give hope and will help counter this deadly threat to humanity.

Categories: Middle Grade, Activism

Published by Speaking Tiger (out now)

Burning Sunlight by Anthea Simmons

Zaynab is from Somaliland, a country that doesn’t exist because of politics and may soon be no more than a desert. Lucas is from rural Devon, which might as well be a world away. When they meet, they discover a common cause: the climate crisis. Together they overcome their differences to build a Fridays For Future group at their school and fight for their right to protest and make a real impact on the local community. But when Zaynab uncovers a plot which could destroy the environment and people’s lives back home in Somaliland, she will stop at nothing to expose it. Lucas must decide if he is with her or against her – even if Zaynab’s actions may prove dangerous…

Categories: Middle Grade, Politics, Activism

Published by Anderson Press (out now)

Read an essay by Anthea

The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield by Cara Hoffman

There’s no other place Tubs Marshfield would rather be than singing a song in his perfect little swamp along the Louisiana bayou. His music can make anyone feel happy.

But something terrible is happening within the swamp that even Tubs’ songs can’t fix—and it’s making his neighbors feel sick! No one knows what to do, least of all Tubs.

A mysterious prophecy may hold the key…or send Tubs away from his friends forever.

Categories: Middle Grade, Music, Pollution

Published by HarperCollins (out now)

Read an essay by Cara

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.

Categories: Middle Grade, Animals

Published by HarperCollins (out now)

Read an interview with Hannah

Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig

Tiger Skin Rug is the story of two boys who move from India to Scotland. All they want is to go home. But that’s before the tiger skin rug in their new house comes to life… Can they help the tiger keep an old promise? Will it take them back to India? And who might be trying to stop them?

Categories: Middle Grade, contemporary, magical realism, environmental destruction

Published by Cranachan Publishing; Templar/Bonnier (out now)

Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo

“When I get up, there’s nobody home. Even Mum has gone out. The note says, ‘I have to check my emails. I’ll snowmobile to the meltline and be back soon. XX Mummy’.
And I think, ‘Good. I can feed my bear…'”

Darcy’s life was never exactly simple, but it was about to become a lot more complicated.
Recovering from a distressing illness in her parents’ cabin surrounded by looming pine trees, Darcy spends most of her days alone, warming herself by the log fire. That is, until she ventures into the woods hours before a heavy snowstorm, and finds herself face-to-face with a grizzly bear. Their encounter takes a surprising turn when it flourishes into a warm and caring companionship.

Set against the backdrop of the snowy Yellowstone National Park in Montana. 

Categories: Middle Grade, survival, nature, animals

Published by Oxford University Press (out now)

Effie the Rebel by Laura Wood

Effie is changing the world, one classroom at a time.
Dark forces are at work at Highworth Grange school: the student council has been taken over by a tyrannical villain with his own agenda. But Effie Kostas isn’t about to stand by and watch democracy crumble! She’s leading the resistance – but politics can be a dirty game and Effie will need to keep her wits about her as she faces down the enemy. With the help of her brilliant band of misfit friends, a bad-tempered parrot, and a former nemesis, can Effie save the school she loves before it’s too late?

Categories: Middle Grade, Environmental activism, Politics

Published by Scholastic (out now)

Read an interview with Laura

Adventures of the Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries by Claire Datnow

Monarch butterflies are in grave danger! The town of Mortaburg, Alabama, is threatening to destroy an important local haven for these beautiful insects on their long migration journey south. The Sizzling Six, a group of teenage girls who solve eco mysteries, is in a race against meddling city officials, and the weather itself, to save the endangered monarchs. With the help of a mysterious neighbor and a school project, they may be able to turn things around after all. 

Categories: Middle Grade, Environmental activism

Published by Star Bright Books (out now)

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