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Tween

The Best Books of 2020 for Tweens

by Keith Rice

best-middle-grade-books-2020

With 2020 coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at all the great books the year had to offer for middle grade readers. Whether a road trip with The Last Kids on Earth, a few heartfelt and hilarious coming-of-age tales, or a stories to help kids learn to cope with life’s difficulties, there really is something here for everyone.

  • The Last Kids on Earth and the Skeleton Road

    by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

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    The latest Last Kids on Earth adventure sees Jack Sullivan and the gang embarking on a wild road trip with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Jack, now wielding the Midnight Blade, must stop the evil Thrull from building a portal and bringing an unstoppable power into our dimension. But first, the group must survive outside the confines of Wakefield with a monster they all thought to be long dead hot on their tails.

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  • Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet

    by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik

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    It’s never easy moving and starting at a new school, and that’s no different for a wildly imaginative kid like Omar. He has no idea what to expect and fears the worst – at least until he makes a new best friend. However, when he runs afoul of the school bully – a boy named Daniel who tells Omar all Muslims will be kicked out of the country – it seems all his worst fears are coming true. Fortunately, Omar has a vivid imagination and a loving, goofy family to get him through.

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  • Wink

    by Rob Harrell

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    Making it through middle school is difficult enough in the best of circumstances, and Ross Maloy wants nothing more than to be like everyone else. However, when Ross is diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, he loses any hope of being a regular seventh grader. Perhaps Ross can find a way to embrace his new life and learn that his diagnosis is not what defines him.

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  • Tornado Brain

    by Cat Patrick

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    This powerful coming-of-age story centers around Frankie, a neurodivergent 13-year-old. Frankie doesn’t like to be touched, she can’t deal with changes to her routine, and loud noises bother her. This all makes it hard for Frankie to make friends. So, when her old friend Colette shows up, Frankie is excited – at least, until Colette vanishes. Now Frankie must convince her sister Tess to help decipher the clues she’s convinced Colette left behind so Frankie can find her friend.

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  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

    by Jessica Kim

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    What do you do when you’re ridiculed at school and sporting a bad perm? If you’re Yumi Chung, you turn those embarrassing memories into pure comedy. Yumi wants nothing more than to be a stand-up comic and she spends her free time studying her favorite comedians on YouTube. A case of mistaken identity lands her in a comedy camp taught be her favorite comedian. But, as her mistaken identity begins to fall apart, Yumi has a choice: reveal the truth or risk losing everything.

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  • Echo Mountain

    by Lauren Wolk

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    After losing everything during the Great Depression, Ellie’s family is working to make a new life. They’ve relocated to the wilds of Echo Mountain. However, when a tragic accident leaves her father in a coma – and Ellie unfairly blamed – Ellie sets out to make things right by seeking out a healer deep in the mountain wilderness. It will be an arduous adventure, one that will test her as she’s never been tested before.

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  • When Stars Are Scattered

    by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy

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    This powerful, emotional graphic novel recounts the story of two brothers growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya. For Omar and Hassan, the world is a difficult place. They’ve spent most of their lives in a refugee camp where food and other necessities are always scarce. More than anything, Omar knows that his nonverbal brother needs medical care. When the opportunity arises to attend school, which could possibly alter the brothers’ future, Omar must decide if he can leave his brother every day to pursue a better life for both of them.

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  • The Mystery of the Moon Tower

    by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian, illustrated by Steve Hamaker

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    When five eclectic kids are thrown together at a summer camp, they’re surprised when they quickly bond. Even more surprising is their discovery of a series of clues left behind by the camp’s explorer-inventor founder. The kids soon discover a castle with a bizarre secret room where time appears to warp, starting them on an adventure unlike anything they could have imagined.

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  • What Lane?

    by Torrey Maldonado

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    This striking coming-of-age tale centers on Stephen, a mixed race kid trying to find his footing in a world that seems to have two different sets of rules. Stephen wants to be able to do anything his friends can do, but is increasingly noticing that his white friends are treated differently than he is. While he wants to do everything his friends can do, it’s become clear that society may have a different set of rules for kids like him. But Stephen is determined to find the lane that he wants to be in, regardless what the world around him has to say.

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  • Before the Ever After

    by Jacqueline Woodson

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    This powerful examination of loss and family centers around ZJ, a boy whose father was a football star and beloved neighborhood leader. But for ZJ, his dad is no longer the man he used to be. His dad has trouble remembering things and loses his temper a lot, he’s even forgotten ZJ’s name a few times. While logically ZJ understands that it’s head injuries from football causing these things, it doesn’t make it any easier. Now, he’s forced to navigate this new normal and try to hold on to what remains of the father he loves so much.

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  • Pages & Co.: The Map of Stories

    by Anna James, illustrated by Paola Escobar

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    The third volume in the bestselling Pages & Co. series sees Tilly and Oskar embarking on an adventure in one of the world’s most famous libraries. Books are disappearing and people are forgetting their favorite stories. The British Underlibrary is in danger, and it’s up to Tilly and Oskar to solve the mystery. But to do so, they’ll need to track down an elusive group of bookwanderers known as the Archivists. It’s a search that will carry the duo all the way to Washington, DC and the famed Library of Congress.

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  • Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins

    by Lincoln Peirce

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    This uproarious sequel to the New York Times bestseller Max and the Midknights sees Max and the gang once again under siege, immersed in a world of adventure. With Byjovia under attack, it’s up to Max and her best friends, the Midknights, to save the day. However, they’re about to discover that their greatest foe may be themselves.

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  • Clean Getaway

    by Nic Stone

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    This timely and revealing middle grade adventure follows an 11-year-old named Scoob, who sets off on an unexpected road trip with his beloved G-Ma. It’s just Scoob, G-Ma, an RV, and G-Ma’s mysterious Green Book. Set against the back drop of historical segregation in the American South, Scoob is about to discover that the world G-Ma grew up in was very different from the one he now knows.

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  • How We Got to the Moon

    by John Rocco

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    How We Got to the Moon is a fascinating and thrilling behind-the-scenes look at one of the most extraordinary events in human history – the moon landing. Bestselling author and illustrator John Rocco takes readers through all the various events that led up to the historic moonwalk — from the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik to the splashdown of Apollo 11.

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  • Superpowered

    by Renee Jain and Dr. Shefali Tsabary

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    Helping our children navigate social and emotional challenges can be difficult. It is obviously important that we empower our children to work through the seemingly ever-mounting anxiety and turmoil of modern life. However, finding ways to do so is not always easy. Fortunately, Superpowered is an excellent, practical toolkit for recognizing and learning to cope with difficult situations and embracing mindfulness and resilience.

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  • The Smartest Kid in the Universe

    by Chris Grabenstein

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    Twelve-year-old Jake thought he was eating a few simple jelly beans. Little did he know they were not actually jelly beans, but the world’s first ingestible information pills. Now, Jake is the smartest kid in the universe and everyone wants him – the government, the mega corporations, everyone. Jake and his newfound intelligence must navigate a world that he never wanted to be a part of.

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  • Hilo Book 6: All the Pieces Fit

    by Judd Winick

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    For five books, fans have watched Hilo race across the universe to escape the deadly clutches of Razorwark. Here is where it all comes to an end. Razorwark has now made his way to Earth and Hilo is ready to make his stand, which will decide the future of the robot world. It’s an epic war with Hilo’s future and possibly the fate of the universe hanging in the balance.

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  • The List of Things That Will Not Change

    by Rebecca Stead

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    It feels like everything is changing for Bea’s family – her mom and dad are divorcing and she feels completely adrift. To cope, she keeps a list of all the things that will not change. When she discovers that her dad is about to marry his boyfriend, Bea is excited. Her father’s boyfriend Jesse has a daughter, which means Bea will finally have the sister she always wanted. But Bea is about to discover that making a new family brings its own set of challenges.

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  • Stepping Stones

    by Lucy Knisley

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    Jen’s world is turned upside down when her mother moves them from the city to live on a farm in the country with her new boyfriend Walter. Suddenly, Jen is away from all of her friends, in a strange place, and trying to navigate life with the new stepsisters she did not want. Discovering where she fits into her new family won’t be easy, but it’s a journey Jen has no choice but to take.

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  • Witches of Brooklyn

    by Sophie Escabasse

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    Effie knows her aunts are weird. In fact, she’s always known her family is pretty weird. The last thing she expected, though, was to find out that her super strange aunts are actually witches. And she really didn’t expect to learn that she may be magically talented herself. Who knew there were witches in Brooklyn or that Effie might be one of them? Her formerly mundane life is about to get very interesting.

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