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Growing Reader


21 Middle Grade & Chapter Books Kids Will Love in Fall 2021

by Janssen Bradshaw


Summer is wrapping up, and that means school is fast approaching! Get your kids reading some new and exciting books to start the school year off right.

Check out all these new titles that hit a wide variety of interests. From gripping historical stories to zany graphic novels, there is something here for everyone.

  • Fast Pitch

    by Nic Stone

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    From Clean Getaway author Nic Stone comes Fast Pitch – another middle grade book sure to resonate with readers. Shenice Lockwood is the most determined player on her all-Black softball team and wants to prove that they belong on the field. This goal becomes complicated when she accidentally digs up a long-buried family secret. Shenice’s focus shifts to her family's history, affecting her athletic performance and the entire team. Can she solve her family woes and put them behind her so she can concentrate on the game?
    (On sale: 8/31/2021)

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  • Mayor Good Boy

    by Dave Scheidt, illustrated by Miranda Harmon

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    Have you ever heard of a dog becoming a mayor?! Well, neither has the city of Greenwood. This book starts on a hilarious note and gets funnier with each turn of the page as Mayor Good Boy runs the town with kindness and fun! But when problems arise, the mayor tries his dog-gone best to overcome them all in this entertaining graphic novel.
    (On sale: 8/31/2021)

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  • Born Behind Bars

    by Padma Venkatraman

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    Kabir had an interesting start to his life. Born in jail while his mom was incarcerated, Kabir finds solitude in the jail classroom. When an “uncle” shows up at the prison to set Kabir free, Kabir quickly realizes that he's in danger and runs away. Lost and alone, Kabir learns to survive on the streets and refuses to give up, no matter how hard things become.
    (On sale: 9/7/2021)

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  • Obie Is Man Enough

    by Schuyler Bailar

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    Transgender Obie knew his transition would be challenging in many ways, but he didn’t think it would affect his love for swimming. He switches coaches and faces bullies, making the water less of a sanctuary and more of a punishment. Despite everything, he still wants to prove he can be one of the best swimmers at school.
    (On sale: 9/7/2021)

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  • One Life: Young Readers Edition

    by Megan Rapinoe

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    With this adaptation, Megan Rapinoe’s popular memoir, One Life, makes its way to the middle grade audience. Rapinoe shares stories from her life to show readers the importance of advocating for yourself and your beliefs. Kids can make a difference by getting involved in causes that they're passionate about. It's perfect for current and aspiring activists.
    (On sale: 9/7/2021)

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  • The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race

    by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

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    The seventh book of the hit series The Last Kids on Earth is finally here! As Jack Sullivan and his friends travel toward the Tower, they get picked up by a giant Mallusk (centipede) that hosts an entire city of monsters on its back. Jack runs for mayor of the city, but being in charge requires more than friendly smiles and empty promises. His new leadership skills get put to the ultimate test when he must oversee a battle.
    (On sale: 9/14/2021)

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  • What About Will

    by Ellen Hopkins

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    Readers will fall in love with this heartbreaking yet hopeful novel in verse from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins. This book tackles serious issues like addiction and divorce with grace and courage. If you loved the author's first middle grade novel, Closer to Nowhere, you'll want to add this poignant story to your reading list.
    (On sale: 9/14/2021)

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  • How to Find What You’re Not Looking For

    by Veera Hiranandani

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    Being a regular 12-year-old isn't easy, but Ariel Goldberg’s life becomes even more complicated when her Jewish sister elopes with a man from India. This falls on the coattails of the Supreme Court giving the green light to interracial marriages. Now, Ariel must decide whether the changes and prejudice she faces will swallow her up or if she'll find the courage to use her voice.
    (On sale: 9/14/2021)

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  • Pembrick's Creaturepedia

    by Andrew Peterson

    Fans of The Wingfeather Saga will love this encyclopedia filled with creatures from the bestselling series! Ollister B. Pembrick sees what most people don’t — a world full of things to discover. With his sketchbook and pen, Ollister explores the world of Skree and sketches everything he finds inside this highly detailed book. This is the perfect series companion book that every die-hard devotee needs to have.
    (On sale: 9/28/2021)

  • Pony

    by R.J. Palacio

    Silas gets left behind to fend for himself when his father gets kidnapped by criminals. But when one of the criminals’ horses returns to Silas, he decides to track them down and rescue his father. He teams up with a local sheriff, and they strike out on a journey filled with ghosts, adventure, and mystery. Prepare to have your heart stolen again by the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Wonder.
    (On sale: 9/28/2021)

  • Children of the Fox

    by Kevin Sands

    Five kids, lots of talent, and an impossible heist come together to make Children of the Fox. A team of five children gets hired to steal a treasure from the city’s most powerful sorcerer — a feat that no adult has been able to complete. With the odds stacked against them, the children must learn to trust each other and work as a team if they want to succeed.
    (On sale: 10/5/2021)

  • The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

    by Jonathan Stroud

    Dystopia, fantasy, and the Wild West collide in this fast-paced adventure novel from the author of Lockwood & Co. When Scarlett McCain stumbles across a days-old bus crash, she doesn’t expect to see any survivors. But she finds Albert Browne hiding in the bathroom, and her carefree life as a criminal turns into a breathtaking game of cat-and-mouse through monster-infested woods. This series-starter is jam-packed with action and excitement on every page!
    (On Sale: 10/5/2021)

  • Clarice the Brave

    by Lisa McMann

    Lisa McMann, author of the New York Times bestselling series The Unwanteds, pens a new heartfelt story about a mouse trying to survive at sea without her family. After the death of her mom and sister, Clarice and her brother get separated during a mutiny on their ship. Throughout this book, Clarice must use kindness and perseverance in the most unlikely situations to get back to her brother.
    (On sale: 10/12/2021)

  • Batpig: When Pigs Fly

    by Rob Harrell

    Gary Yorkshire's priorities include eating all he can and rolling around in the mud. Everything changes when he gets bit by a radioactive bat and suddenly has superpowers that no other pig in the world possesses. With these superpowers, he decides to become Batpig — a pig who fights for justice!
    (On sale: 11/9/2021)

  • Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers

    by David Grann

    The bestselling book, Killers of the Flower Moon, has now been adapted for younger readers. Kids will be fascinated and horrified in equal measure by this true story of a wealthy Native American tribe and a greed-filled conspiracy to destroy them. This gripping historical inquisition is sure to keep your mystery lover’s attention.
    (On sale: 11/16/2021)

  • The Smartest Kid in the Universe Book 2: Genius Camp

    by Chris Grabenstein

    Send your kid on a high-tech adventure in the second installment of The Smartest Kid in the Universe from beloved children's author Chris Grabenstein. At a machine and genius-filled summer camp, Jake meets his match when he faces the most innovative computer in the universe. Filled with even more puzzles and humor than the first book, this sequel will have your kid racing through the pages to find out what happens!
    (On sale: 11/30/2021)

  • Strangeville School Is Totally Normal

    by Darcy Miller, illustrated by Brett Helquist

    This new illustrated series is wacky, alarming, and full of surprises that will tickle your funny bone! Harvey Hill is the new kid at Strangeville Middle School, which lives up to its peculiar name. But when his new friend, Stella, goes missing, Harvey knows that something (even more) fishy is happening. Now, Harvey must do whatever it takes to save her — even if that means getting out of his comfort zone.
    (On sale: 12/7/2021)

  • Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks

    by Insha Fitzpatrick and Who HQ, illustrated by Abelle Hayford, colors by Hanna Schroy

    This exciting new book documents an integral part of history. It will capture your attention with its bright and beautiful illustrations. A story of resilience and bravery, this graphic novel is an excellent way to introduce young readers to the American Civil Rights Movement.
    (On sale: 12/7/2021)

  • Just Roll with It

    by Lee Durfey-Lavoie, illustrated by Veronica Agarwal

    Worrywarts, this book is for you! As Maggie prepares for her first year of middle school, her anxiety flares up. To ease her nerves and help herself make decisions, Maggie relies on a 20-sided die to navigate her choices. This graphic novel focuses on OCD and anxiety and shows compassion for kids who deal with them.
    (On sale: 12/14/2021)

  • Pages & Co.: The Book Smugglers

    by Anna James

    Tilly Pages is back in the fourth book of the popular Pages & Co. series. Milo and his book smuggling uncle, Horatio, accept a perilous challenge and ask Tilly and her grandfather for help. When the adults fall under a magical sleeping spell, the kids take control of Horatio's magical train to journey through real and fictional places to find a cure.
    (On sale: 12/14/2021)

  • Honest June

    by Tina Wells, illustrated by Brittney Bond

    June stays busy with field hockey, friends, school, and keeping everyone else happy. She regularly tells white lies to her family and friends to spare their feelings, but when a fairy godmother casts a spell on her, June has no choice but to tell the truth. Will she be able to handle the stress of being honest about absolutely everything — forever?!
    (On sale: 12/28/2021)