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Growing Reader

Tween

The Most-Anticipated Middle Grade & Chapter Books of 2020

by Dena McMurdie

All of my kids are voracious readers, but my oldest two can devour books faster than I can replenish them. I’m always on the lookout for new and upcoming titles they might like, and 2020 is shaping up to be fantastic for middle grade readers. This year, you’ll find dozens of uplifting, heartfelt, meaningful, and adventurous stories that your kids will love diving into.

From biographies to fantasy novels and everything in between, here are the most-anticipated middle grade and chapter books of 2020.

  • Brave. Black. First.

    by Cheryl Hudson, illustrated by Erin K. Robinson

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    Girls will feel inspired as they read more than 50 biographies of incredible African American women who changed the world. From historic legends like Harriet Tubman to modern role models like Michelle Obama and Serena Williams, these biographies will inspire young girls to reach for the stars.

    (On sale: 1/7/2020)

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  • Magic Tree House: Narwhal on a Sunny Night

    by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by AG Ford

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    There's no question that narwhals are popular with kids, so it's no surprise that the latest Magic Tree House adventure is a hit with growing readers. The treehouse sends Jack and Annie to Greenland on a narwhal rescue mission. Readers can even dive deeper into the facts behind the fiction with the companion book Narwhals and Other Whales. Continuing the Magic Tree House series, Late Lunch with Llamas will hit bookshelves in July 2020.

    (On sale: 1/7/2020)

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  • Clean Getaway

    by Nic Stone

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    Popular YA author Nic Stone ventures into the realm of middle grade with this heartfelt and thought-provoking novel. Tag along with 11-year-old William and his G'ma on an impromptu RV road trip. As the pair travel through the American South, William learns that his family tree is filled with secrets and complex history.

    (On sale: 1/7/2020)

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  • The Runaway Princess

    by Johan Troianowski

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    Princesses don't like adventure. They don't want to be kidnapped. And they certainly don't run away from home. Not unless they're like Princess Robin who (much to her parents' dismay) cannot resist the siren's call of daring deeds and exciting exploits. Kids that like humorous stories of unusual princesses will be itching to get their hands on this graphic novel.

    (On sale: 1/21/2020)

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  • When You Trap a Tiger

    by Tae Keller

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    Know a kid that likes family legends, folklore, and fairy tales? If so, you'll definitely want to keep this middle grade novel on your radar. When Lily's halmoni (grandmother) falls ill, Lily and her family move in to help her. A magical tiger from Halmoni's stories offers Lily a deal: give back what Halmoni stole from the tigers long ago, and Halmoni will get better. Although Lily is tempted to take the deal, she knows that tigers can't be trusted. Filled with magical realism and family ties, this novel is about finding the courage to speak up.

    (On sale: 1/28/2020)

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  • The Imaginaries

    by Emily Winfield Martin

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    The author of the wildly popular children's picture book The Wonderful Things You Will Be and, more recently, the middle grade fairy tale retelling Snow & Rose is back with a book of paintings coupled with inspiring messages. Painted by the author over the past 10 years, these images and words will move you.

    (On sale: 2/4/2020)

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  • What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies

    by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

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    First ladies play an important role in America, but they often don't get the recognition they deserve. This fact-filled chapter book features historical trivia about the first ladies of the White House and how they made their mark on society. Whether they were decoding secret messages or fighting for a social cause, each leading lady is unique. For facts and trivia about America, check out the companion book, What's the Big Deal About Freedom.

    (On sale: 2/11/2020)

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  • The Lonely Heart of Maybellle Lane

    by Kate O’ Shaughnessy

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    When Maybelle learns that her estranged father will be a judge for a singing competition, she signs up as a contestant. The only problem? Getting to Nashville, where the competition will take place. With the help of her neighbor and a pesky boy, Maybelle makes her way to Tennessee. Along the way, the unlikely trio discover that friendship can be just as strong as family ties in this touching middle grade novel.

    (On sale: 3/3/2020)

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  • Awesome Dog 5000 vs. Mayor Bossypants

    by Justin Dean

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    Get ready for a whole lot of awesome! In this sequel to Awesome Dog 5000, gamers Marty, Ralph, and Skylar return for another action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure. This time, the three friends must stop Mayor Bossypants from destroying their amazing robot dog. With oodles of illustrations, this follow-up novel promises to be all kinds of awesome.

    (On sale: 3/3/2020)

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  • Bloom

    by Kenneth Oppel

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    Kids ages ten and up will get sucked into this unputdownable science-fiction novel about a strange rain that causes alien plants to sprout. The plants climb up buildings, destroy crops, and devour animals and people. Only three teens are immune to the mysterious plants, and nobody knows why. This action-packed book is the first in an exciting new series that will keep kids up all night.

    (On sale: 3/10/2020)

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  • Stand Up, Yumi Chang!

    by Jessica Kim

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    Little white lies have a tendency to grow bigger and bigger until they're out of control. That's what Yumi discovers when everyone at her standup comedy camp mistakes her for another girl. And she lets them. This Korean-American misfit and her snowballing lie will keep kids giggling through her entire haphazard story.

    (On sale: 3/17/2020)

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  • Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief

    by Laura Ellen Anderson

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    Your child's favorite little vampire is back with a new adventure for them to devour. Amelia and her friends are selling cookies to try and win a trip to a spooky theme park. But when other creature's memories go missing, Amelia will have to figure out a way to save them. Keep your eyes peeled for this book and the fourth book in the series, Amelia Fang and the Rainbow Rangers, which also publishes this spring.

    (On sale: 3/31/2020)

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  • Wink

    by Rob Harrell

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    Beloved cartoonist Rob Harrell drew inspiration from personal experiences for his upcoming middle grade novel. Ross Maloy wants to fly under the radar and survive middle school, but that's pretty hard to do when you've been diagnosed with eye cancer. Instead of blending in, Ross sticks out in all the wrong ways. This humorous and heartfelt story will have kids laughing, crying, and cheering for the unlucky hero.

    (On sale: 3/31/2020)

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  • The List of Things That Will Not Change

    by Rebecca Stead

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    Rebecca Stead is known for her spot-on middle grade stories and her latest book is just as amazing as you'd expect. Bea is thrilled that her Dad is going to marry his boyfriend and that she'll finally get a sister. As the wedding draws closer, Bea learns that nothing is simple when you're forming a new family. Already a favorite with early readers and reviewers, this heartwarming book is destined to become a classic.

    (On sale: 4/7/2020)

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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 book is a perfect example of how graphic novels can tackle important and timely issues that will resonate with kids. When Omar gets the opportunity to go to school, he is excited. He knows an education could enable him and his younger brother to get out of the refugee camp where they've spent most of their lives. But going to school also means leaving his brother behind to fend for himself every day. Based on the real-life experiences of Omar, this heartbreaking yet hopeful graphic novel gives readers a peek into the life of a refugee.

    (On sale: 4/14/2020)

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  • The Last Kids on Earth: June’s Wild Flight

    by Max Brallier

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    It's not hard to see why The Last Kids on Earth series is so popular with kids. The action-packed books are full of monsters and adventure with black and white illustrations splashed across every page. The series has even been adapted into a Netflix show. Now, June is getting her own story. Set between the events of The Midnight Blade and the forthcoming sixth book in the series, June's Wild Flight delivers a can't-miss adventure of survival that fans of the series will go wild over.

    (On sale: 4/21/2020)

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  • Echo Mountain

    by Lauren Wolk

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    Lauren Wolk's books have received some of the most prestigious awards for middle grade literature, including a Newbery Honor for Wolf Hollow and a Scott O'Dell Award for Beyond the Bright Sea. In her newest book, Wolk weaves the beautiful story of three generations of strong women, a mountain, and a quest that will require resilience and determination.

    (On sale: 4/21/2020)

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  • Stepping Stones

    by Lucy Kinsley

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    Based on the author's own childhood, this delightful graphic novel will capture the hearts and imaginations of kids everywhere. When Lucy's parents divorce, she and her mom go to live in upstate New York on her mom's new boyfriend's farm. There, she adjusts to life on the farm - stinky chicken coop and all. But the real challenge comes in the form of two "stepsisters" who Lucy must learn to get along with.

    (On sale: 5/5/2020)

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  • The Elephant’s Girl

    by Celesta Rimington

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    Kids that like animal stories will gladly get lost in this magical book. Lexington can speak telepathically to elephants, and they can speak to her. When the elephant Nyah sends her a mysterious message, Lex gets caught up in a spooky and magical adventure that may provide answers about her past.

    (On sale: 5/19/2020)

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  • Doodleville

    by Chad Sell

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    Calling all artists! This magical graphic novel is for any kid with a big imagination and a love of art. From the creator of Cardboard Kingdom comes a funny new story about a girl and her larger-than-life doodles. Drew has created an entire world in her sketchbook called Doodleville. The only problem is that her doodles don't stay in the sketchbook! When she creates a (not so) friendly monster named Levi, she'll have to act fast in order to save her other doodles from certain doom. Full of friendship, humor, and fun, this graphic novel will be on every kid's "want-to-read" list this year.

    (On sale: 6/9/2020)

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