Staff Picks: Fall 2020 Middle Grade

Staff Picks: Fall 2020 Middle Grade

The School & Library team shares some of our favorite upcoming middle grade books here. Plus, request digital ARCs of these staff picks on NetGalley!


Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai
On Sale September 15, 2020



“Henry Khoo feels like he’s ‘unremarkable’ but he has an amazing imagination. So much so that he’s created his own anonymous webcomic about his school called ‘Fly on the Wall,’ which contains gossip about his classmates, including his ex-BFF Pheebs. The webcomic goes viral and Henry starts to worry that people will find out he is the creator, even though he feels invisible at school. He’s anything but invisible at home, where everyone treats him like a baby. His overprotective family won’t let him do anything alone–especially fly from Australia to Singapore to see his dad. So Henry hatches a plan for a top-secret greatest adventure ever: flying to Singapore alone to see his dad AND avoid getting caught. With tons of humor and heart, there’s so much to love about this book! Wimpy Kid fans and reluctant readers will love the highly-illustrated diary format. Adventurers and imaginative introverts will love this story of a shy and sensitive boy asserting his independence, finding his way, and learning to speak up–even if what he has to say is difficult.”
Kristen Luby, Manager


Dungeon Critters by Natalie Riess and Sara Goetter
On Sale September 29, 2020



“Motivated by a lust for adventure and a strong moral compass the tight-knit squad of animal companions at the center of this story embark on a D&D style quest to investigate a sinister botanical conspiracy among the furry nobility. Full of magic and mayhem, rivalries and secret plots, quests and evil plants, this middle-grade graphic novel ticks all the boxes for me. Colorful and vibrant art accompanies the action-packed story for the perfect package.”
Katie Halata, Associate Director

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See more interiors from Dungeon Critters here.

Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang
On Sale December 1, 2020


Request on NetGalley!

“Eleven-year-old Thom Ngho is a typical girl who loves soccer, is exasperated by the antics of her single-parent mother, and just wants to get through school by fitting in with everyone else. There’s just one problem: Thom isn’t like everyone else. Thom is incredibly, freakishly, breaks-off-door-knobs-by-just-touching-them strong. When she accidentally unleashes the trickster demon-god the Monkey King from his prison, she learns that all of the Vietnamese myths that her mother told her are true. Thom, lonely and friendless, is charmed by the boisterous and sympathetic Monkey King, who sees her strength as a blessing rather than a curse or something to be hid. But Thom is determined to be normal and so they strike a deal: the Monkey King will take her super strength away if Thom helps him retrieve his magical staff. But the Monkey King is not what he seems, and soon Thom is swept up into a fantastical world of dragon warriors, Jade princesses, and diabolical demons. All fantasy and action aside, what makes this book so riveting is Thom’s authentic voice, and her universal quest that we all must undergo one way or another: the quest to find out who we are and where we belong.”
Melissa Croce, Associate Manager

Chance: Escape from the Holocaust by Uri Shulevitz
On Sale October 13, 2020


Request on Netgalley!

Chance: Escape From the Holocaust is a memoir, a heart-wrenching yet hopeful look into the childhood of an award-winning picture book creator. This is the true story of Uri Shulevitz, his Jewish parents, and their eight-year journey to escape the Nazis, concentration camps, and death. Their odyssey from Warsaw to the Soviet Union was filled with uncertainty and fear but also with determination, family loyalty, and amazing life-saving luck! Uri’s love of drawing was one of his own escapes while on the run. With Chance, readers will have an even more meaningful look into Uri’s childhood and world with the many, many illustrations featured here including some surviving childhood ones and actual family photos. Share this book with readers and gatekeepers to discuss the Holocaust, war and refugees, perseverance, and so much more.”
Lucy Del Priore, Director


How to Remember Everything: Tips & Tricks to Become a Memory Master! by Jacob Sager Weinstein;
illustrated by Barbara Malley
On Sale October 13


How to Remember Everything is a fun and useful guide for kids and adults alike. Although according to my test results I am a ‘mental giraffe’ who doesn’t need the book, it’s still a fun exercise to learn about memory, how it works, and how to strengthen it. Nifty and curious kids who are interested in learning will have lots of fun with this, and the adults in their lives will find it useful to learn some new things, and never forget them.”
Cierra Bland, Assistant