Staff Picks: Spring 2020 Middle Grade

The School & Library team shares some of our favorite upcoming middle grade books here.

On Sale July 21, 2020

Kristen Luby, Marketing Manager

“Nestor’s dad is in the military and his family is constantly moving. This time, he and his mother are moving off-base to live with his abuela in Texas. It’s not always easy being the new kid—especially when you’re hiding a secret. Nestor can talk to animals! And when animals in his new town start disappearing, the town blames his abuela for being a witch. But when Nestor investigates, he finds out the real culprit is a tule vieja—a mysterious creature who can absorb an animal’s power by biting them. Nestor must use his own special powers to catch the tule vieja and, with the help of some new friends, save this town that he would love to call home. Inspired by Panamanian and Costa Rican myths and infused with Cuban culture, this #OwnVoices middle grade debut starring a twelve-year-old Dr. Dolittle will appeal to mystery fans and animal lovers. Full of adventure, magical realism, humor, and heart, this is a story readers won’t be able to put down!”–Kristen Luby

THE INVISIBLE BOY by Alyssa Hollingsworth; illustrated by Deb Lee
On Sale September 8, 2020

Lucy Del Priore, Director

“Nadia is a superhero comics fan who dreams of being a real-life Lois Lane ace-reporter. Right now, she’s on a mission to uncover the supervillain in her neighborhood, Kenny (a.k.a. Paddle Boy). After all, he broke her canoe paddle for no reason; he must be up to other villainous deeds. But when Nadia meets Eli, a boy who no one else seems to see, she comes to realize that this Invisible Boy is in fact dealing with a very real and very dangerous supervillain. Is Eli a victim of child labor trafficking? In the end, Nadia, Kenny, and Eli become their own superheroes when they band together to do what’s right.

This is a great choice for book club discussions and for kids who gravitate towards realistic fiction. The format is unique as well: tied to the superhero theme, and to give readers a physical pause from this serious topic, each chapter opens with a comic strip.”Lucy Del Priore

CON QUEST by Sam Maggs
On Sale June 23, 2020

Melissa Croce, Associate Manager

“The Gallo family is at GeekiCon: parents Anna and Luca are the creators of an iconic comic Ducky McFowl, and are fan-favorites on the convention circuit; teen Fiona is there under duress and would much rather be playing soccer than babysitting her younger siblings; and twins Cat and Alex are there to compete (and win!) the Quest, a huge scavenger hunt run by one of their favorite actors. Cat and Alex quickly ditch Fiona and are well on their way to beating their competitors, including a group who’s won multiple years in a row, but to do so they’ll have to overcome narrow-minded security guards, getting caught by Fiona, and even differences of opinions with each other. While this book is entertaining, what makes it shine is the sensitive portrayal of Alex’s autism, the pitch-perfect tone of Fiona’s emerging bisexuality, and the nuanced messages of both the positive and negative aspects of conventions and fandom.”Melissa Croce

THE BOOK OF FATAL ERRORS: The Feylawn Chronicles (Volume 1) by Dashka Slater
On Sale July 7, 2020

Cierra Bland, Assistant

“From award-winning author Dashka Slater comes a middle-grade debut that is a joyful fantasy about friendship and a young hero in the making. Rufus is awkward and clumsy and all of his classmates know it. He made mistake after mistake during the school year and peers wouldn’t let him forget it. Now, it is summer and he is free from the torment of his classmates and to spend time with his beloved grandfather on his estate, Feylawn. Rufus doesn’t know it, but Feylawn has secrets and he begins to discover them along with the mysterious creatures that harbor them, the feylings. The first in a new duology, this story teaches us that no mistake, or error, is truly fatal.”–Cierra Bland

MONSTER AND BOY by Hannah Barnaby; illustrations by Anoosha Syed
On Sale July 28, 2020

Katie Halata, Associate Director

“Once there was a monster who loved a boy. He knew the sound of the boy’s voice, he knew the smell of the boy’s dirty socks, and he knew the sight of the boy’s slippers by the side of the bed. The monster had lived under the boy’s bed for many years without ever meeting the boy but he loved the boy more and more with each passing day. The monster would have carried on with this one sided friendship had the boy’s mother not assured the boy one night that there was no such thing as monsters. Determined to prove the boy’s mother wrong the monster revealed himself to the boy and thus began one of the greatest friendships in chapter book history. Full of adventure, humor, and lots of surprises, coupled with charming two color illustrations MONSTER AND BOY is the perfect chapter book series to share with all the newly independent readers, and monsters, in your life.”Katie Halata

View more interiors from Monster and Boy here.