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NEED awesome middle-grade novels to teach in my university children's lit class

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Jencerv

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Hey everyone!
I am in need of your amazing suggestions. Have you read a book recently that knocked your socks off? I teach Children's Lit at the university level and I change up the books every year. And right now I am selecting books for fall. I'd love some contemporary titles (within last five years) that are fantabuolus? any suggestions?

Thanks so much!
Jen
#1 - March 06, 2011, 06:16 PM

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By contemporary do you mean books published recently, or the contemporary (ie realistic only) genre? (Or I guess you could have contemporary fantasy...?)

Some realistic MG I've read recently that I particularly liked include:

The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall
The Garden of Eve, KL Going (contemporary but kind of magical realism)
Hilary McKay's series about the Casson family (starts with Saffy's Angel)
Flipped, Wendelin van Draanen
The London Eye Mystery, Siobhan Dowd (contemporary mystery)
Rules, Cynthia Lord
Savvy (and Scumble), Ingrid Law
Mudville, Kurtis Scaletta
Palace Beautiful, Sarah DeFord Williams
Eighth Grade Superzero, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
The Healing Spell, Kimberly Griffiths Little
London Calling, Edward Bloor

There are other recent MG I love, but they are either fantasy or historical.
#2 - March 06, 2011, 06:22 PM
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 06:31 PM by olmue »

WHEN YOU REACH ME is the best middle grade title I've read in a few years, and I think it presents a lot of teaching points you can make about character development.
#3 - March 06, 2011, 06:25 PM

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Here are some of my favs:  

Mockingbird
Waiting for Normal
Shooting the Moon
Each Little Bird that Sings
A Crooked Kind of Pefect
#4 - March 06, 2011, 06:30 PM

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DANI NOIR -- great example of a strong voice.
#5 - March 06, 2011, 06:31 PM
NERVE  ~Truth or Dare, without the Truth~ Dial, Fall 2012
CHARISMA ~Gene Therapy Gone Bad~ Dial, Winter 2015
www.jeanneryan.com

I'll echo some of those already suggested--A Crooked Kind of Perfect, When You Reach Me, Palace Beautiful, and Rules. I'd add The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, and Out of My Mind.
#6 - March 06, 2011, 06:42 PM

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I don't read a lot of middle grade novels, but the ones I've really loved from the last five years:

WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead
THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY by Adam Rex
THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z by Kate Messner
WINNIE'S WAR by Jenny Moss
THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas
UN LUN DUN by China MiƩville
#7 - March 06, 2011, 06:43 PM
YA paranormal, sci fi, & fantasy:
GIVE UP THE GHOST
Fallen World series
Earth & Sky trilogy
A MORTAL SONG
http://www.megancrewe.com

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In addition to any of those already mentioned, I'll add Jody Feldman's puzzle novels: THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES and THE SEVENTH LEVEL. Fun and smart and addicting!
#8 - March 06, 2011, 06:50 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
www.deenalipomi.com

Rhonda

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I heard that Love, Aubrey is fantastic--would that count as MG?
#9 - March 06, 2011, 07:00 PM

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A few others ...
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Swindle by Gordon Korman
Seer of Shadows by Avi
How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart.

As a side note (which I'm reluctant to add because I'm not mentioning this for self-promotion ... truly), I Skype each semester with another KidLit professor and her classes. If you're interested, I'm sure other authors would do the same.
#10 - March 06, 2011, 07:17 PM
Jody Feldman
The Seventh Level
The Gollywhopper Games series
HarperCollins/Greenwillow
www.jodyfeldman.com
Twitter @jodyfeldman

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The Wednesday Wars by Gary B. Schmidt
Millicent Min Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
The Grim Legacy by Polly Shulman
Rules to Rock By by Josh Farrar
The Candymaker by Wendy Mass
Schooled by Gordon Korman

LindaB
#11 - March 06, 2011, 07:20 PM

WHEN YOU REACH ME is the best middle grade title I've read in a few years, and I think it presents a lot of teaching points you can make about character development.

Most definitely.

Others have mentioned A Crooked Kind of Perfect. Ditto.
#12 - March 06, 2011, 07:28 PM

Virginia Bartolus

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THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY by Adam Rex

I really loved this one, too.
#13 - March 06, 2011, 07:35 PM

I should have mentioned Wendy Mass too... my favorite is Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. I think it would be an interesting companion to When You Reach Me in a class.

Also, for a wonderful warm humor and authentic voice, check out Donna Gephart's As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President.
#14 - March 06, 2011, 07:36 PM

DANI NOIR -- great example of a strong voice.
Seconding this! I love Dani Noir!

Also:

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
#15 - March 06, 2011, 07:45 PM
http://twitter.com/rachelgrinti
CLAWS, Chicken House 2012
JALA'S MASK, Pyr, November 4, 2014

TiffanySchmidt

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Just chiming in to second (and third) some of these:

My faves are:

Dani Noir
Wednesday Wars
Schooled
When You Reach Me
Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

And Firegirl -- has that been said yet?
#16 - March 06, 2011, 07:57 PM

Mike Jung

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I'm revising. I'm not here! I'M REVISING DILIGENTLY. But while I'm not here, many of my favorites have already been mentioned but I wanna give a shout-out to NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE & OTHER LIES MUSCLE MAN McGINTY TOLD ME by Nan Marino (a truly wonderful book), WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER by Sally Nicholls (really, really, really sad but also really funny and heartwarming) and CARLOS IS GONNA GET IT by Kevin Emerson (super-authentic and multi-dimensional). *ducks back into revision cave*
#17 - March 06, 2011, 08:07 PM

teri

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Okay, this will be immodest.  But they are teaching The Line in a Children's Lit class at a college I know of right now (I am doing Moodle chats with them) and the professor says it is generating great discussions.  Just in case.  :)
#18 - March 06, 2011, 08:15 PM

I teach Children's Lit and one of my favorites (and my students' too) is Among the Hidden by M.P. Haddix. It's older but I've never had a complaint.

Some more recent books:

When You Reach Me
When the Whistle Blows
Alabama Moon
A Thousand Never Evers
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (still in hardcover, but it's a 13.95 paper over board)
All the Broken Pieces
Mockingbird
Where the Steps Were
How to Steal a Dog
Out of Patience
Leepike Ridge
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Books that are in hardcover, but will be worth the read
Okay for Now (Gary Schmidt) out in May
Fantasy Baseball (out next week) -- this is a perfect book for Children's Lit because the novel encompasses so many C. Lit characters. I'm going to use it for some kind of out of class assignment this summer.
A Tale Dark and Grimm - Gidwitz (may be out in pb by the fall)
A Long Walk to Water - Park
Sean Griswold's Head - Leavitt
Because of Mr. Terupt - Buyea (may be out in pb in the fall)
Dream of Night - Henson (may be out in pb in the fall)

I would love to see your final list, either here or you can email.

keep writing and reading,
dave r
#19 - March 07, 2011, 03:49 AM
Just One More Page
www.riterdave.blogspot.com

CarolineT

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As others have suggested, I would heartily recommend WHEN YOU REACH ME. When I finished the book, the only thing I could think of was, "Whoa." It blew my mind how the author pulled everything together.

I also love/adore/want-to-marry the MG novel ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia. The voice, the characters, the plot---all amazing. It won the Scott O'Dell Award in 2010 and was also listed as a Newbery Honor and a National Book Finalist.
#20 - March 07, 2011, 04:02 AM

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Anything by Karen Cushman. I just read The Alchemy of Meggy Swann and liked it as much as the Midwife's Apprentice.
#21 - March 07, 2011, 04:12 AM
How Things Work (Publications International, 2006)
Bugs & Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter (Boyds Mill Press, 2010)
Touch the Earth (NASA, 2009)

Many good ones already on this list, but I have to second Okay For Now.  My copy says it's out in April.  I think it should be on the top of your list! Socks=off.
#22 - March 07, 2011, 04:36 AM

Several of my favs have already been mentioned: When You Reach Me, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Millicent Min, Girl Genius. Two that I haven't seen that I would recommend would be The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer.
#23 - March 07, 2011, 06:00 AM
The Art of Story

Lizardmaker

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No one has yet mentioned FRAMED by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
#24 - March 07, 2011, 06:08 AM

Jencerv

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wow! Thanks, everyone! These are great recs and I'm happy to be in the great minds camp. I have taught many many of these!!! :) YOU guys rock!
#25 - March 07, 2011, 03:24 PM

NOONIE'S MASTERPIECE by Lisa Railsback
SAVVY by Ingrid Law
#26 - March 07, 2011, 04:36 PM

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Lots of my favorites already mentioned here - WHEN YOU REACH ME, OUT OF MY MIND, CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT, & ONE CRAZY SUMMER - but I'd also add Danette Haworth's VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, which is just a great example of regional MG voice, and her upcoming book ME AND JACK, which takes place on the home front during the Vietnam War. Other stories set in that time period that are also great (and would make good companions) include ALL THE BROKEN PIECES by Ann Burg, CRACKER: THE BEST DOG IN VIETNAM by Cynthia Kadohata, and Gary Schmidt's THE WEDNESDAY WARS and OKAY FOR NOW.

I also love Laurel Snyder's voice for this age group - her PENNY DREADFUL is a finalist for the E.B. White Read Aloud Award this year. It's wonderful. I saw Cynthia Lord's RULES mentioned, and that's great - but so is her new title, TOUCH BLUE.  And Ellen Potter's THE KNEEBONE BOY is just incredible, quirky, and full of twists.
#27 - March 07, 2011, 06:02 PM
www.katemessner.com

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, Chronicle
MARTY MCGUIRE
CAPTURE THE FLAG
HIDE AND SEEK -Scholastic '13
WAKE UP MISSING- Walker, Fall '13

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I'm teaching a children's literature class this semester (but more "history of" than yours, sounds like):

Cinderella stories
Little Red Riding Hood stories
Through the Looking Glass
Pinocchio
Heidi
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
Ozma of Oz
lots of picture books
Little House on the Prairie
Judy's Journey (Lois Lenski)
Finn Family Moomintroll
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Charlotte's Web
A Wrinkle in Time
The Diamond in the Window (Jane Langton)
The Arrival (Shaun Tan)
The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak)
#28 - March 07, 2011, 07:02 PM
THE CABINET OF EARTHS -- HarperCollins, 2012
A BOX OF GARGOYLES -- HC, 2013
THE WRINKLED CROWN -- HC, 2015
www.annenesbet.com

addicted to YA
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Seconding & thirding
When You Reach Me
and
Dani Noir

-Adding
Tracking Daddy Down (Marybeth Kelsey)
#29 - March 08, 2011, 04:44 AM
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012
http://juliakarr.com

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OhOhOh! Just out:

How Lamar's Big Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
by Crystal Allen

It rocks!  :hairdude
#30 - March 08, 2011, 02:19 PM
http://www.vonnacarter.com
twitter @VonnaCarter

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