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Updated by Jen Blair on Dec 07, 2019
Headline for Winter Break Best Books 2019 - Middle Schoolers Only
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Jen Blair Jen Blair
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Winter Break Best Books 2019 - Middle Schoolers Only

These are the best books I read for middle school readers this year. These are written just for you!

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

A pitch-perfect story of a young girl dealing with her family’s divorce, and in making sense of her new world, finds herself taking on the advice column in her neighbor’s absence.

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

Lalani believes in stories. Lalani believes in hope. When everything falls apart in her village, she braves the journey to a distant land to fight for change. “If we want our world to change, we can’t keep walking in circles…”

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Because Jason Reynolds. He is the master and the king. Characters that you know and understand within only a few sentences. Language that begs to be read aloud. Connected stories that you could read over and over again to find connections and references. Questions raised in one story are answered and resolved in another story - like call and response in a novel.

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My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Ebony Grace has always been close with her grandfather, an engineer for NASA, but she has been sent North to visit her father in Harlem and now must try to make sense of this strange city all by herself. And her vivid imagination.

The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin

How will you be remembered? How would your middle school self be remembered? In trying to understand what makes Paulie Fink a legend, new kid Caitlyn learns a lot about herself. And small town life. And goats.

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

A novel in verse about Jude, newly arrived from Syria, as she learns to adapt to the faster, louder version of America that she thought she knew from watching American movies. How will she find a way to fit in? And will she find the bravery to try out for the middle school musical?

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

A story of what breaks a family apart and what holds it together: love, forgiveness, memories, poetry, respect for those that came before us, and the meaning of home. Yes, all of that you will find here. A book that made me cry harder than any other book I’ve read this year.

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

“In the summer of 1727, Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food, and only the end of the world can explain why no boat returns to collect them.” Kinda like an 18th Century Lord of the Flies. With birds. Lots of birds. And lots of rock climbing. And broken bones.

The Year We Fell From Space by A.S. King

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read about a family surviving divorce and depression. Liberty tries to make sense of all the things in her life that are going wrong by looking at the stars.