BookKids: Middle Grade Magic!

Explore some recent middle grade reads beloved and recommended by the BookKids staff! These are ideal for readers ages 8-12 with a goofy sense of humor and a thirst for great adventure!


Charlie Hernández and the Castle of Bones by Ryan Calejo

*Recommended by WILL B!*

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“The first Charlie Hernandez book was something that really took me by surprise introducing folklore that I was very familiar with having grown up in New Mexico. I am happy to say that the second outing is just as successful as the first! Introducing more and more folklore from all across Latin America it was honestly really a fun read. Our poor Charlie, last of the Morphlings, has really had a rough time but surely after defeating the most evil Witch of all time he is safe to learn his powers at his pace right? Of course not! Everything was going alright until Joana the Witchqueen of Toledo was kidnapped. This sets in motion a series of events where Charlie has to follow her kidnappers across multiple countries running from werewolves, encountering dwarves, learning dark truths about a terrible necromancer. Usual stuff for a kid from Miami. But when events start to make him question who he can trust who will he turn to? This was a fast paced read that I highly recommend to readers of the first book.”

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

*Recommended by Olivia Z!*

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“Ever since I was as tall as a stack of books (a unit of measurement I use strategically to apply to any age), I found escape in a good read. Timeless, enchanting, and wildly imaginative, This Was Our Pact joins the company of my favorite literary escapes, Alice in Wonderland and James and the Giant Peach, to be the next classic in kid’s fables. Ryan Andrews’ moony dream of a graphic novel pierces through the glamour of adult knowingness, inviting kids and adults alike to accompany star chasers Ben and Nathaniel on their adventure of a lifetime. A bicycle-riding bear in its natural habitat, a fee-for-service witch quite unlike your garden variety fairy godmother, and sticky glowworm stars—what more can you ask for?”

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

*Recommended by Eugenia!*

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“Oh my goodness! Julie Murphy’s voice fits in beautifully in middle grade– it’s a seamless transition from her fresh, charming characters in contemporary YA. Sweet Pea sounds and feels like a real kid, with concerns and fears about her recently divorced parents and her former BFF. Plus, she’s agreed to help her neighbor, local newspaper advice columnist Miss Flora Mae, while she is out of town… and ends up responding to a few letters on her own! A fun, sweet, and smart story for fans of Shannon Hale and Kate DiCamillo, Dear Sweet Pea reinforced my love for Julie Murphy and this lovely world she’s created. Watch out for a little Puddin’ easter egg!”

Homerooms & Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell 

*Recommended by Tomoko!*

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“I loved this so much, I immediately told three other people I know to keep an eye out for it! Hilarious, with both an appreciation for D&D and a knowing chuckle at the familiar heroic tropes, Homerooms & Hall Passes flips the idea of playing a fantasy tabletop game with your friends and asks what kind of game would an adventuring party in a fantasy realm play? With the resurgence of D&D, it’s been so exciting to see it turning up in new outlets–I can’t wait to get this into the hands of young readers! This charming, funny book would be more than entertaining to someone with ‘I saw them play it on Stranger Things’ levels of familiarity with the game, though there are definitely entertaining references for knowledgeable fans.”

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