Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome people of The Broke and the Bookish
Okay, here you go, middle-grade books that perhaps most people haven’t heard of. Some I haven’t read in a very long time, and some I read as part of a college class.
The Boy who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond
A boy escapes home to seek his own way in the world in a whimsical new outing by the award-winning David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?
Midnight Magic by Avi
Mangus the Magician must free a princess from a terrifying ghost. Naturally, Mangus doesn’t believe in ghosts. He doesn’t even believe in magic!
The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide
“If you want to pretend you’re shrinking, that’s all right,” said Treehorn’s mother, “as long as you don’t do it at the table.” But Treehorn wasn’t pretending. He really was shrinking.
Hilarious complications result as he becomes more minuscule by the moment. Treehorn is a bit downhearted when his teacher says, “we don’t shrink in this class,” and sends him to the principal. Poor Treehorn spends an unhappy day and night until he discovers a magical game that restores him to his natural size. This is a great relief to Treehorn before he notices that he is turning faintly green. . . .
Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe
Winner of the 2003 International Reading Association Award for Young Adult Novel
At first Hiram is excited to visit his hometown in Mississippi. But soon after he arrives, he crosses paths with Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who is also visiting for the summer, and Hiram sees firsthand how the local whites mistreat blacks who refuse to “know their place.” When Emmett’s tortured dead body is found floating in a river, Hiram is determined to find out who could do such a thing. But what will it cost him to know? Mississippi Trial, 1955 is a gripping read, based on true events that helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.
The Painted Wall & Other Strange Tales by Michael Bedard
At about the time the Grimm Brothers were gathering their famous collection of folk stories and fairy tales in Europe, in China a similar collection of almost five hundred stories had just been compiled by the scholar Pu Sing-ling. Drawing on oral and written sources, he called his collection of the strange and wondrous Strange Tales from a Studio of Leisure.
The fruits of his life’s work become immensely popular with storytellers who performed the stories in teahouses, where rapt audiences would sit for half a day drinking tea and listening to tales of ghosts, fox fairies, and other wonders.
My Brother the Robot by Bonny Becker
Chip didn’t think anything could be worse than almost failing the fifth grade — until his new brother, Simon, arrived. Simon is the latest in robotic technology. He’s ten times better than a human boy. Dad hopes Simon will set a good example for Chip. Instead, Chip feels like Simon is taking his place — at school, on the swim team, even in his parents’ hearts. Included in Juvenile 10. An accelerated Reader(R) Title
The Boggart by Susan Cooper
“Centuries old and housands of miles from home”. When Emily and Jess Volnik’s family inherits a remote, crumbling Scottish castle, they also inherit the Boggart – an invisible, mischievous spirit who’s been playing tricks on residents of Castle Keep for generations. Then the Boggart is trapped in a rolltop desk and inadvertently shipped to the Volniks’ home in Toronto, where nothing will ever be the same – for the Volniks or the Boggart.
In a world that doesn’t believe in magic, the Boggart’s pranks wreak havoc. And even the newfound joys of peanut butter and pizza and fudge sauce eventually wear thin for the Boggart. He wants to go home – but his only hope lies in a risky and daring blend of modern technology and ancient magic.
The Ribbajack and other Haunting Yarns by Brian Jacques
What if revenge were a monster of your own creation, and all you needed to summon it were enough hatred and enough imagination? Which of you would really be the monster? From vengeance monsters to haunted schools to the threat of a modern-day Medusa, New York Times bestselling author Brian Jacques spins six all-new tales of horror and suspense. Read on, but be careful. . . .
The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
DO YOU KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE PUSHCART WAR? THE REAL HISTORY?
It’s a story of how regular people banded together and, armed with little more than their brains and good aim, defeated a mighty foe.
Not long ago the streets of New York City were smelly, smoggy, sooty, and loud. There were so many trucks making deliveries that it might take an hour for a car to travel a few blocks. People blamed the truck owners and the truck owners blamed the little wooden pushcarts that traveled the city selling everything from flowers to hot dogs. Behind closed doors the truck owners declared war on the pushcart peddlers. Carts were smashed from Chinatown to Chelsea. The peddlers didn’t have money or the mayor on their side, but that didn’t stop them from fighting back. They used pea shooters to blow tacks into the tires of trucks, they outwitted the police, and they marched right up to the grilles of those giant trucks and dared them to drive down their streets. Today, thanks to the ingenuity of the pushcart peddlers, the streets belong to the people—and to the pushcarts.
The Pushcart War was first published more than fifty years ago. It has inspired generations of children and been adapted for television, radio, and the stage around the world. It was included on School Library Journal’s list of One Hundred Books That Shaped the Twentieth Century, and its assertion that a committed group of men and women can prevail against a powerful force is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was in 1964.
The Story Girl by LM Montgomery
We sat still and counted the hundred. When Cecily finished she got up and went in search of Dan, resolved to soothe his wounded feelings. Felicity called after her to tell Dan there was a jam turnover she had put away in the pantry specially for him. Felix held out to Felicity a remarkably fine apple which he had been saving for his own consumption; and the Story Girl began a tale of an enchanted maiden in a castle by the sea; but we never heard the end of it. For, just as the evening star was looking whitely through the rosy window of the west, Cecily came flying through the orchard, wringing her hands.