The 2011 Middle Grade Fiction Nerdies Go to…

Middle Grade Fiction


By Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck was moving, captivating, and inspiring. I had this book on pre-order but when it arrived, my students begged me to let them have it first. Once I did, it passed from hand to hand, never returning to my desk so I could have it. When I saw a student finish it yesterday I swooped down and had to promise it would be read in one night. My students, as always, were right. This one is a stunner.

Katherine Sokolowski


Okay for Now

By: Gary D. Schmidt

Whenever you hear great things about a book and you go to pick it up, your first thoughts are, “I hope it doesn’t disappoint.” Well, Okay for Now is one of the books that I’ve been hearing about for months now. It is on most people’s mock Newbery and Printz lists. Everyone told me I should read it. Boy, am I glad that I listened to them. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down and I know that it’ll be a book I’ll be thinking about for a while.

Kellee Moye


Bigger Than a Bread Box

By: Laurel Snyder

I am not a big fan of magical realism, so I was worried when I began this book; however, I am happy to say that Laurel Snyder did just the right balance so that the realism didn’t seem fake and the magic didn’t seem far fetched. This just shows me that if the magical realism is done well, I am a fan. I love how Laurel used the magic element in this book. It is such an original concept!

You can tell that Laurel Snyder put much of her heart into this book because emotions that grab at your heart flow throughout the entire novel. Rebecca is such a truthful representation of a middle school girl, specifically one who is going through a tough situation such as a parents separation and sudden move.

Kellee Moye


Darth Paper Strikes Back

By: Tom Angleberger

I am always a little hesitant with sequels – especially ones that might end up in the middle of a series/trilogy. However, Angleberger really does well with this second book. I liked it as much and possibly even more than the first one. A lot of great lessons in the book without being preachy too. And I LOVE the reference to Robot Dreams. 🙂

Alyson Beecher




By: Anne Ursu

Middle grade readers will be mesmerized by Anne Ursu’s modern day version of The Snow Queen. Hazel is unhappy over her parents divorce, and she feels like a misfit at school. The only one who really understands Hazel is her best friend, Jack. Hazel and Jack spend their free time together sledding and playing in the snow. The children share a strong bond until something happens to Jack causing him to turn cynical and mean. When Jack disappears into the woods behind his house, Hazel must find the courage to rescue Jack from The Snow Queen. Readers of fantasy will appreciate the many references to beloved children’s books such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wonderland, and When You Reach Me. Warning: once you pick up this book, you will not be able to put it down!

Cathy Potter