Middle Grade Staff Picks

By White Birch Books

By White Birch Books

Got an 8-12 year old who needs a new read? Browse our specially curated middle grade staff picks, which include graphic novels too.

Snapdragon

Kat Leyh

$12.99 $11.95

Snap's town had a witch. At least, that's how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online--after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It's creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it's kind of cool, too. They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic--and a connection with Snap's family's past.

The Cardboard Kingdom

Chad Sell

$12.99 $11.95

Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters--and their own inner demons--on one last quest before school starts again. In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be--imagine that!

Investigators

John Patrick Green

$9.99 $9.19

For fans of Dog Man and Captain Underpants comes Mango and Brash. With their Very Exciting Spy Technology and their tried-and-true, toilet-based travel techniques, the InvestiGators are undercover and on the case! And on their first mission together, they have not one but two mysteries to solve! Can Mango and Brash uncover the clues, crack their cases, and corral the crooks--or will the criminals wriggle out of their grasp?

Ruby in the Sky

Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

$7.99 $7.35

Twelve-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes does not want her new classmates to ask about her father. She does not want them to know her mother has been arrested. And she definitely does not want to make any friends. Ruby just wants to stay as silent and invisible as a new moon in the frozen sky. She and her mother won't be staying long in Vermont anyway, and then things can go back to the way they were before everything went wrong. But keeping to herself isn't easy when Ahmad Saleem, a Syrian refugee, decides he's her new best friend. Or when she meets "the Bird Lady," a recluse named Abigail who lives in a ramshackle shed near Ruby's house. Before long Ahmad and Abigail have become Ruby's friends--and she realizes there is more to their stories than everyone knows. As ugly rumors begin to swirl around the people Ruby loves, she must make a choice: break her silence, or risk losing everything that's come to mean so much to her. Ruby in the Sky is a story of the walls we hide behind, and the magic that can happen when we're brave enough to break free.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Janae Marks

$16.98 $15.62

Zoe Washington isn't sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she's never met, hadn't heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who's been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe's worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she's worthy of auditioning for Food Network's Kids Bake Challenge. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus's conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn't know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.

Chirp

Kate Messner

$16.98 $15.62

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she's recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she'd rather forget. Mia's change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram's thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram's farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she's been hiding--and find the courage she never knew she had? In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

The Witch Boy

Molly Knox Ostertag

$12.99 $11.95

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire

John August

$7.99 $7.35

A new fantasy adventure trilogy about a 12-year-old boy who joins a special scout team to learn how to survive in both the wilds of the forest and the magical world that lies within it.

Song for a Whale

Lynne Kelly

$7.99 $7.35

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Witchlight

Jessi Zabarsky

$24.99 $22.49

Lelek is a witch. That's all Sanja knows when she meets Lelek in the marketplace. But Lelek is hiding something -- and as her life begins to intersect with Sanja's, all that she's kept to herself starts to come to light. Secrets, friendship, and magic all come together as Lelek gets closer and closer to uncovering the truth about her past. . . . Witchlight is a wonderful adventure filled with friendship, family, falling in love, and dealing with the hardest bits of your past all along the way.

Cub

Cynthia L Copeland

$12.95 $11.91

A laugh-out-loud funny and empowering graphic memoir about growing up and finding your voice. Twelve-year-old Cindy has just dipped a toe into seventh-grade drama--with its complicated friendships, bullies, and cute boys--when she earns an internship as a cub reporter at a local newspaper in the early 1970s. A (rare) young female reporter takes Cindy under her wing, and Cindy soon learns not only how to write a lede, but also how to respectfully question authority, how to assert herself in a world run by men, and--as the Watergate scandal unfolds--how brave reporting and writing can topple a corrupt world leader. Searching for her own scoops, Cindy doesn't always get it right, on paper or in real life. But whether she's writing features about ghost hunters, falling off her bicycle and into her first crush, or navigating shifting friendships, Cindy grows wiser and more confident through every awkward and hilarious mistake.

New Kid

Jerry Craft

$12.99 $11.95

Perfect for friends of Raina Telgemaier and Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature! Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

City of Ghosts, Volume 1

Victoria Schwab

$7.99 $7.35

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn't like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost. So things are already pretty strange. But they're about to get much stranger. When Cass's parents start hosting a TV show about the world's most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her gift, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil -- and herself. And she'll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 1 the Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 1)

Rick Riordan

$9.99 $9.19

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and truant officers. One day, he's tracked down by an uncle he barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo, Book One)

Rick Riordan

$9.99 $9.19

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. He must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favor.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Jessica Townsend

$8.99 $8.27

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each with an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate. Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman, this fast-paced plot and imaginative world has a fresh new take on magic that will appeal to a new generation of readers.

The Wishing Spell

Chris Colfer

$9.99 $9.19

Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows

Ryan Calejo

$8.99 $8.27