Let's Talk Kid Lit: Our Favorites & Looking Forward to in 2018 / by Madeleine Riley

Thanks to those of you who joined Lorraine and I in our Instagram live session yesterday! We have so much fun talking about children's literature together and we loved hearing that some of you are going to pick up kid lit titles for the very first time after watching our video!

If you missed it, here's the story: Lorraine and I have been friends for years (we went to college together) and now we're both teachers, book bloggers, DBC moderators, and avid readers. We love talking about books together, so we decided to make our bookish chats a live series! We're planning to get together once per quarter to talk about the children's lit we've been loving and the books we're looking forward to that are yet-to-be-released!

 Here's the thing about children's literature: it's not just for kids.

Although we're both educators, we love to read kid lit just for the fun of it! Even if you aren't a teacher or parent (or work with children in some other capacity), we highly recommend that you give it a try! Middle grade books are the sweet spot for me (which are marketed to audiences 8-12), while Lorraine absolutely loves picture books. During our Instagram live, we talked about some of our favorites and some of the books we can't wait to read in 2018. See below for a full list of the middle grade titles we talked about in our video! And head over to Miss Magee's Reads for the list of picture book titles!



The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Always my #1 recommendation for elementary readers in 4th/5th grade AND for adults who are looking to pick up some middle grade books for their own reading pleasure, this series follows a band of misfits as they solve puzzles and go on adventures.

Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father's Secret Children by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

One of my favorite authors in middle grade literature, Brubaker Bradley writes excellent historical fiction novels for readers in 4th-6th grade. Jefferson's Sons is the story of Thomas Jefferson's children with his slave, Sally Hemmings. Brubaker Bradley also wrote the Newbery Honor book The War That Saved My Life, about a girl with a physical disability who is evacuated to the British countryside during WWII. (There's also a follow up novel, The War I Finally Won, that I have yet to read but already know will be a favorite.)


Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Greenglass House was my first kid lit read in 2018 and I absolutely LOVED it. My review will be up in the next few weeks, but I can tell you I gave it five stars and I've already ordered the sequel. If you're a DBC member and looking for another book related to the theme of adoption, this is a great choice (our January selection is Forever or a Long, Long Time, which so far has been universally loved by members).


Time Stops for No Mouse (Hermux Tantamoq Adventures #1) by Michael Hoeye

Time Stops for No Mouse was a throwback pick for me, as this was a series that I adored when I was actually in the middle grade age range. This animal fantasy series follows a timid mouse named Hermux Tantamoq as he falls in love with a daring aviatrix/adventuress named Linka Perflinger and risks his comforting routines for her love. I recently bought myself the first few in the series to revisit it when I need a break from brand-new reads.


The List by Patricia Forde

This dystopian novel is one that both Lorraine and I loved and would recommend to more mature readers within the middle grade spectrum. It's the story of a future society in which words are carefully controlled so that people can no longer use the power of language to make persuasive arguments. Highly recommended for people who love language and eerily relevant to our current political climate.



Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar

This novel came to me from the team at Candlewick Press (a Boston-based publishing company that puts out fabulous children's literature). It's an adventure story of a girl who is kidnapped by a vicious pirate who wants her to help him find a treasure at the bottom of the ocean. I can't wait to read it! (P.S. This one is already published, so you won't have to wait for it!)

Bringing Me Back by Beth Vrabel

Thanks to the author, Beth, who sent me this one herself! She also wrote Caleb and Kitwhich I read over the summer and absolutely loved. This one is the story of a boy with some pretty awful life circumstances, with themes of reputation, family, and forgiveness. This title will be released on February 6th.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

There are so many books being released between now and March that caught my eye, but this one looks especially good. It takes place just as India is freed from British rule. The main character, Nisha, feels divided as her home country splits into two new countries: India and Pakistan. Nisha is half-Muslim, half-Hindu, but suddenly she feels like she doesn't belong anywhere. Nisha's experience as a refugee makes me believe this will be a hard and haunting read, but also an important one. This title releases on March 6th.


We love to hear from fellow readers who enjoy children's literature, so tell us some of your favorites below!