Happy Friday, everyone! I can’t believe that March is almost over. But I’m so excited that Spring is finally here! I for one, am so ready for the warmer weather. One of my favourite things is being able to curl up outside with a nice book and I can’t wait for some new books to read.

This month I’m starting something brand new! Since I’m a teacher, I love being able to recommend books to younger readers. I also love easy and light reads for the spring and summer. Because of this, I want to branch out into reading more middle grade releases. My new monthly feature will highlight new and upcoming middle grade releases. These lists will be perfect for anyone who loves middle grade reads, as well as teachers and parents!

Without further rambling, let’s take a look at some of the newest middle grade books to release in April 2019!

April 2nd

Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles - The Contented ReaderIf home is where the heart is, what would happen if you lost it? Compassion and humour infuse the story of a family caught in financial crisis and a girl struggling to form her own identity.

It’s the first day of summer and Rachel’s thirteenth birthday. She can’t wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah! But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbours’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means.

Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn - The Contented ReaderCat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond–Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a “meltdown” she’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn’t go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.

The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer by Lamar Giles - The Contented ReaderOtto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.

The Becket List by Adele Griffin - The Contented ReaderAdventure and discover with the bold and intrepid Becket Branch when her family’s move from city to a country farm means big changes!

Everything is changing for Becket Branch. From subways to sidewalks to safety rules, Becket is a city kid born and raised. Now the Branch family is trading urban bustle for big green fields and moving to Gran’s farm, where Becket has to make sense of new routines from feeding animals to baling hay. And as much as Becket loves to yell “Beautiful Alert!” there’s a lot about the countryside that is just plain odd.

But Becket is ready to put her own spin on country life. Whether selling her mouth-puckering lemonade, feeding hostile hens, or trying to make a best friend of her new neighbor Frieda Franca, Becket is determined to use her city smarts to get a grip on farm living. Laugh and learn with Becket as she mucks through the messy, exuberant human experience of change she didn’t ask for, in a story that sparkles with quirky characters and lasting connections.

A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted . . . or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.

Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute.

Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a lightsaber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!

This charming, funny story is brought to life by Kass Reich’s warm and adorable illustrations. There’s never been a bat this cute — readers will be rooting for Megabat and Daniel from page one!

The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix - The Contented ReaderTold in alternating points of view from Chess, Emma, and Finn Greystone, Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers is the beginning of a new page-turning adventure that examines assumptions about identity, family, and home, from the master of middle grade suspense.

What makes you you?

The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.

But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children—who share the same first and middle names, ages, and exact birth dates as the Greystone kids—reach the Greystone family. This bizarre coincidence makes them wonder: Who exactly are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a mysterious work trip. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.

April 9th

The Multiplying Mysteries of Mount Ten by Krista Van Dolzer - The Contented ReaderFor fans of The Book Scavenger comes a smart and funny middle grade mystery with built-in logic puzzles that readers can solve.

Twelve-year-old painter Esther can’t wait to attend Camp Vermeer, the most prestigious art camp around. But when her stepdad accidentally drives up the wrong mountain, she lands at Camp Archimedes—a math camp!

Determined to prove herself to the other campers, she tackles a brain-teaser that’s supposed to be impossible—and solves it in a single day. But not everyone is happy about it . . . someone wants her out of camp at any cost, and starts leaving cryptic, threatening notes all over the camp’s grounds. Esther doesn’t know who to trust—will she solve this riddle before it’s too late?

Featuring tricky logic puzzles readers can solve along with the characters and starring a unique, smart, and crafty young heroine, this story has just the right mix of mystery, humor, and wit.

The Secret of Zoone by Lee Edward Fodi - The Contented ReaderWelcome to Zoone: crossroads of the multiverse. In this inventive fantasy, fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lisa McMann will step through an enchanted doorway and into a world filled with infinite portals to new—and sometimes perilous—lands.  

When a bright blue winged tiger appears on his aunt’s sofa, Ozzie can tell he’s in for an adventure. He’s thrilled to follow Tug—a skyger—through a secret door in the basement and into Zoone, the bustling Grand Central Station of the universe, where a thousand doors act as portals to strange and wonderful worlds.

But some doors also hide dangers—and when the portal back to Earth explodes behind him, Ozzie gets more adventure than he bargained for. In a station full of wizards, creepy-crawlies, and the occasional cursed princess, Ozzie has to find a way to repair his door… and possibly save the multiverse in the process.

Brimming with colorful characters, magical mayhem, and endless adventure, this new tween series has a doorway for every reader—just be sure to close the door behind you! 

Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison - The Contented ReaderIn this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong.

Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes the person you need to take care of is yourself.

It's Trevor Noah Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - The Contented ReaderThe host of The Daily ShowTrevor Noah, tells the story of growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid in this young readers’ adaptation of his bestselling adult memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Trevor Noah shares his story of growing up in South Africa, with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child like him to exist. But he did exist–and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.

April 16th

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi - The Contented ReaderBest-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time. Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway - The Contented ReaderA heartfelt contemporary middle grade novel, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree, about a girl who is sent to live with her aunt and must try to save their failing pie shop.

When twelve-year-old Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she doesn’t know what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, or even living inside, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs. Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s pie shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

Summer of a Thousand Pies is a sweet and satisfying treat of a novel full of friendship, family, and, of course, pie.

The Line Tender by Kate Allen - The Contented ReaderThe Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.

Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered.

August Isle by Ali Standish - The Contented ReaderFor years, Miranda has stared at postcards of August Isle, Florida. The town her mother spent her summers as a girl. The town Miranda has always ached to visit. She just never wanted it to happen this way.

When she arrives on the Isle, alone and uncertain, to spend the summer with her mother’s best friend, “Aunt” Clare, Miranda finds a town even more perfect than the one she saw in the postcards. And she finds a friend of her own in Sammy, Aunt Clare’s daughter.

But there is more to August Isle than its bright streets and sandy beaches, and soon Miranda is tangled in a web of mysteries. Noises coming from a haunted lighthouse. An old seafarer with something to hide. A name reaching out from her mother’s shadowy past. As she closes in on answers, Miranda must reckon with the biggest question of all: Is she brave enough to face the truth she might uncover?

Critically acclaimed author Ali Standish delivers another mesmerizing and moving story about the secrets we keep, the lies we tell, and the courage it takes to love each other anyway.

The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck by Roy and Kerry MacGregor - The Contented ReaderThe third title in the nationally bestselling series.

The Riverton Ice Chips know a thing or two about time travel. With a bit of magic and their beloved hometown rink, teammates Lucas, Edge and Swift have gone back in time to meet Gordie Howe and Sidney Crosby when the hockey greats were just kids. Along the way, the Chips have learned about perseverance, sportsmanship and a true love of the game.

But when a local tournament requires the Chips to split up to help form a district-wide all-girls hockey team, goalie Swift refuses to join forces with Chips rival Beatrice Blitz. The only thing left to do is to time travel once again.

Pretty soon the Chips find themselves smack in the middle of the Calgary Olympics, with a determined young player known as Chicken in desperate need of some new teammates. Lucas, Swift and Swift’s sister Sadie have just the spirit Chicken’s team needs, and with a lesson from their dedicated new friend—who’ll go on to become one of Canada’s best-loved Olympic hockey players, Hayley Wickenheiser—they just might change their minds about the game back home.

The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck is the third title in this beloved and bestselling series by acclaimed authors Roy MacGregor and Kerry MacGregor and illustrator Kim Smith, featuring a vibrant and diverse cast of characters and inspiring hockey greats.

April 23rd

The Explorers The Reckless Rescue by Adrienne Kress - The Contented ReaderMore mystery, more bravery, more danger, and one amazingly reckless rescue await in the second book in the Explorers series! The perfect read for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society!

Reader! Your attention is greatly needed. We have left things unresolved! What began as your average story of a boy stumbling upon a pig in a teeny hat and a secret international explorers society has turned into an adventure of epic proportions.

* The bad news: The boy (Sebastian) has been kidnapped by a trio of troublesome thugs.

* The good news: His new friend Evie has promised to rescue him!

* The bad news: Sebastian has been taken halfway around the world.

* The good news: Evie has famous explorer and former Filipendulous Five member Catherine Lind at her side!

* The bad news: There’s still the whole matter of Evie’s grandfather (and the leader of the Filipendulous Five) somewhere out there in grave danger.

* The good news: Pursuing Sebastian will lead Evie and Catherine to another member of the Filipendulous Five, who might be able to help!

This missive is a call to action and an invitation to join in mystery, bravery, and danger. There will be new people to meet, new places to see, and some dancing along the way. And one amazingly reckless rescue.

April 30th

The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander - The Contented ReaderThe Library of Ever is an instant classic for middle grade readers and booklovers everywhere–an adventure across time and space, as a young girl becomes a warrior for the forces of knowledge.

With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored–until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Mazelike and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.

She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.

Mya's Strategy to Save the World by Tanya Lloyd Kyi - The Contented ReaderTwelve-year-old Mya Parsons could save the world and organize her family, if only she had her own cell phone. A Dork Diaries for today’s socially conscious young readers.

Mya Parsons runs her school’s social justice club with her best friend, Cleo. Her lifelong desire is to work for the United Nations and change the world, and then bask in all the ensuing adulation. Her more immediate desire is to get a phone, preferably one like Cleo’s, with a leopard-print case to match. When her distracted dad and her long-distance mom (temporarily in Myanmar taking care of Mya’s grandmother) both say no, no way, and possibly never, Mya launches a campaign to prove herself reliable and deserving. She advertises her babysitting services, takes on more responsibility around the house, and attempts to supervise her sister’s skateboarding lessons. Her efforts leave her ego bruised and the kitchen slightly scorched. She’s no closer to touch-screen victory, let alone the Nobel Peace Prize she deserves. But all that changes after an accident leaves Mya to take charge–an experience which helps her realize how much she’s grown, with or without access to proper communications.

The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande by Adam Gidwitz and David Bowles - The Contented ReaderThe fourth book in the fully illustrated, globe-trotting middle grade fantasy-adventure series about mythical creatures and their cultures of origin, from the Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale.

Elliot and Uchennna have only just returned from their most recent Unicorn Rescue Society mission when they (along with Jersey!) are whisked away on their next exciting adventure with Professor Fauna. This time, they’re headed to the Mexican border to help another mythical creature in need: the chupacabras!

The Chupacabras of the Río Grande is co-written with David Bowles, author of the Pura Belpré Honor-winning book, The Smoking Mirror!

Let’s Chat in the Comments!

What are some of your favourite Middle Grade reads? Do you want to read any of these books? Would you recommend these to friends who are parents or teachers?

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10 April 2019 Middle Grade Releases - The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

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