Favorite Reads of 2018

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The Not-To-Miss Books, Great Gift Ideas, and Favorite Reads

for Middle Graders

I’m so excited to share some of my favorite reads to add to your Christmas list for boys and girls ages eight to thirteen years. One of my pet peeves is hearing parents at school say their kids don’t like to read. I think, really, they may just not have found their niche. My favorite ones are fantasy, comedy, mysteries, and historical fiction. I’ll highlight some series with new releases and favorites in this blog post so you can shop for your kids this holiday season.

Ahoy, Pirates!

Nick of Time series by Ted Bell – possibly my all-time favorite series for boys and for aspects of historical fiction mixed with magic and adventure – and a story line that espouses developing character and bravery for kids, too! It’s also a SUPER series to listen to on a long car ride.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates by Caroline Carlson – great to see a young girl wanting to be brave and pirate-y and so very funny too. I want a gargoyle like the one that comes alive in this story!

It’s Epic, Magical, And With Cool Technology

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger – see my recent reviews about this dreamy middle grade series with elves and traveling to magic lands, sparkling crystal castles, and teams. This is my favorite epic magical portal series by Shannon Messenger. (see an article HERE.)

Tesla’s Attic and the Accelerati Series by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman – my review HERE  of this super and witty series that combines technology, a bit of magic, and all kinds of middle-school antics. Such fun!

Wise And Witty And Funny

Savvy by Ingrid Law – laugh out loud funny series with crazy bus rides, tracking clues, everything goes wrong but somehow comes right kind of story. It does tend to mock sterotypes (including a Bible salesman so read the reviews…) but the character development is great and fun.

Max Tilt series by Peter Lerangis – Oh how I loved this book, a re-write with a twist with 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea but in modern times with a relative of the author caught in a super adventure. Great for boys and girls. My review is HERE.

London Confidential series and Hidden Diary series by Sandra Byrd – Sandra was my writing mentor and has such a gift with putting you in a special place and voice for characters. Both of these series are great for girls especially! The first is about British fashion, friendship and a girl who writes for the school newspaper in London. The second is about a girl who lives on an island during the summer and has adventures with a friend when she finds a letter that mentions a hidden diary and offers clues to find it.

Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley – think a huge magical alligator in the South and two kids who are avoiding a curse and trying to find the alligator to break years of bad luck – epic style. Beasley’s writing is lyrical and funny and wonderful. Can’t recommend this one enough! My review is HERE.

It’s Been A Hard Year

The Door In The Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is a childrens’ classic (my review HERE) and has encouraged us in years where a move was involved, perhaps someone had an arm in a cast or there was another life challenge in store. It’s also wonderful on Audible on long car rides!

Give Me A Mystery!

Samantha Sanderson series by Robin Carol – is a fun detective series with two girls, the first one begins where Samantha dreams of becoming a journalist and ends up helping her policeman father solve a case about a bomb in a local movie theater.

Other-worldly (without nightmares)

Taken and The Quest For Truth series by Brock Eastman – this amazing series is filled with faith and kids who are blue – yes blue! – and so many great lessons about being in a family, adventures in space, and what really matters in life. The planets they travel to are amazing and we’ve read every book in this series, and listened to most on Audible (can you tell we drive a lot!) This series also helped my son and I be very brave in a real-life emergency with police arresting people in a grocery store, which I’ll put in a future post. Very super!

Sign up for my blog to receive more book reviews, thoughts about resilience, and fun ideas for families! I’ll be continuing my giveaway next year as well!

You can find more recommendations on last year’s Christmas post HERE  and my recent book reviews for MMGM HERE .

2 Responses to "Favorite Reads of 2018"
  1. Karen Smith says:

    If you can find it, Scarlet Sails is a wonderful retelling of a Russian folktale. The Search for Delicious charms through absurdity. The Witch of Blackbird Pond offers historical background with gentle romance. For more mature kids, anything by Robin McKinley is absolutely wonderful: wry, witty, and poignant.

    • evantassel says:

      Thanks Karen! These sound super! I’ll have to look into them. I appreciate your suggestions and am always looking for great reads.

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