Here’s a selection of the many middle-grade books published by our amazing Mixed-Up Files contributors. Look for them in your libraries or independent bookstores next time you and your middle-grade readers need something fabulous to read!
Thirteen-year-old Kit Donovan made a lot of promises to her dying mother, and the most difficult one to keep – the one about being a proper lady – seems downright impossible in a place like Goldfield, Nevada. The corrupt owner the gold mine seems to hold sway over the whole town. When Kit convinces Papa to speak out against the dangers in the mine, trouble finds her family.
Now she must find a way to expose the misdeeds before it’s too late. With help from an unlikely friend, a Shoshone boy, and a newspaperman, she puts her big mouth and all the life skills she’s learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work. But is she really brave enough to stand up for what’s right?
What if you could get a do-over—a chance to relive a day in your life over and over again until you got it right? Would you? After finding a mysterious set of paints in her backpack, twelve-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture of her last day at the New Jersey shore. When she wakes up the next morning, Haleigh finds that her wish for an endless summer with her new friend Kevin has come true. At first, she’s thrilled, but Haliegh soon learns that staying in one place—and time—comes with a price.
And when Haleigh realizes her parents have been keeping a secret, she is faced with a choice: do nothing and miss out on the good things that come with growing up or find the secret of the time loop she’s trapped in and face the inevitable realities of moving on. As she and Kevin set out to find the source of the magic paints, Haleigh worries it might be too late. Will she be able to restart time? And if she does, will it be the biggest mistake of her life?
Greg R Fishbone
Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler’s past is catching up with a vengeance! Earth’s team of international all-stars is at each other’s throats. A shadowy conspiracy is on the move. And a shape-shifting alien assassin has Tyler in his sights.
Can Tyler step up his game to become the leader Earth needs? Or will the world finally discover that Tyler isn’t quite the hero that everyone believes?
Pixie Piper and the Matter of the Batter continues Pixie’s story as she and her best friend, Gray spend the summer at Chuckling Goose Farm, the home of the Goose Ladies. Pixie tries her best to learn the secrets to baking the cakes that make wishes come true. But there are enemies trying to steal those secrets—and Pixie’s writing power, too. And there’s trouble in the Goose family, as well. No matter how hard Pixie tries, she can’t please Esperanza, head of the Goose Aunts. The old grouch has even threatened to keep Destiny in a cage.
As old enemies threaten the Aunts and their mission, Pixie learns to appreciate the rewards of intergenerational relationships. The exciting conclusion to the duology includes courage, magic, and understanding.
What’s it like to be 13, trapped inside a fort, and surrounded by a superior enemy? Pedro has been told he is too young to fight. But he has skill and a unique knowledge of the land on his side. When the English attack the Castillo de San Marcos fort in the Spanish stronghold of St. Augustine, he and his friend, Miguel, are thrown into an adventure of a lifetime. A naval blockade, an escaped pirate with detailed knowledge of the fort, woods crawling with the enemy, and a fort with critically low ammunition are just some of the challenges ahead. They realize they must sneak behind enemy lines to help or the town will perish.
Michele weber hurwitz
Ethan Marcus is fed up with sitting in school. One day, enough is enough. He doesn’t cause trouble but refuses to stay seated during class, which doesn’t go over so well with his rule-oriented teacher. During Reflection — his school’s answer to detention — the advisor suggests Ethan channel his energy into Invention Day. Except he’s never been great at science or making things. That’s his sister’s department. But when Ethan and his friend Brian put their heads together, they come up with something that could solve all of their problems. But can they actually pull it off? Find out what happens when one kid decides to take a stand against sitting down.
Amber J. Keyser
Paley Dixon is not excited about six weeks on a horse ranch without access to the virtual world of Dragonfyre. In-game, she’s the Blue Elf, strong and powerful. In the real world, she’s coming off a bad year after moving from Los Angeles to Denver. At least Prince, the majestic horse she’s paired with at Quartz Creek Ranch, makes her feel like royalty.
To gain Prince’s trust, Paley has to find her own confidence, which isn’t easy with jerks like Bryce around. When she makes an exciting discovery near the ranch, life finally seems as interesting as Dragonfyre. But to protect her real-world treasure, she’ll have to figure out how to turn courage into action.
ONE BRAVE SUMMER is one of four middle grade novels in the Quartz Creek Ranch series co-authored by Amber J. Keyser and Kiersi Burkhart.
S. A. Larsen
Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.
Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad’s moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.
When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.
Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.
Kimberley Griffiths Little
When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family’s antique shop, she knows she’s in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family’s tragic past — deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.
With her signature lyricism, Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a thrilling tale filled with family secrets, haunting mystery, and dangerous adventure.
Kai knows just wast to do when the first rumbles shake the earth. But he does the exact oppostie: he runs. And the the tsunami hits Japan. On the other side of the Pacific, Kai’s cousin Jet sets sail off the coast of Oregon. She knows she should check the tide—she always checks the tide. Except this one time she didn’t. Brought together by the biggest mistakes of their lives, Jet and Kai are about to find something they never thought they’d have again—hope.
“This affecting work of realistic fiction is one to be savored.” School Library Journal, starred review
“A touching heartwarming story that reaffirms the idea that for anyone, second chances are possible.” Booklist, starred review
Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.”
Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer.
Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well..
Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.
Nella and Angela are such close friends they pretend they’re sisters, but they’ve begun to grow apart. Much bigger changes lie ahead, including one that changes them, their families and their neighborhood forever.
“With an engaging protagonist, a fast-moving story, important themes subtly conveyed, and touches of humor, this is a richly layered story that will have wide appeal.”–Kirkus, starred review
Space and the ocean. If you don’t think they go together, think again! Both deep sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Join us on an amazing journey as we go up in space with astronauts and dive deep down in the ocean with aquanauts to explore the far-off places of our planet and the solar system.
With a strong tie into STEM topics–such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas–readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.