Flyleaf's Favorite Kids Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) 2021

Root Magic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062899576
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walden Pond Press - January 5th, 2021

A captivating story of haints, boo-hags, rootwork, and Gullah culture. It's 1963, on the Sea Islands in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Now that 11-year-old Jezebel's grandmother has died, it's up to Jezebel and her twin brother Jay to learn root and keep their family safe -- from both the supernatural and not-so-supernatural evils that threaten them.  I read this aloud with my 9-year-old and we shivered at the scary parts -- the voice in the marsh, Deputy Collins -- and cheered for Jezebel on her journey to discover the magic within her. --Elese

Frankie & Bug Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534482531
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - October 12th, 2021

This is a terrific middle-grade read! I loved how the main character Bug grows up over the course of the summer, learning important and life-changing things about herself, her family, and the beloved neighbors who make up her extended family. The vivid description of life in Venice Beach in 1987 and the depiction of the AIDS crisis and LGTBQ identities is particularly poignant today. --Maggie

Playing the Cards You're Dealt Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338348538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - October 5th, 2021

Varian Johnson does it again. Ant, a 5th grader, must navigate expectations from family and friends in his attempt to win his town's annual spades tournament. (OK, really he's just trying to avoid washing out "embarrassingly" early like last year.) Taking on toxic masculinity, alcoholism and gambling in a way that isn't remotely preachy, this is a book I kept pausing to say "oh, it's so good" to the universe before picking it back up. An absolutely heartwarming read. --Elese

Pony Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553508116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 28th, 2021

Silas's journey through the places that scare him can help lessen the fear of the unknown, encouraging children to be brave and follow their instincts. Highly recommended for all ages. --Maggie

Ophie’s Ghosts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062915894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 18th, 2021

On a fall night in 1920s Georgia, an act of violence leads to a revelation: 12-year-old Ophie can see ghosts. But her newfound abilities also have left her vunerable. Now living in Pittsburgh, with the undead beseeching her for help and with the mystery of a missing maid to solve, Ophie must learn how to navigate her powers and quick. Justina Ireland is a marvelous writer, and this is a marvelous book. --Elese

Just Like That Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544084773
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - January 5th, 2021

After her best friend dies suddenly, Meryl Lee slips into the "Blank," a deep and overpowering sense of grief. Her parents enroll her in a Maine boarding school, hoping that a change of scenery will help her heal. Despite early struggles to fit in at the strict St. Elene's prep school for girls, Meryl Lee soon forges strong connections with peers, teachers, and one Matt Coffin, a local boy who's fighting to overcome his own history of grief and loss. Brilliant characterization and a vividly realized late-60s setting make this novel really shine. Highly recommended for older KMG/early YA.--Talia

Temple Alley Summer Cover Image
By Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa (Translator), Miho Satake (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781632063038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yonder - July 6th, 2021

A ghost story, a friendship story, and an adventure story, all steeped in Japanese folklore with beautiful illustrations. What's not to love?! --Jennie

Born Behind Bars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593112472
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - September 7th, 2021

Padma Venkatraman tackles some big issues in this book - false imprisonment, homelessness, child labor, religious & caste discrimination to name a few. This is also a book about the power of love, the beauty of friendship, and the grace and strength that can be found within us all. Truly stunning. --Elese

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316540469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 21st, 2021

Fans of Aru Shah and Percy Jackson will love this adventurous story mixing Islamic folklore and Indian history. It's laugh-out-loud funny, too!

When the World Was Ours Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534499652
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Aladdin - May 18th, 2021

This story begins with three best friends & one perfect evening on a ferris wheel in pre-WWII Vienna. But then Max's dad forbids him from playing with Elsa & Leo because they are Jewish. From there, as Hitler ascends and Europe inches closer to war, all three children & their families find themselves on increasingly divergent and dangerous paths, with only a photo from the ferris wheel holding their friendship memories together. This is certainly not an easy story, but it is an important one. For older readers (ages 10/11 - 14). --Elese