Flyleaf's Favorite Middle Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12) - 2023
Jon Klassen has once again brought us an amazing tale that the whole family can enjoy! This creepy folk story spins a yarn of an unlikely friendship between a girl and a sentient skull. Give this one a read, and then read it again, and again, and again. --Kat
Plum isn't sure she's meant to be a Guardian, but passing Lotus Island's first test means staying to figure out her power and why she's so different from her friends. A great new adventure steeped in the principles of respecting and protecting nature.--Jamie K.
Overnight, Laura's life was upended, and it was all her fault. Now she's stuck living with an aunt she's never met, going to a new school, and temporarily banned from seeing her parents. An abandoned puppy throws her family reunion plans somewhat off course, but maybe Sparrow can help her reunite with her parents faster. This was an extremely rewarding read, hopeful and encouraging, while still feeling grounded in life's many realities. --Jamie K.
Falling somewhere between the whodunit enjoyability of Knives Out, the Victorian absurdity of A Series of Unfortunate Events, & the curiosity of a Wes Anderson script, The Swifts is a romp (n; a spell of rough, energetic play) from start to finish. With a duplicitous (adj; deceitful) cast of characters all wrestling for the same fortune, Beth Lincoln has surely created a definitive mystery for readers. --Justin
Max Plink's life is hard enough before the jawbreaker. Her parents are tough and uncommunicative, she faces a crush of verbal abuse from bullies when she climbs onto the school bus, and her little sister is turning from friend to enemy right before her eyes. And now there's a piece of equipment wrapped around her head, forcing her jaws to align. With wry, realistic humor that dares to look the horrors of middle school right in the face, Wyman's debut novel sparkles—and aches—like brand-new braces. --Talia
I love a Sherlock Holmes reboot—and this one's for kids! We meet Arthur Conan Doyle, a poor Scottish boy with tremendous powers of deduction who's invited to enroll at the mysterious Baskerville Hall, a school for brilliant misfits from around the world. Soon strange things are afoot, and our hero and his new chums are thrown into the thick of it. A cracking good mystery! --Maggie
I loved Lawrence and his close-knit, multi-generational family living together in rural NC. I rooted for him figuring out how to be a better friend, and how to deal with his anger in the face of racism and discrimination. A thought-provoking book for kids at any age. --Maggie
After Kayla is transported to a magical world, it is up to her to take up her birth father's legacy and become the next Dark Lady. Or at least, that's what was supposed to happen. Instead, her mom and her little brother are ALSO transported, and Dark Ladying isn't really what Kayla is interested in. Can she make pizza here? --Jamie K.
A magical adventure sent in a time of global sickness... When a curiously bejeweled dog shows up in Clay's yard, the woods behind his house suddenly come alive with fantastical creatures and hidden portals to other realms. Laugh-out-loud funny, clever and imaginative—and with light illustrations throughout— this is an excellent choice for a read-aloud or a read-by-yourself. --Elese
I love Skandar and his friends! This is the second book in the series set on a magical island with a unicorn school. The kids are growing up, the unicorns are still wild and very dangerous, and adults aren't always what they seem. Can the kids get beyond their differences to save the island from environmental destruction? Catch up with Skandar #1: Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. --Maggie