Wednesday, December 2, 2020

#Holiday Gift Guide – Great Books (historical fiction, fantasy, and contemporary fiction) for Middle Grade Readers #Christmas #KidLit

If you have a young reader on your shopping list, consider one of these titles, appropriate for ages 8 to 15. 

Middle Grade Novels with History

The Eyes of Pharaoh

Ancient Egypt in 1177 BC comes to life. When Reya hints that Egypt is in danger from foreign nomads, Seshta and Horus don’t take him seriously. How could anyone challenge Egypt? Then Reya disappears. To save their friend, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty, and start to suspect even The Eyes of Pharaoh, the powerful head of the secret police. Will Seshta and Horus escape the traps set for them, rescue Reya, and stop the plot against Egypt in time? See this and more at or her Amazon page. Usually $4.99 for the ebook but only 99 cents this month! (Also available in paperback.)

The Genie’s Gift 

This lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East draws on the mythology of The Arabian Nights. Shy and timid Anise determines to find the Genie Shakayak and claim the Gift of Sweet Speech. But the way is barred by a series of challenges, both ordinary and magical. How will Anise get past a vicious she-ghoul, a sorceress who turns people to stone, and mysterious sea monsters, when she can’t even speak in front of strangers? The ebook is just $2.99 this month! (Also available in paperback.)

The Well of Sacrifice 

A Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. 

Kirkus Reviews called The Well of Sacrifice, “[An] engrossing first novel….Eboch crafts an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society….The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.”

Watching this unorthodox 12-year-old girl outwit a high priest, escape jail, rescue her sister and more makes for a fast-paced read. An author’s note describes the historical context for the tale. - Publishers Weekly (Available in hard cover or ebook.)

Jesse Owens: Young Record Breaker and Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier 

These inspirational biographies in Simon and Schuster’s Childhood of Famous Americans series are written under the name M.M. Eboch. 

Jesse Owens would be especially suitable for young athletes, while Milton Hershey might appeal to kids who struggle in school, as Milton did. They are full-length books at a middle grade interest level, but written at a third-grade reading level.

See these and more at or her Amazon page.

Middle Grade Contemporary Novels

The Cousins in Action Series by Sam Bond begins with Operation Golden Llama

Dumped at their eccentric Grandma’s, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they’re in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls, and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where much to their surprise they find their adventures have only just begun.

You'll want the sequels, Operation Tiger Paw, Operation Jewel Thief, Operation Pharaoh’s Curse, and Operation Dude Ranch!

Visit Sam Bond’s website or her Amazon page.

The Sweet Spot, by Stacy Barnett Mozer

When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.

Don't miss the follow-up novel, The Perfect Trip, a road trip adventure!

Visit Stacy Barnett Mozer’s website or her Amazon page.

Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy Novels

The Galaxy Games Series by Greg Fishbone:

The Challengers
Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty’s seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend’s driveway….

The Amorphous Assassin
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?

Visit Greg Fishbone’s website or his Amazon page.

The Magic Mayhem Series by D. D. Roy

Jinnie Wishmaker

Six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy mixes adventure and magic in her first series for middle grade readers. In Jinnie Wishmaker, an eleven-year-old girl discovers she can grant any living thing its one true wish. The trouble is, once she grants the wish, she can’t control the results.

Get the sequels, Marcus Mender and Elektra Chaos.

The Magic Mayhem series begins with Jinnie Wishmaker. However, each book can be read as a standalone book.

Visit Deanna Roy’s blog or the Magic Mayhem Amazon page.