Books For Older Kids

Young Reviewers Pick Their Favorites

Atlanta Parent asked young reviewers to hit the books and get back to us with their recommendations for their peers. Thank you to these educators who helped coordinate book reviews by their students: Ann Evett and Holly Lanford of Henderson Middle School, Laura Kamenitsa of Inman Middle School and Terri Kaplan of Westminster Middle School.

The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield by John Bemelmans Marciano; illustrated by Sophie Backall (Viking, ages 10 and older, $16.99)
From the title of this book, you may have thought Alexander Baddenfield was a cat, as cats are normally thought of having nine lives. But in fact, he is the last of the Baddenfield family, known for their cruelty and short-lived lives. Knowing this, Alexander devises a plan to gain eight more lives. He wastes every single one of them being reckless and feisty, and doesn’t break the chain of short-lived lives. You’re sure to chuckle through the humorous story of Alexander Baddenfield’s nine lives. – Emma Bussey, 7th grade, Westminster

Beeholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco (Knopf, ages 9-12, $16.99)
A young orphaned girl named Bee and her caregiver Pauline, are both members of a traveling circus in the 1940’s. As the story unfolds, Bee deals with a diamond-like birthmark on her cheek, the cause of which is unknown and the challenges of life on the road. I enjoyed reading this novel because I was able to see the characters change as the storyline developed, and I particularly liked the setting within a traveling circus. – Lea Lobanov, 8th grade, Westminster

Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan (Dial, ages 12 and older, $16.99)
What are the seven most important things in your life? That is the question Holly Sloan asks in her tale of love, sadness, and belonging. Willow Chance and other funny and unusual characters try to answer this question. All of these characters come together beautifully and bring the story to life, encouraging readers to believe that no matter how hard life gets, there will always be someone who cares. – Isabella Pu, 7th grade, Westminster

Escape from Berlin by Irene N. Watts (Tundra Books, ages 8-12, $19.99)
Two girls become friends when they are evacuated from Germany during WWII through Kindertransport, a secret train that carried mostly Jewish children out of Nazi territory to start new lives with new families in other countries. They never expect to see each other again once they arrive in England, but amazingly find themselves working in the same London hospital. Each girl is reunited with a family member at the end, but it is a mixed happy ending because they have also each lost a parent during the war. It’s a very detailed and realistic book about how people my age survived WWII, and I really cared about these characters, their experiences and their friendship. – Leah Faupel, 6th grade, Elkins Pointe

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (Delacorte Press, ages 8-12, $15.99)
If you love games and reading, you’ll love this story. Luigi Lemoncello, the Willy Wonka-like game-maker and designer of a small town’s new public library, has created a home for books that is incredible, filled with holograms, video ceiling panels, floating book ladders and interactive displays. Twelve lucky 12-year-olds, including Kyle and his friend Akimi, win an essay contest and get to sleep over in the new library before it opens. Mr. Lemoncello asks if they want to play a game to win a huge prize: escape the library without using the front door or emergency exits. They have to use library resources to solve clues and find the secret escape route. It’s a suspenseful book with funny dialogue and puzzles to solve along with the characters. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. – Leah Faupel, 6th grade, Elkins Pointe

The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward (Razorbill, ages 8-12, $16.99)
The Whipple family has broken more world records than any other family on the planet. There’s just one exception: Arthur Whipple. He hasn’t broken a single World Record, not even one. Arthur thinks it’s not exactly his fault. Then suddenly everything seems to go wrong. His whole family seems to be losing their sparkle for breaking world records, and Arthur is the only one who might know who’s causing this. – Eliza Fleming, 6th grade, Westminster

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voight (Knopf, ages 8-12, $16.99)
Do you want to read a book that has mystery, detectives, lying and kidnapping? Read this story about a boy named Max who tries to solve the mystery of his missing parents. He’s really good at solving other people’s mysteries, but he can’t solve his own problem of his missing parents. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens to Max next. – Joshua Marston, 6th grade, Inman

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail written by Ricahrd Peck, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Dial, ages 8-12, $16.99)
What if you found yourself the size of a mouse, living in England and fearing squirrels the size of Buckingham Palace? The mouse’s nickname is Mouse Minor and if you are looking for a nail-biting, laugh-out-loud and just plain adorable book, this book is perfect for you. Mouse Minor and other amazing characters such as his Aunt Marigold took me on an amazing journey through a mouse community in Buckingham Palace in England. I highly recommend The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail to anyone looking for something fun and adventurous to read. – Addison Dascher, 7th grade, Henderson

The Saturday Boy by David Fleming (Viking, ages 10 and older, $16.99)
Derek writes letters to his father while he is deployed in Afghanistan. I loved the connection between Derek and his father, and I think that is important to understand
the connection that written letters can give us. I enjoyed The Saturday Boy and I recommend it to all. – Grace O’Gara, 7th grade, Westminster

Stick Dog by Tom Watson (HarperCollins, ages 8-12, $12.99)
Stick dog reminds me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Stick dog is a fun and joyous book with crazy but cute drawings that make you laugh. I liked it because the book had cool names for the dog and each dog was unique in their own way. Poo Poo was my favorite. She was obsessed with squirrels, and she always had something witty to say. – Sidnie Stewart, 7th grade, Henderson

Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex (Balzer + Bray, ages 8-12, $16.99)
An evil sorceress fairy queen, Nimue, has an evil company that makes breakfast cereal that will make you smarter. She wants to take over the world and kidnaps the Queen of England. A ragged group of kids and a librarian work to stop Nimue from taking over. They chase, attack, and pass through a rift in time to try and stop her. I recommend this funny book and you might want to read the first book in the Cold Cereal Saga to fully enjoy this wild adventure. – Alysscia Carlisle, 8th grade, Inman

What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays (EgmontUSA, ages 10 and older, $16.99)
Grover Johnston loves to make beautiful art out of bamboo and leaves, but he mostly thinks about the recent loss of his mother. This sad book will lift you up when other people in his town help him deal with the death of his mother. Grover’s sister, Sudie, is my favorite character in the book. She is a brave and adventurous girl who has a great spirit. If you are looking for a great book, then this would be the book for you. It is sad at some points, but that is what keeps it alive. – Cara Kennedy, 7th grade, Henderson

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders (Delacorte, ages 10 and up, $16.99)
Anyone who loves chocolate, magic and mysteries should read this book. A family, with twins Oz and Lily, move into the most magical house in London at 18 Skittle Street, with a boarded up chocolate shop on the ground floor. It turns out the old owners of the chocolate shop invented chocolate with magical powers. I liked this imaginative book because of the adventures that Oz and Lily take and all the magic in the book. – Ani Woodard, 7th grade, Inman

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